Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio and Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh and players discuss the MSU-UM game.
Position-by-position breakdown of the Spartans entering preseason camp.
Veterans Tyler O'Connor and Damion Terry are a combined 48-of-80 passing for 477 yards and four touchdowns in 29 career games.
Over the last three seasons, Mark Dantonio has compiled a 36-5 record (.878), including two Big Ten Championships and three Top 10 finishes in the national polls.
Grinz on Green Blog: All-American Jack Allen Showcases His Versatility, Power with Move to Left Tackle
The 2014 Rimington Award finalist has made a smooth transition from center to left tackle.
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
Since Warner has been named the co-offensive coordinator, along with Jim Bollman, the Spartans have collected a 39-14 record, won two Big Ten Championships (2013, 2015), and earned a berth in the College Football Playoff (2015). MSU has set numerous offensive team records the past four seasons and has had six players earn first-team All-Big Ten honors, including three position players of the year in the conference.
Warner has been a quarterbacks coach and/or offensive coordinator or passing game coordinator for 28 of his 33 seasons as a college assistant. Three of the four starting quarterbacks Warner has coached at Michigan State are currently playing in the NFL (Brian Hoyer, San Francisco 49ers; Kirk Cousins, Washington Redskins; Connor Cook, Oakland Raiders), and all three of those QBs have started a game in the NFL Playoffs the last two seasons.
The Spartans placed a league-best four offensive players on the All-Big Ten First Team in 2015, the most for the program since 1978. Cook, a senior, became just the fifth Spartan quarterback to earn first-team All-Big Ten honors, and the first since 1965. He also became the first Spartan to win the Big Ten Quarterback of the Year Award since its inception in 2011. In addition, Cook was named the 2015 recipient of the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, which is given annually to the nation’s top college quarterback. The winningest quarterback in school history, Cook produced a 34-5 record as the starter from 2013-15, including a 23-2 mark against Big Ten opponents, and finished his career as the school’s all-time record holder in total offense (9,403 yards), passing yards (9,194) and touchdown passes (71). He was selected in the fourth round of the 2016 NFL Draft by Oakland and started for the Raiders in their wild card game in the playoffs.
Senior Aaron Burbridge, who led the conference in receptions and receiving yards, was named the Big Ten Receiver of the Year, marking the second year in a row a Spartan claimed the award (Tony Lippett, 2014). Center Jack Allen and left tackle Jack Conklin not only garnered first-team All-Big Ten honors, but first-team All-America honors as well.
At running back, Warner had the challenge of finding a replacement for Jeremy Langford, who spent his rookie season in 2015 with the Chicago Bears after rushing for a combined 40 touchdowns in 2013 and 2014. A trio of backs in freshman LJ Scott (699 yards), sophomore Gerald Holmes (540 yards) and redshirt freshman Madre London (500) led the way. All three started in the backfield, and they all posted a 100-yard rushing game. Scott, who also led the team in carries (146) and rushing touchdowns (11), was an ESPN.com Big Ten All-Freshman Team selection. Scott continued his success by leading the Spartans in rushing (994 yards) as a sophomore to earn third-team All-Big Ten honors in 2016.
A total of seven Spartans landed on the All-Big Ten teams for offense in 2015, including sophomore offensive guard Brian Allen (second team, coaches and media), senior offensive guard Donavon Clark (third team, coaches) and junior tight end Josiah Price (third team, coaches and media).
The Spartans ranked first in the Big Ten and 10th in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision in third-down conversions (.485), and also ranked among the Big Ten leaders in touchdown passes (third with 26), time of possession (third at 32:51), passing yards (third with 3,279) and passing efficiency (fifth with 133.9 rating).
Warner directed the most prolific offense in school history in 2014. The Spartans set numerous school records, including points (559), scoring average (43.0 ppg.), offensive touchdowns (70), total offense (6,510 yards; 500.8 ypg.), rushing touchdowns (44), rushing yards (3,057) and first downs (321).
MSU ranked second in the Big Ten and seventh in the NCAA FBS in scoring, averaging 43.0 points per game. Michigan State also ranked second in the Big Ten and 11th in the NCAA FBS in total offense, averaging a school-record 500.8 yards per game. In addition, MSU ranked among the FBS Top 25 in third-down conversion percentage (seventh at .500), passing yards per completion (10th at 14.6), first downs (17th with 321), yards per play (17th with 6.55), passing efficiency (18th with 151.1 rating), and rushing offense (19th with 235.2 ypg.). The Spartans also featured the No. 1 passing offense in the Big Ten (265.6 ypg.). Michigan State's improvement in scoring offense (+13.6 points per game) and total offense (+115.3 yards per game) in 2014 ranked among the Top 10 increases among teams in the FBS.
Langford, who was selected in the fourth round of the 2015 NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears, flourished under Warner's guidance in 2013 and 2014. Langford closed his career by rushing for more than 100 yards in a school-record 10 straight games; he also finished conference play with 16 consecutive games with over 100 yards rushing against Big Ten opponents. In just two seasons as the starter, Langford rushed for 40 touchdowns, second most in school history; his 22 rushing TDs in 2014 tied a school record (shared with Javon Ringer).
Langford, who rushed for 1,422 yards as a junior, increased his total to 1,522 yards as a senior, which ranked fifth most in a Spartan single season. In addition to rushing TDs, Langford finished his career ranked among MSU's all-time leaders in 100-yard rushing games (third with 18), rushing yards (eighth with 2,967) and carries (ninth with 577). In addition, fellow senior Nick Hill delivered his best year as a Spartan in 2014, posting career highs in rushing yards (622), carries (107) and rushing TDs (9).
Seven Spartans garnered All-Big Ten recognition for MSU's record-setting season on offense, including Lippett, the Big Ten Receiver of the Year who led the conference in receiving (92.2 ypg.) and ranked second in touchdown catches (11).
The Spartan offense steadily improved all season long during MSU's record-setting campaign in 2013, culminating with strong performances against No. 2 Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship Game and No. 5 Stanford in the Rose Bowl Game. The Spartans produced 438 yards of total offense against the Buckeyes and nearly 400 yards (397) against Stanford, which entered the game No. 14 in the FBS in total defense. Cook was named the Most Outstanding Player in the Big Ten Championship Game after throwing for 304 yards and three touchdowns, and he topped that performance by racking up a 332 passing yards and two TDs against the Cardinal while being named the Rose Bowl Game's Offensive MVP.
Six starters earned All-Big Ten recognition on offense, including Cook (second team, coaches), Allen (second team, media), senior offensive guard Blake Treadwell (second team, coaches and media), senior offensive tackle Fou Fonoti (honorable mention), senior offensive guard Dan France (honorable mention) and Langford (honorable mention). Two of MSU's starting quarterbacks under Warner when he was the quarterbacks coach from 2007-12 are now veterans in the NFL, in Cousins and Hoyer.
Cousins, the second-winningest quarterback in school history with 27 victories as a starter, became MSU's career record holder in 2011 for passing touchdowns (66), passing yards (9,131), completions (723), passing efficiency (146.1 rating), total offense (9,004 yards) and 200-yard passing games (26). He still holds the school record for completions (723) and passing efficiency (146.1 rating). Cousins' numbers were some of the best in Big Ten history, as finished his career ranked among the conference's all-time Top 10 in completion percentage (tied for sixth at .641), passing efficiency rating (sixth), passing yards (10th) and TD passes (tied for 10th).
Selected in the fourth round of the 2012 NFL Draft by Washington, Cousins had another banner year with the Redskins in 2016, ranking once again among the NFL Leaders in passing yards (third with 4,917), passing yards per game (third with 307.3 ypg), pass completions (third with 406), pass attempts (sixth with 606), completion percentage (eighth at .607) and touchdown passes (13th with 25). Cousins also registered career highs and set franchise records in passing yards (4,917), completions (406) and attempts (606) while starting all 16 games for the Redskins. Cousins has thrown for 12,113 yards and 72 touchdowns in 46 career games, including 41 starts (32 consecutive), and owns the Redskins’ franchise record for most 300-yard passing games (18). Since 2015, Cousins is tied with Aaron Rodgers (Packers) and Matt Ryan (Falcons) for the most games (30) with a touchdown pass.
Warner mentored Hoyer in 2007 and 2008, and Hoyer responded by becoming one of the most productive quarterbacks in Spartan history. Hoyer ranks among MSU's career leaders in pass attempts (No. 4 at 896), passing yards (No. 5 with 6,159), pass completions (No. 5 at 500) and TD passes (No. 8 with 35). Warner also developed Hoyer's game management skills, as the senior captain accumulated a 16-11 record and led the Spartans to back-to-back bowl appearances. Hoyer signed a free agent contract with New England in April 2009 and spent three seasons serving as the back-up quarterback behind Tom Brady. Hoyer completed his eighth season in the NFL with Chicago in 2016 and became the first Bears QB in franchise history to throw for more than 300 yards in four consecutive games (Week 3 to Week 6). He enters the 2017 season as the starting quarterback for the 49ers.
In his only season at Cincinnati with Dantonio, Warner mentored two starting quarterbacks, in Dustin Grutza and Nick Davila. During the 2006 regular season, Grutza ranked fifth in the BIG EAST in both passing efficiency (123.9 rating) and total offense (168.1), while Davila orchestrated the offense in Cincinnati's 30-11 upset over then-No. 7 Rutgers on Nov. 18 as he completed 11-of-15 passes for 277 yards and a touchdown.
Before coaching at Cincinnati, Warner coached wide receivers at Southern Miss in 2003 and 2004. He has also made stops as the passing game coordinator at Houston (2001-02), offensive coordinator at Connecticut (1999-2000), passing game coordinator at Wyoming (1998) and quarterbacks coach at Bucknell (1997).
Warner and Dantonio also coached together for four seasons at Kansas, when Dantonio was the secondary coach for the Jayhawks from 1991-94. Warner spent nine total seasons as quarterbacks coach for Kansas (1988-96). Prior to KU, Warner spent four years on the staff at Kent State (1984-87), including the last two as quarterbacks coach.
A three-year letterwinner as a quarterback at Syracuse, Warner finished his playing career ranked seventh in career passing yards (2,593) and was a member of the 1979 team that won the Independence Bowl. After graduating in 1982, he began his coaching career as a graduate assistant for the Orange, working with the quarterbacks and offensive backs. Warner coached in his 13th bowl game when the Spartans played in the 2015 College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Cotton Bowl Classic. Warner has also coached in the 2004 New Orleans and 2003 Liberty Bowls while at Southern Miss, the 1992 and 1995 Aloha Bowls while at Kansas, and the 2007 Champs Sports, 2009 Capital One Bowl, 2010 Alamo, 2011 Capital One, 2012 Outback Bowl, 2012 Buffalo Wild Wings, 2014 Rose and 2015 Cotton Bowls at Michigan State.
Among Warner's top products was Kansas' Chip Hilleary, who became only the second player in Big Eight Conference history to rush for over 1,000 yards and pass for more than 4,000 yards. At Wyoming, he developed a passing attack that was ranked third in the Western Athletic Conference.
Warner earned a bachelor's degree in speech communications from Syracuse in 1982 and received a master's degree in physical education from the school in 1984.
Warner and his wife Leigh Ann have a son, Jackson. Warner also has a daughter, Alexandra.
THE WARNER FILE
YEARS AT MICHIGAN STATE: 11th. Joined the staff on Dec. 1, 2006, from Cincinnati.
PREVIOUS COACHING EXPERIENCE: College - Graduate assistant at Syracuse (1982-83); running backs coach (1984-85) and quarterbacks coach (1986-87) at Kent State; quarterbacks coach at Kansas (1988-96); quarterbacks coach at Bucknell (1997); passing game coordinator at Wyoming (1998); offensive coordinator at Connecticut (1999-2000); passing game coordinator at Houston (2001-02); wide receivers coach at Southern Miss (2003-04); quarterbacks coach at Cincinnati (2006).
EDUCATION: Bachelor's degree in speech communications from Syracuse in 1982; master's degree in physical education from Syracuse in 1984.
PLAYING EXPERIENCE: College - Three-year letterwinner as a quarterback at Syracuse (1979-81).
POSTSEASON EXPERIENCE: Player - 1979 Independence Bowl. Coach - 1992 Aloha Bowl, 1995 Aloha Bowl, 2003 Liberty Bowl, 2004 New Orleans Bowl, 2007 Champs Sports Bowl, 2009 Capital One Bowl, 2010 Valero Alamo Bowl, 2011 Capital One Bowl, 2012 Outback Bowl, 2012 Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, 2014 Rose Bowl, 2015 Cotton Bowl, 2015 College Football Playoff (Cotton Bowl).