No. 13 Spartans Host No. 24 Boise State for Season Opener
 
 
 
Andrew Maxwell and the Spartans will open the 2012 season Friday night against No. 24 Boise State.
 
Andrew Maxwell and the Spartans will open the 2012 season Friday night against No. 24 Boise State.
 
 

Aug. 30, 2012

No. 13/13 Michigan State (0-0) vs. No. 24/22 Boise State (0-0)
 Date | Time Friday, Aug. 31 | 8 p.m.
 Location East Lansing, Mich.
Spartan Stadium (75,005/Natural Grass)
 Televison ESPN
 Broadcast Team Carter Blackburn (play-by-play) | Rod Gilmore (analyst) | Jemele Hill (sidelines)
 Internet Coverage Game will be shown live on WatchESPN.com
 Radio Spartan Sports Network (Listen Live) | Affiliates
 Satellite Radio Sirius/XM: Channel 91
 Radio (Mobile) Broadcast available on Spartan Sports Network Mobile App: iPhone/iPad | Android
 Parking/Stadium Information Gameday Answers | Tailgating Information
 Game Notes Michigan State | Boise State
 Depth Charts Michigan State | Boise State
 Live Stats  Live Stats (Mobile Users) | Gametracker
 Social Media @MSU_Football   |  Facebook

FIRST-AND-10 (what you need to know about the MSU-Boise State matchup) -
• Friday's game marks the first meeting between Michigan State and Boise State. The Spartans have compiled a 7-2 record (.778) against current members of the Mountain West Conference (0-1 vs. Colorado State, 1-0 vs. Fresno State, 4-1 vs. Hawaii and 2-0 vs. Wyoming).

• Michigan State and Boise State are two of the winningest NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision programs over the last two seasons. With 24 wins since 2010, the Broncos are tied for first nationally, while MSU is tied for seventh with 22 victories.

• Michigan State is ranked No. 13 in both The Associated Press and USA TODAY Preseason Polls. It marks MSU's highest preseason ranking in the AP Poll since 1979 (No. 10), and its highest-ever preseason rating in the USA TODAY Coaches Poll, which began administering the poll in 1991. In addition, the Spartans have been ranked in the USA TODAY Poll for a school-record 30 consecutive weeks, dating back to the 2010 season.

• Friday's game marks just the ninth time Michigan State will open the season against an opponent ranked in the AP Top 25 and the first time since entertaining No. 15 Colorado State in Spartan Stadium in 1998. The Spartans are 2-5-1 (.313) in season openers played against ranked opponents. Friday's game also marks just the fifth time MSU has played host to a ranked opponent in its season opener (No. 3 Ohio State in 1975; No. 16 USC in 1987; No. 2 Nebraska in 1995; No. 15 Colorado State in 1998; and No. 24 Boise State in 2012).

• In its 115-year football history, Michigan State is 76-36-3 (.674) in season openers, including an 11-2 record (.846) in its last 13 games.

• Sixth-year Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio has compiled a 6-2 record (.750) in season openers during his eight-year career. Dantonio is 4-1 in season-opening games at MSU, with a 55-18 victory over UAB in his Spartan debut in 2007, a 38-31 loss at California in 2008, a 44-3 win over Montana State in 2009, a 38-14 victory over Western Michigan in 2010, and a 28-6 win over Youngstown State in 2011.

• In its 115-year football history, Michigan State is 94-21 (.817) in home openers, including a 13-game winning streak that began in 1999. The Spartans have won 15 of their last 16 home openers, with the only setback coming to Colorado State, 23-16, in the 1998 Black Coaches Association Classic.

• Friday's Michigan State-Boise State game marks just the 12th night game in the 89-year history of Spartan Stadium. The Spartans are 7-4 in their 11 previous prime-time TV appearances in Spartan Stadium, including a perfect 2-0 record last season (28-6 over Youngstown State and 37-31 over Wisconsin). Three of those seven wins came over ranked opponents (No. 19 USC in 1987, No. 10 Notre Dame in 1998 and No. 4 Wisconsin in 2011). Michigan State has won three-straight night games in Spartan Stadium, including two on the last play of the game (vs. Notre Dame in 2010: Aaron Bates' 29-yard touchdown pass to Charlie Gantt off a fake field goal gave MSU a 34-31 overtime victory; and vs. Wisconsin in 2011: Kirk Cousins completed a 44-yard Hail Mary pass to Keith Nichol on the final play of regulation). Mark Dantonio is 4-1 in night games played in Spartan Stadium.

• Michigan State has compiled a 40-16 record (.714) in games played against non-conference opponents since 1999. Mark Dantonio is 17-8 (.680) against non-conference opponents, including a 14-1 record in Spartan Stadium. Overall, the Spartans have won 23 of their last 32 non-league games (.719).

• In five seasons under Mark Dantonio, Michigan State has produced a 29-6 record (.829) in home games, including its current 14-game winning streak, which is the fifth-longest in school history and its longest home streak since winning 19 straight from 1950-53 (teams coached by Clarence "Biggie" Munn). The 14-game home winning streak is also the fourth-longest active home winning streak in the NCAA FBS (LSU - 17; Wisconsin - 16; Northern Illinois - 15; MSU - 14). For the second straight year, Michigan State posted a 7-0 record at home in 2011, marking the first consecutive perfect home seasons since 1955-56. The Spartans have gone undefeated at home 18 times (including ties in 1966, 1940, 1933, 1930) since the stadium opened in 1923. Prior to the 2012 season, the Sporting News named Spartan Stadium No. 3 on its "Five Toughest Places to Play Right Now" list.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS -
• The Spartans have won 22 of their last 27 games, dating back to the beginning of the 2010 season, including a 14-2 record in Big Ten regular-season play. MSU has won 11 games in back-to-back seasons for the first time in program history. The 22 wins over the last two seasons are the highest two-year total in school history and ties for seventh most among NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision teams during that same period (Alabama, Auburn, Oklahoma, Virginia Tech and Wisconsin also have 22 wins from 2010-11).

• Over the last four years, Michigan State has won more Big Ten games (24) than any other conference team. (Note: Ohio State also won 24 games, but had to vacate seven victories following the 2010 season.)

• Over the last two seasons, Michigan State is 8-1 in games decided by 10 points or less, including 3-1 in 2011. The only loss came in a 42-39 defeat against Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship Game.

• Michigan State returns four starters to its offensive line (senior right guard Chris McDonald, senior right tackle Fou Fonoti, junior left tackle Dan France, sophomore center Travis Jackson). In addition, junior Blake Treadwell (center) and sophomore Skyler Burkland (right tackle) each started the first three games of 2011 before suffering season-ending knee injuries at Notre Dame. Michigan State had four different starting combinations in 14 games on the offensive line last season, including three different starting centers (Treadwell, Jackson, Ethan Ruhland).

Ranked the No. 1 defense in the Big Ten last season, Michigan State returns eight starters on defense in 2012.


Mark Dantonio: PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS -
Mark Dantonio owns the most wins (44) by a Spartan head coach in his first five seasons ("Biggie" Munn ranks second, with 36 wins from 1947-1951). Dantonio is currently 44-22 (.667) at MSU.

• Dantonio is the first head coach in MSU history to win at least nine games three times in his first five seasons (9 wins in 2008; back-to-back 11-win seasons in 2010 and 2011).

• Dantonio has won at least nine games in a season three times (9 in 2008, 11 in 2010, 11 in 2011), tying him with the most seasons of at least nine wins of any coach in MSU history ("Biggie" Munn, 1951, 1952, 1953; Duffy Daugherty, 1955, 1965, 1966).

• A trademark of Dantonio's Michigan State teams has been their ability to produce wins late in the regular season. Under Dantonio, Michigan State has compiled a 13-3 record (.813) in November. His teams have won seven-straight games in November (3-0 in 2010 and 4-0 in 2011). In the four seasons (2003-06) prior to Dantonio's arrival, Michigan State went just 2-11 (.154) in November.

• From his first day on the job, Dantonio has pledged to support student-athletes as they pursue excellence, both in the classroom and on the playing field. In his first five seasons, nearly 80 percent (72 of 91) of his Michigan State players who have completed their eligibility have earned their undergraduate degrees. In addition, 56 Spartans have earned Academic All-Big Ten honors, including two Academic All-Americans (2009: Blair White, first team; 2011: Mike Sadler, second team).

UPON FURTHER REVIEW -
• During Monday's (Aug. 27) team meeting, head coach Mark Dantonio announced that walk-on (sophomore) Andrew Gleichert has been awarded a scholarship for the 2012-13 academic year. Gleichert heads into Friday's season opener against Boise State listed No. 2 (with Derek Hoebing) on the depth chart at tight end, behind veteran Dion Sims.

• Prior to the 2012 season, new high-def Panasonic video screens and scoreboards as well as a new sound system were installed in Spartan Stadium. The new scoreboard/video screen in the south end zone is 5,300-square feet, compared to its predecessor that measured just 567-square feet (installed in 1998). The top of the new south end zone structure will reach 130 feet. In addition, two new video boards as well as an LED ribbon board has been added to the north end zone. The LED ribbon board covers 4,500 square feet (450-feet long and 10-feet high). Combined the south and north video screens/scoreboards total 13,300-square feet. The $10 million project replaces a 14-year-old scoreboard, message board and audio system.

SCOUTING BOISE STATE
• Since joining the FBS ranks in 1996, Boise State has been one of the most successful programs in the nation. In fact, since 1997, the Broncos have won more games (157) and own the best winning percentage (.857) of any Division I program in the country.

• After winning four consecutive Western Athletic Conference championships from 2002-05 under Dan Hawkins, Boise State has ascended to even greater heights under head coach Chris Petersen. In his first season in 2006, Petersen was named the Paul "Bear" Bryant National Coach of the Year after leading the Broncos to an undefeated 13-0 season, capped by a thrilling overtime victory over Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl.

• Now in his seventh year leading the Broncos, Petersen is the winningest active coach in the FBS with a remarkable 73-6 record (.924). He has led Boise State to four conference championships (2006, 2008, 2009, 2010), four AP Top-10 finishes (No. 5 in 2006, No. 4 in 2009, No. 9 in 2010 and No. 8 in 2011), two undefeated seasons (13-0 in 2006 and 14-0 in 2009), and two BCS victories (2007 and 2010 Fiesta Bowl).

• Boise State is the first program since 1900 to win 12 or more games in four consecutive seasons (12-1 in 2008; 14-0 in 2009; 12-1 in 2010; 12-1 in 2011).

• The challenge for Petersen and the Broncos this fall will be replacing 16 starters from last season's team that went 12-1 and finished No. 8 in the final AP Poll. The Broncos lost six starters on an offense that ranked fifth in the FBS in 2011 in scoring (44.2 ppg.) and ninth in total offense (481.3 ypg.), including quarterback Kellen Moore, who finished his career as the winningest quarterback in NCAA history with 50 victories as a starter.

• Although just a sophomore, Matt Miller will lead the receivers after earning Freshman All-America honors last season. Miller tied for the team lead with 62 receptions for 679 yards and caught nine touchdown passes.

• D.J. Harper, who received a sixth year of eligibility from the NCAA after he suffered season-ending knee surgeries in 2009 and 2010, is the top returning rusher and has compiled 1,655 yards and 24 TDs in his career.

• Junior Joe Southwick has been the back-up quarterback behind Moore the past two seasons and will start the season opener against the Spartans. In limited action, he has completed 40-of-54 passes (.741) with two touchdowns and one interception in his career.

• The defense, which ranked among the FBS Top 20 last season in scoring defense (18.7 ppg), total defense (16th at 320.9 ypg.) and rushing defense (17th at 110.0 ypg.), must nearly start over with the departure of nine starters.

MAXWELL EARNS FIRST CAREER START IN SEASON OPENER -
Fourth-year junior Andrew Maxwell will make his first career start at quarterback in the 2012 season and home opener against No. 24 Boise State. Maxwell spent the past two seasons as Kirk Cousins' understudy.

In their first collegiate start, Michigan State's last 18 quarterbacks have compiled a 12-6 record (.667), including an 8-2 mark in home games. Here's how MSU's last 18 quarterbacks fared in their first college starts:

Keith Nichol - Oct. 10, 2009 at Illinois (W 24-14)
Nichol accounted for 206 total yards at Illinois, completing 13-of-25 throws for 179 yards and rushing six times for 27 yards. He directed touchdown drives of 60 and 81 yards on Michigan State's first two possessions as the Spartans jumped out to a 14-0 lead over the Illini.

Kirk Cousins - Sept. 5, 2009 vs. Montana State (W 44-3)
Cousins completed 10-of-17 throws for 183 yards and three touchdowns against Montana State in the 2009 season and home opener. He completed TD strikes of 29 yards to B.J. Cunningham, 15 and 24 yards to Blair White.

Brian Hoyer - Nov. 18, 2006 at Penn State (L 13-17)
With Drew Stanton sidelined with a concussion, Hoyer earned his first career starting assignment in the 2006 season finale at Penn State. He threw for 291 yards against the Nittany Lions, including an 11-yard TD toss to Kerry Reed, while setting personal bests for pass attempts (school-record 61) and completions (30).

Drew Stanton - Sept. 25, 2004 at Indiana (W 30-20)
Stanton accounted for 306 total yards and two touchdowns as the Spartans rallied from a 20-7 halftime deficit. He rushed for 134 yards on 12 carries, including TD runs of 1 and 2 yards, and completed 15-of-23 throws for 172 yards and two interceptions.

Stephen Reaves - Sept. 11, 2004 vs. Central Michigan (W 24-7)
Reaves hit 9-of-19 passes for 183 yards vs. Central Michigan, including a 44-yard TD strike to Kyle Brown.

Damon Dowdell - Nov. 17, 2001 at Purdue (L 14-24)
Dowdell completed 24-of-45 throws for 304 yards vs. Purdue, including a 7-yard TD toss to Charles Rogers.

Jeff Smoker - Sept. 16, 2000 at Missouri (W 13-10)
Smoker connected on 10-of-24 throws for 157 yards with one interception as the Spartans rallied from a 10-0 first-quarter deficit.

Ryan Van Dyke - Sept. 9, 2000 vs. Marshall (W 34-24)
Van Dyke completed 5-of-7 passes for 74 yards, including a 37-yard TD strike to Chris Baker, before leaving the game with a bruised right thumb late in the first quarter.

Bill Burke - Sept. 28, 1996 vs. Eastern Michigan (W 47-0)
Burke completed 8-of-22 passes for 166 yards, including TD tosses of 49 and 5 yards to Nigea Carter.

• Gus Ornstein - Sept. 21, 1996 vs. Louisville (L 20-30)
Ornstein hit 21-of-37 passes for 237 yards, including a 17-yard TD strike to Derrick Mason.

• Todd Schultz - Sept. 30, 1995 vs. Boston College (W 25-21)
Schultz completed 20-of-28 passes for 210 yards as the Spartans rallied from a 21-9 third-quarter deficit to win 25-21.

• Tony Banks - Sept. 10, 1994 at Kansas (L 10-17)
Banks connected on 8-of-22 throws for 71 yards with two interceptions.

• Mill Coleman - Nov. 14, 1992 vs. Purdue (W 35-13)
Coleman completed 4-of-10 passes for 54 yards with one interception. He also added a 2-yard TD run.

• John Gieselman - Oct. 31, 1992 at Northwestern (W 27-26)
Gieselman hit 4-of-7 pass attempts for 27 yards.

• Jim Miller - Oct. 5, 1991 at Indiana (L 0-31)
Miller completed 10-of-19 throws for 105 yards with one interception.

• Bret Johnson - Sept. 14, 1991 vs. Central Michigan (L 3-20)
Johnson connected on 6-of-11 passes for 29 yards.

Dan Enos - Sept. 16, 1989 vs. Miami-Ohio (W 49-0)
Enos hit 5-of-7 throws for 78 yards and scored on an 8-yard run.

• Bobby McAllister - Sept. 7, 1987 vs. Southern Cal (W 27-13)
McAllister completed 10-of-15 passes for 103 yards and rushed 15 times for 63 yards, including a 9-yard TD run.

Eric Gordon NAMED HONORARY CAPTAIN -
Former Michigan State linebacker Eric Gordon, who started a school-record 49 career games from 2007-10, has been selected honorary captain for Friday night's season opener against Boise State. He will address the team during the pre-game meal and join the 2012 captains at midfield for the coin toss.

A second-team All-Big Ten selection by both the media and coaches as a senior in 2010, Gordon ranked second on the team in tackles (92) and production points (213). His 92 tackles matched his career high (2009). The 6-0, 232-pound linebacker produced 6.5 tackles for loss (18 yards), including two sacks (6). Gordon finished 13th in the Big Ten in tackles, averaging 7.1 per game.

Gordon recorded a season-high 12 stops in the home finale against Purdue. He posted nine tackles each in back-to-back games against Iowa and Minnesota. His interception with 44 seconds left in the game iced MSU's 35-27 come-from-behind win at Northwestern. He registered a tackle for loss in six-straight games during one late-season stretch. Gordon tallied 11 tackles, including 1.5 for losses (5 yards), against Florida Atlantic.

A native of Traverse City, Mich., Gordon ranks among MSU's all-time leaders in tackles for loss (tied for 10th with 29) and tackles (12th with 331). His 49 career starts (since tied by offensive guard Joel Foreman, 2008-11) broke the mark previously held by former Spartan tight end Chris Baker (47 career starts, 1998-2001). In addition, Gordon started more games at linebacker than any other player in MSU history (previous record holder: Dan Bass, 44 career starts from 1976-79).

2012 CAPTAINS ELECTED -
Junior linebacker Max Bullough, junior quarterback Andrew Maxwell and senior linebacker Chris Norman have been elected by their teammates to serve as Michigan State's captains for the 2012 season.

An additional captain will be selected each week during the 2012 season (fifth-year senior offensive guard Chris McDonald vs. Boise State).