Sept. 28, 1996

MSU Prevails in Intrastate Rivalry vs. Eastern Michigan

MSU freshman Sedrick Irvin in rushed for a personal best 112 yards this afternoon, the first l00-yard rushing game by a Spartan this season and the first by an MSU back since Marc Renaud rushed for 223 yards vs. Minnesota last season as Michigan State crushed Eastern Michigan, 47-0.

MSU senior Derrick Mason established an MSU record this afternoon with 137 punt return yards (6 rets.), bettering the previous mark of 117 yards by Allen Brenner (3 ret.) against Illinois in 1966.

Mason's punt return yardage total this afternoon boost(R)d his career total to 504 and enabled him to move into fifth place on MSU's all-time list in that category. Mason started the day in eighth place on that list with 367 yards. In addition, Mason's 69-yard punt return for a TD was his fifth career TD via return (2 punt returns, 3 kickoff returns.)

MSU redshirt freshman Bill Burke made his first career start this afternoon and ended the day with eight completions in 22 attempts for 166 yards and two TDs. His first career TD pass came on a 49-yarder to Nigea Carter in the first quarter.

This afternoon's 47-0 win over Eastern Michigan represents MSU's first shutout since the season opener in 1989 (49-0 win vs. Miami of Ohio).

One of Bill Burke's pass completions today was a 55-yarder to Octavis Long, the longest pass completion by a Spartan this year (previous long was a 54-yarder from Gus Ornstein to Gari Scott in the Purdue game.)

MSU wide receiver Nigea Carter had a good day with three pass receptions (2TDs) for 85 yards. Carter's 85 reception yards pushed him over the 1,000-yard career mark (61 rec.) and he now has 1,047 career reception yards to his credit.

MSU senior TB Duane Goulbourne rushed for a season-high 81 yards today, increasing his career total to 2,169 yards and enabling him to move into eighth place on the school's all-time list. Goulbourne moved ahead of Lynn Chandnois' total or 2,093 yards.

MSU cornerback Ray Hill came up with the Spartans' first interception of the season when he picked off a Walt Church pass in the first quarter.

The Spartans allowed a total of just 128 yards today, the best effort by a Nick Saban-coached team. The previous opponent low was 163 yards by Louisville last year. MSU allowed EMU just 25 rushing yards, the first time a Spartan team had allowed less than 50 yards rushing since 1992 when Illinois was held to 22 rushing yards in 25 attempts.

NCAAF   FINAL               1ST  2ND  3RD  4TH     TOTAL
                            ---  ---  ---  ---     -----
        EASTERN MICH          0    0    0    0       0
        MICHIGAN ST          17   17   13    0      47   FINAL
        SCORING SUMMARY
        1ST QTR: MICS - TD, DUANE GOULBOURNE 2 YD RUN (CHRIS GARDNER
                            KICK), 3:15
                 MICS - FG, CHRIS GARDNER 46 YD, 7:05
                 MICS - TD, NIGEA CARTER 49 YD PASS FROM BILL BURKE (CHRIS
                            GARDNER KICK), 11:55
        2ND QTR: MICS - TD, DERRICK MASON 69 YD PUNT RETURN (CHRIS GARDNER
                            KICK), 10:02
                 MICS - TD, NIGEA CARTER 5 YD PASS FROM BILL BURKE (CHRIS
                            GARDNER KICK), 11:30
                 MICS - FG, CHRIS GARDNER 48 YD, 14:59
        3RD QTR: MICS - TD, SEDRICK IRVIN 5 YD RUN (PAT FAILED), 3:12
                 MICS - TD, SEDRICK IRVIN 52 YD RUN (CHRIS GARDNER KICK),
                            8:42
        4TH QTR: NONE
                                                                        
NCAAF                 1  2  3  4   F 
                      -  -  -  -  -- 
Eastern Mich          0  0  0  0   0 
Michigan St          17 17 13  0  47  FINAL 
 Michigan St-Goulbourne 2 run (Gardner kick)
 Michigan St-FG Gardner 46
 Michigan St-N Carter 49 pass from Burke (Gardner kick)
 Michigan St-D Mason 69 punt return (Gardner kick)
 Michigan St-N Carter 5 pass from Burke (Gardner kick)
 Michigan St-FG Gardner 48
 Michigan St-Irvin 5 run (kick failed)
 Michigan St-Irvin 52 run (Gardner kick)
                   Eastern Mich Michigan St 
First downs                   9          18 
Rushed-yards              39-25      57-249 
Passing yards               103         191 
Sacked-yards lost          6-55        3-19 
Return yards                 26         213 
Passes                  11-30-2     10-25-0 
Punts                   12-38.4      5-42.6 
Fumbles-lost                3-2         3-1 
Penalties-yards            4-45        9-82 
Time of possession        27:58       32:02 

Individual Statistics
RUSHING: Eastern Mich-Edwards 12-68, M Scott 8-14, Martin 3-minus 1, Cosgrove 6-minus 5, Church 10-minus 51. Michigan St-Irvin 16-112, Goulbourne 11-81, J Walker 13-66, Reece 4-14, Morris 1-14, Bernadel 2-6, Eyde 1-minus 1, Burke 6-minus 4, Ornstein 1-minus 4, Edinger 1-minus 16, M Wright 1-minus 19.

PASSING: Eastern Mich-Church 11-28-2-103, Cosgrove 0-2-0-0. Michigan St-Burke 8-22-0-166, Ornstein 2-3-0-25.

RECEIVING: Eastern Mich-Pryor 3-38, Allar 2-30, Kumasi 2-21, Crnkovic 2-9, Edwards 1-6, R Scott 1-minus 1. Michigan St-N Carter 3-85, Payne 2-25, D Mason 2-18, Long 1-55, Goulbourne 1-8, Irvin 1-0.

Att: 69,941

Michigan State vs. Emu Postgame Coverage

Quotes From Msu Head Coach Nick Saban
We're pleased with the win today. I think it was good for our team. We got a chance to play a lot of players I think. that will be helpful to us, getting some people experience for going into Big Ten play.

(Concerns) I think consistency for 60 minutes in the game is our biggest. We are showing signs that we can play good football on defense. I think we showed signs that we can play decent football on offense. We've been inconsistent in our ability to execute and I think it has affected us when we've played poorly. I didn't think we came out flat today

(On QB Burke) Billy struggled a little bit early in his first start...but he showed some signs of what he can do and we're very pleased to see that in him.

(Future QB?) We told both quarterbacks in practice that both guys had been making significant improvement and progress ... and try to make an evaluation of which one we felt would play better in this particular game. Basically I wanted to see how well Bill Burke would play in the game because he did show some signs of promise the last few weeks in practice

I'm not really satisfied with the way we're playing offense. We had some dropped balls out there today. I'm not sure our consistency in running the football is what it needs to be. I think our players have the right attitude. I think they are working hard.

(Big Ten season) We have to continue to improve in a lot of areas if we are going to be a good football team. And I'm still concerned about the depth that we have on our team, especially when we start playing more physical teams like we are going to play week in and week out.

Quotes From Emu Head Coach Rick Rasnick

With Michigan State's perimeter speed, their wide receivers, their defensive backs, we were basically outmanned. I think the strength of their football team is in those areas. We were just outmanned.

I think Wisconsin's front people, their offensive line and defensive line, are a little bit bigger and more physical, but the team speed of Michigan State is far superior in those areas I mentioned.

I'm a good evaluator of film, aren't I? I had a good idea coming in what may happen, and it did. Our defense for a long time played very well. If we had anything, if we weren't so inept on offense we would have at least made it a reasonable football game I believe.

We made a couple of mistakes up front. They brought four most of the time. Every once in a while they brought five or six, but they pretty much played zone coverages, rushed four and five, and they were very efficient. We couldn't produce and we couldn't break free.

I think the kids always believed they had a chance to win. I thought in certain matchups we had a chance, I thought we could get a few first downs. I didn't think we would run by Michigan State in any aspect.

I think eventually, once our program develops, we will certainly come in here and field a more competitive football team. We have a long way to go as a program, we've made great strides since last year. When you lose one of the top 10 quarterbacks in the country offensively, you have four freshman wide receivers seven or eight first-time starters, thosc are all the things coaches can talk about, but it's irrelevent at this point. Michigan State is a good football team.

I think the defensive effort was solid. I think in general I believe that we're very healthy, so that's a positive, and now we go into MAC play for the next five weeks. We're still going to have to find a way to produce on offense to win in the MAC, so we certainly have a challenge ahead of us.

We're always very positive with Walt (Church). I don't know if you guys would like to be out there, 18 years old, taking snaps with guys coming at you. He does some nice things, obviously has a long way to go, but we're very positive with him, and if he makes a mistake we let him know. I'm sure his confidence is shaken a little bit, he's a perfectionist and he's been a very successful young guy. It's difficult when you can't control other circumstances.

I think the lack of experience, the inferior speed were certainly problems for us. They were not threatened at all outside by our wide receivers and that has been the case the last couple of weeks, so that's definitely a problem for Eastern Michigan.

Quotes From The Players

MSU QB Bill Burke: "I was a little unsettled at first, but once I got going, no problem. Todd helped me out on the sideline. He took me under his wing and kept telling me not to be nervous." (On starting) "Coach Saban pulled me aside and told me I'd start. I knew I had a shot to start, and that's how I prepared. I think I played well enough to start next week, but that's up to the coaches. I just have to play within myself and not make major mistakes." (On WR Nigea Carter) "He's hard to out-throw. It's great to have a target like that on the field."

MSU QB Gus Ornstein: "Obviously I was disappointed. I was told that we'd compete all week and the player who had the better week of practice would start. I thought I had a pretty good week. I just have to keep doing what I'm doing. I have no control over anything else. That's up to Coach. But I'm not going to lie down and just let Bill take the job."

MSU RB Sedrick Irvin: "The offensive line dominated the line of scrimmage, and I got a chance to show a little of what I can do. My mother was here and it felt real good to have her see me score a touchdown."

MSU WR, PR, and KR Derrick Mason: (On the QB situation) "I found out before the first play. (Bill's) a quiet guy -- a lot quieter than Gus. But he deserved a chance to show how good he can be. He throws the ball with a lot of finesse." (On EMU's punting) "We needed this one to get our confidence back. I kind of liked that EMU punter George Guzman didn't get it up there too high and he put it in my hands. It gave me the opportunity to help my team win." (On Saban's decision to put DB Marvin Wright deep with him on punt returns) "It was kind of fun because I got the chance to tell him not to touch that ball. (grinning) It felt really good to have him back there. Marvin's a DB, and he's accustomed to hitting people. His blocking helped give me the chance to do what I'm capable of doing." (On teams kicking away from him) "If we get the ball to the 40, I can't complain. (on kickoffs) But even that is kind of frustrating. And there were times I thought some of the punts I've seen this year would never come down. Not I'm relieved. At least I got a few chances today." (On Saban's decision to keep him out of the second half) "I really would have liked to go back out there, but we were leading 34-0, and if you're going to be a spectator, I guess that's the time to do it." (On his injuries) "I still feel the same. I've just got to get treatment, suck it up, and go back to work."

MSU WR Nigea Carter: (On his role as a WR) "I can be a possession receiver too. I'm determined to prove that I'm more than a deep threat. I want to show people everything I can do. With the inexperienced quarterbacks we have in there, it's even more important for me to step up." (On getting the first two TD game of his career) "Like my dad always says, once you get one then they'll start to come in bunches." (On the QB situation) "Mase and I had talked about what might happen. And it went from us saying, 'C'mon Billy, put it in there,' to him saying, 'C'mon guys, give me some time." (On MSU's RBs) "Goldie's looking better every game. He and Sedrick Irvin could give us a backfield few teams can match. You've got to love that."

MSU DE Courtney Ledyard who had two sacks and seven tackles: "We played football like we can play. We've got a lot of guys who can make big plays and today we made them. I think it gives us a big boost. We talked a lot about taking pressure off our offense. It was time for us to make something happen."

MSU MLB Tyrone Garland: (On the EMU game) "Who cares about this game? It's over with. Iowa, that's the game I want."

MSU DT Chris Smith: (On the improved quickness and conditioning of the team) "When you're in this program, you can't help but be in shape. I know I'm quicker off the ball than I was last year. I think we all are." (On next week's opponent, Iowa) "I thought Iowa had the best offensive line we played all last year. This is the challenge we've been looking forward to. We'll really see how far we've come next week."

MSU DB Marvin Wright: "We'd almost been trying too hard to force the big play in the first three games. Today we just played disciplined, fundamentally sound football, and the turnovers came in bunches." (On the MSU defensive line) "Our defensive line did an incredible job today. Those guys never stopped coming." (On Ledyard's move to DE from LB) "Courney's made a tremendous impact on our entire defense. Those big linemen can't keep up with him. A lot of times he's coming around the corner before the offensive linemen's barely out of his stance."

MSU DB Ray Hill: (On getting the first interception of his career) "It's just a huge relief. I was starting to wonder if I'd ever get an interception. I knew I had been playing the ball right, but still when it never comes you start to wonder." (Holding the stuffed animal bear his girlfriend gave him for luck before the game) "I guess I'm going to have to keep this thing now."

EMU MLB Mark Langkos, an East Lansing native: (On playing his first game in his hometown) "It was something I'll never forget. Obviously the outcome isn't what I would've expected. But I didn't think our defense played that bad for the most part." (Comparing MSU to Big Ten foe Wisconsin, who EMU faced in their opener) "Wisconsin and Michigan State both have good team speed. Michigan State might have been more physical. They like to cut block a lot on offense. They were at my legs all day it seemed like."

EMU OG Mike Ericksen: (On MSU's run defense) "You can't run laterally on those guys. They'll chase you up into the stands. You've got to do everything north and south."