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Michigan St still looking to lock up bowl trip

Associated Press Modified: November 20, 2012 at 3:48 pm •  Published: November 20, 2012

Dantonio did promise some tweaks in his system, beginning with preparation for postseason play, assuming his team beats the Golden Gophers in a matchup of 2-5 Big Ten teams. He also mentioned changes to become more diverse on offense, starting with his quarterbacks being live for at least limited contact in spring ball.

That additional contact is fine with quarterback Andrew Maxwell, who was injured last spring with almost compete protection from hits. But before next spring or a bowl opportunity, there is a final challenge that has to be met.

"I think if the wheels were going to come off, that would've happened a long time ago," Maxwell said. "We're not going to hang-dog it in practice. We realize how special this is. We're in a playoff right now. It's win or go home. And we're going to find the inches we need this week in everything we do."

The Spartans are 3-5 in games decided by four points or less after going 8-1 in one-score games the previous two seasons. They have played better on the road this year with a 3-1 mark compared to a 2-5 fizzle at home.

Notes: Free safety Kurtis Drummond is a go this week after leaving the Northwestern game with a stinger, not a concussion as was originally thought. Injury-plagued defensive tackle Tyler Hoover, a starting defensive end for the 2010 Big Ten co-champions, has decided to petition the NCAA for a sixth season.