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EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — No. 9 Michigan State is favored by more than four touchdowns for the second straight week, though Mark Dantonio is expecting Wyoming to provide a better test than Eastern Michigan did last weekend.
Michigan State (2-1) hosts the Cowboys (3-0) on Saturday coming off a 73-14 win over EMU. Dantonio said he doesn't want to run up the score on opponents and the Spartans played mostly second- and third-string players during the second half.
"Every player we put in there we expect to play hard, and that is what they did," Dantonio said. "You can't ask them to slow down. I don't want to run the score up on anybody, but you have to play every play to the fullest. . The game went one-sided because of turnovers, I think."
Eastern Michigan had six turnovers, leading to 31 points by the Spartans. Eagles quarterback Rob Bolden, a former Spartan recruiting target, threw two interceptions but did connect with a pair of fourth-quarter touchdown passes.
Backup running back Delton Williams made it even more lopsided on an 80-yard touchdown run with just over six minutes remaining in the game. But Dantonio said Tuesday he won't allow his team to become complacent entering its final nonconference game against the Cowboys.
"Our focus needs to be on getting better," Dantonio said. "We compete against ourselves as well as the opponent. . We're still trying to find out who we are a little bit as we move forward. We're going to find out more this week. I think Wyoming is a very well-coached football team."
First-year Wyoming coach Craig Bohl won back-to-back FCS championships at North Dakota State in 2011-12. The Bison won 24 consecutive games during that time with Bohl at the helm. Wyoming runs a pro style offense which is very similar to the Spartans in terms of scheme. That will give Michigan State a different look after three straight games against spread offenses.
"They are probably more like us than anybody we've played," Dantonio said. "I think that's a positive for us. . They want to run the football."
The Spartans almost certainly have to win out following a week two loss at Oregon in order to have any hope of making the College Football Playoff, and even that might not be enough without some outside help. The Big Ten took a big perception hit early this season with some prominent losses.
Despite Dantonio's belief that running up the score isn't necessary, it's never too early for a little campaigning. Dantonio said he believes a Big Ten champion should be in the playoff rather than, say, a second-place SEC team.
"My vision is you should be a champion of your league before you can be a champion of the country," Dantonio said. "Might not happen like that. But that would be my vision."
Having won the Rose Bowl in 2013, anything less than a playoff appearance this season could be considered a disappointment. That's not necessarily fair, but it is reality for these Spartans entering their final nonconference game.
"Maybe it's like basketball a little bit where if you don't get to the Final Four, maybe it's not as successful," Dantonio said. "But expectations have something to do with that. You want expectations to be high. That's what we came here for. We came here and said seven, eight years ago that we wanted to win championships and compete for them on a yearly basis. That's what we're doing."