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mentally tough and playing the right shots

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    September 28, 2018 1:56 AM PDT

    EAST LANSING, Mich. ;. -- Tyler OConnor expects it will feel different to take the field this week in Michigan States opening game.You can finally go out there like its your team, the fifth-year senior said.After three years backing up Connor Cook at quarterback, OConnor finally has his chance to lead the Spartans. Hes the starter now, and when No. 12 Michigan State hosts Furman on Friday night, hell try to take the first step toward soothing concerns Spartans fans have about a potential drop-off at that position.OConnor has attempted only 54 passes at Michigan State, so he takes over the starting job amid a fair amount of uncertainty.I think everything is in order for him. I guess my message to him is: Be yourself, understand theres going to be criticism and just if you make a mistake, go at it 100 percent and bounce back from it. Its tough being a quarterback at any level, especially at this level, coach Mark Dantonio said. Hes a competitor and hes prepared himself for this moment and hes got a great supporting cast around him.OConnor was part of an extended quarterback competition at the beginning of the 2013 season, and when Cook -- a sophomore at the time -- ultimately established himself as the starter, OConnor didnt seem to have much of a future at Michigan State. He stayed the course, though, sticking with the Spartans through the end of Cooks college career.OConnor did start one game last year -- at Ohio State when Cook was hurt. The Spartans pulled off a huge upset, and although their offensive approach was conservative that day, OConnor played a role in one of Michigan States greatest victories under Dantonio.Moments like that can help any players confidence, and OConnor has the backing of both his coach and his teammates.He leads the huddle. He does everything the right way. I believed in him when he came in last year. I believe in any quarterback that we have here at Michigan State, receiver R.J. Shelton said. With him, just be poised like you always do and go out there and have fun and get the job done -- which he will.Following on Cooks three-year run -- which included two Big Ten titles -- wont be easy. After last seasons appearance in college footballs four-team playoff, the Spartans have high hopes again. As usual, games against Michigan and Ohio State should go a long way toward defining the season in East Lansing.After facing Furman, the Spartans have an open date on the schedule before playing at Notre Dame. That will probably be the first big test for OConnor this year.I really do try to stay in the moment. Its a long season, a lot of games, a lot of important games on the road, OConnor said. You want to have a huge year, you want to come out and show everybody what you can do, but you can only play one game a week, and theres seven days between each game -- or 15 days after this first game.Unlike Cook, OConnor will only have one season as the starter to leave a legacy at Michigan State. His career as a Spartan will be judged almost entirely on what happens over the next few months. Friday is his final season opener at Spartan Stadium as a college player -- but it also feels like a new beginning for OConnor.Its no wonder hes eager to get started.Its something Ive been waiting for, for a long time, and its finally here, he said. This week cant go quick enough.---Follow Noah Trister at  href="" target="_blank"> ;. PAUL, Minn. .Y. - Detroit goaltender Jonas Gustavsson has earned NHL first star of the week honours after winning in his first three appearances of the season. .com) - The red-hot Los Angeles Kings will try to extend their winning streak to a season-high seven games when they visit the Edmonton Oilers for Sundays clash at Rexall Place.Novak Djokovic believes Andy Murray should be allowed to enjoy ending the season as world No 1, and not be questioned about keeping the ranking in 2017. Murray claimed his 24th successive win and fifth tournament victory in a row by beating Djokovic, the world No 2, in straight sets in the final of the ATP World Tour Finals in London on Sunday.The pair are now likely to battle for the No 1 spot in the opening months of the new campaign, but Djokovic insisted he was not yet planning for 2017 - and said Murray should not have to either. Murray wins ATP finals Andy Murray stays world No 1 after beating Novak Djokovic He told a press conference after his defeat: Im not thinking about it at all at the moment. We should all let Andy enjoy this a little bit. Dont ask him questions about next season. He deserves to be in the moment and to really take everything in what he achieved.His team, as well, and his wife. She has to get some credit, guys. She gave birth this year. He has travelled all over the place. I know how it is with my wife, Jelena, what she had to go through as a mother back home with a little baby. Highlights of Murray v Djokovic from the O2 Arena So, Kim, well done. Shes maybe made even a bigger effort than Andy!Djokovic rediscovered some of his best form to cruise into the final at the O2 Arena, only to then produce one of his worst performances of the season against Murray. Murrray: I still need to improve Andy Murray says he has to keep improving to stay world No 1 His won just 59 per cent of his first serves, compared with Murrays 84 per cent, but the most telling flaw was his 30 unforced errors to Murrays 15. Djokovic added: I just played very poorly and made a lot of unforced errors from the backhand side. It just wasnt my day. Murray spoke to Marcus Buckland, Annabel Croft and Greg Rusedski after beating Djokovic On the other hand, credit to Andy for being mentally tough and playing the right shots and making me play extra shots in every rally. He definitely deserved to win.There was no serious chance for me to win todays match. From the very beginning, we could see that. He was just a better player all in all.Well be back in 2017, but in the meantime you can follow us, or our app for mobile devices and iPad and our Twitter account @skysportstennis.By purchasing a Sky Sports Day Pass for £6.99 or Sky Sports Week Pass for £10.99, you can enjoy access to all seven Sky Sports channels and watch on a TV with a NOW TV Box or on a range of devices. Watch NOW TV Watch Sky Sports for just £6.99. No contract. Also See: Murray v Djokovic: Reunited Murray milestones Murrays climb to greatness World No 1 permutations Cheap Jerseys Online NFL Jerseys From China Wholesale Authentic Jerseys Cheap Nike NFL Jerseys White NFL Jerseys Cheap Cheap Jerseys Wholesale Cheap Jerseys Online NFL Jerseys From China Cheap Jerseys Store Discount Jerseys Cheap Authentic Jerseys Cheap Jerseys From China Discount NFL Jerseys NFL Jerseys China China NFL Jerseys White ' ' '