EAST LANSING, Mich. — For years, Mark Dantonio and Ohio State were on fairly cozy terms.
Dantonio was a defensive coordinator there — a protege of coach Jim Tressel — before moving on and eventually taking over the program at Michigan State. He grew up an hour from the Buckeyes' home field, and his wife is an Ohio State graduate.
Times change, though. The Tressel era came to an unceremonious end. Urban Meyer is coaching the Buckeyes now, and for Dantonio, Ohio State is now simply a rival.
The 20th-ranked Spartans (3-1) host the 14th-ranked Buckeyes on Saturday — a tone-setting Big Ten opener if there ever was one. It will be Meyer's first conference game since taking over at Ohio State (4-0).