Undefeated Spartans Travel to No. 22 Notre Dame
Sept. 20, 2013
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 116 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.
Michigan State is off to a 3-0 start for the first time since 2010 and for the third time under seventh-year head coach Mark Dantonio (2007, 2010). The Spartans have opened the 2013 campaign with wins over Western Michigan, South Florida and Youngstown State.
Through three games, Michigan State's defense ranks No. 1 in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision in total defense (177.0 yards per game) and pass efficiency defense (68.14 rating). The Spartans also rank among the national leaders in opponent third-down conversions (second at 16 percent; 7-for-45), rushing defense (fourth at 50.3 ypg.), pass defense (fifth at 126.7 ypg.) and scoring defense (12th at 12.0 ppg.). Michigan State and Alabama are the only two schools to rank in the top 15 nationally in total defense, scoring defense, pass defense and rushing defense during both the 2011 and 2012 seasons. In addition, Michigan State's defense has allowed just 2.90 yards per play, which ranks No. 1 in the FBS.
After not scoring any defensive touchdowns in 2012, the Spartans have already recorded four this season, which is the most by any team in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision through two games (Kurtis Drummond 21-yard interception vs. Western Michigan; Shilique Calhoun 16-yard fumble recovery vs. WMU; Calhoun 4-yard fumble recovery vs. South Florida; Calhoun 56-yard interception vs. USF). Michigan State has scored 18 defensive touchdowns under Dantonio, including five each in 2007 and 2011. It marked the first time in Michigan State history (single-game records dating back to 1946) that the Spartans have scored four defensive TDs in the first two games of the season.
Michigan State has compiled a 47-17 record (.734) in games played against non-conference opponents since 1999. Mark Dantonio is 24-9 (.727) against non-conference opponents, including a 19-2 record (.905) in Spartan Stadium. Overall, the Spartans have won 30 of their last 40 non-league games.
The Spartans have won 32 of their last 43 games (.744), dating back to the beginning of the 2010 season. The 32 wins are tied for the most in the Big Ten and 11th most among NCAA FBS teams during that same time period.
The Spartans limited Youngstown State to 51 yards rushing on 20 carries (2.5 yards per rushing attempt). In 82 games as under head coach Mark Dantonio, the Spartans have held their opponents below 100 yards rushing on 38 occasions (46 percent).
STAT LEADERS -
Notre Dame (after three games):
THE LAST MEETING - Sept. 15, 2012, in East Lansing, Mich.: Everett Golson threw a touchdown pass and ran for a score in the first half to help No. 20 Notre Dame beat No. 10 Michigan State 20-3. The Fighting Irish snapped a six-game losing streak against ranked teams and beat a top-10 opponent for the first time in seven years. The Spartans had won 15 straight at home, which included a win over the Irish in 2010 on a fake field goal in overtime. Michigan State had its worst showing on offense at home since losing 20-3 to Central Michigan in 1991.
Golson was 14 of 32 for 178 yards and a TD, a 36-yard pass to John Goodman. He ran for a 6-yard TD early in the second quarter to give Notre Dame a 14-0 lead. Andrew Maxwell was 23 of 45 for 187 yards and Le'Veon Bell had 77 yards rushing on 19 carries for the Spartans. On Notre Dame's second drive, Golson eluded a rush as he rolled to the right and threw back across the field on a 36-yard TD pass to Goodman for a 7-0 lead. Maxwell threw a pass on the ensuing possession into the end zone that Bennie Fowler dropped in what proved to be the Spartans best shot to score more than a field goal. Maxwell was sacked three times in the second quarter alone, and one of those hits behind the line forced a punt that gave Notre Dame good field position. Golson took advantage, scoring on a 6-yard run on a play that was designed to be a pass to cap a 51-yard drive and give the Irish a 14-0 lead early in the second quarter.
Michigan State responded with a 13-play drive that ended with Dan Conroy making a 50-yard field goal to match his career high and make it 14-3 late in the first half. The third quarter included four punts for each team in the third quarter in a defense-controlled game that included eight punts for both teams.
Kyle Brindza made a 29-yard field goal at the end of a time-consuming drive that took 6:21 off the clock and gave the Irish a 17-3 lead. Michigan State's slim comeback hopes were dashed when Bell was going out of bounds and his lateral was caught by linebacker Manti Te'o with 4:20 left in the game to set up Brindza's 47-yard field goal that made it 20-3.
SPARTANS FROM THE HOOSIER STATE -
MSU PROGRAM NOTES -
MSU's 32 wins since 2010 ties for 11th most among NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision teams and is tied for most in the Big Ten during that same period. The Spartans have posted three consecutive winning seasons, a first for the program since recording six in a row from 1985-90. MSU has won 32 of their last 43 games (.744), dating back to the beginning of the 2010 season.
Michigan State has appeared in a school-record six consecutive bowl games (2007 Champs Sports Bowl, 2009 Capital One Bowl, 2010 Alamo Bowl, 2011 Capital One Bowl, 2012 Outback Bowl, 2012 Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl). The six-year bowl streak is currently tied for the 18th longest in the NCAA FBS and second longest in the Big Ten.
In the past four seasons, MSU has recorded 27 Big Ten victories, the most of any team in the conference (Note: Ohio State won 32 games, but had to vacate seven victories following the 2010 season.). The Spartans produced back-to-back 11-win seasons in 2010-11 for the first time in program history, claimed a share of the Big Ten Championship in 2010, and won the inaugural Big Ten Legends Divisions title in 2011.
SPARTAN DEFENSE RANKS AMONG THE BEST IN THE FBS -
After not scoring any defensive touchdowns in 2012, the Spartans have already recorded four this season, which is the most by any team in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision through two games (Kurtis Drummond 21-yard interception vs. Western Michigan; Shilique Calhoun 16-yard fumble recovery vs. WMU; Calhoun 4-yard fumble recovery vs. South Florida; Calhoun 56-yard interception vs. USF). Michigan State has scored 18 defensive touchdowns under Dantonio, including five each in 2007 and 2011. It marks the first time in Michigan State history (single-game records dating back to 1946) that the Spartans have scored four defensive TDs in the first two games of the season.
The Spartans limited Youngstown State to 51 yards rushing on 20 carries (2.5 yards per rushing attempt). In 82 games as under head coach Mark Dantonio, the Spartans have held their opponents below 100 yards rushing on 38 occasions (46 percent), including all three games this season.
Michigan State has led the Big Ten in total defense and rushing defense the past two seasons.
Michigan State returns seven starters and 11 players with starting experience from the Big Ten's top-ranked defense in 2012. The Spartan defense ranked among the NCAA FBS Top 10 in eight categories: touchdowns allowed (second with 16), pass efficiency defense (third at 98.8), total defense (fourth at 274.4 ypg.), pass break-ups (tied for eighth at 4.8 pg.), rushing defense (eighth at 98.6 ypg.), third-down defense (eighth at .305), pass defense (ninth at 175.8 ypg.) and scoring defense (ninth at 16.3 ppg.). In addition, MSU also led the Big Ten in six defensive categories (touchdowns allowed, total defense, scoring defense, pass efficiency defense, rushing defense and third-down defense).
The Spartans are one of just five NCAA FBS schools, along with Alabama, Florida State, Florida and LSU, to rank among the Top 10 nationally in total defense the past two seasons. Michigan State ranked fourth in total defense in 2012 (274.4 ypg.) and sixth in 2011 (277.4 ypg).
MSU has also ranked in the NCAA FBS Top 10 the past two seasons in rushing defense (eighth in 2012 at 98.6 yppg.; ninth in 2011 at 100.5 ypg.) and scoring defense (ninth in 2012 at 16.3 ppg.; 10th in 2011 at 18.4 ppg). Michigan State, Alabama and Florida State are the only schools in the nation to rank among the NCAA FBS Top 10 in total defense, rushing defense and scoring defense the past two seasons.
In addition, MSU has ranked among the NCAA FBS Top 15 in pass defense in 2011 (11th at 176.9 ypg.) and 2012 (ninth at 175.8 ypg.). Michigan State and Alabama are the only two programs in the country to rank in the NCAA FBS Top 15 the past two seasons in total defense, rushing defense, passing defense and scoring defense.
The Spartans return five players who received All-Big Ten recognition on defense in 2012, including first-team selections Max Bullough (LB) and Darqueze Dennard (CB). Senior linebacker Denicos Allen, senior strong safety Isaiah Lewis and junior defensive end Marcus Rush earned honorable mention All-Big Ten accolades from the coaches and media.
Senior linebacker Max Bullough has led the Spartans in tackles the previous two seasons (89 in 2011; career-high 111 in 2012). Bullough was re-elected a team captain and is just the third Spartan to be named a captain at least twice in the Dantonio era (Greg Jones, 2009-10; Kirk Cousins, 2009-11). Bullough is featured on preseason watch lists for the Bednarik (defensive player of the year), Butkus (nation's best linebacker) and Lombardi (nation's best lineman) Awards, and also was named to the Nagurski Trophy (defensive player of the year), Lott IMPACT Trophy and College Football Performance Awards Linebacker Trophy Watch Lists. He was a preseason All-America selection by Phil Steele's College Football Preview (second team) and Athlon Sports (third team).
In 2012, the Spartans surrendered 16 offensive touchdowns (six rushing, 10 passing) - the second-fewest allowed in the NCAA FBS. Only Notre Dame (15) permitted fewer TDs. Through three games in 2013, the Spartans have allowed four touchdowns (one rushing, three passing), tied for 14th fewest in the FBS.
Since the beginning of 2011, Michigan State has held 18 opponents under 100 rushing yards (seven in 2011; eight in 2012; three in 2013). In addition, MSU has held nine opponents under 50 yards rushing (three times in 2011; five in 2012; once in 2013) since 2011.
Since the beginning of the 2010 season, Michigan State's defense has held 11 opponents to less than 10 points.
Michigan State has forced at least one turnover in 65 of 82 games over the last seven seasons (79 percent of the games played since 2007).
SPARTANS LEAD FBS IN DEFENSIVE TOUCHDOWNS -
In three games this season, the Spartans have forced their opponents to go three-and-out on 24 of 43 possessions (56 percent; 8.0 per game). [Three-and-out: either holding opponent without a first down within its first three plays on a new series or forcing a turnover in the first three plays.]
SCOUTING NOTRE DAME -
The Irish have won nine consecutive games at Notre Dame Stadium. Michigan State is looking for its first win in Notre Dame Stadium since 2007. Prior to falling at Notre Dame in 2009 and 2011, the Spartans had won a record six-straight games at Notre Dame Stadium.
Senior quarterback Tommy Rees ranks seventh in the FBS in passing yards (969) and 13th in passing yards per game (323.0). Rees was the starting quarterback for Notre Dame in UND's 31-13 win over Michigan State in 2011; he completed 18-of-26 passes for 161 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
Junior running back Amir Carlisle leads the team in rushing, averaging 49.3 yards per game.
Senior wide receiver TJ Jones is the team's top receiving threat with 19 catches for 289 yards and one touchdown. Junior DaVaris Daniels leads the team with four touchdown receptions and has 17 catches for 299 yards.
Senior linebacker Dan Fox anchors the Irish defense and leads the team with 24 tackles. The Irish return eight starters from last season's team that ranked second in the FBS in scoring defense (12.8 ppg.) and seventh in total defense (305.5 ypg.).
NOTES FROM THE YOUNGSTOWN STATE GAME -
Michigan State leads the all-time series against Youngstown State, 2-0. The Spartans defeated Youngstown State, 28-6, in the 2011 season opener.
Michigan State also improved to 4-0 all-time against opponents from the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision (FCS).
Under Mark Dantonio, Michigan State has produced a 34-11 record (.756) in home games, including a 14-game winning streak spanning the 2010 and 2011 seasons.
Michigan State topped 50 points for the first time since the 2011 home finale, a 55-3 victory over Indiana (Nov. 19, 2011). MSU's 55 points also matched its top single-game scoring total under Dantonio (55 vs. UAB in 2007 season opener). The 30 first downs also equaled MSU's top single-game total under Dantonio (30 vs. Western Michigan in Week 10 in 2009).
Michigan State produced 547 total yards (277 rushing and 270 passing) - its highest single-game total since rolling up 602 total yards against Western Michigan in Week 10 in 2009. The 547 yards total offense also marked MSU's fifth-highest single-game figure under Dantonio.
Sophomore quarterback Connor Cook recorded his first career 200-yard passing game, setting personal bests for completions (15), attempts (22), passing yards (202) and touchdown passes (4). Cook became the first Spartan QB to throw four TD passes in a game since Brian Hoyer against Penn State in 2007. He also became the first MSU QB to throw four TD passes in a half since Drew Stanton had four scoring tosses in the first half at Illinois in 2005. Cook threw TD passes of 13 yards to Andre Sims Jr., 12 to Trevon Pendleton, 24 to Macgarrett Kings Jr. and 17 to Bennie Fowler. He also finished with a career-best 227 total yards (202 passing and 25 rushing).
Sophomore Andre Sims Jr. scored his first career touchdown on a 13-yard toss from Connor Cook in the first quarter, while sophomore fullback Trevon Pendleton's first career catch went for a score (12 yard from Cook late in the first quarter).
Red-shirt freshman tight end Josiah Price set single-game highs for catches (3) and receiving yards (28).
Michigan State rushed 49 times for 277 yards (5.7 yards per carry) and three touchdowns against Youngstown State. Junior Nick Hill paced the ground attack with nine carries for a career-best 83 yards, including a career-long 35-yard TD run in the third quarter. Hill also accounted for a career-best 144 all-purpose yards (83 rushing yards, 43 kickoff return yards and 18 punt return yards). Junior Jeremy Langford gained 68 yards on 15 attempts and scored a career-best two TDs. Red-shirt freshman Riley Bullough carried 10 times for 34 yards.
For the second game in a row, Michigan State's defense allowed fewer than 180 total yards (172 by Youngstown State and 155 by South Florida). The Spartans limited Youngstown State to 51 yards rushing on 20 carries (2.5 yards per rushing attempt). In 82 games as under head coach Mark Dantonio, the Spartans have held their opponents below 100 yards rushing on 38 occasions (46 percent).
Fifth-year senior outside linebacker Jairus Jones recorded a career-best seven tackles against Youngstown State, including one for a 2-yard loss. Fifth-year senior nose tackle Micajah Reynolds produced a career-high six tackles against the Penguins.
Sophomore defensive end Shilique Calhoun recovered a fumble in his third-straight game. Calhoun also recorded a sack for the second game in a row.
Fifth-year senior kicker Kevin Muma accounted for a career-best 13 points against Youngstown State, going a perfect 2-for-2 on field-goal and 7-for-7 on extra-point attempts. Muma also matched his career high with two made field goals (from 20 and 22 yards in the fourth quarter).
CALHOUN EMERGES AS PLAYMAKER ON D-LINE -
Calhoun collected several weekly honors after scoring two touchdowns and recording two tackles for loss, including a 9-yard sack, in Michigan State's 21-6 win over South Florida on Sept. 7 at Spartan Stadium. He totaled 43.5 production points against the Bulls.
The 6-foot-4, 250-pound Calhoun was named the Walter Camp Football Foundation National Defensive Player of the Week, Chuck Bednarik Award National Defensive Player of the Week, FWAA/Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week, CBSSports.com National Defensive Player of the Week and College Football Performance Awards National Defensive Performer of the Week. He also was selected CFPA National Defensive Lineman of the Week and Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week. In additon, Calhoun was listed on the Paul Hornung Award Honor Roll for Week 2.
Calhoun scored two touchdowns against USF, returning a fumble 4 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter and his first career interception 56 yards for another score in the third quarter. He was credited with three solo tackles against the Bulls, with two resulting in losses (12 yards) including a 9-yard sack, and two quarterback hurries. Michigan State's defense allowed 12 first downs, 89 rushing yards (2.5 yards per carry), 66 passing yards and 155 total yards against South Florida.
In three games, Calhoun has scored three defensive TDs, as he also returned a fumble 16 yards against Western Michigan. His three defensive TDs tie a modern-day Michigan State single-season record (games dating back to 1946), and he became the first Spartan to accomplish the feat in the first two games of the season. Calhoun is the first Spartan defensive player to score three TDs in one season since linebacker T.J. Turner accounted for three in 12 games in 1999 (88-yard interception return at Purdue; 26-yard fumble return at Northwestern; and 24-yard fumble return vs. Florida in 2000 Florida Citrus Bowl).
Calhoun is the only defensive player in the Football Bowl Subdivision this season to score three touchdowns in the first three games and ranks third on the team in scoring with 18 points.
SPARTANS RANK SECOND IN ALL-TIME VICTORIES vs. NOTRE DAME -
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 -
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 wide receivers coach/passing game coordinator 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 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 36th season as the Spartans' radio voice.
BOBBY MORSE NAMED HONORARY CAPTAIN -
Morse was a four-year letterwinner from 1983-86 under head coach George Perles. The Muskegon, Mich., native totaled 2,005 all-purpose yards and scored 13 touchdowns in 44 career games. He rushed for 651 yards on 161 carries (4.0 avg.) and nine touchdowns, including a career-best 398 yards as a senior in 1986. He also had 102 receptions for 723 yards and three touchdowns.
Morse ranks seventh all-time in the MSU record book with 557 punt return yards, including an 87-yard punt return for a touchdown in MSU's 19-7 win at No. 13 Michigan in 1984. He led the Big Ten and ranked No. 5 in the NCAA in punt return yards in 1984 with 218 (10.9 avg.).
Morse rushed for nearly 1,000 yards his senior season at Muskegon Catholic Central and led the team to the 1982 Class B state title. He was named first-team all-state by the Detroit Free Press and The Detroit News.
His father, Jim Sr., and brother, Jim Jr., played football at Notre Dame. Jim Sr. was in the Irish backfield from 1954-56 and played with Heisman Trophy winner Paul Hornung. Jim Jr. played at UND as a defensive back in 1976-77.
MSU vs. NOTRE DAME RANKS AMONG NATION'S OLDEST RIVALRIES -
SPARTANS IN THE NFL -
Arizona Cardinals: QB Drew Stanton
Two former Michigan State players are listed on NFL practice squads (as of Tuesday, Sept. 17):
One former Michigan State player is listed on NFL injured reserve (as of Tuesday, Sept. 17):
Pittsburgh Steelers: WR Plaxico Burress
One former Michigan State player is listed on NFL reserve/physically unable to perform (as of Tuesday, Sept. 17):
Green Bay Packers: DT Jerel Worthy
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