Sept. 13, 2012
|No. 10/10 Michigan State (2-0) vs. No. 20/19 Notre Dame (2-0)|
|Date | Time||Saturday, Sept. 15 | 8:12 p.m.|
|Location||East Lansing, Mich.
Spartan Stadium (75,005/Natural Grass)
|Broadcast Team||Brent Musburger (play-by-play) | Kirk Herbstreit (analyst) | Heather Cox (sidelines)|
|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 | Notre Dame|
|Depth Charts||Michigan State | Notre Dame|
|Live Stats||Live Stats (Mobile Users) | Gametracker|
|Social Media||@MSU_Football | Facebook|
FIRST-AND-10 (what you need to know about the MSU-Notre Dame matchup) -
Saturday's game marks the 76th meeting between Michigan State and Notre Dame. The Irish lead the all-time series 46-28-1, including an 18-15-1 record in games played in East Lansing, Mich. The Spartans have won 10 of the last 15 meetings in the series, including two straight in Spartan Stadium. Nine of the last 12 games in the series have been decided by seven points or less.
Michigan State ranks second among opponents in all-time victories (28) over Notre Dame. Only Southern Cal (35) has posted more wins over the Irish than the Spartans.
Since 1949, the winner of the Michigan State-Notre Dame game has been presented the Megaphone Trophy, sponsored jointly by the Detroit alumni clubs of both schools.
The Michigan State-Notre Dame series began 115 years ago in 1897, making it one of the 27 oldest rivalries in college football. It also ranks as one of only three rivalries - joining Army-Navy and Auburn-Georgia Tech - that does not involve either intrastate or current conference rivals.
For the first time in school history, Michigan State is opening a home season with back-to-back night games. Saturday's Michigan State-Notre Dame game also marks just the 13th night game in the 89-year history of Spartan Stadium. The Spartans are 8-4 in their 12 previous prime-time TV appearances in Spartan Stadium, including a 2-2 record against Notre Dame. Four of those eight wins came over ranked opponents (No. 19 USC in 1987, No. 10 Notre Dame in 1998, No. 4 Wisconsin in 2011, No. 24 Boise State in 2012).
Michigan State has won four-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 5-1 in night games played in Spartan Stadium.
Michigan State moved up one spot this week to No. 10 in both The Associated Press and USA TODAY Coaches Polls. The Spartans have been ranked in the USA TODAY Poll for a school-record 32 consecutive weeks, dating back to the 2010 season. This marks the earliest in a season MSU has been ranked in the AP Top 10 since 1979, when it debuted at No. 10 in the preseason poll. It also marks the highest ranking the Spartans have been while playing against Notre Dame since 1979 (No. 7).
Saturday's game marks the first time since 2005 that both Michigan State and Notre Dame are undefeated heading into their matchup. It also marks the first time since 2000 that both the Spartans and Fighting Irish are ranked in the AP Top 25 during the week of the game (No. 16 Notre Dame vs. No. 23 Michigan State).
Michigan State has compiled a 42-16 record (.724) against non-conference opponents since 1999. Mark Dantonio is 19-8 (.704) against non-conference opponents, including a 15-1 record in Spartan Stadium. Overall, the Spartans have won 25 of their last 34 non-league games (.735).
Junior running back Le'Veon Bell ranks second in the Big Ten and sixth in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision in rushing, averaging 140.0 yards per game. The Columbus, Ohio, native is also tied for first in the conference in scoring (12.0 ppg.) and rushing touchdowns (4), and second in all-purpose yards (167.5 ypg.). Bell set career highs for rushing attempts (44), rushing yards (210), receptions (6), receiving yards (55) and all-purpose yards (265) in the season-opening win over No. 24 Boise State.
CLASS BREAKDOWN (STARTERS) -
Michigan State Offense: 2 seniors, 5 juniors, 3 sophomores, 1 freshman
Michigan State Defense: 3 seniors, 7 juniors, 1 sophomore
Notre Dame Offense: 8 seniors, 2 juniors, 1 sophomore
Notre Dame Defense: 5 seniors, 3 juniors, 2 sophomores, 1 freshman
STAT LEADERS -
Michigan State (after two games):
Rushing - Le'Veon Bell (62 carries for 280 yards, 4.5 avg., 4 TDs)
Passing - Andrew Maxwell (42 of 69 for 523 yards, 2 TDs, 3 INTs)
Receiving - Bennie Fowler (10 catches for 135 yards, 13.5 avg., 1 TD)
Tackles - Max Bullough (11 tackles, 4 solos, 7 assists, 2.5 TFLs)
Notre Dame (after two games):
Rushing - Theo Riddick (34 carries for 160 yards, 4.7 avg., 2 TDs)
Passing - Everett Golson (33 of 49 for 433 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT)
Receiving - Tyler Eifert (8 catches for 120 yards, 15.0 avg., 1 TD)
Tackles - Manti Te'o (18 tackles, 6 solos, 12 assists, 1 INT)
CURRENT SPARTANS vs. NOTRE DAME -
Career Stat Leaders
Rushing - Le'Veon Bell (2 games: 24 carries for 141 yards, 3.9 avg., 1 TD)
Passing - N/A
Receiving - Le'Veon Bell (2 games: 7 catches for 41 yards, 5.9 avg., 0 TDs)
Tackles - Chris Norman (3 games: 16 tackles, 0.5 TFL, 1 FF, 1 FR)
INSIDE THE NUMBERS -
The Spartans have won 24 of their last 29 games (.828), dating back to the beginning of the 2010 season, including a 14-2 record in Big Ten regular-season play.
MSU is coming off back-to-back 11-win seasons for the first time in program history. The 22 wins in 2010 and 2011 were the highest two-year total in school history and ranked tied for seventh most among NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision teams during that same period.
Michigan State's 24 wins since 2010 are tied fifth most among NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision teams (Alabama, Boise State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Virginia Tech also have 24 wins since the beginning of the 2010 season).
Under Mark Dantonio, Michigan State has produced a 30-6 record (.833) in home games, including its current 15-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 15-game home winning streak is also the fourth-longest active home winning streak in the NCAA FBS (LSU - 19; Wisconsin - 17; Northern Illinois - 16; MSU - 15). 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.
MSU is off to a 2-0 start for the third-straight season and for the fourth time in six years under Mark Dantonio.
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.)
Michigan State has won 18 straight games in the state of Michigan since the beginning of the 2010 season (15 straight at Spartan Stadium; vs. Florida Atlantic at Ford Field in Detroit in 2010; at Michigan in 2010; at Central Michigan in 2012).
Over the last two seasons, Michigan State is 10-1 in games decided by 10 points or less, including 4-1 in 2011. The only loss came in a 42-39 defeat against Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship Game.
Through two games, MSU's offensive line has not allowed a sack this season, tied with 12 other schools for first in the FBS.
Michigan State ranks fourth in the nation in passes defended (interceptions and pass break-ups) with 17. The Spartans have three interceptions (RJ Williamson, Johnny Adams, Isaiah Lewis) and 14 PBUs.
Michigan State is tied for first in the Big Ten in passing, averaging 285.0 yards through two games.
Michigan State was ranked No. 13 in both the AP and USA TODAY Preseason Polls. It marked 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.
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).
SPARTAN DEFENSE ONE OF THE TOP IN THE NATION -
After leading the Big Ten in total defense in 2011, the Spartans once again feature one of the top defensive units in all of college football this season.
Through two games, MSU hasn't allowed an offensive touchdown, and the Spartans rank among the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision Top 15 in pass efficiency defense (fifth at 78.17), total defense (eighth at 225.5 ypg.), rushing defense (11th with 54.5 ypg.) and scoring defense (12th at 10.0 ppg.). In addition, the Spartans lead the Big Ten in total defense and scoring defense.
In the 17-13 season-opening win over No. 24 Boise State, the Spartans held the Broncos without an offensive touchdown for the first time since 1997. They also limited the nation's highest scoring offense since 2000 to 206 yards of total offense and 37 rushing yards, both lows in the Coach Chris Petersen era at BSU; the 13 points scored were the second fewest under Petersen.
Dantonio recorded 44 wins from 2007-11, the most by as Spartan head coach in his first five seasons ("Biggie" Munn ranks second, with 36 wins from 1947-1951).
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).
NCAA STAT LEADERS -
Here's a glance at how Michigan State ranks among the NCAA individual stat leaders in 2012:
Individual Statistics (Top 50)
Rushing: Le'Veon Bell (6th with 140.0 yards per game)
Total Offense: Andrew Maxwell (44th with 261.5 yards per game)
Interceptions: RJ Williamson/Johnny Adams/Isaiah Lewis (t-35th at 0.5 interceptions per game)
Punt Returns: Nick Hill (t-16th at 15.3 yards per return)
Kickoff Returns: Nick Hill (t-37th at 23.4 yards per return)
Field Goals: Dan Conroy (t-28th at 1.5 per game)
Scoring: Le'Veon Bell (t-12th at 12.0 points per game)
All-Purpose Runners: Le'Veon Bell (18th at 167.5 yards per game)
THE LAST MEETING -
Sept. 17, 2011, in Notre Dame, Ind. (AP): Notre Dame used two touchdown runs from Cierre Wood, an electrifying 89-yard kickoff return from freshman George Atkinson III and a key late interception from Robert Blanton to defeat No. 15 Michigan State, 31-13.
MSU's Kirk Cousins, who had 11 straight completions at one juncture of the second half, was 34 of 53 for 329 yards but he was intercepted at the Notre Dame 6 with just under four minutes left by Blanton, who returned it 82 yards to the 12. The Spartans had just recovered a fumbled punt by Notre Dame's John Goodman at the Irish 21 and were ready to set the stage for another frantic finish between the rivals. But with the Spartans trailing 28-13 and having a first and goal at the 3, Blanton came up with a juggling interception and then took off on his long return that sealed the win.
Cousins completed 12 of his passes to B.J. Cunningham as the Spartans were forced to go to the air and play catch-up. Notre Dame quarterback Tommy Rees overcame a first-half fumble and interception and finished 18 of 26 for 161 yards.
Notre Dame pushed the lead to 28-10 in the third quarter when Rees hit Michael Floyd on a 22-yard pass and then lofted a perfect 26-yarder to TJ Jones for a touchdown. Cousins came right back after a 42-yard kickoff return by Nick Hill gave the Spartans good field position. His 21-yard pass to Todd Anderson and an 11-yarder to Cunningham gave the Spartans a first down at the Irish 8. But after the drive stalled, MSU lined up for a field goal, only to have their attempt at a fake field goal turned away.
After Notre Dame took an early 7-0 lead on a Wood TD run, the teams traded turnovers twice. Rees took a hard blindside hit from Kevin Pickelman and fumbled with MSU's Jerel Worthy recovering. But just moments later, Notre Dame freshman defensive end Aaron Lynch drove into Cousins from behind, forcing a fumble and Johnson recovered for the Irish. Three plays later Rees' pass was picked off by Kurtis Drummond and returned 34 yards to the Irish 27, setting up Conroy's 40-yard field goal that made it 7-3. But 12 seconds later, Atkinson - the son of the former NFL star defensive back - took the ensuing kickoff, broke to the sideline and sprinted in for the touchdown.
THE LAST MEETING IN SPARTAN STADIUM -
Sept. 18, 2010, in East Lansing, Mich. (AP): The play was called "Little Giants" - and Michigan State used it to steal a victory from Notre Dame in the most audacious way imaginable.
With Dan Conroy lining up for a 46-yard field goal to tie the game in overtime and the play clock running low, holder Aaron Bates took the snap, stood up and waited for Charlie Gantt to come open downfield. The stunning fake worked to perfection, and Gantt's 29-yard touchdown catch gave the Spartans a 34-31 win.
David Ruffer had given Notre Dame the lead with a 33-yard field goal earlier in overtime. Dayne Crist threw for 369 yards and four touchdowns for the Irish. Notre Dame took a 28-21 lead with 13:20 to play in the fourth quarter when Michael Floyd caught a 24-yard touchdown pass from Crist behind two defenders in the back of the end zone.
Kirk Cousins tied it by scrambling to his right and finding B.J. Cunningham along the right sideline for a 24-yard TD with 7:43 remaining. Until the final trick play, Michigan State was the more methodical team, content to push Notre Dame off the line of scrimmage and gain yards on the ground. Le'Veon Bell rushed for 114 yards, and Edwin Baker ran for 90.
After a 7-7 tie at halftime, Michigan State began finding more running room. Baker cut to the left through a big hole, then back to the right through the Notre Dame secondary for a 56-yard TD run just 40 seconds into the third quarter.
The Irish needed less than two minutes to equalize with their spread offense, going 74 yards in six plays and tying it at 14 on a 10-yard TD pass from Crist to Kyle Rudolph.
The teams then traded 11-play touchdown drives. Bell scored on a 16-yard run for Michigan State, and the Irish tied the game again on Crist's 15-yard TD pass to Theo Riddick. Notre Dame opened the scoring in the first quarter on Crist's 7-yard TD pass to Floyd.
The Irish appeared poised to take control in the second quarter after intercepting Cousins in the end zone, but Floyd fumbled after a catch, giving the Spartans the ball at their own 11. The Irish forced a punt and got the ball back in great field position at the Michigan State 27, but Crist threw an interception on the first play. After that, the Spartans finally started moving the ball, going 94 yards in seven plays and tying the game on a 6-yard TD pass from Cousins to Keshawn Martin with 2:22 left in the half.
SPARTANS RANK SECOND IN ALL-TIME VICTORIES vs. NOTRE DAME -
Michigan State ranks second among opponents in all-time victories (28) over Notre Dame. Only Southern Cal (35) has posted more wins over the Irish than the Spartans.
The Spartans recorded six-straight victories in Notre Dame Stadium from 1997-2007. The six-game winning streak marks the longest run by an Irish opponent in the 80-year history of Notre Dame Stadium.
MEGAPHONE TROPHY -
Since 1949, the winner of the Michigan State-Notre Dame game has been presented the Megaphone Trophy, sponsored jointly by the Detroit alumni clubs of both schools. The megaphone is printed half blue, with a gold ND monogram, and half white, with a green MSC. All previous game scores are listed on the trophy.
Michigan State and Notre Dame played 36 consecutive seasons from 1959-94 until the two-year interruption of the series in 1995-96. After the contract with Notre Dame expired following the 2011 game, the Spartans and Irish will meet 10 times over the next 14 seasons, with two-year breaks in 2014-15 and 2020-21.
MSU/NOTRE DAME CONNECTIONS -
Notre Dame's Brian Kelly succeeded Michigan State's Mark Dantonio as head coach at Cincinnati. Dantonio (2004-06) and Kelly (2007-09) each enjoyed three-year stints with the Bearcats.
Notre Dame tight ends coach Mike Denbrock spent two years as a graduate assistant at Michigan State (1988-89) under George Perles.
Michigan State assistant director of strength and conditioning Lorenzo Guess spent the last two seasons (2010-11) as an assistant director of strength and conditioning at Notre Dame while working with head coach Brian Kelly. Guess also worked with Kelly for one season at Cincinnati as a tight ends coach, helping the Bearcats to a 12-1 record in 2009 and an appearance in the Sugar Bowl following UC's second-straight BIG EAST Championship.
Michigan State's veteran play-by-play radio announcer George Blaha graduated from Notre Dame in 1966 with a degree in economics. Blaha is in his 35th season as the Spartans' radio voice.
SPARTANS FROM THE HOOSIER STATE -
Michigan State's 2012 roster features four players from Indiana: freshman quarterback Paul Andrie (Valparaiso), junior linebacker TyQuan Hammock (Fort Wayne/Bishop Luers), junior safety Isaiah Lewis (Indianapolis/Ben Davis) and freshman tight end Josiah Price (Greentown, Ind./Eastern).
NOTES FROM THE CENTRAL MICHIGAN GAME -
With the 41-7 victory over Central Michigan, Michigan State improved its lead in the series to 6-3. It was the first-ever game in the series played in Mount Pleasant and the crowd of 35,127 was the largest in Kelly/Shorts Stadium history.
Andrew Maxwell threw for a career-high 275 yards on 20-of-31 attempts against the Chippewas. He also threw a career-best two touchdown passes (20 yards to Dion Sims, 7 yards to Bennie Fowler). Maxwell became the first Spartan starting quarterback to win his first two starts since Jeff Smoker in 2000 (Missouri, Notre Dame).
Bennie Fowler registered career highs in receptions (8) and receiving yards (99), including a 7-yard TD reception in the third quarter.
Keith Mumphery posted career highs in receptions (4) and receiving yards (52).
Larry Caper compiled 66 yards rushing on nine carries (7.3 avg.). He recorded a career-long 39-yard rush in the third quarter.
Nick Hill scored his first career touchdown on a 1-yard run at the 9:39 mark in the fourth quarter and also had a career-long 31-yard punt return.
Isaiah Lewis returned an interception 40 yards in the first quarter, marking the fifth interception of his career (129 yards). Lewis also had an interception against CMU last season, running back the pick 37 yards for a touchdown.
Dan Conroy kicked two field goals (29 yards and 26 yards), giving him 35 for his career, which is tied for eighth in MSU history.
William Gholston led MSU with seven tackles, including two for losses (8 yards) and a 7-yard sack, to go along with two quarterback hurries and a pass break-up.
SPARTANS RETURN TO PRIME TIME -
Saturday's Michigan State-Notre Dame game marks just the 13th night game in the 89-year history of Spartan Stadium. The Spartans are 8-4 in their 12 previous prime-time TV appearances in Spartan Stadium. Four of those eight wins came over ranked opponents (No. 19 USC in 1987, No. 10 Notre Dame in 1998, No. 4 Wisconsin in 2011, No. 24 Boise State in 2012). Michigan State has won four-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 5-1 in night games played in Spartan Stadium.
Here are brief recaps of the previous 12 night games played in Spartan Stadium:
Sept. 7, 1987 (Michigan State 27, No. 19 Southern Cal 13)
In its first prime-time appearance, the Spartans upset No. 19 Southern Cal, 27-13, in the 1987 season opener, played on Labor Day. Lorenzo White rushed for 111 yards and two touchdowns while Bobby McAllister accounted for 163 total yards, including a 9-yard TD run, to pace the Spartan attack. Michigan State produced 13 points off five Southern Cal turnovers.
Sept. 12, 1998 (Michigan State 45, No. 10 Notre Dame 23)
Bill Burke completed 12-of-19 passes for 209 yards and three scores as Michigan State stunned No. 10 Notre Dame, 45-23. The Spartans got out of the gate early as Notre Dame's first possession ended in a blocked punt that Richard Newsome returned 25 yards for a touchdown. Michigan State scored TDs on its first four possessions. Julian Peterson's 23-yard interception return for a touchdown gave the Spartans a 42-3 halftime lead.
Sept. 2, 1999 (Michigan State 27, Oregon 20)
Michigan State battled back from a 17-7 third-quarter deficit to post a 27-20 victory over Oregon in the 1999 season opener. The Ducks built a 17-7 lead on A.J. Feeley's 18-yard touchdown strike to Tony Hartley with 9:30 left in the third quarter. The Spartans pulled even at 17 on Bill Burke's 12-yard TD toss to Gari Scott with 3:03 remaining in the third quarter. Michigan State took the lead for good at 24-17 on Amp Campbell's 85-yard fumble return for a touchdown early in the fourth quarter. Burke threw for 205 yards and two TDs while Lloyd Clemons gained 121 yards on 18 rushes.
Oct. 26, 2002 (Wisconsin 42, Michigan State 24)
Brooks Bollinger accounted for 193 total yards and five touchdowns to lead Wisconsin to a 42-24 victory over Michigan State. Wisconsin jumped out to a 21-0 lead, scoring on three-straight possessions in the first quarter. Bollinger scored on a 1-yard sneak, a 7-yard bootleg around right end and flipped a 3-yard TD pass to Mark Bell in the first quarter. Bollinger completed 10-of-18 throws for 135 yards and three scores. Wisconsin's ground game amassed 313 yards, with Anthony Davis (29 for 170) and Smith (14 for 110) each posting 100-yard rushing games. In his second career start for the Spartans, Damon Dowdell hit 14-of-24 passes for 162 yards, including TD tosses of 7 yards to BJ Lovett and 26 yards to Charles Rogers.
Sept. 18, 2004 (Notre Dame 31, Michigan State 24)
Brady Quinn threw for one touchdown and ran for another score to lead Notre Dame to a 31-24 victory over Michigan State. The Fighting Irish parlayed six takeaways into 17 points. Notre Dame took the lead for good at 14-7 with :07 remaining in the first quarter as Tom Zbikowski stripped the ball from Jason Teague and returned the fumble 75 yards for a score. The Irish built a 21-7 halftime lead on Quinn's 35-yard TD strike to Matt Shelton with 8:52 to play in the first half. Notre Dame extended its lead to 28-7 on Ryan Grant's 6-yard TD run late in the third quarter. Drew Stanton came off the Spartan bench to account for 159 total yards (110 passing, 49 rushing) in the second half, including a 4-yard TD run in the closing seconds. Quinn completed 11-of-24 throws for 215 yards, while Shelton caught three passes for 123 yards.
Sept. 23, 2006 (Notre Dame 40, Michigan State 37)
Notre Dame cornerback Terrail Lambert capped a furious rally by returning an interception 19 yards for a touchdown with 2:53 remaining to give the 12th-ranked Fighting Irish a 40-37 victory over the Spartans. Lambert followed up his score by ending the Spartans' comeback hopes moments later with a juggling interception of Drew Stanton's pass in the closing seconds of the game. Michigan State scored on three of its first four possessions to build a 17-0 first-quarter lead. Stanton capped an eight-play, 59-yard drive with a 15-yard scoring strike to Kerry Reed late in the first half as the Spartans took a 31-14 halftime lead. Jehuu Caulcrick's 30-yard TD run with 5:50 left in the third quarter gave MSU a 37-21 advantage. The Irish offense clicked late, led by quarterback Brady Quinn, who finished 20-of-36 for 319 yards with five TDs against one interception. In the fourth quarter, the Irish pulled to within three at 37-33, as Quinn threw TD passes to Jeff Samardzija (43 yards) and Rhema McKnight (14 yards). Caulcrick finished with 111 yards and a TD on eight carries. Stanton ran for 53 yards and completed 10 of 22 passes for 114 yards, two TDs and two interceptions.
Oct. 13, 2007 (Michigan State 52, Indiana 27)
Javon Ringer rushed for 203 yards and two touchdowns on 29 carries to help Michigan State to a 52-27 Homecoming victory over Indiana. Brian Hoyer was 20-for-23 for 190 yards and a TD for the Spartans, who led by as many as 32 points in the third quarter. Jehuu Caulcrick rushed for three TDs and Devin Thomas caught 13 passes for 148 yards and a TD. Indiana's high-powered offense was kept off the field much of the game by Michigan State, which dominated time of possession. The Spartans had the ball for just over 41 minutes. Kellen Lewis ran for a TD and passed for another for the Hoosiers, while James Hardy caught six passes for 121 yards and a TD.
Oct. 24, 2009 (No. 7 Iowa 15, Michigan State 13)
Ricky Stanzi hooked up with Marvin McNutt for a 7-yard touchdown pass as time expired to give No. 7 Iowa a 15-13 victory over Michigan State. The Spartans had grabbed a 13-9 lead with 1:37 remaining when Kirk Cousins hit Blair White with a 30-yard TD strike. But the Hawkeyes stormed back with a 10-play, 70-yard game-winning drive. Adam Robinson paced the Iowa ground attack with 27 carries for 109 yards. Cousins completed 16-of-32 passes for 225 yards for MSU.
Sept. 18, 2010 (Michigan State 34, Notre Dame 31)
Aaron Bates' 29-yard touchdown pass to tight end Charlie Gantt off a fake field goal gave Michigan State a 34-31 overtime victory over Notre Dame. With less than 10 minutes to play in the fourth quarter, MSU trailed the Irish, 28-21. Kirk Cousins capped off a four-play, 56-yard drive with a 24-yard TD strike to B.J. Cunningham to tie the score at 28 with 7:43 left in regulation. Cousins completed 23-of-33 throws for 245 yards, two TDs and one interception, while tailbacks Le'Veon Bell and Edwin Baker combined to rush for 204 yards and two scores. Irish quarterback Dayne Crist connected on 32-of-55 passes for 369 yards, four TDs and one interception.
Sept. 2, 2011 (No. 17 Michigan State 28, Youngstown State 6)
Kirk Cousins completed 18-of-22 throws for 222 yards and a touchdown while Le'Veon Bell rushed for two scores to lead No. 17 Michigan State to a 28-6 victory over Youngstown State. The Spartans took the lead for good at 14-6 on Bell's 3-yard TD run late in the first half. MSU extended its lead to 21-6 on Cousins' 18-yard TD strike to B.J. Cunningham late in the third quarter. Cunningham finished with nine receptions for 130 yards. A 13-yard interception return by Isaiah Lewis set up Bell's second rushing TD midway through the fourth quarter. In the second half, the Spartans limited Youngstown State to six first downs and 81 total yards.
Oct. 22, 2011 (No. 15 Michigan State 37, No. 4 Wisconsin 31)
Kirk Cousins connected on 22-of-31 throws for 290 yards and three touchdowns, including a 44-yard Hail Mary pass to Keith Nichol on the final play of regulation, to give No. 15 Michigan State a dramatic 37-31 win over No. 4 Wisconsin. Cousins also completed scoring passes of 35 yards to B.J. Cunningham and 15 yards to Keshawn Martin. Trailing 14-0, the Spartans scored 23 unanswered points in the second quarter. Down 31-17 in the fourth quarter, Wisconsin rallied to tie the score at 31 on Russell Wilson's 22-yard TD run and his 2-yard scoring toss to Montee Ball with 1:26 left. The two times combined to produce 842 total yards.
Aug. 31, 2012 (No. 13 Michigan State 17, No. 24 Boise State 13)
Le'Veon Bell ran for a career-high 210 yards on 44 carries, helping No. 13 Michigan State outlast No. 24 Boise State 17-13, in the 2012 season opener. The junior's second touchdown of the night - a 5-yard run with 8:12 remaining - helped the Spartans avoid an upset on a night Bell outgained the Broncos all by himself. After Bell's touchdown put the Spartans ahead, the Broncos drove to the Michigan State 42, but Joe Southwick's pass on fourth-and-2 was broken up. The Spartans then ran off the final 6:32. The Broncos' only touchdown came on Jeremy Ioane's 43-yard interception return in the second quarter. Michigan State held Boise State without an offensive touchdown for the first time since the Broncos were shut out by Washington State, 58-0, on Sept. 27, 1997. The 13 points marked the Broncos' second-lowest point total under Chris Petersen (10 vs. Washington in 2007), and the 37 rushing yards and 206 yards of total offense for BSU were both lows in the Petersen era. The Spartans outgained Boise State 461 yards to 206 but turned the ball over four times. The Broncos had won six straight against BCS-conference teams. Michigan State leaned on Bell, especially after new starting quarterback Andrew Maxwell threw three first-half interceptions. Maxwell finished 22 of 38 for 248 yards. Southwick, replacing Moore at quarterback, went 15 of 31 for 169 yards with an interception.
UPSET SPECIALS -
Michigan State is 24-33 (.421) in its last 57 games against teams ranked in The Associated Press Top 25. The Spartans have won six of their last 10 games played against AP Top 25 teams (2010-12), including a 3-2 record in 2011 (with wins over No. 11 Michigan on Oct. 15, No. 4 Wisconsin on Oct. 22 and No. 18 Georgia on Jan. 2, and losses at No. 13 Nebraska on Oct. 29 and vs. No. 15 Wisconsin on Dec. 3). Eighteen of those 24 wins over ranked teams have come while Michigan State was unranked or ranked below its opponent. Thirteen of the last 26 games against AP Top 25 teams have been decided by nine points or less.
For the second year in a row, Michigan State defeated ranked opponents on back-to-back Saturdays (2011: 28-14 over No. 11 Michigan and 37-31 over No. 4 Wisconsin). In 2010, MSU knocked off No. 11 Wisconsin and No. 18 Michigan on consecutive weekends. The Spartans have defeated three ranked opponents in the same season seven times in program history.
Under head coach Mark Dantonio, Michigan State has defeated nine ranked opponents: No. 24 (AP)/No. 22 (USA TODAY) Boise State in 2012; No. 11 (AP)/No. 10 (USA TODAY) Michigan, No. 4 (AP/USA TODAY) Wisconsin and No. 18 Georgia (AP/USA TODAY) in 2011; No. 11 (AP)/No. 9 (USA TODAY) Wisconsin and No. 18 (AP)/No. 17 (USA TODAY) Michigan in 2010; No. 22 (AP) Michigan in 2009; No. 22 (USA TODAY) Northwestern in 2008; and No. 22 (USA TODAY) Penn State in 2007.
Since 1998, Michigan State is 9-8 (.529) against teams ranked in the AP Top 10, including a 6-3 record (.667) in games played in Spartan Stadium. (Note: For a complete list of all-time results against ranked opponents, please refer to pages 132-134 in the 2012 MSU Football Media Guide.)
BELL PACES GROUND GAME -
Junior running back Le'Veon Bell ranks second in the Big Ten and sixth in the NCAA FBS in rushing, averaging 140.0 yards per game. The Columbus, Ohio, native is also tied for first in the conference in scoring (12.0 ppg.) and rushing touchdowns (4), and second in all-purpose yards (167.5 ypg.).
Bell rushed for 70 yards on 18 carries (3.9 avg.) and scored two touchdowns in the win over Central Michigan. He has four rushing TDs this season and 25 for his career, tying him with Craig Thomas (1990-93) for 10th most in MSU history.
Bell collected several weekly honors after his career night helped lead Michigan State past No. 24 Boise State, 17-13, in the season-opening win. He was named the Big Ten Co-Offensive Player of the Week by the conference office and also the Big Ten Player of the Week by ESPN.com. In addition, he was named the Heisman Player of the Week by CBSSports.com. Bell set career highs for rushing attempts (44), rushing yards (210), receptions (6), receiving yards (55) and all-purpose yards (265) against the Broncos. He outgained the entire Boise State offense, 210-206, and 84 of his 210 yards came after contact. In addition, Bell's 265 all-purpose yards rank as the 10th-highest single-game total in Spartan history, and his 44 carries tied for fourth most in school history.
Bell's 210 rushing yards against Boise State tied for the 23rd-highest single-game total in school history, and he became the first Spartan running back to eclipse the 200-yard mark since Javon Ringer gained 201 yards on 39 rushes against Notre Dame in 2008. The 210 rushing yards were also the most by a Big Ten running back in a season opener since Purdue's Ralph Bolden in 2009 (234 vs. Toledo) and the most by a Spartan in an opener since T.J. Duckett in 2000 (219 vs. Marshall).
Bell has rushed for 1,833 yards and 25 touchdowns in 29 career games. He ranks among MSU's all-time leaders in rushing TDs (tied for 10th with 25), rushing average (15th at 5.22), rushing yards (18th with 1,833) and rushing attempts (19th with 351).
MAXWELL WINS FIRST CAREER START -
Fourth-year junior Andrew Maxwell completed 22-of-38 passes for 248 yards and three interceptions to help lead MSU to a 17-13 win over No. 24 Boise State in his first career start. Maxwell spent the past two seasons as Kirk Cousins' understudy.
Maxwell is the first Spartan starting quarterback to win his first two starts since Jeff Smoker in 2000 (Missouri, Notre Dame).
Michigan State's last 19 quarterbacks have compiled a 13-6 record (.684) in their first collegiate start, including a 9-2 mark in home games.
Charlie Gantt NAMED HONORARY CAPTAIN -
Charlie Gantt, a four-year letterwinniner (2007-10) and three-year starter from Farmington Hills, Mich., had 65 career receptions for 951 yards (14.6 avg.) and nine TDs. His career totals rank among the best ever produced by a Spartan tight end (tied for third in TD receptions; sixth in both receptions and receiving yards). He played in 43 career games, including 39 consecutive starts at tight end.
A second-team All-Big Ten selection by the media in 2010, Gantt ranked fourth on the team in receptions with a career high 24 for 301 yards (12.5 avg.) and three touchdowns. The 6-foot-5, 255-pound tight end matched his career high with four receptions each at Penn State (38 yards) and Iowa (35). His 3-yard TD grab from wide receiver Keith Nichol with 8:31 left in the fourth quarter proved to be the game winner against the Nittany Lions as MSU claimed its first Big Ten Championship since 1990. He had three catches each at Northwestern (20) and against Wisconsin (41), including a 1-yard TD grab from Kirk Cousins that gave MSU a 27-17 lead late in the third quarter. His 29-yard TD reception from holder Aaron Bates, off a fake field-goal attempt, gave MSU a 34-31 overtime victory over Notre Dame.
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 (senior offensive tackle Fou Fonoti vs. Notre Dame).