In August, Daily Sports Editor Scott Bell sat down with a member of each of Michigan’s home conference opponents. This week, we’ll look at Michigan State senior quarterback Drew Stanton. Stanton is a Heisman Trophy and Maxwell Award candidate entering his final year in East Lansing.

Steven Neff
Senior quarterback Drew Stanton was injured during his last trip to the Big House as a sophomore. He returns to Michigan Stadium this Saturday in hopes of leaving the Spartans to their first win against Michigan since 2001. (FILE PHOTO)

Scott Bell: You’ve said before that last year’s game against Michigan was a game that you should have won, and then everyone knows what happened two years ago. You’re a senior: this is your last shot at the big rivalry game. Can you just talk about what the Michigan game will mean to you this year?

Drew Stanton: Obviously I’m looking forward to it, but like I’ve said before, there are over a handful of games before that that we have to worry about before going to Ann Arbor. We have to take care of business first. But an in-state rivalry is always something special, especially with it being my last chance to go down there and play, it’s going to be something I’m definitely looking forward to.

SB: Do you embrace going into places like Michigan Stadium and playing?

DS: I love it, I love going everywhere in the Big Ten. The great thing about the Big Ten is you get a chance to defend your home turf, but you also get a chance to go on the road. . . . That’s what makes Big Ten football so great, the stadiums we have, the traditions we have and just that the gameplay is second to none.

SB: I’m sure you don’t like looking in the past, but do you ever wonder “what if” had LaMarr (Woodley) not driven you into the ground (when the Spartans led Michigan by double digits in 2004, and eventually lost in triple overtime after Stanton left with a shoulder injury)?

DS: No, I don’t think about it much, and I don’t think it’s a guarantee we would have won if I was healthy. I still think Damon (Dowdell, Stanton’s replacement when he got injured) did everything he could have possibly done to help that team win. I would have definitely loved to have been in there, but I can’t assure you that things would have been different had I been in there.

SB: Do you have friends at Michigan that you talk trash to leading up to and during the game?

DS: LaMarr (Woodley) is really the only one that while we’re playing that I’ll be talking to, because he’s the only one I really played against a lot. … other than that, I don’t really know anyone well from there that still plays.

SB: Do you look at the Michigan game as more of a friendly rivalry, or something that is more personal?

DS: Everyone wants to play it up (in the media). Everybody has a different storyline going into the weekend. Yeah, I want to beat them, but I don’t want to beat them any more than I want to beat Ohio State or Penn State. I don’t think there’s a difference there, it’s still just a game.

SB: So the rumor going around is that you picked up yoga in the offseason. Does it really help, or is it a way to pick up girls?

DS: I go with my girlfriend and one of my other friends who used to play on the team, so it’s not a way to pick up girls. It actually helps a lot with my agility. It’s been a great experience overall and my flexibility has increase tremendously, with my hamstrings and my quads and things like that. There are some things my hips can’t do though, like having both of my legs go over and do pretzel. That’s just not happening.

SB: What are some of the weird positions you’ve learned there?

DS: I still don’t have all of the names down, but they have like the up dog and down dog and all that stuff, and the half moon, there’s just a whole bunch of weird names like that. A lot of the times I don’t know what they’re doing, so I just look over at the person next to me and do what they’re doing.

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