- Brian Bennett, ESPN Staff Writer
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Michigan State came into the season ranked in the top 15 and picked by many (blush) to win the Big Ten.
As October arrives, the Spartans are just 3-2 and are unranked for the first time in 34 weeks. Head coach Mark Dantonio wants his team to stay positive but to play with a little bit of an attitude this week against Indiana.
"If we approach things with our head down and everything, things are probably going to stay the same," he said. "If we get up, if we rise up a little bit, we get a little bit irritated where we're at, we want to make a statement, then that will happen.
"I would expect our football team will make a statement when we come to play. That's how we've done things here. I don't think we're in panic mode."
The Spartans may not be panicking, but they will be making some changes on offense.
"I think he needs an opportunity," Dantonio said. "He catches the ball well. He's still learning some things. He has big‑play potential."
The offensive line is also undergoing some changes after center Travis Jackson suffered a broken fibula in last week's 17-16 loss to Ohio State. Jackson is out for the year. He was replaced in the game by Ethan Ruhland, whom Dantonio said will continue to start at center. The Spartans have lost two starters on the line since opening week, as tackle Fou Fonoti injured his foot and may not return this season.
But guard Blake Treadwell, who was slated to start before suffering a stress fracture in his leg during training camp, is getting closer to 100 percent, giving the line some more options. Dantonio said both Treadwell and Jack Allen will play this week at left guard.
Some other notes from Dantonio:
-- He said defensive end William Gholston is fine after the junior appeared to be briefly knocked out during the Ohio State game. Gholston was attended to by the team's trainers and went in on the next defensive series, prompting some to wonder if Michigan State rushed him back in.
"The protocol, first of all, is he needs to be cleared," Dantonio said. "Players have been knocked woozy before. Once they're cleared, they pass their impact test, which is a base test that every one of our players takes prior to coming to camp, certain levels of knowledge, they have to be able to re-pass that. Once they pass that, they're cleared. I would assume that our trainers and our neurologist did that on the sideline, passed him and cleared him.
"Whether he was knocked out or whether he wasn't, I'm not sure because I wasn't out there. But I heard he was sort of stunned or something, maybe even had the wind knocked out of him even. I really wasn't sure on that. I just knew he got up, came off. I was on my way out there, then he got up."
-- Ohio State reportedly submitted video to the Big Ten office over an attempt by one of Michigan State's offensive linemen to eye-gouge Johnathan Hankins during a pile-up on Saturday. Video replays show that either Allen or Jackson, who were both tied up with Hankins, is sticking a finger into Hankins' face mask. Dantonio said he's heard nothing about the play from the Big Ten.
"My review of the play saw two players get up after the play and walk back to the huddle," he said. "Probably a little something going on with both of them. If you look at the play cleanly, that's what you see. ... Neither seemed to be very bothered by it after the play."
23hBrian Bennett and Austin Ward