Sept. 20, 2007
2007 MSU Football Weekly Release vs. Notre Dame
Download Free Acrobat Reader
DATE: Saturday, Sept. 22, 2007
SITE: Notre Dame Stadium (80,795/natural grass), Notre Dame, Ind.
KICKOFF: 3:43 p.m. EDT
BROADCAST COVERAGE: Radio - The Spartan Radio Network, featuring veteran play-by-play announcer George Blaha, color analyst Jim Miller, sideline reporter Jason Strayhorn and broadcast host Will Tieman, will broadcast the game to 38 affiliates throughout the state. Michigan State football broadcasts can be heard locally on flagship station WJIM (AM 1240) and WMMQ (FM 94.9) and in Detroit on WJR Radio (AM 760). The MSU-Notre Dame game can be heard live on XM Satellite Radio (Channel 198). Television - NBC Sports will televise the Michigan State-Notre Dame game live, with Tom Hammond handling the play-by-play, Pat Haden providing color commentary and Alex Flanagan serving as the sideline reporter.
FIRST-AND-10 (what you need to know about Saturday's MSU-Notre Dame matchup) -
Saturday's game marks the 71st meeting between Michigan State and Notre Dame. The last eight games in the series all have been decided by 10 points or less. The Irish lead the all-time series 44-25-1, including a 26-12 record in games played in South Bend, Ind., and a 15-12 mark in games played in Notre Dame Stadium.
The Spartans have won seven of the last 10 meetings, including five-straight victories in Notre Dame Stadium, tying Purdue (1954-62) for the longest winning streak by an Irish opponent in South Bend.
Michigan State ranks second (tied with Purdue) among opponents in all-time victories (25) over Notre Dame. Only Southern Cal (31) has posted more wins over the Irish than the Spartans and Boilermakers.
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.
Mark Dantonio will attempt to become the fifth-consecutive Michigan State head coach (George Perles, 1983: W, 28-23; Nick Saban, 1997: W, 23-7; Bobby Williams, 2001: W, 17-10; and John L. Smith, 2003: W, 22-16) to produce a win in his first trip to Notre Dame Stadium.
Michigan State has compiled a 26-8 record (.765) in games played against non-conference opponents since 1999. The Spartans have won nine of their last 10 non-league games.
MSU defensive end Jonal Saint-Dic shares Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week honors (with Ohio State's linebacker James Laurinaitis) after recording five tackles, including three for losses (13 yards), and forcing two fumbles in Michigan State's 17-13 victory over Pittsburgh. Two of Saint-Dic's three tackles for losses resulted in sacks (11 yards).
MSU flanker Devin Thomas ranks No. 3 in the Big Ten and No. 16 in the NCAA in receiving yards, averaging 105.0 yards per game. He also ranks among the league (No. 2) and NCAA (No. 9) leaders in all-purpose yards, averaging 194.7 ypg. Thomas leads the team in receptions with 12 for 315 yards, averaging an impressive 26.2 yards per catch. Ten of his 12 receptions have resulted in either a touchdown or a first down, including six gains of 20 yards or more.
Michigan State ranks among the NCAA leaders in rushing defense (No. 28 at 88.7 yards per game), pass efficiency defense (No. 19 with a 98.7 rating), total defense (No. 21 at 286.7 ypg.) and scoring defense (No. 19 at 16.0 points per game).
Through three games, MSU's defense has recorded 17 sacks, one more than it produced during the entire 2006 season (12 games).
THE COACHES -
(South Carolina 1979) is 3-0 (1.000) in his first year with the Spartans and 21-17 (.553) in four seasons as a college head coach. Dantonio compiled an 18-17 record (.514) in three seasons at Cincinnati, including two postseason bowl appearances. Prior to accepting his first head coaching position at Cincinnati, he spent three years as defensive coordinator under Jim Tressel at Ohio State (2001-03) where he helped the Buckeyes to a combined record of 32-6 (.842), including the 2002 National Championship. Dantonio previously spent six seasons as secondary coach at Michigan State (1995-2000), including five years under Nick Saban and one under Bobby Williams
. His college full-time coaching credits also include stops at Kansas (1991-94), Youngstown State (1986-90) and Akron (1985).
Notre Dame's Charlie Weis (Notre Dame 1978) is 19-9 (.679) in his third year as head coach of the Fighting Irish. In his first two seasons, Weis led the Irish back-to-back BCS appearances: 2006 Fiesta Bowl (9-3 in 2005) and 2007 Sugar Bowl (10-3 in 2006). Weis previously spent 15 seasons as an assistant coach in the National Football League, winning four Super Bowl championship rings. In his five seasons (2000-04) as offensive coordinator under Bill Belichick, New England won three Super Bowl crowns (following the 2001, 2003 and 2004 seasons). Weis spent 10 years as an assistant coach under Bill Parcells, including stints with the New York Giants (1990-92), New England Patriots (1993-96) and New York Jets (1997-99).
TEAM COMPARISONS -
Michigan State Notre Dame
Basic Offense Multiple Pro Set
Basic Defense Multiple 4-3 Multiple
Offensive Starters Returning 6 3
Defensive Starters Returning 6 5
Specialists Returning 1 2
AVERAGE HEIGHTS & WEIGHTS (STARTERS) -
Michigan State Notre Dame
Offensive Line & Tight End 6-5, 298 6-6, 295
Offensive Backs & Wide Receivers 6-1, 211 6-0, 212
Defensive Line 6-3, 268 6-2, 281
Linebackers 6-0, 231 6-3, 239
Defensive Backs 6-0, 190 6-0, 196
CLASS BREAKDOWN (STARTERS) -
Michigan State Offense: 3 seniors, 5 juniors, 2 sophomores, 1 freshman
Michigan State Defense: 6 seniors, 2 juniors, 1 sophomore, 2 freshmen
Notre Dame Offense: 3 seniors, 4 juniors, 3 sophomores, 1 freshman
Notre Dame Defense: 7 seniors, 2 juniors, 2 sophomores
STAT LEADERS -
Michigan State (after three games):
Rushing - Javon Ringer (55 carries for 255 yards, 4.6 avg., 1 TD)
Passing - Brian Hoyer (45 of 74 for 634 yards, 3 TDs, 2 INTs)
Receiving - Devin Thomas (12 catches for 315 yards, 26.2 avg., 2 TDs)
Tackles - Kendell Davis-Clark (22 tackles, 12 solos, 10 assists, 1 sack, 3 PBUs)
Notre Dame (after three games):
Rushing - James Aldridge (17 carries for 67 yards, 3.9 avg., 0 TDs)
Passing - Jimmy Clausen (32 of 55 for 252 yards, 0 TDs, 2 INTs)
Receiving - David Grimes (9 catches for 59 yards, 6.6 avg., 0 TDs)
Tackles - Trevor Laws (26 tackles, 13 solos, 13 assists, 1.5 TFL)
STAT COMPARISON -
Michigan State Notre Dame
Scoring 33.3 4.3
First Downs 22.3 10.7
Total Offense 437.3 115.0
Rushing Yards 194.7 -4.7
Passing Yards 242.7 119.7
Time of Possession 31:13 27:32
Third Down Conversions .477 .244
Points Allowed 16.0 34.0
Total Offense Allowed 286.7 351.3
Rushing Yards Allowed 88.7 114.0
Passing Yards Allowed 198.0 114.0
MSU/NOTRE DAME SERIES NOTES -
Saturday's game marks the 71st meeting between Michigan State and Notre Dame. The last eight games in the series all have been decided by 10 points or less. The Irish lead the all-time series 44-25-1, including a 26-12 record in games played in South Bend, Ind., and a 15-12 mark in games played in Notre Dame Stadium. The Spartans have won seven of the last 10 meetings, including five-straight victories in Notre Dame Stadium, tying Purdue (1954-62) for the longest winning streak by an Irish opponent in South Bend. (Note: For a complete list of all-time series scores, please refer to page 147 in the 2007 MSU Football Media Guide.)
SPARTANS RANK SECOND IN ALL-TIME VICTORIES vs. NOTRE DAME -
Michigan State ranks second (tied with Purdue) among opponents in all-time victories (25) over Notre Dame. Only Southern Cal (31) has posted more wins over the Irish than the Spartans and Boilermakers.
All-Time Wins vs. Notre Dame
Opponent Games Played Wins vs. ND
Southern Cal 78 31
Michigan State 70 25
Purdue 78 25
Michigan 35 20
Pittsburgh 63 18
SPARTANS SEEK SIXTH-STRAIGHT WIN IN NOTRE DAME STADIUM -
Michigan State has posted 12 wins in Notre Dame Stadium - the most by any Fighting Irish opponent. Saturday, the Spartans seek their sixth-straight victory in Notre Dame Stadium. Only Purdue has been able to match MSU's current five-game winning streak in Notre Dame Stadium, with the Boilermakers recording five-straight road victories from 1954-62.
All-Time Wins in Notre Dame Stadium
Opponent Games Played Wins vs. ND
Michigan State 27 12
Southern Cal 35 11
Purdue 33 10
Pittsburgh 28 9
Here are brief recaps of the Spartans' last five trips to Notre Dame Stadium:
Sept. 17, 2005 (OT: Michigan State 44, Notre Dame 41)
Jason Teague took a pitch and raced 19 yards around right end for the game-winning touchdown in overtime as Michigan State upset No. 10 Notre Dame, 44-41, in South Bend, Ind. It marked Michigan State's fifth-straight win in Notre Dame Stadium, tying Purdue (1954-62) for the longest winning streak by an Irish opponent in South Bend. Drew Stanton went 3-for-3 for 71 yards on MSU's second possession, including a 20-yard TD strike to Matt Trannon, as the Spartans jumped out to a 7-0 lead with 11:38 remaining in the first quarter. Notre Dame answered on its next series as Brady Quinn finished off a 13-play, 70-yard drive with an 18-yard TD toss to Jeff Samardzija as the Irish tied the game at 7 with 5:14 left in the first quarter. Jason Ringer's 25-yard run set up MSU's second TD, an 11-yard scoring pass from Stanton to Kellen Davis, as the Spartans regained the lead 14-7 with 2:01 to play in the first quarter. The Irish scored 10-straight points off Spartan turnovers early in the second quarter to take a 17-14 lead. Chinedum Ndukwe's interception led to D.J. Fitzpatrick's 48-yard field goal and a lost fumble resulted in Quinn's 31-yard TD pass to Samardzija. Michigan State responded with an eight-play, 76-yard drive and pulled even at 17 on a 21-yard field goal by John Goss with 5:26 remaining in the first half. Late in the second quarter, Stanton's 45-yard bomb to Terry Love gave the Spartans a first-and-goal at the Irish 2. Two plays later, Stanton scored on a 3-yard keeper around left end as MSU took a 24-17 halftime lead. Early in the third quarter, SirDarean Adams returned his first career interception 30 yards for a touchdown as the Spartans built a 31-17 advantage. Trannon turned a screen pass from Stanton into a 65-yard scoring play as MSU extended its lead to 38-17 with 5:07 left in the third quarter. Notre Dame put together a nine-play, 80-yard drive and cut its deficit to 38-24 on Quinn's 6-yard TD pass to Darius Walker. Quinn's 50-yard completion down the middle of the field to Maurice Stovall set up his fourth TD pass. Two plays later, Quinn again hooked up with Stovall, this time for a 7-yard scoring play as the Irish rallied to within 38-31 with 12:29 remaining in the fourth quarter. Tom Zbikowski's 18-yard punt return set up Notre Dame's game-tying score. Quinn capped off an eight-play, 57-yard drive with a 4-yard TD toss to Samardzija as the Irish pulled even at 38 with 2:31 to play in regulation. On its first possession of overtime, Notre Dame settled for a 44-yard field goal from Fitzpatrick and a 41-38 lead. On MSU's first play from scrimmage in overtime, Stanton scrambled 11 yards to the Irish 14. Following a false-start penalty, Teague scored the game-winning TD, running through the lane created by blocks from Love and Kyle Brown. Michigan State and Notre Dame combined for 49 first downs, 1,082 total yards and 85 points.
Sept. 20, 2003 (Michigan State 22, Notre Dame 16)
Jaren Hayes rushed for 109 yards and a touchdown while Dave Rayner provided three field goals to help lift Michigan State to a 22-16 victory over No. 23 Notre Dame. It marked the Spartans' fourth straight win in Notre Dame Stadium. For the first time in 2003, Michigan State scored points on its first possession as a five-play, 22-yard drive resulted in Rayner's 51-yard field goal. A Spartan fumble led to Notre Dame's first score, a 35-yard field goal by Nicholas Setta with 2:59 left in the first quarter. A 46-yard punt return by Vontez Duff late in the first quarter set up another Notre Dame field goal, a 29-yarder from Setta with 14:11 to play in the second quarter. The Spartans managed to tie the game at 6-6 on Rayner's 30-yard field goal with 7:43 remaining in the first half. Michigan State took the lead for good at 13-6 on a 71-yard TD run by Hayes with 5:25 left in the third quarter. Notre Dame answered on its next series as Setta capped an 11-play, 68-yard drive with a 30-yard field goal as the Irish pulled to within 13-9 with 30 seconds remaining in the third quarter. The Spartans put together a 17-play, 69-yard drive that burned more than six minutes off the clock to extend their lead to 16-9 on Rayner's third field goal, a 30-yarder with 9:10 left in the game. Michigan State increased its lead to 22-9 as Greg Taplin returned an interception 40 yards for a touchdown with 6:55 on the clock. Freshman Brady Quinn came off the bench to spark a late Notre Dame rally. Quinn finished off a nine-play, 85-yard drive with a 29-yard TD strike to Rhema Knight with 2:29 remaining in the fourth quarter. Drew Stanton iced the game for the Spartans by recovering the ensuing onside kick.
Sept. 22, 2001 (Michigan State 17, Notre Dame 10)
Ryan Van Dyke came off the bench to throw for 149 yards and two scores, including a 47-yard touchdown strike to Charles Rogers with 7:51 left, to give Michigan State a 17-10 victory over No. 23 Notre Dame. It marked MSU's third-straight win in Notre Dame Stadium. Faced with third-and-6 midway through the fourth quarter, Rogers caught a quick slant from Van Dyke, spun out of Vontez Duff's attempted tackle and outraced three Notre Dame defensive backs to the end zone for the game-winning score. The Spartan defense came up with two big plays in the closing minutes to cement the win. Mike Labinjo dropped Nicholas Setta for a 3-yard loss on an Irish fake field-goal attempt with 4:09 on the clock. After Craig Jarrett's 71-yard punt pinned Notre Dame back on its 26-yard line, Broderick Nelson intercepted Matt LoVecchio's pass attempt and returned it 25 yards to the Irish 7 with 1:44 left to ice the game. Michigan State outgained Notre Dame in total yards, 332-280.
Sept. 18, 1999 (Michigan State 23, Notre Dame 13)
Gari Scott took a short pass from Bill Burke on a third-and-10 play, broke Deke Cooper's tackle along the sideline and raced 80 yards for the game-winning touchdown with 5:11 left in the game as Michigan State upset No. 24 Notre Dame, 23-13, in South Bend. It marked Michigan State's second-straight win in Notre Dame Stadium. Burke completed 22-of-37 passes for 291 yards and two TDs. Lloyd Clemons rushed for 126 yards on 22 carries and his 42-yard run with two minutes left in the fourth quarter helped ice the game as it set up Paul Edinger's 31-yard field goal.
Sept. 20, 1997 (Michigan State 23, Notre Dame 7)
Todd Schultz threw for one touchdown and ran for another score to lead Michigan State to a 23-7 victory at Notre Dame as the Spartans ended an eight-game losing streak to the Fighting Irish. Schultz completed 12-of-18 passes for 107 yards. Marc Renaud (112 yards) and Sedrick Irvin (106) combined for 218 of Michigan State's 222 rushing yards. The Spartans held Notre Dame to 61 yards rushing on 23 attempts.
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. The current series contract runs through the 2011 season.
MSU/NOTRE DAME CONNECTIONS -
Michigan State junior wide receiver Carl Grimes (Detroit, Mich./St. Martin De Porres High School) will compete against his brother David, a junior wide receiver on the 2007 Notre Dame roster.
Michigan State senior tight end Eric Andino (Arlington Heights, Ill.) and Notre Dame fifth-year senior safety Tom Zbikowski were teammates at Buffalo Grove (Ill.) High School.
Michigan State sophomore running back A.J. Jimmerson and Notre Dame sophomore halfback James Aldridge were teammates for two years at Hazelwood Central High School in Florissant, Mo.
Michigan State offensive line coach Dan Roushar and Notre Dame offensive coordinator and running backs coach Mike Haywood spent the 1994 season together at Ball State. Roushar served as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for the Cardinals, while Haywood acted as running backs coach and co-special teams coordinator.
Notre Dame inside linebackers/special teams coach Brian Polian began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Michigan State in 1997, working for former Spartan head coach Nick Saban.
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 30th season as the Spartans' radio voice.
Michigan State third-year baseball coach David Grewe (pronounced GREW-ee) spent three years as an assistant coach at Notre Dame (2003-05) where he served as recruiting coordinator, hitting and catching instructor under former Irish head coach Paul Mainieri.
SPARTANS FROM THE HOOSIER STATE -
Michigan State's 70-man travel roster features two players from Indiana: fifth-year senior center John Masters (Carmel) and fifth-year senior offensive guard Kenny Shane (Indianapolis/North Central).
STRAYHORN NAMED HONORARY CAPTAIN -
Former All-Big Ten center Jason Strayhorn, now in his second year as the sideline reporter on the Spartan Radio Network, has been selected as an honorary captain for Saturday's game at Notre Dame.
A native of Indianapolis, Ind., Strayhorn started 24 consecutive games at center for Coach Nick Saban, including back-to-back wins over the Fighting Irish in 1997 (23-7 in Notre Dame Stadium) and 1998 (45-23 in Spartan Stadium). As a senior, he earned first-team All-Big Ten honors from the coaches and media after grading out as a winner (better than 70 percent) in 11 of the 12 games in 1998. The former team captain also received the Up Front Award as the team's outstanding interior lineman in 1998, consistently posting the unit's top grade for pass protection by not allowing a sack the entire season.
Strayhorn, who received his bachelor's degree in business management from Michigan State in 1998, is an executive mortgage banker for Rock Financial.
MSU vs. NOTRE DAME RANKS AMONG NATION'S OLDEST RIVALRIES -
The Michigan State-Notre Dame series began 110 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.
SPARTANS TOUGH IN NON-CONFERENCE GAMES -
Michigan State has compiled a 26-8 record (.765) in games played against non-conference opponents since 1999. The Spartans have won nine of their last 10 non-league games, with the only loss coming against Notre Dame, 40-37, last September.
Here's a look at Michigan State's non-conference results since 1999:
Sept. 15, 2007 Pittsburgh W, 17-13 Spartan Stadium
Sept. 8, 2007 Bowling Green W, 28-17 Spartan Stadium
Sept. 1, 2007 UAB W, 55-18 Spartan Stadium
Sept. 23, 2006 Notre Dame L, 37-40 Spartan Stadium
Sept. 16, 2006 Pittsburgh W, 38-23 Pittsburgh, Pa.
Sept. 9, 2006 Eastern Michigan W, 52-20 Spartan Stadium
Sept. 2, 2006 Idaho W, 27-17 Spartan Stadium
Sept. 17, 2005 Notre Dame W, 44-41 (OT) South Bend, Ind.
Sept. 10, 2005 Hawaii W, 42-14 Spartan Stadium
Sept. 3, 2005 Kent State W, 49-14 Spartan Stadium
Dec. 4, 2004 Hawaii L, 38-41 Honolulu, Hawaii
Sept. 18, 2004 Notre Dame L, 24-31 Spartan Stadium
Sept. 11, 2004 Central Michigan W, 24-7 Spartan Stadium
Sept. 4, 2004 Rutgers L, 14-19 Piscataway, N.J.
Dec. 29, 2003 Nebraska L, 3-17 San Antonio, Texas
Sept. 20, 2003 Notre Dame W, 22-16 South Bend, Ind.
Sept. 13, 2003 Louisiana Tech L, 19-20 Spartan Stadium
Sept. 6, 2003 Rutgers W, 44-28 Spartan Stadium
Aug. 30, 2003 Western Michigan W, 26-21 Spartan Stadium
Sept. 21, 2002 Notre Dame L, 17-21 Spartan Stadium
Sept. 14, 2002 California L, 22-46 Spartan Stadium
Sept. 7, 2002 Rice W, 27-10 Spartan Stadium
Aug. 31, 2002 Eastern Michigan W, 56-7 Spartan Stadium
Dec. 31, 2001 Fresno State W, 44-35 San Jose, Calif.
Dec. 1, 2001 Missouri W, 55-7 Spartan Stadium
Sept. 22, 2001 Notre Dame W, 17-10 South Bend, Ind.
Sept. 8, 2001 Central Michigan W, 35-21 Spartan Stadium
Sept. 23, 2000 Notre Dame W, 27-21 Spartan Stadium
Sept. 16, 2000 Missouri W, 13-10 Columbia, Mo.
Sept. 9, 2000 Marshall W, 34-24 Spartan Stadium
Jan. 1, 2000 Florida W, 37-34 Orlando, Fla.
Sept. 18, 1999 Notre Dame W, 23-13 South Bend, Ind.
Sept. 11, 1999 Eastern Michigan W, 51-7 Spartan Stadium
Sept. 2, 1999 Oregon W, 27-20 Spartan Stadium
Date Opponent MSU Result Site
SAINT-DIC NAMED BIG TEN CO-DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK -
Fifth-year senior defensive end Jonal Saint-Dic shares Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week honors (with Ohio State's linebacker James Laurinaitis) after recording five tackles, including three for losses (13 yards), and forcing two fumbles in Michigan State's 17-13 victory over Pittsburgh. Two of Saint-Dic's three tackles for losses resulted in sacks (11 yards). He compiled a career-best 34 production points against the Panthers. It marked the second-straight week that Saint-Dic recorded at least two sacks and forced two fumbles. With MSU leading 14-13 with 4:04 to play, Saint-Dic stripped the ball from Pitt's T.J. Porter on a reverse that Ogemdi Nwagbuo recovered at the Panther 22. Five plays later, Brett Swenson converted a 23-yard field-goal attempt to extend MSU's lead to 17-13 with 2:54 remaining. MSU's defense forced three turnovers, resulting in all 17 points, and held Pitt to 0-for-12 on third downs.
Despite being a last-minute scratch from MSU's starting lineup against Bowling Green, Saint-Dic enjoyed one of his most productive games in a Spartan uniform, recording four solo tackles including a career-best three sacks (17 yards). His three sacks tied the sixth-best single-game total in Spartan history. Overall, MSU produced seven sacks against the Falcons - its highest single-game total since registering eight sacks against Northwestern in 1999. Saint-Dic tallied 32 production points against the Falcons, forcing two fumbles and registering three quarterback hits.
In the second half, the Spartan defense limited Bowling Green to just six first downs, 98 total yards and three points.
THOMAS EMERGES AS PLAYMAKER IN PASSING GAME -
Junior flanker Devin Thomas ranks No. 3 in the Big Ten and No. 16 in the NCAA in receiving yards, averaging 105.0 yards per game. He also ranks among the league (No. 2) and NCAA (No. 9) leaders in all-purpose yards, averaging 194.7 ypg.
The 6-foot-2, 218-pound Thomas leads the team in receptions with 12 for 315 yards, averaging an impressive 26.2 yards per catch. Ten of his 12 receptions have resulted in either a touchdown or a first down, including six gains of 20 yards or more.
Thomas had four receptions for a career-best 156 yards and a touchdown in MSU's 28-17 victory over Bowling Green. It marked his second-straight 100-yard receiving game. His career-long 76-yard reception from Brian Hoyer in the first quarter set up MSU's first touchdown. His 42-yard catch in the third quarter set up Jehuu Caulcrick's 5-yard TD run, which gave MSU the lead for good at 21-14. Thomas scored on a 17-yard TD grab from Hoyer early in the four quarter. Thomas accounted for a career-high 261 all-purpose yards against Bowling Green. In addition to his 156 receiving yards, he returned three kickoffs for 100 yards, including a 39-yard runback, and rushed twice for 5 yards.
Thomas recorded the first 100-yard receiving game of his career against UAB, with a career-best five catches for 106 yards including a 44-yard touchdown grab from Hoyer early in the second quarter. Four of his five receptions resulted in either a first down or a TD against the Blazers.
The Ann Arbor, Mich., native appeared in the first 10 games of the 2006 season and finished with just six receptions for 90 yards and one score.
Kellen Davis MAKES HIS PRESENCE KNOWN ON BOTH SIDES OF THE FOOTBALL -
Senior multi-purpose end Kellen Davis has showcased his athleticism and versatility in the first three games of the 2007 season. A tight end by trade, Davis ranks second on the team in receptions with seven for 105 yards (15.0 avg.). In addition, he has recorded three tackles, including two sacks (12 yards), while seeing limited action at defensive end in the first three games.
The 6-foot-6, 246-pound Davis caught two passes for 38 yards in MSU's 17-13 victory over Pittsburgh, including a career-long 32-yard reception from Brian Hoyer that set up Jehuu Caulcrick's 2-yard touchdown run. He played a total of 88 snaps against the Panthers, including 71 on offense, 13 on defense and four on special teams (field goal/PAT unit).
Davis had three catches for 23 yards in MSU's 28-17 victory over Bowling Green, including a 7-yard TD grab from Hoyer in the second quarter that tied the game at 14. Davis sacked Tyler Sheehan for a 5-yard loss in the third quarter and was credited with two quarterback hurries. He played a total of 81 snaps against the Falcons, including 67 on offense, nine on defense and five on special teams.
In the 2007 season opener against UAB, Davis caught two passes for 44 yards, including a 25-yard grab from Hoyer that set up MSU's second TD. He produced two tackles against the Blazers, including a 7-yard sack in the fourth quarter. Davis played a total of 57 downs against UAB, including 41 on offense, seven on defense and nine on special teams.
Davis became the first Spartan to pull triple duty since linebacker Mark Goebel was forced to expand his role against Iowa on Sept. 27, 2003. Goebel was thrust into the defensive lineup after starting linebacker Ronald Stanley suffered a hamstring injury in the first quarter. He played a total of 76 snaps against the Hawkeyes, including 47 on defense. Goebel also played six downs on offense as the fullback in MSU's "Thunder" package and 23 snaps on special teams.
CAULCRICK BULLS HIS WAY INTO THE MSU RECORD BOOK -
Fifth-year senior Jehuu Caulcrick scored his 24th career rushing touchdown, with a 2-yard TD run early in the second quarter against Pittsburgh that gave the Spartans a 7-0 lead. With that scoring run, Caulcrick moved into sole possession of ninth place on MSU's all-time list for rushing TDs. He gained 71 yards on a career-high 21 carries against the Panthers.
The 6-foot, 255-pound Caulcrick ranks among the Big Ten (tied for second) and NCAA leaders (tied for ninth) in scoring, averaging 12.0 points per game. He leads the Spartans with six rushing TDs and ranks second in rushing with 217 yards, averaging 4.8 yards per carry. Caulcrick has scored at least one rushing TD in each of the first three games. Sixteen of his 45 carries this season have resulted in either a touchdown or a first down.
Caulcrick shared Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week honors (with Wisconsin's quarterback Tyler Donovan) after rushing 10 times for 93 yards and four touchdowns - all in the first half - to lead Michigan State to a 55-18 season-opening victory over UAB. His four rushing TDs represent a career high and equal the school record for rushing TDs in a half (Blake Ezor vs. Northwestern, 1989). Caulcrick's four rushing TDs also marked the second-best single-game total in Spartan history (Ezor scored six rushing TDs vs. Northwestern, 1989).
Against UAB, seven of his 10 carries resulted in either a TD or a first down. Caulcrick finished off MSU's first three possessions, scoring on runs of 1, 5 and 42 yards. The 42-yarder marked the longest scoring run of his career. He added another 5-yard TD run early in the second quarter as the Spartans jumped out to a 35-0 lead.
The Findley Lake, N.Y., native has rushed for 1,740 career yards and ranks among the NCAA's Bowl Subdivision (formerly known as NCAA I-A) active career leaders in rushing TDs (No. 12).
HOYER OFF TO AN IMPRESSIVE START -
Junior quarterback Brian Hoyer ranks among the Big Ten leaders in passing yards (fifth at 211.3 ypg.) and passing efficiency (sixth with his 140.8 rating). Hoyer has completed 45-of-74 throws (.608) for 634 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. Eight of his completions have resulted in gains of 20 yards or more.
The 6-foot-2, 212-pound Hoyer hit 17-of-29 passes for 250 yards in MSU's 28-17 victory over Bowling Green, including TD tosses of 7 yards to Kellen Davis in the second quarter and 17 yards to Devin Thomas in the fourth quarter. His career-long 76-yard bomb to Thomas set up Javon Ringer's 4-yard TD run late in the first quarter.
The North Olmsted, Ohio, native connected on 14-of-17 throws (.824) for 201 yards in MSU's 55-18 victory over UAB in the 2007 season opener, including a 44-yard touchdown strike to Thomas in the second quarter.
The Spartans scored touchdowns on their first six possessions against UAB, with five of those scoring drives directed by Hoyer. He completed his first 10 pass attempts for 172 yards against the Blazers.
SWENSON FEATURED ON LOU GROZA AWARD WATCH LIST -
Michigan State sophomore Brett Swenson is listed among 30 preseason candidates for the 2007 Lou Groza Award, which is presented annually to the nation's top collegiate placekicker by the Palm Beach County (Fla.) Sports Commission.
The 5-foot-8, 160-pound Swenson ranks second on the team in scoring with 22 points, hitting 3-of-5 field-goal attempts and all 13 PATS. His 23-yard field goal with 2:54 left in the game against Pittsburgh gave MSU a four-point cushion, 17-13.
Swenson accounted for a career-best 13 points in the season opener against UAB, hitting 2-of-2 field-goal attempts and all seven extra-point tries. On the final play of the first half, he converted a 45-yard field-goal attempt as the Spartans built a 45-3 halftime lead. Swenson capped off a 14-play, 60-yard drive with a 38-yard field goal late in the third quarter as MSU extended its lead to 48-5.
In 2006, he earned first-team Freshman All-America honors from Scripps/Football Writers Association of America, The Sporting News, CollegeFootballNews.com and Rivals.com. Swenson led the team in scoring with 78 points, converting 15-of-19 field-goal attempts and all 33 extra-point tries. His 15 made field goals represent the ninth-best single-season total in Spartan history (tied with Morten Andersen, 1981). An honorable mention All-Big Ten selection by both the coaches and media, Swenson ranked among the conference leaders in field goals (tied for third with 1.25 made per game), field-goal percentage (tied for third at .789), kick scoring (fourth at 6.5 points per game) and overall scoring (sixth).
The award is named in honor of former National Football League great Lou Groza, who earned the nickname "The Toe." Groza, who scored 1,608 points in 21 years with the Cleveland Browns (1946-59, 1961-67), was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1974. The former Ohio State Buckeye made nine Pro Bowl appearances as a standout offensive tackle and placekicker.
A national panel of 300-plus voters, including college head coaches, sports writers, sportscasters, conference representatives, professional kickers and previous Lou Groza Award finalists, selects the recipient.
The selection committee will identify 20 semifinalists on Nov. 6, while three finalists will be named on Nov. 20. The winner will be announced during the ESPN College Football Awards Show on Dec. 6 in Orlando, Fla.
BIG TEN/NCAA STAT LEADERS -
Here's a glance at how Michigan State ranks among the Big Ten and NCAA stat leaders in 2007:
Rushing Offense 194.7 9th 34th
Passing Offense 242.7 4th 49th
Total Offense 437.3 6th 35th
Scoring Offense 33.3 6th 32nd
Rushing Defense 88.7 6th 28th
Passing Defense 198.0 3rd 45th
Total Defense 286.7 4th 21st
Scoring Defense 16.0 4th 19th
Passing Efficiency 141.8 6th 30th
Pass Efficiency Defense 98.6 4th 19th
Turnover Margin +1.3 2nd 18th
Net Punting 33.6 7th 82nd
Punt Returns 7.0 8th 73rd
Kickoff Returns 27.5 4th 13th
Sacks 5.67 t-1st t-1st
Tackles for Loss 10.33 1st 3rd
Category Stat Avg. Big Ten NCAA
NCAA STAT LEADERS -
Here's a glance at how Michigan State ranks among the NCAA individual stat leaders in 2007:
Individual Statistics (Top 50)
Passing Efficiency: Brian Hoyer (31st with 140.8 rating)
Receiving Yards: Devin Thomas (16th at 105.0 receiving yards per game)
Interceptions: Otis Wiley (t-13th at 0.67 interception per game)
Kickoff Returns: Devin Thomas (14th at 29.5 yards per return)
Field Goals: Brett Swenson (t-47th at 1.0 field goals made per game)
Scoring: Jehuu Caulcrick (t-9th at 12.0 points per game)
All-Purpose Yards: Devin Thomas (9th at 194.7 all-purpose yards per game)
Sacks: Jonal Saint-Dic (t-2nd at 1.67 sacks per game); Greg Jones (t-26th at 0.83 spg.); Kellen Davis (t-39th at 0.67 spg.)
Tackles For Loss: Jonal Saint-Dic (t-5th at 2.00 tackles for loss per game)
TRUE FRESHMEN IMPACT SPARTAN DEPTH CHART -
No fewer than eight true freshmen are currently listed on Michigan State's (two-deep) depth chart, including two on offense, five on defense and one specialist. Here's a complete breakdown of true freshmen included on the (two-deep) depth chart:
Offense (2): WR Mark Dell and QB Nick Foles.
Defense (4): NT Antonio Jeremiah, LB Greg Jones, DE Kevin Pickelman, CB Chris L. Rucker and NT Oren Wilson.
Specialist (1): P Aaron Bates.
OPENING-DAY STARTING LINEUP FEATURED SEVEN FIRST-TIME STARTERS -
Michigan State's starting lineup for the 2007 season opener against UAB featured seven first-time starters, including two on the offensive side of the football, four on defense and one specialist.
First-time starters on offense included: wide receiver Mark Dell (6-2, 185, Fr.) and fullback Andrew Hawken (6-2, 240, So.). First-time starters on defense included: defensive end Brandon Long (6-4, 245, Jr.), linebackers Jon Misch (6-2, 200, R-Fr.) and Eric Gordon (6-0, 220, R-Fr.), and cornerback Ross Weaver (6-1, 202, R-So.). Aaron Bates (6-0, 190, Fr.) also made his debut as the starting punter.
MAGIC NUMBER 24 -
Since 1990, Michigan State is 88-22-1 (.797) when it scores at least 24 points and 14-76-1 (.159) when it scores fewer than 24 points. During that 18-year period, the Spartans have compiled an overall record of 102-98-2 (.510).
SPARTAN TRENDS UNDER DANTONIO -
Here's how Michigan State has fared during head coach Mark Dantonio's first season (2007: 3 games):
Games played in Spartan Stadium: 3-0
Games played on the road/neutral site: 0-0
When leading at halftime: 2-0
When trailing at halftime: 0-0
When tied at halftime: 1-0
When scoring first: 3-0
When opponent scores first: 0-0
When leading after first quarter: 2-0
When trailing after first quarter: 0-0
When tied after first quarter: 1-0
When leading after three quarters: 3-0
When trailing after three quarters: 0-0
When tied after three quarters: 0-0
Overtime games: 0-0
When gaining more first downs than opponent: 2-0
When gaining fewer first downs than opponent: 0-0
When gaining same number of first downs as opponent: 1-0
When gaining 200+ yards rushing: 1-0
When opponent gains 200+ yards rushing: 1-0
When outrushing opponent: 2-0
When being outrushed by opponent: 1-0
When gaining 200+ yards passing: 2-0
When opponent gains 200+ yards passing: 2-0
When gaining more total yards than opponent: 3-0
When gaining fewer total yards than opponent: 0-0
When leading in time of possession: 1-0
When trailing in time of possession: 2-0