1996 In Review

Aug. 31 at East Lansing Michigan State 52, Purdue 14 (1-0; 1-0)

PU     0    0   7    7   14
MSU   15   13  14   10   52

Michigan State opened its 100th season of intercollegiate football in grand style, rolling past Purdue and recording the highest season-opening point total by a Spartan team since 1957. The Spartans scored on five straight possessions at one point in the first half in taking a commanding 28-0 halftime lead. Freshman tailback Sedrick Irvin, who would establish an MSU freshman single-game record with four TDs, accounted for all three of the Spartan TDs in the first half. His first came on a 12-yard pass from quarterback Todd Schultz, followed by runs of 17 and 5 yards. Irvin would also record another 5-yard TD scamper in the third quarter before finishing the game with a team-high 73 rushing yards on 13 carries. Junior placekicker Chris Gardner helped the cause by booming three field goals, including a career-long 49-yarder, en route to being named the Big Ten Conference's Special Teams Player of the Week. Schultz finished the game with 19 completions in 27 attempts for 174 yards, and helped MSU rack up 472 total yards.

PU MSU First Downs 21 26 Rushes/Yards 36/127 48/224 Pass A/C/I 39/20/0 33/23/0 Passing Yards 270 248 Total Plays 75 81 Total Yards 397 472 Punts/Avg. 8/40.0 14/37.5 Fumbles/Lost 1/1 1/0 Penalties/Yards 7/50 3/20 Possession Time 28:38 31:22 Third Down Conv. 2/14 9/16 Attendance 72,511 Scoring Summary 1st MS--Irvin 12 pass from Schultz (Gardner kick), 5:15 MS--Irvin 17 run (T. Reece recovers PAT ), 0:15 2nd MS--Gardner 37 FG, 12:21 MS--Gardner 49 FG, 8:19 MS--Irvin 5 run (Gardner kick), 4:24 3rd MS--Irvin 5 run (Gardner kick), 9:10 PU--Watson 6 run (Arnce kick), 6:51 MS--T. Reece 9 run (Gardner kick), 2:16 4th MS--Gardner 43 FG, 8:40 PU--Alford 26 pass from Dicken (Arnce kick), 5:49 MS--Scott 54 pass from Ornstein (Gardner kick), 2:25 Individual Stats Rushing: Irvin (MS) 13-73; Crenshaw (MS) 10-57; Watson (PU) 22-74; Matthews (PU) 5-30 Passing: Schultz (MS) 27-19-0--174; Ornstein (MS) 6-4-0--74; Dicken (PU) 20-11-0--189; Trefzger (PU) 19-9-0--81 Receiving: Irvin (MS) 7-59; Carter (MS) 5-40; Mason (MS) 3-62; Alford (PU) 9-156

Sept. 7 at Lincoln Nebraska 55, Michigan State 14 (1-1; 1-0)

MSU   0   0   7  7   14
NU    7  20  21  7   55

The defending National Champion Cornhuskers opened their 1996 season by using big plays on defense and special teams, while making the most of four Spartan turnovers, in capturing their 37th straight regular-season contest. The Spartans trailed by a 7-0 margin after the first stanza, but a 20-point second-quarter explosion catapulted the Cornhuskers into a commanding 27-0 lead at intermission. Nebraska's TDs in the second stanza came on a 62-yard punt return and an 84-yard interception return. Further hampering the Spartans' effort were knee injuries in the first half to quarterback Todd Schultz and middle linebacker Reggie Garnett while receiver Derrick Mason was hampered by a wrist injury suffered in the first game. The MSU defense, led by outside linebacker Ike Reese's career-high 17 (3-14) tackles, made a good account of itself, limiting the Cornhuskers to just 298 yards of offense. Sophomore Gus Ornstein filled in for the injured Schultz and completed 11-of-18 passes for 133 yards and one TD.

NU MSU First Downs 18 11 Rushes/Yards 45/184 49/83 Pass A/C/I 15/7/0 27/14/3 Passing Yards 114 163 Total Plays 60 76 Total Yards 298 246 Punts/Avg. 6/43.8 11/38.8 Fumbles/Lost 3/2 4/1 Penalties/Yards 2/10 4/29 Possession Time 25:32 34:28 Third Down Conv. 4/12 3/19 Attendance 75,000 Scoring Summary 1st NU--Frost 11 run (K. Brown kick), 8:05 2nd NU--K. Brown 35 FG, 11:59 NU--Fullman 62 punt return (K. Brown kick), 10:42 NU--Minter 84 int. return (K. Brown kick), 3:06 NU--K. Brown 24 FG, 0:51 3rd NU--A. Green 1 run (K. Brown kick), 12:24 MS--Keur 1 pass from Ornstein (Gardner kick), 8:43 NU--Holbein 35 pass from Frost (K. Brown kick), 1:32 NU--Wistrom 9 int. return (K. Brown kick), 0:45 4th NU--Cheatham 30 pass from Turman (Retzlaff kick), 11:29 MS--Irvin 1 run (Gardner kick), 2:11 Individual Stats Rushing: Goulbourne (MS) 17-58; Irvin (MS) 15-51; A. Green (NU) 15-71; Frost (NU) 10-58 Passing: Ornstein (MS) 18-11-2--133; Frost (NU) 12-5-0--74; Turman (NU) 2-2-0--40 Receiving: Long (MS) 2-61; Carter (MS) 3-45; Holbein (NU) 1-35; Cheatham (NU) 1-30

Sept. 21 at East Lansing Louisville 30, Michigan 20 (1-2; 1-0)

UL  0    0   14  16  30
MS  0   10    3   7  20

The Spartans jumped out to a 10-0 halftime advantage, but saw the Cardinals score 30 of the game's next 33 points to spoil MSU's second home game of the year. MSU's lone TD of the opening half came on a 33-yard fumble return by defensive end Dimitrius Underwood--MSU's first score of that variety since 1994--while a Chris Gardner 26-yard field goal with no time left on the clock accounted for MSU's other first-half points. UL's Chris Redman came off the bench for injured starting QB Jason Payne and sparked the comeback, passing for 255 of his 325 yards in the second half. Over the final 30 minutes, UL outgained the Green and White in offense by a 299-137 margin. Redman, whose 18 completions in 27 attempts included three TDs, threw scoring strikes of 51 and 45 yards in the third quarter while another 71-yard completion in the fourth stanza led to another six-pointer. Meanwhile, the Cardinals' defense played a strong second half, holding the Spartans to minus-14 yards rushing and a total of 70 for the game. Derrick Mason hauled in eight receptions for the Spartans for 141 yards to lead MSU's offense while Gus Ornstein, making his first career start, completed 21-of-37 attempts for 237 yards.

UL MSU First Downs 14 20 Rushes/Yards 36/52 40/70 Pass A/C/I 32/21/0 37/21/1 Passing Yards 348 237 Total Plays 68 77 Total Yards 400 307 Punts/Avg. 10/40.0 9/37.8 Fumbles/Lost 4/2 0/0 Penalties/Yards 14/135 7/29 Possesion Time 26:43 32:34 Third Down Conv. 3/14 4/17 Attendance 70,311 Scoring Summary 2nd MS--Underwood 33 fumble return (Gardner kick), 8:47 MS--Gardner 26 FG, 0:00 3rd UL--Madison 31 pass from Redman (PAT blocked), 10:57 UL--D. Gordon 45 pass from Redman (pass good), 8:01 MS-- Gardner 29 FG, 2:56 4th UL--I. Green 1 pass from Redman (Akers kick), 13:28 UL--MSU holds in end zone, safety, 3:10 UL--D. Gordon 7 run (Akers PAT), 2:02 MS--Mason 17 pass from Ornstein (Gardner kick), 0:43 Individual Stats Rushing: Goulbourne (MS) 19-73; D. Gordon (UL) 23-83 Passing: Ornstein (MS) 37-21-1--237; Redman (UL) 27-18-0--325; Payne (UL) 5-3-0--23 Receiving: Mason (MS) 8-141; Irvin (MS) 6-48; Madison (UL) 2-122; D. Gordon (UL) 6-84

Sept. 28 at East Lansing Michigan State 47, Eastern Michigan 0 (2-2; 1-0)

EMU   0   0   0   0    0
MSU  17  17  13   0   47

MSU got back on the winning track in impressive style, dominating the Eagles from the start while posting the first shutout by a Spartan team since the season opener of 1989. The Spartans piled up 247 offensive yards in the first half and scored on three straight possessions late in the second quarter to post a 34-0 lead at intermission. The Spartan defense harassed EMU throughout the afternoon and gave up just 128 yards of offense, 25 on the ground. The 25 rushing yards allowed by MSU marked the first time a Spartan team had allowed less than 50 yards rushing since the 1993 campaign (34 yds. by Iowa). Leading the defensive effort was sophomore defensive end Courtney Ledyard with seven (6-1) tackles, including three QB sacks (-28 yds.), and a forced fumble. Offensively, MSU freshman tailback Sedrick Irvin accounted for a pair of rushing TDs while becoming the first MSU back to rush for 100 yards in '96 with 112 in 16 carries. Redshirt freshman Bill Burke, making his first career start, connected on eight-of-22 attempts for 166 yards and two TDs. Burke's first career TD toss was a 49-yard effort to senior WR Nigea Carter late in the first quarter that gave the Spartans a 17-0 advantage. Another MSU highlight was Derrick Mason's school-record 137 punt return yards (six rets.), including a 69-yard TD return in the second stanza.

EMU MSU First Downs 9 18 Rushes/Yards 39/25 57/249 Pass A/C/I 30/11/2 25/10/0 Passing Yards 103 191 Total Plays 69 82 Total Yards 128 440 Punts/Avg. 12/38.4 5/42.6 Fumbles/Lost 3/2 3/1 Penalties/Yards 4/45 9/82 Possesion Time 27:58 32:12 Third Down Conv. 4/18 2/14 Attendance 69,941 Scoring Summary 1st MS--Goulbourne 2 run (Gardner kick), 11:45 MS--Gardner 46 FG, 7:55 MS--Carter 49 pass from Burke (Gardner kick), 3:05 2nd MS--Mason 69 punt return (Gardner kick), 4:58 MS--Carter 5 pass from Burke (Gardner kick), 3:30 MS--Gardner 48 FG, 0:00 3rd MS--Irvin 5 run (Gardner PAT NG), 11:48 MS--Irvin 52 run (Gardner kick), 6:18 Individual Stats Rushing: Irvin (MS) 16-112; Goulbourne (MS) 11-81; Edwards (EM) 12-68 Passing: Burke (MS) 22-8-0--166; Church (EM) 28-11-2--103 Receiving: Carter (MS) 3-85; Long (MS) 1-55; Pryor (EM) 3-38

Oct. 5 at Iowa City Iowa 37, Michigan State 30 (2-3; 1-1)

MSU     17   6   7   0   30
Iowa     0  10  20   7   37

Michigan State won the statistical battle, but came up short on the scoreboard as the Hawkeyes rallied for a Homecoming victory. The Spartans were impressive in the first quarter, scoring on their first three possessions to take a 17-0 lead and silence the Kinnick Stadium crowd. The Hawkeyes narrowed the gap to 17-10 midway through the second quarter, but the Spartans answered back with a 41-yard TD strike from QB Bill Burke to Octavis Long which upped the Spartans' lead to 23-10 at intermission. The Hawkeyes outscored MSU 27-7 in the second half, making the most of some Spartan miscues on special teams. After Iowa tied the game at 30-30 late in the third quarter, the Hawkeyes recovered an MSU fumble on the ensuing kickoff and went 34 yards in six plays to score the eventual winning TD early in the fourth stanza . The Spartans mounted a late challenge and were on Iowa's 20-yard line, but a Hawkeye interception in the end zone on the last play of the game ended MSU's comeback bid. Sedrick Irvin posted his second straight 100-plus yard rushing effort with 137 yards on 27 attempts while TB partner Duane Goulbourne finished with 109 yards and one TD on 22 carries.

IOWA MSU First Downs 15 24 Rushes/Yards 39/138 52/236 Pass A/C/I 19/10/1 25/12/2 Passing Yards 177 163 Total Plays 58 77 Total Yards 315 399 Punts/Avg. 4/43.0 5/38.0 Fumbles Lost 0/0 6/1 Penalties/Yards 3/35 9/59 Possession Time 25:28 34:32 Third Down Conv. 4/10 5/15 Attendance 70,397 Scoring Summary 1st MS--Carter 22 pass from Burke (Gardner kick), 12:45 MS--Gardner 45 FG, 9:12 MS--Goulbourne 1 run (Gardner kick), 1:12 2nd UI--Knipper 35 pass from Sherman (Bromert kick), 14:08 UI--Hurley 51 FG, 9:56 MS--Long 41 pass from Burke (Gardner kick NG), 0:26 3rd UI--Knipper 9 pass from Sherman (Bromert PAT NG), 12:10 UI--Shaw 5 pass from Sherman (Bromert kick), 9:37 MS--Irvin 3 run (Gardner kick), 4:19 UI--Banks 1 run (Bromert kick), 0:52 4th UI--Burger 1 run (Bromert kick), 12:37 Individual Stats Rushing: Irvin (MS) 27-137; Goulbourne (MS) 22-109; Shaw (UI) 18-81 Passing: Burke (MS) 25-12-2--163; Sherman (UI) 19-10-1--177 Receiving: Irvin (MS) 4-42; Long (MS) 3-52; Knipper (UI) 3-63; Odems (UI) 2-62

Oct. 12 at East Lansing Michigan State 42, Illinois 14 (3-3; 2-1)

ILL    0   0  7   7   14
MSU   14  14  7   7   42

The Spartans bounced back from a tough defeat at Iowa and rolled up 486 yards in treating a Homecoming crowd of 71,639 to a decisive win. Quarterback Todd Schultz returned from a three-game absence and picked apart the Fighting Illini for a career-high 281 passing yards and one TD, completing 20-of-25 pass attempts. MSU scored on four-of-five possessions from midway through the first quarter until halftime in taking an insurmountable 28-0 advantage. During the first 30 minutes of action, the Green and White registered 300 total yards while limiting the Illini to 57. The tailback tandem of Duane Goulbourne and Sedrick Irvin each rushed for a pair of TDs, while Goulbourne finished the contest with 144 yards on 31 attempts. Wide receiver Derrick Mason was on the receiving end of five of Schultz's completions for 101 yards while Octavis Long hauled in two passes for 49 yards including a 35-yard TD reception. MSU's defense, which gave up just 49 yards on the ground and 206 total yards, was paced by junior outside linebacker Ike Reese with 10 tackles, including two TFLs, along with a pass interception. MSU's 42 points vs. Illinois marked the third time this year that the squad scored 40 or more points, the first time a Spartan squad had accomplished that since 1989.

ILL MSU First Downs 15 24 Rushes/Yards 32/49 52/205 Pass A/C/I 35/16/2 25/20/1 Passing Yards 157 281 Total Plays 67 77 Total Yards 206 486 Punts/Avg. 7/39.3 2/40.0 Fumbles/Lost 0/0 5/2 Penalties/Yards 5/27 6/58 Possession Time 26:57 33:03 Third Down Conv. 4/16 9/15 Attendance 71,639 Scoring Summary 1st MS--Irvin 5 run (Gardner kick), 6:24 MS--Long 35 pass from Schultz (Gardner kick), 2:28 2nd MS--Irvin 9 run (Gardner kick), 10:20 MS--Schultz 1 run (Gardner kick), 0:19 3rd ILL--Douthard 2 run (Rackers kick), 7:11 MS--Goulbourne 4 run (Gardner kick), 1:43 4th ILL--Holcombe 2 run (Rackers kick), 11:24 MS--Goulbourne 1 run (Gardner kick), 3:27 Individual Stats Rushing: Goulbourne (MS) 31-144; Irvin (MS) 18-57; Holcombe (ILL) 23-73 Passing: Schultz (MS) 25-20-1--281; Weaver (ILL) 35-16-2--157 Receiving: Mason (MS) 5-101; Irvin (MS) 4-45; Long (MS) 3-49; Dulick (ILL) 7-95

Oct. 19 at Minneapolis Michigan State 27, Minnesota 9 (4-3; 3-1)

MSU      0  13  14   0  27
MINN    3   0    0    6   9

The Spartans were methodical in posting a key win over a dangerous Minnesota squad. The Golden Gophers actually enjoyed a decided edge in the first quarter, outgaining MSU in total yards by a 118-5 margin while owning an 11:27-3:33 advantage in time of possession. However, MSU eventually took control of the contest, scoring 27 unanswered points during the second and third stanzas, and went on to post its 16th straight triumph over Minnesota. The Green and White used a bruising ground game that totaled 243 yards while the MSU defense limited the Golden Gophers to 91 yards on the ground. Spartan tailback Sedrick Irvin hammered his way through Minnesota's defense for 154 yards--his third outing of 100 or more rushing yards of the year--and one TD on 32 carries while partner Duane Goulbourne chipped in 83 yards on 18 attempts. Todd Schultz was efficient, connecting on 10-of-16 pass attempts for 180 yards, including a 64-yard TD catch/run by Octavis Long. Junior middle linebacker Tyrone Garland and sophomore safety Sorie Kanu each recorded seven hits to lead the MSU defense, which surrendered 280 total yards, 100 yards fewer than the Golden Gophers' average heading into the game.

Minn MSU First Downs 15 21 Rushes/Yards 31/91 56/243 Pass A/C/I 29/16/1 16/10/0 Passing Yards 189 180 Total Plays 60 72 Total Yards 280 423 Punts/Avg. 4/40.3 3/37.3 Fumbles/Lost 0/0 0/0 Penalties/Yards 5/35 5/32 Possession Time 26:53 33:07 Third Down Conv. 6/12 9/16 Attendance 45,434 Scoring Summary 1st UM--Bailey 22 FG, 10:49 2nd MS--Gardner 37 FG, 9:29 MS--Goulbourne 2 rush (Gardner kick), 5:11 MS--Gardner 25 FG, 0:32 3rd MS--Long 64 pass from Schultz (Gardner kick), 12:46 MS--Irvin 4 rush (Gardner kick), 8:31 4th UM--Thelwell 8 pass from Sauter (pass failed), 12:19 Individual Stats Rushing: Irvin (MS) 32-154; Goulbourne (MS) 18-83; Hamner (UM) 18-77 Passing: Schultz (MS) 16-10-0--180; Sauter (UM) 29-16-1--189 Receiving: Mason (MS) 6-106; Long (MS) 1-64; Thelwell (UM) 7-101; Atwell (UM) 4-40

Oct. 26 at East Lansing Michigan State 30, Wisconsin 13 (5-3, 4-1)

WIS   0  13  0   0   13
MSU   7  13  3   7   30

A strong second half by the MSU defense, holding the Badgers to just 65 total yards, helped the Spartans to their third straight win. The MSU ground game, and its ability to control the tempo of the game, was a big factor in the outcome with the Green and White piling up 202 rushing yards. Once again, MSUtailback Sedrick Irvin led the way with 125 yards and one TD on 17 carries, his fourth 100-plus-yard rushing contest in five games. Quarterback Todd Schultz passed for 269 yards, his second-highest total as a Spartan, and a pair of TDs. Irvin's rushing yardage total enabled him to become the school's most prolific freshman rusher, bettering Lorenzo White's previous standard of 616 yards (1984). MSU scored on three straight possessions in the second quarter to take a 20-13 lead at halftime, and then used a Chris Gardner field goal and an 8-yard TD run by Irvin early in the fourth quarter to put the game away. Wide receiver Derrick Mason snared six receptions for 108 yards, his third straight performance of 100-plus receiving yards, while Octavis Long established career highs in both receptions (5) and reception yards (94). Defensively, outside linebacker Ike Reese posted 10 tackles, along with a pair of pass breakups. Sophomore defensive end Dimitrius Underwood recorded six stops, including a pair of QB sacks (-15 yds.).

UW MSU First Downs 18 23 Rushes/Yards 37/137 47/202 Pass A/C/I 28/15/0 25/18/1 Passing Yards 153 269 Total Plays 65 72 Total Yards 290 471 Punts/Avg. 7/42.3 3/49.3 Fumbles/Lost 1/0 1/0 Penalties/Yards 5/30 6/49 Possession Time 28:06 31:54 Third Down Conv. 3/14 7/14 Attendance 69,217 Scoring Summary 1st MS--Goulbourne 26 pass from Schultz (Gardner kick), 7:06 2nd UW--Hall 37 FG, 13:29 MS--Gardner 34 FG, 8:48 UW--Samuel 12 rush (Hall kick), 6:47 MS--Gardner 43 FG, 4:37 MS--Irvin 25 pass from Schultz (Gardner kick), 1:06 UW--Hall 51 FG, 0:10 3rd MS--Gardner 26 FG, 8:33 4th MS--Irvin 8 rush (Gardner kick), 14:57 Individual Stats Rushing: Irvin (MS) 17-125; Goulbourne (MS) 19-68; Dayne (UW) 15-81 Passing: Schultz (MS) 25-18-1--269; Samuel (UW) 28-15-0--153 Receiving: Mason (MS) 6-108; Long (MS) 5-94; Hayes (UW) 5-79

Nov. 2 at Ann Arbor Michigan 45, Michigan State 29 (5-4, 4-2)

MSU 3   7   7   12  29
UM  7   21  7   10  45

MSU saw its three-game winning streak snapped as the Wolverines scored three touchdowns as a result of three Spartan turnovers. Michigan capitalized on a pair of MSU turnovers in the waning moments of the first half, scoring two touchdowns in a seven-second span to up its advantage from 14-10 to 28-10. Another Michigan TD early in the third stanza proved too much for the Spartans to overcome and negated a career-high 24 pass completions (260 yards) by quarterback Todd Schultz. Wide receiver Derrick Mason recorded career bests with 10 receptions for 151 yards. His 10 catches are tied for third on the MSU single-game list, and his receiving yardage ranks 12th. The Wolverines outgained MSU on the ground, 206-98, the most rushing yardage yielded by the Spartan defense to that point in the season. Michigan's Chris Howard became the first opponent to rush for 100 or more yards against the Spartans in 1996, totaling 100 yards in 24 attempts. The 74 total points represented the highest-scoring game of the series in the modern era.

UM MSU First Downs 19 19 Rushes/Yards 48/206 32/98 Pass A/C/I 24-14-0 45-24-4 Passing Yards 203 260 Total Plays 72 77 Total Yards 409 358 Punts/Avg. 6/34.8 3/42.3 Fumbles/Lost 0/0 1/1 Penalties/Yards 9/100 5/61 Possession Time 32:21 27:39 Third Down Conv. 8/15 5/12 Attendance 106,381 Scoring Summary 1st UM--Tuman 28 pass from Dreisbach (Hamilton kick), 10:36 MS--Gardner 35 FG, 5:49 2nd MS--Mason 7 pass from Schultz (Gardner kick), 7:55 UM--Shaw 8 pass from Dreisbach (Hamilton kick), 2:09 UM--Tuman 15 pass from Dreisbach (Hamilton kick), 0:15 UM--Woodson 26 pass from Dreisbach (Hamilton kick), 0:08 3rd UM--Howard 13 run (Hamilton kick), 8:52 MS--Irvin 4 run (Gardner kick), 7:28 4th MS--Carter 3 pass from Schultz (kick NG), 11:27 UM--Hamilton 44 FG, 8:11 UM--Howard 12 run (Hamilton kick), 3:32 MS--T. Reece 1 run (pass failed), 2:48 Individual Stats Rushing: Irvin (MS) 18-51; Howard (UM) 24-100; C. Williams (UM) 19-97 Passing: Schultz (MS) 45-24-4--260; Dreisbach (UM) 23-14-0--203 Receiving: Mason (MS) 10-151; Carter (MS) 4-48; Tuman (UM) 3-67

Nov. 9 at East Lansing Michigan State 38, Indiana 15 (6-4; 5-2)

IU     0    9    0    6   15
MSU   21    0   10    7   38

Freshman tailback Sedrick Irvin turned in his second four-touchdown game of the year and the Spartans guaranteed themselves of a winning regular season with the victory over a determined IU team. MSU registered three touchdowns, two coming via Irvin runs, during an 8:42 span in the first quarter to build a 21-0 advantage. After IU narrowed the deficit to 21-9 at halftime, the Green and White turned in a solid third quarter, using Irvin's third TD of the contest, along with a 38-yard field goal by Chris Gardner to claim a 31-9 lead headinginto the final stanza. Irvin continued to display his dominant running ability, piling up a season-best 158 yards on 33 attempts. MSU churned out a season-high 257 yards on the ground while the 500 yards of total offense also represented a season high. Quarterback Todd Schultz completed 13-of-17 passes for 243 yards, his fourth performance of 200-plus passing yards of '96, while wide receiver Nigea Carter snared five of those completions for 108 yards. MSU held the Hoosiers to just 131 total yards, the best showing by a Spartan defense in a Big Ten game since 1987 (Purdue, 125 yds.).

IU MSU First Downs 9 30 Rushes/Yards 36/96 64/257 Pass A/C/I 14/7/1 17/13/0 Passing Yards 35 243 Total Plays 50 81 Total Yards 131 500 Punts/Avg. 6/45.2 2/21.0 Fumbles/Lost 0/0 2/2 Penalties/Yards 6/31 6/40 Possession Time 26:07 33:53 Third Down Conv. 4/13 8/13 Attendance 64,719 Scoring Summary 1st MS--Goulbourne 4 run (Gardner kick NG), 10:00 MS--Irvin 3 run (Schultz to Goulbourne pass), 6:02 MS--Irvin 3 run (Gardner kick), 1:18 2nd IU-- Rodgers 1 run (kick NG), 7:21 IU-- Manolopoulos 47 FG, 2:51 3rd MS--Irvin 1 run (Gardner kick), 11:23 MS--Gardner 38 FG, 5:47 4th IU-- Rodgers 1 run (run failed), 10:26 MS--Irvin 5 run (Gardner kick), 6:53 Individual Stats Rushing: Irvin (MS) 33-158; Goulbourne (MS) 14-69; Spear (IU) 26-103 Passing: Schultz (MS) 17-13-0--243; Rodgers (IU) 14-7-1--35 Receiving: Carter (MS) 5-108; Mason (MS) 4-74; Stoner (IU) 2-20

Nov. 23 at State College Penn State 32, Michigan State 29 (6-5; 5-3)

MSU  3  10   6   10   29
PSU  7   7   8   10   32

For the second straight year, the Spartan and Nittany Lions waged a nailbiter that wasn't decided until the waning moments of the contest. After falling behind 7-0 early in the first period, the Spartans rattled off 13 unanswered points against the No. 7 team in the nation, including a picture-perfect 56-yard TD on a halfback pass from Sedrick Irvin to Nigea Carter. Undaunted, Penn State bounced back to mount an 85-yard drive late in the second quarter to take a 14-13 lead at halftime. The Spartans went ahead, 19-14, when senior tailback Duane Goulbourne sprinted 34 yards for a TD with 6:34 left in the third quarter. PSU reclaimed the lead late in the stanza when Aaron Harris bulled his way in from one yard out for six points. PSU's resulting two-point attempt was successful and the Lions led by a 22-19 margin. A 19-yard field goal by Chris Gardner knotted the game early in the fourth period. PSU snapped the tie with a 12-play, 69-yard TD drive with 8:33 remaining, only to see the Spartans respondwith an 84-yard TD drive capped by a Todd Schultz 1-yard plunge to tie the see-saw affair. The key play in that drive was a 32-yard completion from Schultz to Carter. On the first play of the Nittany Lions' ensuing drive, Spartan cornerback Amp Campbell sacked PSU QB Wally Richardson, forcing a fumble that he recovered deep in PSU territory. MSU had a golden opportunity to go ahead with 4:27 remaining, but a 33-yard field goal attempt went awry. PSU, thanks to a pair of key third-down conversions, marched from its own 20 to the Spartans' 13-yard-line where placekicker Brett Conway booted a 30-yard field goal with 12 ticks on the clock to give the Lions the win.

PSU MSU First Downs 26 24 Rushes/Yards 42/179 49/200 Pass A/C/I 31/21/0 33/18/1 Passing Yards 281 274 Total Plays 73 82 Total Yards 460 474 Punts/Avg. 6/32.5 3/40.0 Fumbles/Lost 5/2 3/2 Penalties/Yards 6/61 1/10 Possession Time 29:12 30:48 Third Down Conv. 6/12 9/17 Attendance 96,263 Scoring Summary 1st PS--Harris 49 pass from Richardson (Conway kick), 12:39 MS--Gardner 49 FG, 7:45 2nd MS--Safety, PSU punt blocked out of end zone, 4:02 MS--Carter 56 pass from Irvin (Schultz to Goulbourne pass), 3:48 PS-- Harris 1 run (Conway kick), 2:21 3rd MS--Goulbourne 34 run (pass failed), 6:03 PS--Harris 1 run (Richardson to Jurevicius pass), 3:24 4th MS--Gardner 19 FG, 13:42 PS--Enis 4 run (Conway kick), 8:33 MS--Schultz 1 run (Gardner kick), 5:58 PS--Conway 30 FG, 0:12 Individual Stats Rushing: Goulbourne (MS) 23-111; Irvin (MS) 23-93; Enis (PS) 28-165 Passing: Schultz (MS) 30-17-1--218; Richardson (PS) 31-21-0--281 Receiving: Carter (MS) 7-142; Jurevicius (PS) 8-117

Sun Bowl Dec. 31 at El Paso Stanford 38, Michigan State 0 (6-6; 5-3)

SU    7  14  10   7   38
MSU   0   0   0   0    0

Sun Bowl MVP Chad Hutchinson completed 22-of-28 passes for 226 yards and directed four scoring drives to lead Stanford to a 38-0 victory over Michigan State in El Paso, Texas. Stanford closed out the 1996 season with five-straight wins and recorded its first shutout since '74. Late in the first quarter, Josh Madsen intercepted Todd Schultz at the Stanford 21 and lateraled it to Leroy Pruitt who carried the ball 50 yards for the score. Hutchinson finished off an eight-play, 75-yard drive with an 8-yard TD pass to Jon Ritchie with 10:44 left in the second quarter. Troy Walters' 24-yard punt return to midfield set up another first-half touchdown. Three plays later, Adam Salina scored on a 1-yard run to give the Cardinal a 21-0 halftime lead. A 16-play, 71-yard drive produced a 25-yard field goal by Ken Miller midway through the third quarter. Stanford moved out to a 31-0 lead as Damon Dunn took a double reverse 27 yards for a TD with 3:05 remaining in the third quarter. Corey Hill returned a blocked punt 6 yards for a TD to complete the scoring early in the fourth quarter. Anthony Bookman picked up 103 yards on 11 carries to pace the Cardinal ground attack. Stanford held Michigan State to a season-low 219 total yards and forced five turnovers.

MSU SU First Downs 13 25 Rushes/Yards 31/68 49/257 Passes A/C/I 33/13/3 30/23/1 Passing Yards 151 238 Total Plays 64 79 Total Yards 219 495 Punts/Avg. 9/41.9 2/52.5 Fumbles/Lost 3/2 3/1 Penalties/Yards 5/30 1/10 Possession Time 24:18 35:42 Third Down Conv. 6/16 8/14 Attendance 42,721 Scoring Summary 1st SU--Pruitt 79 lateral from Madsen (Miller kick), 2:06 2nd SU--Ritchie 8 pass from Hutchinson (Miller kick), 10:44 SU--Salina 1 run (Miller kick), 0:37 3rd SU--Miller 25 FG, 7:05 SU--Dunn 27 run (Miller kick), 3:05 4th SU--Hill 6 punt return (Miller kick), 12:06 Individual Stats Rushing: Goulbourne (MSU) 12-51; Bookman (SU) 11-103, Mitchell (SU) 16-74 Passing: Burke (MSU) 7-4-0--71, Schultz (MSU) 21-8-2--68; Hutchinson (SU) 28-22-1--226 Receiving: Mason (MSU) 4-43, Long (MSU) 2-46; Ritchie (SU) 5-37, Dunn (SU) 4-63