With a veteran quarterback and a hard-hitting defense, Michigan State expects to compete for a Big Ten Championship and a berth in the College Football Playoff.
Junior offensive lineman Jack Allen has been named first-team All-American by USA TODAY, while fifth-year senior safety Kurtis Drummond has earned second-team honors.
Ninety-five Spartan student-athletes were recognized for having a 3.0 or better GPA.
In the first eight seasons under head coach Mark Dantonio, 98 student-athletes have been named Academic All-Big Ten.
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) - Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio likes his team's resilience.
Now it's time to develop a knockout punch.
Connor Cook threw three touchdown passes and Nick Hill ran for two scores Saturday, but No. 8 Michigan State still needed a late interception return for a touchdown to hold on 45-31 at Purdue
FIRST-TEAM ALL-AMERICAN (USA TODAY)
FIRST-TEAM ALL-BIG TEN (COACHES, MEDIA, ESPN.COM, ATHLON SPORTS, PHIL STEELE)
RIMINGTON TROPHY FINALIST
CAREER NOTES: Fourth-year player and three-year letterwinner spent his third season as a starter on the offensive line in 2014 . . . has played in 36 career games, including 35 starts (30 at center, five at left guard).
2014 SEASON (JUNIOR): Named first-team All-American by USA TODAY, becoming just the fourth Spartan center to earn first-team All-America honors, joining Dick Tamburo (1952), Dan Currie (1957) and Dave Behrman (1962) . . . also the first Spartan offensive lineman to garner first-team All-America status since Flozell Adams and Scott Shaw in 1997 . . . in addition, was selected a third-team All-American by The Associated Press and fourth-team All-American by Athlon Sports and Phil Steele . . . honorable mention All-American by SI.com . . . named one of six finalists for the Rimington Trophy (nation's most outstanding center) . . . named first-team All-Big Ten by the coaches and media . . . MSU's first All-Big Ten First Team center since Jason Strayhorn in 1998 . . . also named first-team All-Big Ten by ESPN.com, Athlon Sports and Phil Steele . . . offensive recipient of MSU's Up Front Award (most outstanding lineman) . . . Academic All-Big Ten honoree for the third straight year . . . started 11 of MSU's 13 games at center . . . didn't allow a sack all season . . . ranked second on the team with 80 knockdowns and led team with 17.5 dominators during the regular season . . . named to The Associated Press and SI.com All-Bowl Team after MSU gained 552 total yards and 238 rushing yards - both the second-highest totals in Spartan bowl history - as the Spartans defeated No. 5 Baylor in the 2015 Cotton Bowl Classic, 42-41 . . . also named to the ESPN.com Big Ten All-Bowl Team and BTN.com All-Big Ten Postseason Team . . . had 11 knockdowns in the regular-season finale at Penn State, including three dominators, and was named the Spartan Offensive Player of the Week . . . recorded five knockdowns at Maryland, including three dominators . . . tallied 9.5 knockdowns vs. No. 14 Ohio State . . . compiled a career-best 12.5 knockdowns in the win over Michigan, including four dominators . . . did not play at Indiana due to an injury . . . recorded a team-best nine knockdowns vs. No. 19 Nebraska . . . had his streak of 15 consecutive starts snapped as he missed the Wyoming game due to an ankle injury . . . named Spartan Offensive Lineman of the Week after leading team with nine knockdowns in win over Eastern Michigan as MSU rushed for 336 yards . . . named the fourth game captain vs. Oregon . . . produced 10 knockdowns in the season opener vs. Jacksonville State, as MSU amassed 565 total yards.
2013 SEASON (SOPHOMORE): Started the last 12 games at center . . . named second-team All-Big Ten by the media . . . named honorable mention All-Big Ten by the coaches . . . Academic All-Big Ten honoree for the second-straight year . . . recipient of MSU's Outstanding Underclass Lineman Award (offense) . . . ranked third on the team with 68 knockdowns in the regular season . . . his 17.5 dominators in the regular season ranked second on the team . . . named to the ESPN.com Big Ten All-Bowl Team for his performance in the victory over No. 5 Stanford in the 100th Rose Bowl Game . . . produced a team-best seven knockdowns vs. No. 2 Ohio State in Big Ten Championship Game . . . had 9.5 knockdowns, including two dominators, at Northwestern . . . produced nine knockdowns in win over No. 23 Michigan . . . named Spartan Lineman of the Week after posting six knockdowns, including two dominators, vs. Purdue . . . recorded a career-best 10 knockdowns at Iowa, including 5.5 dominators, while playing 78 snaps . . . returned to the starting lineup at center in Week 3 vs. Youngstown State with Travis Jackson sidelined with an injury . . . recorded six knockdowns in 41 snaps vs. Youngstown State . . . missed the first two games of the 2013 season (vs. Western Michigan and South Florida) with turf toe.
2012 (RED-SHIRT FRESHMAN): Started 12 games in 2012 as a red-shirt freshman (seven at center; five at left guard) and saw action in all 13 contests . . . named Freshman All-American by the Football Writers Association of America (first team), Sporting News (first team) and CollegeFootballNews.com (second team) . . . also a Big Ten All-Freshman Team selection by ESPN.com and BTN.com . . . winner of MSU's Outstanding Underclass Lineman Award . . . versatile lineman started at center vs. Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Northwestern, Minnesota and TCU, and at left guard against Boise State, Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Ohio State and Iowa . . . moved to center midway through the year following season-ending injury to Travis Jackson . . . played 925 out of a possible 957 offensive snaps (97 percent), ranking behind only offensive guard Chris McDonald (in total plays) . . . ranked second on the team with 59 knockdowns, including a team-leading 14 dominators . . . turned in perhaps his top performance of the season in MSU's 17-16 victory over TCU in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, producing nine knockdowns, including one dominator, and helping spring Le'Veon Bell for 145 yards on 32 carries against the Horned Frogs; TCU entered the game ranked 10th in the NCAA Football Subdivision in rushing defense, allowing just 103.9 yards per game . . . started at left guard in his collegiate debut against No. 24 Boise State . . . Academic All-Big Ten selection.
2011 SEASON: Redshirted . . . named Scout Team Co-Offensive Player of the Week vs. Florida Atlantic.
HIGH SCHOOL AND PERSONAL DATA: PrepStar All-American . . . ranked among the nation's top centers by Scouts.com (No. 7) and Scouts, Inc. (No. 10) . . . rated among the Top 25 seniors in Illinois by Rivals.com (No. 24) . . . three-year starter for Coach Mike DiMatteo at Hinsdale Central High School . . . Class 8A all-state selection as a senior by the Illinois High School Football Coaches Association and Chicago Tribune . . . two-time all-conference pick . . . selected West Suburban Silver Co-Offensive Lineman of the Year in 2010 after averaging 87 percent on his blocking assignments . . . two-way player also saw action at nose tackle . . . posted 20 tackles (19 solos, 1 assist) in 2010, including a career-best six stops - all solos - vs. Wheaton-Warrenville South . . . earned DuPage County all-area honors as a junior . . . anchored an offensive line that helped the Red Devils average 435.8 total yards in 2009, including 239.5 rushing yards per game (also scored 31 rushing touchdowns) . . . registered 18 tackles (16 solos, 2 assists) as a junior, including two sacks (18 yards) and a fumble recovery . . . made a season-high five tackles vs. Glenbard West . . . three-time all-state and all-conference wrestler . . . won Illinois Class 3A wrestling title at 285 pounds as a senior . . . set then school single-season records for wins (46) and near falls (29) in 2011 . . . graduated as Hinsdale Central's all-time leader in career wins (143) . . . finished second in the state at 285 pounds in 2010 and second at 215 pounds in 2009 . . . son of John and Leslie Allen . . . his brother Brian is a freshman offensive lineman on the Spartans . . . born Sept. 24, 1992 . . . majoring in hospitality business.