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Spartans Host Iowa in Big Ten Opener

Sept. 28, 2017

Game 4: Michigan State (2-1, 0-0 B1G) vs. Iowa (3-1, 0-1 B1G)
 Date | Time Saturday, Sept. 30 | 4:12 p.m.
 Location East Lansing, Mich.
Spartan Stadium (75,005/Natural Grass)
 Television FOX
 Broadcast Team Aaron Goldsmith (play-by-play) | Brady Quinn (analyst)
Bruce Feldman (sideline)
 Internet Coverage FOX Sports Go | Gametracker
 Radio Spartan Sports Network (Listen Live) | Affiliates
 Satellite Radio Ch. 135 (Sirius)/Ch. 195 (XM)/Ch. 957 (SiriusXM.com)
 Radio (Mobile) Broadcast available on Spartan Sports Network Mobile App: iPhone/iPad | Android
 Parking/Tailgating/Stadium Information Gameday Central | Gameday Answers
 Tickets Available at msuspartans.com
 Parking Lots will open at 9 a.m. | Parking Map (PDF)
 Stadium Map Spartan Stadium Map
 Game Notes Michigan State | Iowa
 Series Information Iowa leads, 23-21-2
 Social Media @MSU_Football | Facebook

The Last Meeting
Michigan State16
Iowa13
December 5, 2015
Indianapolis, Ind.
No. 5 Spartans Top No. 4 Iowa Late To Claim Big Ten Title, 16-13
L.J. Scott kept lunging forward, stretching the ball over the goal line for a touchdown with 27 seconds and No. 5 Michigan State all but locked up a spot in the College Football Playoff, edging No. 4 Iowa 16-13 Saturday in the Big Ten championship game. Connor Cook led the Spartans (12-1) on a 22-play drive that set up Scott's 1-yard run. A half-dozen Iowa defenders tried to stop Scott, but he wouldn't be denied. Iowa (12-1) lost for the first time this season - and just barely.

FIRST-AND-10 –
• Michigan State opens the 2017 Big Ten schedule against Iowa on Saturday, Sept. 30 at 4 p.m. in Spartan Stadium. The game will be televised nationally on FOX. The Spartans (2-1) fell to Notre Dame at home last Saturday night, 38-18, while the Hawkeyes (3-1, 0-1) lost their Big Ten opener against No. 4 Penn State, 21-19, on the last play of the game.

• This marks the first meeting between the two teams since the 2015 Big Ten Championship Game in Indianapolis, when No. 5 Michigan State edged the previously undefeated and fourth-ranked Hawkeyes, 16-13, to win the Big Ten title and earn a berth in the College Football Playoff. LJ Scott capped a remarkable 22-play, 82-yard drive in the fourth quarter that took 9:04 on the clock with a 1-yard touchdown run with just 27 seconds remaining in the game.

• Saturday’s game marks the 47th meeting between Michigan State and Iowa. The Hawkeyes lead the all-time series, 23-21-2. Mark Dantonio is 4-4 in his tenure against the Hawkeyes, but MSU has won three of the last four meetings, including two straight. Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz is 7-7 in his career against the Spartans. This marks the first meeting in Spartan Stadium since 2012; the series is tied in East Lansing, 10-10-1.

• Michigan State University will induct five members into its Athletics Hall of Fame on Thursday, Sept. 28, as part of the “Celebrate 2017” weekend. The Class of 2017 includes: Bob Apisa (football), Joe Baum (soccer), Bob Cassleman (track & field), Kristin Haynie (basketball) and Dr. Clarence Underwood (administration).

• The “Celebrate 2017” weekend includes the eighth-annual Varsity Letter Jacket Presentation and Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Thursday, Sept. 28, and culminates on Saturday, Sept. 30 with a special recognition of the Hall of Famers during the Michigan State-Iowa football game in Spartan Stadium.

• Munn Field on the campus of Michigan State will be the site of this week’s BTN Tailgate show from 10 a.m. to noon. In its second season, BTN Tailgate has expanded to two hours. Last year, BTN Tailgate held its debut show at Munn Field for the MSU-Wisconsin game on Sept. 24. The live show is the home for Big Ten football fans on Saturday mornings, capturing the unique game day environment on each campus, with fan interaction, special guests, football analysis and special features. Dave Revsine, Gerry DiNardo, Anthony “Spice” Adams and Michelle McMahon will return on-air this season, welcoming former Ohio State quarterback Stanley Jackson to the group of on-air personalities. Entrance will open at 9 a.m. ET.

• Former two-time All-American fullback Bob Apisa, who is a member of the 2017 MSU Athletics Hall of Fame Class, will be the honorary captain for the Iowa game. Apisa will officially be inducted into the MSU Athletics Hall of Fame in a ceremony on Thursday night. A three-year letterwinner from 1965-67, Apisa was a member of the 1965 and 1966 National Champion and Big Ten Champion Spartans.

• Sophomore Brian Lewerke leads the Spartans not only in total offense (957 yards; 319.0 ypg.) and passing (751 yards; 250.3 ypg.), but also in rushing (206 yards; 68.7 ypg.) and rushing touchdowns (2). Lewerke led the Spartans in rushing the first two games (69 yards vs. Bowling Green; career-high 81 vs. Western Michigan) and had 56 yards vs. Notre Dame. Lewerke leads the Big Ten in total offense (319.0 ypg.) and also ranks among the Big Ten leaders in passing (third at 250.3 ypg.) and passing efficiency (eighth with 138.0 rating). Against Notre Dame, Lewerke’s career-high 396 yards of total offense (340 passing, 56 rushing) was the fourth-highest single-game total in the school record book. He also set career highs for passing yards (340; tied for 18th most in MSU single-game history), completions (31, tied for fifth in MSU single-game history) and passing attempts (51, seventh in MSU single-game history).

• Michigan State is in the midst of its second-winningest decade in school history. The Spartans are 70-26 (.729) since 2010 and during that span, MSU has claimed three Big Ten Championships (2010, 2013, 2015) and three Big Ten Division titles (2011, 2013, 2015). In addition, the Spartans recorded a school-record four consecutive bowl victories (2012 Outback against No. 18 Georgia, 2012 Buffalo Wild Wings against TCU, 2014 Rose Bowl Game against No. 5 Stanford, 2015 Cotton Bowl Classic against No. 4 Baylor), which also tied a Big Ten record. MSU was the only school to finish in the top-six of the national polls from 2013-15 (No. 3 in 2013, No. 5 in 2014, No. 6 in 2015).

• Now in his 11th season as head coach of the Spartans, Mark Dantonio owns a 92-43 (.681) record. Dantonio has won the most Big Ten Championships (three) and bowl games (four) of any Spartan head coach and also ranks first with nine bowl appearances. He is the only active Big Ten coach to win multiple Big Ten Championships (2010, 2013, 2015), claim a victory in the Rose Bowl (2014), and coach in the College Football Playoff (2015). The second-winningest coach in school history with 92 victories, trailing only Hall of Famer Duffy Daugherty (109), Dantonio also ranks first in program history in conference winning percentage (.654, 53-28 record, minimum 10 games), second in home wins (55) and AP Top 25 victories (17), tied for second in Big Ten wins (53) and AP Top 25 finishes (six), and fifth in overall winning percentage (.681).

STAT LEADERS –
Michigan State:
Rushing – Brian Lewerke (26 carries for 206 yards, 7.9 avg, 2 TDs)
Passing – Brian Lewerke (66-of-105, .629, 751 yards, 6 TDs, 2 INTs)
Receiving – Darrell Stewart (15 catches for 159 yards, 10.6 avg., 1 TD)
Tackles – Joe Bachie (25 tackles, 7 solo, 18 assists, 0.5 TFLs)

Iowa:
Rushing – Akrum Wadley (79 carries for 338 yards, 4.3 avg, 2 TDs)
Passing – Nate Stanley (64-of-105 for 846 yards, 12 TDs, 1 INT)
Receiving – Nick Easley (18 catches for 189 yards, 10.5 avg, 3 TDs)
Tackles – Josey Jewell (42 tackles, 25 solo, 17 assists. 5.5 TFLs, 2 sacks, 1 INT, 4 PBUs, 1 FR)

A QUICK GLANCE AT IOWA (3-1, 0-1 BIG TEN) –
• The Hawkeyes are 3-1 on the season after suffering their first loss of 2017 with a 21-19 last-second loss to No. 4 Penn State Saturday night in their B1G opener. The Nittany Lions scored on fourth-and-goal from the 7-yard line as time expired to deny the Hawkeyes the upset. Iowa opened its season with a 24-3 win over Wyoming on Sept. 2, then a 44-41 OT victory at rival Iowa State on Sept. 9, then a 31-14 home win over North Texas on Sept. 16 before last Saturday’s heartbreaking loss.

• Kirk Ferentz is in his 19th season as the Hawkeyes’ head coach. He is the dean of NCAA Division I football coaches, amassing a 138-93 record at Iowa and a 150-114 overall record in his 22nd year as a collegiate head coach.

• Last week against Penn State, Iowa posted 273 yards of total offense, with 191 yards passing and 82 yards rushing. Sophomore quarterback Nate Stanley was 13-of-22 for 191 yards with two TDs. Iowa’s rushing was done by two players, with senior running back Akrum Wadley’s 80 yards on 19 carries and one TD, while Stanley added 2 yards on four rushing attempts. Wadley also led Iowa’s receiving with four catches for 75 yards and one TD. Junior wide receiver Nick Easley had the other TD catch, a 21-yarder from Stanley.

• The Hawkeye defense was led by senior linebacker Josey Jewell, who was named Big Ten Co-Defensive Player of the Week after tying his career-high with 16 tackles, including 11 solo stops to go with a career-best three tackles for loss. Jewell also snared one interception and added two pass break-ups. It is Jewell’s second B1G Defensive Player of the Week honor this season.

• Iowa’s defense was on the field for 39:39 on Saturday and held the Penn State offense to 19 points, despite yielding 579 yards of total offense, holding the Nittany Lions to four field goal attempts, making two, while blocking one. The Hawkeyes also forced two turnovers, with one interception and one fumble.

• On the season, Iowa is 10th in the B1G in scoring offense (29.3 ppg), while ranking sixth in scoring defense (19.8 ppg). The Hawkeyes are 10th in rushing offense (155.5 ypg), while ranking 10th in passing offense (211.5 ypg), to rank 12th in total offense (367.0 ypg). Defensively, Iowa is 10th in rushing defense (146.5 ypg) and 10th in passing defense (249.5 ypg), to also rank 10th in total defense (396.0 ypg).

• Additionally, Iowa is second in the conference in passing efficiency (164.4), while the Hawkeye defense is tied for second in interceptions with five.

• Stanley leads the B1G and is 12th in the FBS in passing TDs with 12, as well as ranking is seventh in the league in total offense (205.5 ypg), as well as seventh in passing (211.5 ypg), ranking sixth in pass efficiency (164.4), completing 64-of-105 attempts (.610) for 846 yards with the 12 TDs and one INT.

• Wadley is eighth in the conference in rushing (84.5 ypg) with 79 carries for 338 yards with two TDs. He is also ninth in receiving (56.8 ypg) with 10 catches for 227 yards and two scores. Wadley’s 22.7 yards per catch average is second in the B1G and 18th in the FBS. Wadley is second in the league and sixth in the nation in all-purpose yards (166.3 ypg), along with seventh in kick returns (25.0 ypr).

• Easley is tied for eighth in the B1G in receptions, averaging 4.5 per game, with 18 catches for 189 yards (47.3 ypg) with three TDs.

• Defensively, Jewell leads the B1G with 44 tackles, topping the conference and ranking ninth in FBS. Jewell is also sixth in the B1G with 5.5 tackles for loss.

• The Hawkeye defense has two players ranked in the top 10 in the B1G in sacks, as sophomore defensive end Anthony Nelson is tied for third with three, while freshman defensive end A.J. Epenesa is tied for sixth with 2.5. Junior defensive end Parker Hesse is tied for third in the league with 6.0 tackles for loss.

• Junior cornerback Joshua Jackson tops both the B1G and FBS with 2.3 passes defended, logging a league-lead tying seven pass break-ups and two interceptions.

• Junior placekicker Miguel Recinos is ninth in the league in scoring for kickers with 5.5 points per game, making 13-of-13 PATs and 3-of-4 FGs, with a long of 44-yards. His lone miss of the season came on Saturday when he had a field goal attempt blocked.

MSU/IOWA CONNECTIONS –
• Iowa defensive coordinator Phil Parker, a 1986 Michigan State graduate, was a four-year letterman and three-time first-team All-Big Ten defensive back for the Spartans from 1982-85. Parker was named MVP of the 1984 Cherry Bowl (nine tackles and an interception vs. Army) and also helped lead the Spartans to a trip to the 1985 All-American Bowl. He later served as a graduate assistant under George Perles for the 1987 Big Ten and 1988 Rose Bowl championship team. Parker still ranks third among MSU’s career leaders in interceptions with 16.

MSU/IOWA SERIES NOTES –
• This marks the first meeting between the two teams since the 2015 Big Ten Championship Game in Indianapolis, when No. 5 Michigan State edged the previously undefeated and fourth-ranked Hawkeyes, 16-13, to win the Big Ten title and earn a berth in the College Football Playoff. LJ Scott capped a remarkable 22-play, 82-yard drive that took 9:04 on the clock with a 1-yard touchdown run with just 27 seconds remaining in the game.

• Saturday’s game marks the 47th meeting between Michigan State and Iowa. The Hawkeyes lead the all-time series, 23-21-2. Mark Dantonio is 4-4 in his tenure against the Hawkeyes, but MSU has won three of the last four meetings, including two straight. Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz is 7-7 in his career against the Spartans. This marks the first meeting in Spartan Stadium since 2012; the series is tied in East Lansing, 10-10-1.

SPARTANS FROM THE HAWKEYE STATE –
• Michigan State’s 2017 roster features two players from Iowa: freshman kicker Cole Hahn (West Des Moines/Valley High School) and freshman quarterback Rocky Lombardi (Clive/Valley High School).

THE LAST MEETING –
Dec. 5, 2015, in Indianapolis (AP): LJ Scott’s late lunge did more than put the ball across the goal line - it put No. 5 Michigan State in the College Football Playoff. Scott kept powering forward and stretched the ball into the end zone for a touchdown with 27 seconds left that sent the Spartans past No. 4 Iowa in the Big Ten Championship Game. Quarterback Connor Cook led the Spartans on a 22-play drive that set up Scott’s 1-yard run on third down. A half-dozen Iowa defenders tried to stop Scott, but he wouldn’t be denied. . After settling for three field goals in the first 59 1/2 minutes, Cook moved the Spartans 82 yards for the game-winning score. Cook, the game’s MVP, methodically moved the Spartans in a drive that consumed nearly the final 9 1/2 minutes. He finished 16 of 32 for 191 yards with one interception and no touchdowns But with the season on the line, Cook and the offense made play after play against an Iowa defense that hadn’t given up a touchdown all night - until Scott got free just long enough.

Scott ran 22 times for 73 yards against a stingy defense that stopped Michigan State on four consecutive snaps inside the Iowa 5 in the final two minutes. It looked like the Hawkeyes had him stopped again, but Scott refused to go down.

KIRK GIBSON AND MSU LEGENDS TEAM UP TO TRY AND TAKE DOWN PARKINSON’S DISEASE –
• On the same day his name was added to the “Ring of Fame” at Michigan State University’s Spartan Stadium on Sept. 23, College Football Hall of Famer Kirk Gibson and other MSU legends landed a big blow in the fight against Parkinson’s disease.

• Gibson, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2015, was joined by former MSU football coach George Perles and MSU Distinguished Professor Dr. James Potchen, in the “Gibby and Friends vs. Parky” fundraising effort, which was highlighted by an event at the Kellogg Center, hours before the Notre Dame football game.

• To date, the “Gibby and Friends vs. Parky” campaign has raised more than $1.2 million for the MSU School of Human Medicine, money that will help MSU researchers in the fight against Parkinson’s and other neurological diseases. People who still wish to contribute to the effort can do so by finding the “Gibby and Friends vs. Parky” page on Facebook.

MSU TO INDUCT FIVE INTO ATHLETICS HALL OF FAME – • Michigan State University will induct five members into its Athletics Hall of Fame on Thursday, Sept. 28, as part of the “Celebrate 2017” weekend. The Class of 2017 includes: Bob Apisa (football), Joe Baum (soccer), Bob Cassleman (track & field), Kristin Haynie (basketball) and Dr. Clarence Underwood (administration).

• The “Celebrate 2017” weekend includes the eighth-annual Varsity Letter Jacket Presentation and Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Thursday, Sept. 28, and culminates on Saturday, Sept. 30 with a special recognition of the Hall of Famers during the Michigan State-Iowa football game in Spartan Stadium.

Below are bullet point sketches on each of the inductees:

Bob Apisa | Football | 1965-67 | Honolulu, Hawaii
• Two-time first-team All-American (1965, 1966)
• Starting fullback on back-to-back Big Ten and National Champion teams in 1965 and 1966, scoring a combined 18 touchdowns over the two seasons
• 1966 consensus first-team All-Big Ten selection
• Closed his career as MSU’s most prolific rushing fullback with 1,343 yards, in addition to being a great blocker for Spartan tailbacks

Joe Baum | Men’s Soccer Coach, 1977-2008 | Women’s Soccer Coach, 1986-90 | Men’s Soccer, 1966-68 | St. Louis, Missouri
• Two-time NCAA Champion as a goalkeeper (1967, 1968)
• Three-time Big Ten Coach of the Year (1996, 2000, 2008)
• Coached the men’s soccer team for 32 seasons and the women’s team for its first five years, winning a combined 389 games, including 320 games as head coach of the men’s team, becoming the second coach in Big Ten history to win more than 300 games
• Guided the men’s team to four NCAA Tournament appearances (2001, 2004, 2007, 2008)

Bob Cassleman | Track & Field | 1971-74 | Grand Rapids, Michigan
• Five-time All-American
• Posted eight Top-10 finishes at the NCAA Championships
• Won 13 total Big Ten titles, including eight individual titles in eight individual races and five relays, featuring two that set collegiate-record times
• Set collegiate record in 600-yard run and owns school records in 400m hurdles and 600-yard run

Kristin Haynie | Women’s Basketball | 2001-05 | Mason, Michigan
• 2005 NCAA Regional & Big Ten Tournament Most Outstanding Player, guiding MSU to its first Final Four in program history
• Three-time All-Big Ten honoree (2003-2005), earning Kodak & WBCA Honorable Mention All-America honors in 2005
• Ninth overall pick in the 2005 WNBA draft, winning the WNBA title later that season
• MSU career leader in assists (574) and steals (346)

Dr. Clarence Underwood | Athletics Director, 1999-2002 | Administration, 1969, 1972-83, 1990-99 | Gadsden, Alabama
• Served as athletics director from 1999-2002, which proved to be a successful three years for the department, including the 2000 NCAA Championship and multiple Final Fours for men’s basketball, a 2000 Citrus Bowl victory and Top 10 finish for football, a Frozen Four for hockey and a majority of teams being represented in the NCAA Championships
• Implemented greatly expanded academic support services, including a tutoring program for all athletes with full-time academic counselors in the early 1970s
• Started Michigan State’s first formal compliance program in the early 1990s

POST-GAME NOTES FROM THE NOTRE DAME GAME –
• Michigan State fell to Notre Dame, 38-18, in the 79th all-time meeting between the two schools . . . UND leads the all-time series 49-29-1 . . . MSU head coach Mark Dantonio is 4-5 against the Fighting Irish (2-2 in Spartan Stadium).

• Former All-American wide receiver Kirk Gibson was recognized in a first-quarter ceremony by the National Football Foundation as part of the on-campus salute for being named to the 2017 College Football Hall of Fame Class . . . Gibson also had his name and number (No. 23) added to the Spartan Stadium Ring of Fame.

• The Spartans turned the ball over three times (one interception, two fumbles), while Notre Dame didn’t commit a turnover in the game. The three turnovers led to 21 Notre Dame points.

OFFENSE
• Michigan State outgained Notre Dame in total yards (496-355) and passing yards (345-173).

Brian Lewerke threw for a career-high 340 passing yards, tied for the 18th most passing yards in a single game in MSU history . . . Lewerke’s career-high 396 yards of total offense (340 passing, 56 rushing) was the fourth-highest single-game total in the school record book . . . Lewerke also set a career high in pass completions (31) and pass attempts (51) . . . the 31 pass completions are tied for the fifth most in MSU history and the 51 completions are seventh most.

• Darrell Stewart led the Spartans in all-purpose yards for the third consecutive game (122) . . . Stewart tied his career high with six receptions for 41 yards, including a 4-yard TD in the first quarter . . . Stewart also compiled a career-high 79 kick return yards and had 2 rushing yards.

Trishton Jackson set career highs for catches (5) and receiving yards (69).

• The Spartans converted 11-of-19 on third downs.

• Michigan State had eight plays from scrimmage for more than 20 yards (six passing, one rush).

DEFENSE
• The Spartans entered the game ranked No. 1 in the FBS in third-down percentage defense, but allowed Notre Dame to convert 8-of-14 on third downs.

• Junior safety Matt Morrissey recorded a career-high 11 tackles.

• Sophomore defensive end Kenny Willekes tallied a career-high 10 tackles.

SPECIAL TEAMS
• Redshirt freshman Matt Coghlin connected on his first career field goal, a 40-yarder in the third quarter.

Jake Hartbarger averaged 49.0 yards per punt on three punts (147 yards), including a 57-yarder.

Brian Lewerke AND Khari Willis NAMED GAME CAPTAINS AGAINST IOWA –
• Sophomore quarterback Brian Lewerke and junior safety Khari Willis will be the Eagles to rotate as game captains against Iowa on Saturday. In order for all of the Eagles to serve as game captains twice, team captain Chris Frey didn’t walk out to midfield for the Western Michigan game, and Brian Allen will not walk out to midfield for the Minnesota game.

DANTONIO & STAFF PARTICIPATE IN COACH TO CURE MD PROJECT –
This Saturday, Michigan State’s Mark Dantonio and his staff will join thousands of coaches nationwide in all levels of collegiate football by wearing an armband with the Coach to Cure MD logo to raise awareness and research funding for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, the most prolific genetic killer diagnosed in childhood. Now in its 10th year, Coach to Cure MD is a project of Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy (PPMD) in partnership with the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA).

Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy is the most common fatal genetic disorder diagnosed during childhood and primarily affects boys across all races and cultures. Boys and young men with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy develop progressive muscle weakness that eventually causes loss of mobility, wheelchair dependency and a decline in respiratory and cardiac function. Currently, there is no cure for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and limited therapeutic options exist.

In a partnership with PPMD, all coaches in the AFCA have been invited to participate in Coach to Cure MD: a game-day awareness event and fundraiser for Duchenne research. Football fans can donate to Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy research by either going online to www.CoachtoCureMD.org or by texting the word “CURE” to 90999 (a $5 donation will automatically be added to your next phone bill). Last year, more than 10,000 college coaches at more than 525 different institutions participated in the Coach to Cure MD events.

YOUTH MOVEMENT –
• Michigan State features one of the youngest teams in the nation with 76 underclassmen on its 2017 roster (36 true freshmen, 16 redshirt freshmen, 24 sophomores), to go along with 24 juniors and 13 seniors.

• Twelve of MSU’s 22 projected starters either on offense or defense are underclassmen (11 sophomores, one redshirt freshmen), and 36 underclassmen are listed on the depth chart (14 sophomores, eight redshirt freshman, 14 true freshmen).

• A combined 18 true freshmen and redshirt freshmen saw action in their first collegiate game against Bowling Green. Redshirt freshmen (9): OL Matt Allen, CB Austin Andrews, DE Drew Beesley, OT Luke Campbell, WR Cam Chambers, PK Matt Coghlin, TE Noah Davis, DT Naquan Jones, DE Brandon Randle; True freshmen (9): TE Matt Dotson, OG Kevin Jarvis, WR Laress Nelson, DE Jacub Panasiuk, OG Jordan Reid, WR Hunter Rison, CB Josiah Scott, LB Antjuan Simmons, WR Cody White.

• Michigan State has already played 12 true freshmen (TE Matt Dotson, RB Connor Heyward, OG Kevin Jarvis, S Dominique Long, WR Laress Nelson, DE Jacub Panasiuk, OG Jordan Reid, WR Hunter Rison, CB Josiah Scott, LB Antjuan Simmons, WR Andre Welch, WR Cody White), the most ever in one season under Dantonio (previous high: nine in 2016).

• Nine Spartans made their first career starts vs. Bowling Green (DE Dillon Alexander, LB Joe Bachie, CB Josh Butler, RT Luke Campbell, TE Noah Davis, WR Trishton Jackson, TE Matt Sokol, CB Josiah Scott, DE Kenny Willekes).

• Cornerback Josiah Scott became just the third true freshman position player to start in his collegiate debut in the Mark Dantonio era (WR Mark Dell in 2007; S Isaiah Lewis in 2010). Specialists who started as true freshmen in their collegiate debut under Dantonio include punter Aaron Bates in 2007 and long snapper Taybor Pepper in 2012.

Brian Lewerke PROVING TO BE A DUAL-THREAT QUARTERBACK –
• Sophomore Brian Lewerke leads the Spartans not only in total offense (957 yards; 319.0 ypg.) and passing (751 yards; 250.3 ypg.), but also in rushing (206 yards; 68.7 ypg.) and rushing touchdowns (2). Lewerke led the Spartans in rushing the first two games (69 yards vs. Bowling Green; career-high 81 vs. Western Michigan) and had 56 yards vs. Notre Dame. Lewerke leads the Big Ten in total offense (319.0 ypg.) and also ranks among the Big Ten leaders in passing (third at 250.3 ypg.) and passing efficiency (eighth with 138.0 rating). He ranks first among Big Ten quarterbacks in rushing with 206 yards on the ground.

• Against Notre Dame, Lewerke’s career-high 396 yards of total offense (340 passing, 56 rushing) was the fourth-highest single-game total in the school record book. He also set career highs for passing yards (340; tied for 18th most in MSU single-game history), completions (31, tied for fifth in MSU single-game history) and passing attempts (51, seventh in MSU single-game history).

• Lewerke ran for a career-high 81 yards against Western Michigan, the most by a Spartan quarterback since Drew Stanton had 83 against Purdue in Nov. 4, 2006.

• Lewerke scored his first career rushing touchdown on a 61-yard run in the first quarter vs. WMU, the longest TD run by a Spartan quarterback since Charlie Baggett ran for a 69-yard score on Oct. 27, 1973 vs. Purdue. It tied the longest rush by a Spartan QB since Damon Dowdell also had a 61-yard run against Wisconsin on Nov. 13, 2004; the last time a Spartan QB had a longer run was Bobby McAllister at Purdue (70 yards) on Nov. 5, 1988.

• Lewerke also had a 1-yard TD run in the third quarter to become the first Spartan QB to record two rushing TDs in a single game since Drew Stanton in 2006 against Eastern Michigan (Sept. 9) . . . Lewerke finished with 242 yards of total offense agains the Broncos, as he was 13-of-21 passing for 161 yards and one touchdown.

• The native of Phoenix, Arizona, recorded his first career win as a starting quarterback in the season-opening victory over Bowling Green while recording career highs in passing yards (250), completions (22), attempts (33), passing touchdowns (3) and total offense (319 yards) against the Falcons. Lewerke also rushed eight times for 69 yards.

• The 6-3, 212-pound Lewerke is 66-of-105 passing (.629) for 751 yards, six touchdowns and two interception in three games this season. He has played in seven career games (five starts).

• Lewerke played in four games and started twice (Northwestern, Maryland) as a redshirt freshman in 2016 before suffering a season-ending injury (broken tibia) in the fourth quarter of the Michigan game on Oct. 28. He bounced back quickly from the injury and fully participated in all of spring practice.

• Last season, Lewerke became the first Spartan freshman quarterback to start a game (Northwestern) since 2004 (Stephen Reaves vs. Central Michigan).

• In seven career games, Lewerke has completed 60 percent of his passes (97-for-162) for eight touchdowns and three interceptions.

LJ Scott RETURNS TO LEAD POTENT RUSHING ATTACK –
• Junior LJ Scott, who has been named to the Maxwell Player of the Year and Doak Walker Running Back of the Year Watch Lists, led the Spartans in nearly every rushing category last season, compiling career highs in rushing yards (994), carries (184) and rushing touchdowns (6). His 82.8 rushing yards per game average ranked eighth in the Big Ten during the regular season and his 86.9 ypg in conference play was sixth best. Scott’s 994 rushing yards were seventh most by a Spartan sophomore in a single season. He also had a team-best 10 runs of 20 yards or longer.

• The 6-1, 230-pound Scott had five 100-yard games, tied for third most in the Big Ten in the regular season, including four of the last six games (109.7 ypg last six games).

• A third-team All-Big Ten selection by the media last season, Scott collected career highs in rushing yards (160), all-purpose yards (236) and receiving yards (76) vs. No. 2 Ohio State on Nov. 19. Scott scored on the second play from scrimmage against the Buckeyes on a career-long 64-yard TD reception and also recorded a career-long rush with a 61-yard scamper in the first quarter. He finished with 19 carries for 160 yards (8.4 avg.) and two catches for 76 yards.

• In 29 career games, including 13 starts, the Hubbard, Ohio, product has rushed for 1,879 yards (64.8 ypg; 5.0 avg.) and 18 touchdowns. Scott already ranks 20th in MSU history in carries (374) and rushing yards (1,879). His 1,693 rushing yards ranked No. 5 in school history for a player through their sophomore season (Lorenzo White: 2,682 yards in 1984 and 1985). Scott currently ranks second on the Spartans in rushing with 186 yards on 44 carries (62.0 ypg.).

Gerald Holmes, Madre London ALSO BRING EXPERIENCE TO THE BACKFIELD –
• In addition to LJ Scott, senior Gerald Holmes and junior Madre London bring significant experience and will see their share of carries in the backfield. Holmes has rushed for 1,112 yards on 239 carries in 31 career games, including 11 starts, while London has 169 carries for 712 career yards in 24 games with six starts. The trio of Holmes, London and Scott own a combined total of 3,703 rushing yards on 782 carries with 37 rushing touchdowns.

Brian Allen NAMED SEMIFINALIST FOR NFF SCHOLAR-ATHLETE CLASS –
• Senior offensive lineman Brian Allen has been named a semifinalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy, which is widely known as the “Academic Heisman.” Allen is also a semifinalist for the National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete Class.

• A two-time Academic All-Big Ten selection, Allen is an economics major with a 3.24 GPA. He was voted a captain by his teammates entering his senior season and has started a team-best 18 consecutive games. For his career, Allen has played in 41 career games, including a team-high 28 starts (16 at left guard, seven at center, five at right guard). He has been named second-team All-Big Ten the past two seasons and is on watch lists for the Outland Trophy (nation’s most outstanding interior lineman) and Rimington Trophy (nation’s most outstanding center).

• This marks the sixth time in the past seven years that the Spartans have had a semifinalist for the Campbell Trophy. The Spartans had a finalist three of four years from 2011-14 (QB Kirk Cousins in 2011, LB Max Bullough in 2013, P Mike Sadler in 2014). Center Jack Allen (2015) and tight end Josiah Price (2016) were semifinalists the past two seasons.

DARRELL STEWART EMERGING AS PLAYMAKER FOR SPARTANS –
• Sophomore wide receiver Darrell Stewart leads the Spartans in all-purpose yards (431; 143.7 ypg.), which ranks seventh in the Big Ten. Stewart also ranks first on the team in receptions (15), receiving yards (159), kick return yards (152) and punt return yards (20), and is third in rushing (100).

• Stewart has proven to be a playmaker the first three games, leading the Spartans with nine explosive plays (20 yards or more). He has six kick returns, two rushes and one reception for more than 20 yards this season.

• Stewart had a career-high six catches for 85 yards in the season opener vs. Bowling Green, then rushed for a career-high 70 yards on three carries against Western Michigan.

• Stewart led the Spartans in all-purpose yards for the third consecutive game (122) against Notre Dame. He tied his career high with six receptions for 41 yards, including a 4-yard TD in the first quarter, and also compiled a career-high 79 kick return yards along with 2 rushing yards.

• The Houston, Texas, native was one of 10 Spartans to help volunteer with the Hurricane Harvey relief efforts during the bye weekend (Sept. 15-17) in Houston.

THIRD-DOWN SUCCESS ON OFFENSE –
• Michigan State ranks second in the Big Ten and seventh in the FBS in third downs, converting on 26-of-49 third-down opportunties (.531). MSU was 11 of 19 on third down against Notre Dame.

SPARTAN DEFENSE OFF TO FAST START IN 2017 –
• MSU ranks among the Big Ten leaders in several defensive categories, including passing defense (first at 132.3 ypg.), pass efficiency defense (second with 88.01 rating), third-down percentage defense (second at .262), first downs defense (third with 41) and total defense (fourth at 254.0 ypg.).

• The Spartans also rank among the FBS leaders in pass efficiency defense (sixth with 88.01 rating), passing defense (seventh at 132.3 ypg.), third-down defense (ninth at .262) and ninth in total defense (254.0 ypg.).

STOPPING THE RUN –
• Michigan State ranks seventh in the Big Ten and 43rd in the FBS in rushing defense (121.7 ypg.).

• A week after Western Michigan collected 263 yards on the ground at No. 4 USC, the Spartans held the Broncos to 116 yards rushing in Week 2.

• MSU held Bowling Green to just 67 rushing yards in the season opener.

• Although Notre Dame rushed for 182 yards against the Spartans, MSU did hold the Fighting Irish 149 yards below their season average (UND entered the game No. 5 in the FBS in rushing at 330.7 ypg.).

• MSU has held 43 opponents under 100 yards rushing since 2011, most in the Big Ten.

• Stopping the run has been the main theme for MSU on defense in the Dantonio era, and it led to ranking No. 1 in the NCAA FBS in rushing defense in 2014 (88.5 ypg.). Since the Big Ten began awarding stat champions in all games in 1985, Michigan State (2011-14) became only the second team in conference history to lead the league in rushing defense four years in a row (Michigan, 1990-93). MSU’s 88.5 rushing yards allowed in 2014 was the eighth-lowest total in school history. The Spartans have ranked in the Top 25 in rushing defense six times in the last eight seasons, including a run of five straight years in the top 11 (2011-15).

DANTONIO RANKS SECOND IN WINS AT MICHIGAN STATE –
• Eleventh-year Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio, who was a finalist for three national coach of the year awards (Bobby Dodd, George Munger, Eddie Robinson) in 2015, owns a 92-43 (.681) record. His .681 winning percentage currently ranks fifth best at MSU. He won his 71st game at MSU on Oct. 25, 2014, against Michigan to move into second place all-time in victories in school history (record: Duffy Daugherty, 109). Dantonio won his 100th career game as a head coach on Oct. 17, 2015, at Michigan Stadium as the Spartans rallied to defeat the Wolverines, 27-23, on a 38-yard fumble return as time expired. His career record stands at 110-60 (.647) in his 14th season.

• Dantonio’s .654 winning percentage (53-28) in Big Ten games ranks first in MSU history (minimum 10 Big Ten games).

• Dantonio led the Spartans to the 2015 Big Ten Championship with a 16-13 victory over previously undefeated and fourth-ranked Iowa. It marked Dantonio’s third Big Ten Championship (2010, 2013, 2015), establishing a school record (previous: Daugherty and Perles with two each).

• Dantonio became the first coach in Big Ten history to record five 11-win seasons in a six-year span (11 in 2010; 11 in 2011; 13 in 2013, 11 in 2014; 12 in 2015), and his five 11-win seasons are tied with Joe Paterno of Penn State and Urban Meyer of Ohio State for the second most in Big Ten history (Jim Tressel with six; Paterno with five at Penn State as Big Ten member). Prior to Dantonio’s arrival, MSU had not recorded an 11-win season in its history, and had just two 10-win seasons (1965, 1999).

• A two-time Big Ten Coach of the Year (2010, 2013), Dantonio has led Michigan State to Top 25 finishes in six of his 10 seasons (2008: No. 24 in both polls; 2010: No. 14 in both polls; 2011: No. 10 USA TODAY/No. 11 AP; 2013: No. 3 in both polls; 2014: No. 5 in both polls; and 2015: No. 6 in both polls). His six AP Top-25 finishes are tied for second most in school history (“Biggie” Munn, who coached from 1947-53, had six consecutive from 1948-53). Daugherty’s teams posted seven Top-25 finishes during his 19-year tenure from 1954-72.

• Michigan State extended its school record by playing in a bowl game for the ninth consecutive season in 2015 (2007 Champs Sports Bowl, 2009 Capital One Bowl, 2010 Alamo Bowl, 2011 Capital One Bowl, 2012 Outback Bowl, 2012 Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, 2014 Rose Bowl, 2015 Cotton Bowl, 2015 College Football Playoff Semifinal at Cotton Bowl).

• Dantonio also extended his school record for most bowl appearances (nine) by a head coach with a trip to the College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Cotton Bowl Classic in 2015 (previous record: Perles with seven from 1983-94). Dantonio is 4-5 in bowl games at Michigan State, including a school-record four-game winning streak (2012 Outback, 2012 Buffalo Wild Wings, 2014 Rose, 2015 Cotton). Dantonio has led his teams to 11 bowl berths in 13 seasons as a head coach (nine at MSU, two at Cincinnati).

• 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 10 seasons, a total of 189 players have earned their undergraduate degrees. In addition, 136 Spartans have earned Academic All-Big Ten honors, including seven Academic All-America selections. Michigan State has placed three student-athletes in the National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete Class in the past five years.

• Dantonio is one of just four Spartan head coaches to coach in at least 100 games at MSU and ranks third in Spartan history with 135 games coached at Michigan State (Duffy Daugherty: 183; George Perles: 139; Dantonio: 135; Charlie Bachman: 114).

• Dantonio is the third-longest tenured coach in the Big Ten (Kirk Ferentz, Iowa: 19th season; Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern: 12th season) and eighth-longest in the FBS at the same school.


 

 

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