Jan. 2, 2010
After spending a week in San Antonio, the Spartans (6-6) will take to the field Saturday night to face Texas Tech (8-4) in the Valero Alamo Bowl at 9 p.m. EST. The game will be televised nationally on ESPN. Prior to kickoff, catch up on all the latest news and notes on the Spartans.
TELEVISION: ESPN will televise the 2010 Valero Alamo Bowl game live to a national audience, with Mike Patrick handling the play-by-play, Bob Davie providing color commentary and Heather Cox serving as the sideline reporter. The Valero Alamo Bowl also will be available live online via ESPN360.com.
RADIO: The Spartan Sports Network, featuring veteran play-by-play announcer George Blaha, color analyst Jim Miller, sideline reporter Jason Strayhorn and broadcast host Scott Moore, will broadcast the bowl game to 35 affiliates throughout the state. Michigan State football broadcasts can be heard on fl agship stations WJIM (AM 1240)/WMMQ (FM 94.9) in Lansing and WJR Radio (AM 760) in Detroit. The 2010 Valero Alamo Bowl game also can be heard live nationally on ESPN Radio, with Bill Rosinski, Dennis Franchione and Joe Schad calling the action. The Valero Alamo Bowl game can be heard live on satellite radio: SIRIUS (Channel 120) and XM (Channel 140).
FIRST-AND-10 (what you need to know about the MSU-Texas Tech matchup) -
Michigan State is making its third-straight postseason bowl appearance for the first time since 1995-97, matching the second-longest bowl streak in school history. The Spartans made a school record four straight postseason bowl appearances under George Perles in the late 1980s.
Mark Dantonio becomes just the second coach in Michigan State history to earn a postseason bowl bid in each of his fi rst three seasons, joining Nick Saban (1995 Independence Bowl vs. LSU, 1996 Sun Bowl vs. Stanford and 1997 Aloha Bowl vs. Washington).
Michigan State is making its 20th postseason bowl appearance overall, including its second trip to the Alamo Bowl (lost to No. 22 Nebraska, 17-3, in 2003). The Spartans are 7-12 (.368) in bowl games. MSU has lost its last three postseason games, with the Spartans' last bowl victory coming against Fresno State, 44-35, in the 2001 Silicon Valley Football Classic.
The 2010 Valero Alamo Bowl marks the first meeting between Michigan State and Texas Tech.
Michigan State has compiled a 23-10-1 record (.691) against current members of the Big 12 Conference (1-0 vs. Baylor, 3-0 vs. Colorado, 2-0 vs. Iowa State, 5-1 vs. Kansas, 5-0-1 vs. Kansas State, 5-3 vs. Missouri, 0-5 vs. Nebraska and 2-1 vs. Texas A&M).
With a victory over Texas Tech in the Valero Alamo Bowl, Michigan State would reach the seven-win plateau for the third-consecutive season. The last time the Spartans accomplished that feat came in the 1950s under Duffy Daugherty, as MSU went 9-1 in 1955, 7-2 in '56 and 8-1 in '57.
Nineteen seniors will make their fi nal appearance in a Spartan uniform Jan. 2, 2010, against Texas Tech in the Valero Alamo Bowl. This senior class has helped Michigan State to a combined record of 26-24 (.520), including three straight postseason bowl appearances (2007 Champs Sports Bowl, 2009 Capital One Bowl and 2009 Valero Alamo Bowl).
Michigan State leads the Big Ten in passing offense (271.2 yards per game) and ranks third in both total offense (407.1 ypg.) and scoring offense (29.6 points per game).
Consensus All-American and CFPA Linebacker Trophy winner Greg Jones leads the conference and ranks third in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision with 141 tackles, the eighth-best single-season total in MSU history. The 2009 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year ranks third in the NCAA FBS in tackles per game (11.8), tied for 22nd in sacks (0.75 per game) and tied for 43rd in tackles for loss (1.13 per game). He also is listed among the Big Ten leaders in sacks (fifth) and tackles for loss (tied for eighth at 1.12 per game). Jones leads the team in tackles (141 total), tackles for loss (13.5 for 68 yards), sacks (9.0 for 53 yards) and production points (282). He became the first Spartan to record back-to-back 100-tackle seasons since 2003-04 when both linebacker Ronald Stanley and free safety Jason Harmon reached the milestone.
2009 team MVP Brett Swenson already ranks as MSU's all-time leader in scoring (370 career points), fi eld goals (70 made) and extra points (160 made) and stands second in fi eld-goal percentage (.787). Swenson ranks second among NCAA FBS active players in scoring and field goals (tied with UCLA's Kai Forbath). He also ranks among the Big Ten's all-time leaders in kick scoring (second), fi eld goals (fourth), total points (fifth) and extra points (seventh). Swenson has three career game-winning kicks (2006 vs. Northwestern, 2008 vs. Wisconsin and 2009 vs. Purdue).
UPON FURTHER REVIEW -
Michigan State has compiled a 32-13 record (.711) in games played against non-conference opponents since 1999, including a 9-5 mark under Mark Dantonio. The Spartans have won 15 of their last 21 non-league games.
Michigan State's 2009 schedule ranked among the nation's most diffi cult (No. 28), according to NCAA figures. The Spartans' 12 opponents had a combined record of 70-54 (.565) against other NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision teams.
Under Mark Dantonio, Michigan State is 15-3 (.833) when leading in time of possession, including a perfect 5-0 in 2009.
Five of Michigan State's six losses this season have been by a combined total of 23 points. During his MSU tenure, 12 of head coach Mark Dantonio's 16 losses have been by eight points or less.
Michigan State has outscored its opponents in each of the fi rst three quarters (250-186 combined); however, the Spartans have been outscored 115-99 in the fourth quarter. The Spartans have been most explosive in the second quarter, outscoring their opponents 93-64 (+29 points).
Michigan State has committed 18 turnovers in 2009 - the third-lowest total in the Big Ten; however, the Spartans rank second-to-last in the conference in turnover margin at -6. Michigan State's 12 takeaways rank last in the Big Ten and No. 117 (out of 119 teams) in the NCAA FBS.
Michigan State has scored three non-offensive touchdowns in 2009: Danny Fortener's 45-yard interception return at Illinois, Keshawn Martin's 93-yard kickoff return at Minnesota and Chris L. Rucker's 11-yard fumble return at Purdue.
LONE STAR SPARTANS -
The impact Texas players have had on Michigan State's football program has to be measured in terms of quality, not quantity. In 113 seasons, Texas has provided only 14 letterwinners but that modest figure includes three All-Americans: defensive end Charles "Bubba" Smith (Beaumont), wide receiver Gene Washington (LaPorte) and guard Earl Lattimer (Dallas).
Smith, a two-time All-American, helped the Spartans win back-to-back national championships in 1965-66 while posting a combined record of 19-1-1 (.929). At 6-foot-8, 280 pounds, he anchored a defensive front that helped lead the nation in rushing defense, allowing just 47.3 yards per game. Selected No. 1 overall in the 1967 National Football League Draft by the Baltimore Colts, Smith earned All-Pro honors twice, in 1970-71.
Washington led the Spartans in receptions for three-straight seasons from 1964-66, finishing with 102 career catches for 1,857 yards and 16 touchdowns. The two-time All-American became a first-round draft pick for the Minnesota Vikings in 1967. Washington received All-Pro recognition in 1969-70.
Lattimer excelled as a two-way player for Duffy Daugherty in 1963, earning All-America honors as a guard. A crowd favorite, the 5-11, 218-pound Lattimer often turned a somersault when running up to his position on the line of scrimmage.
Most recently, Hitchcock native Greg Randall started 22 consecutive games at right tackle for the Spartans from 1998-99. A fourth-round pick by New England in 2000, Randall spent four seasons in the NFL (Patriots, 2000-02; Houston Texans, 2003) and started 39 of 51 career games. He started at right tackle for the World Champion Patriots in Super Bowl XXXVI.