Jan. 2, 2012
With its 33-30 triple-overtime victory over Georgia, Michigan State tied the school single-season record with its 11th win. The Spartans also won 11 games in 2010. . . . MSU has won 22 of its last 27 games, dating back to the beginning of the 2010 season. The 22 wins over the last two seasons is the highest two-year total in school history. . . . In addition, the Spartans have won 23 of their last 32 non-conference games.
Michigan State improved to 1-2 all-time against Georgia (all postseason bowl games). The Spartans are now 6-8-1 all-time against current members of the Southeastern Conference.
Michigan State ended a five-game losing streak in postseason play, posting its first bowl victory since defeating No. 20 Fresno State, 44-35, in the 2001 Silicon Valley Football Classic. . . . The Spartans are now 8-14 in 22 postseason bowl appearances. . . . . MSU has appeared in a school-record five consecutive bowl games (2007 Champs Sports Bowl, 2009 Capital One Bowl, 2010 Alamo Bowl, 2011 Capital One Bowl and 2012 Outback Bowl).
The 2011 senior class helped Michigan State to a record of 37-16 since 2008, including four-straight bowl bids. The 37 wins are the most by any senior class in the 115-year history of MSU football (previous record: 33 wins by 2010 class).
With his 23-yard completion to Brian Linthicum late in the third quarter, Kirk Cousins became MSU's all-time leader in career passing yards, breaking the record previously held by Jeff Smoker (8,932 yards; 2000-03). Cousins completed 27-of-50 throws for 300 yards, three interceptions and one touchdown. It marked his fifth career 300-yard passing game. He finished his career with 9,131 passing yards, becoming just the 10th quarterback in Big Ten history to eclipse the 9,000-yard milestone. Cousins holds five other MSU career records: completions (723), TD passes (66), passing efficiency rating (146.1), 200-yard passing games (26) and total offense (9,004 yards). He also ranks among the Big Ten's all-time Top 10 in completion percentage (tied for sixth at .641), passing efficiency rating (seventh), passing yards (10th) and TD passes (tied for 10th). . . . Cousins set MSU bowl records for pass completions (27) and pass attempts (50). His 323 total yards (second) and 300 passing yards rank among the top bowl totals in Spartan history. . . . Cousins, the winningest quarterback in school history, compiled a 27-12 record in 39 career starts.
Michigan State held Georgia to a season-low 51 rushing yards on 39 carries (previous low: 78 yards vs. LSU) . . . that mark is also an Outback Bowl record for fewest rushing yards allowed.
The three overtimes ties for the longest game in Michigan State football history (2004 vs. Michigan) . . . it marks the first overtime bowl game in Spartan history . . . MSU is now 5-4 all-time in overtime games, including 3-2 under Dantonio.
Senior B.J. Cunningham caught seven passes for 66 yards to tie MSU's single-season receptions record with 79 (Devin Thomas, 2007) . . . Cunningham's 1,306 receiving yards rank third in an MSU season, and his 12 TDs are tied for third . . . Cunningham closes out his career ranked first in MSU history in receptions (218) and receiving yards (3,086) and second in touchdowns (25) . . . his 218 receptions rank seventh in Big Ten history and his 3,086 receiving yards rank ninth.
Le'Veon Bell scored two rushing touchdowns and finished the season with a team-best 13 . . . he had an 8-yard TD in the third quarter that cut the lead to 16-6 . . . his 1-yard score with 14 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter tied the game at 27...Bell finished the season with a team-high 948 yards rushing on 182 carries...Bell also tied his career high with five receptions for 39 yards against the Bulldogs.
Senior tight end Brian Linthicum recorded career highs in both receptions (7) and receiving yards (115) . . . Linthicum's 115 receiving yards are the fifth-highest bowl total in MSU history . . . he caught a 2-point conversion pass from Cousins after MSU's first touchdown . . . he had a career-long 50-yard reception in the fourth quarter that set up Keith Nichol's touchdown and gave MSU a 20-19 lead with 8:22 remaining . . . Linthicum closed out his Spartan career with 69 catches for 860 yards in 39 games.
Sophomore defensive end William Gholston tied a Spartan bowl record with 5.0 tackles for loss (16 yards), including a career-best 2.0 sacks (10 yards) . . . Julian Peterson also had 5.0 TFLs against Florida in the 2000 Florida Citrus Bowl . . . the 5.0 TFLs tie for the third-highest total in a Spartan game (record: Julian Peterson with 7 vs. Ohio State in 1998) . . . he also recovered a fumble in the second quarter and returned it 6 yards, and broke up a pass . . . Gholston tied for the team lead with seven tackles in the game.
Anthony Rashad White recorded career highs in tackles (7) and tackles for loss (3.0 for 7 yards) . . . he blocked Blair Walsh's 47-yard field goal attempt in the third overtime to seal the victory for Michigan State.
Keith Nichol tied a career high with four receptions, including a 7-yard TD catch in the fourth quarter . . . he finished the game with 53 receiving yards, one shy of his career high (54 vs. Wisconsin on Dec. 3).
Michigan State recorded a season-high 17.0 tackles for loss (47 yards), which is a Spartan bowl record and tied for the second most in a game in school history . . . MSU posted a school-record 18.0 TFLs vs. Oregon in 1999 and also had 17.0 TFLs vs. Northwestern in 1985 . . . Michigan State finished the season with 105.0 TFLs this season (432 yards).
Darqueze Dennard tied a Spartan bowl record with two interceptions, including a 38-yard return for a TD in the third quarter to cut the Georgia lead to 16-14 . . . he also had an interception earlier in the third quarter . . . it marked MSU's fourth interception return for a touchdown this season (Isaiah Lewis 37 yards vs. Central Michigan; Isaiah Lewis 39 yards vs. Michigan; Johnny Adams 86 yards vs. Indiana) . . . Dennard finished the season with three interceptions.
Dan Conroy made two field goals, both in overtime (35 yards and 28 yards) . . . he finished the season 17-for-23 in field goals; the 17 field goals tie for eighth most in an MSU single-season.
Jerel Worthy tied his season high with five tackles, including 2.0 TFLs (2 yards) . . . he now ranks 13th in MSU history with 27.5 career tackles for loss.
Mike Sadler set career single-game highs for punts (8), punting yards (401) and punting average (50.1). He also tied his career high by placing four punts inside the Georgia 20. His eight punts (tied with Paul Edinger vs. Stanford, 1996 Sun Bowl; and Greg Montgomery vs. USC, 1988 Rose Bowl) and 401 punting yards are Spartan-bowl records.