NCAA FB

Notre Dame an immediate challenge for Cook

Share This Story

   
 

DETROIT (AP)

(Eds: Updates throughout. With AP Photos.)By NOAH TRISTERAP Sports Writer

Connor Cook first showed his potential on a big stage for Michigan State when he led the Spartans on their winning drive in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl last year.

Now coach Mark Dantonio hopes Cook is ready for another big challenge - a trip to Notre Dame this week.

''This will be a great experience for him because he's going to have an environment to play in that's going to simulate really what a lot of Big Ten environments are going to be from this point on,'' Dantonio said. ''That's going to be a period of growth for him - an exciting time.''

Cook emerged from the competition to become Michigan State's No. 1 quarterback after last weekend's sharp performance against Youngstown State. That puts him on the spot for the Spartans' first big test of the year Saturday against the 22nd-ranked Fighting Irish.

''I feel like I've gotten better each week,'' Cook said. ''The confidence is growing in practice, it's growing in the games.''

Cook redshirted in 2011 and played sparingly behind Andrew Maxwell last season. It wasn't until the bowl against Texas Christian that Cook made his first significant contribution. He split time with Maxwell in that game, and with the Spartans trailing by two toward the end, Dantonio went with Cook, who guided Michigan State to a field goal and a 17-16 win.

The starting job at quarterback was up for grabs this season, with Cook and Maxwell both returning and redshirt freshman Tyler O'Connor also in the mix. There was even talk that freshman Damion Terry might be pressed into service, but he may redshirt now.

Michigan State's offense - from the quarterbacks on down - was unimpressive in wins over Western Michigan and South Florida. Before the Youngstown State game, Cook was told he wouldn't have to worry about any quarterback rotation - that he would be the team's primary quarterback that day.

He looked confident, throwing for four touchdown passes in the first half of a 55-17 win, and when he did leave the game in the third quarter, victory was already pretty much assured.

Although the opponent wasn't on par with what the Spartans will face this weekend, Dantonio had seen enough to move forward with Cook as his quarterback.

''We have young quarterbacks, with the exception of Maxwell. I think they all have talent,'' Dantonio said. ''I think Connor Cook is in his third year and you're starting to see some maturity on his part. Good things will start to happen - gives you the ability to run the football as well. I can't say enough about Andrew Maxwell because of the way he's handled the situation.''

Maxwell threw for 187 yards in a 20-3 loss to Notre Dame last year. As recently as a couple weeks ago, it looked as if Michigan State was headed for a similar output against the Irish this season. After all, Michigan State's defense scored four of the team's first six touchdowns.

Then the Spartans equaled their highest-scoring game since 2005.

''I think it was very important for our total team, we had success passing the football,'' Dantonio said. ''That was a combination of guys catching the ball, like on those 50-50 catches I talk about, or great throws. So, again, we're growing as a football team.''

In 2010, Michigan State looked untested after wins over Western Michigan and Florida Atlantic to start the season. An overtime victory over Notre Dame gave the Spartans legitimacy, and they ended up starting 8-0 en route to a share of the Big Ten title.

This year's team still has a lot to prove, but this weekend is a big opportunity.

''I want our guys to have fun down there. I want us to compete,'' Dantonio said. ''Connor Cook is going to do that. No doubt in my mind he's going to do that.''

Tagged: Michigan, Notre Dame, Andrew Maxwell, Michigan State, Connor Cook

Related Stories

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by

College Football Pick'em on FOX


NCAA FB Videos

Sumlin annoyed by media's Manziel questions Posted: Jul 16, 2014
Kevin Sumlin responds to questions about life after Johnny Football by toying wi...

AJ Pasquale's journey back to UCLA Posted: Jun 17, 2014
UCLA football ops intern AJ Pasquale describes his own personal journey after th...

Winston issued adult civil citation Posted: Apr 30, 2014
Get the latest news surrounding Jameis Winston's recent shoplifting fiasco.

Get Inside the Locker Room with Scout.com

More Than Sports on MSN

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    Nike Florida Gators Gridiron 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - Royal Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Florida_Gators/browse/featuredproduct/759777/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_759000/ff_759777_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Florida Gators Gridiron 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - Royal Blue
    Nike Michigan State Spartans Football 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - White http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Michigan_State_Spartans/browse/featuredproduct/760171/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_760000/ff_760171_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Michigan State Spartans Football 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - White
    Nike USC Trojans Fight On My School T-Shirt - Cardinal http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_USC_Trojans/browse/featuredproduct/761373/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_761000/ff_761373_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike USC Trojans Fight On My School T-Shirt - Cardinal
    Nike Alabama Crimson Tide Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Crimson http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Alabama_Crimson_Tide/browse/featuredproduct/829709/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_829000/ff_829709_xl.jpg&w=100 64.95 Nike Alabama Crimson Tide Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Crimso..
    Nike LSU Tigers Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Purple http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_LSU_Tigers/browse/featuredproduct/829740/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_829000/ff_829740_xl.jpg&w=100 49.99 Nike LSU Tigers Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Purple
    Nike Oklahoma Sooners Legacy 91 Dri-FIT Adjustable Coaches Cap - Crimson http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Oklahoma_Sooners/browse/featuredproduct/830935/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_830000/ff_830935_xl.jpg&w=100 21.95 Nike Oklahoma Sooners Legacy 91 Dri-FIT Adjustable Coaches Cap - Crimson
    adidas Notre Dame Fighting Irish Hot Sideline Jacket - Navy Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Notre_Dame_Fighting_Irish/browse/featuredproduct/861243/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_861000/ff_861243_xl.jpg&w=100 69.95 adidas Notre Dame Fighting Irish Hot Sideline Jacket - Navy Blue
    adidas Nebraska Cornhuskers Sideline Hot Quarter Zip Jacket - Scarlet http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Nebraska_Cornhuskers/browse/featuredproduct/861247/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_861000/ff_861247_xl.jpg&w=100 69.95 adidas Nebraska Cornhuskers Sideline Hot Quarter Zip Jacket - Scarlet
    Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Players Locker Room Snapback Hat - Charcoal/Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Alabama_Crimson_Tide/browse/featuredproduct/1087345/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1087000/ff_1087345_xl.jpg&w=100 29.95 Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Players Locker Room Snapba..
    Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Locker Room T-Shirt - Ash http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Alabama_Crimson_Tide/browse/featuredproduct/1093431/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1093000/ff_1093431_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Locker Room T-Shirt - Ash