Spartans Open Big Ten Season at Ohio State
Sept. 30, 2011
FIRST-AND-10 (what you need to know about the MSU-Ohio State matchup) -
Michigan State enters its 59th season of Big Ten competition with a 31-23-4 record (.569) in league openers. The Spartans are 6-4 in Big Ten openers since 2001.
Michigan State is 0-4 in Big Ten openers vs. Ohio State, including an 0-3 mark in games played in Ohio Stadium. The Spartans open Big Ten play against the Buckeyes for the first time since 1976.
Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio spent three years as the defensive coordinator at hio State (2001-03) where he served under Jim Tressel. During Dantonio's tenure at Ohio State, the Buckeyes posted a combined record of 32-6 (.842), including the 2002 National Championship. Dantonio previously worked alongside five members of the current Ohio State coaching staff, including Luke Fickell (then special teams coordinator), Jim Bollman (offensive coordinator/offensive line coach), Joe Daniels (quarterbacks/wide receivers coach), Jim Heacock (defensive line coach) and Dick Tressel (associate director of football operations).
Michigan State's 2011 roster features 24 players from Ohio.
Michigan State leads the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision in passing defense (101.0 yards per game) and total defense (172.2 ypg.). The Spartans also rank among the NCAA FBS Top 10 in pass efficiency defense (third with a 79.3 rating), scoring defense (eighth at 11.0 points per game) and rushing defense (10th at 71.2 ypg.). In addition, MSU leads the Big Ten and ranks No. 12 in the NCAA FBS in turnover margin (+1.25 per game).
Michigan State has earned a Top 25 national ranking in the USA TODAY Poll for 18 consecutive weeks. It marks MSU's longest streak in the USA TODAY Poll since the Spartans appeared for 20-straight weeks from Sept. 19, 1999-Oct. 1, 2000.
Fifth-year senior Kirk Cousins, now in his third season as Michigan State's starting quarterback, has a chance to win more games than any other QB in Spartan history. Cousins has compiled a 19-10 record (.655) in 29 career starts (school record: 21 career victories by Jeff Smoker, 2000-03). His career winning percentage (eighth) and career victories (11th) rank among all active NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision quarterbacks.
Fifth-year senior B.J. Cunningham leads the Big Ten in both receptions (7.3 per game) and receiving yards (107.0 per game). In addition, Cunningham ranks among the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision Top 20 in both stat categories: tied for 14th in receptions and tied for 16th in receiving yards. Cunningham leads the team in receptions (29), receiving yards (428) and 20-yard receptions (6). Nineteen of his 29 receptions (66 percent) have resulted either a touchdown or a first down. Cunningham has caught at least one pass in 38 consecutive regular-season games - tied for the fourth-longest active streak in the NCAA FBS.
Michigan State's starting linebackers - Max Bullough (24), Denicos Allen (21) and Chris Norman (18) - rank 1-2-3 on the team in tackles. Bullough and Allen also lead the team in production points, with 63 each. Allen leads the team and ranks tied for second in the Big Ten with five tackles for loss (15 yards).
INSIDE THE NUMBERS -
Kirk Cousins is 23-for-31 passing (.742) for 229 yards on third downs, with 14 of those completions resulting in first downs.
Senior Keshawn Martin has accounted for touchdowns in five different ways during his career (rushing, receiving, passing, punt return and kickoff return), joining Florida International's T.Y. Hilton and Western Kentucky's Darrius Brooks as the only active players in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision that have accomplished that feat.
Sophomore Nick Hill has emerged as one of the Big Ten's most dangerous kickoff returners. Hill currently ranks third in the Big Ten and 24th in the NCAA FBS in kickoff returns, averaging 26.9 yards per runback. He returned four kickoffs for 129 yards (32.3 avg.) at Notre Dame, including a career-long 42-yard return in the second quarter.
Junior Dan Conroy's .870 career field-goal percentage (made 20-of-23 attempts) ranks No. 6 among all active NCAA FBS kickers.
MSU/OHIO STATE COACHING CONNECTIONS -
Michigan State linebackers/special teams coach Mike Tressel is the nephew of former Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel. Mike spent two years as a graduate assistant coach at Ohio State, working for his uncle from 2002-03.
Michigan State tight ends/tackles coach Mark Staten served as a graduate assistant for Jim Tressel at Ohio State from 2002-03.
Ohio State offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Jim Bollman spent three years as offensive line coach at Michigan State (1995-97) under Nick Saban. Ohio State co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach Paul Haynes spent two years as cornerbacks coach at Michigan State (2003-04).
MSU/OHIO STATE CONNECTIONS, PART 2 -
Michigan State director of personnel/player development and relations Dino Folino began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Ohio State in 1974-75, working under legendary Coach Woody Hayes.
Michigan State assistant athletics director/head athletic trainer Jeff Monroe graduated from Ohio State in 1972 with a degree in physical education. Monroe spent four years as a student trainer for the Buckeyes from 1969-72.
GEORGE SAIMES NAMED HONORARY CAPTAIN -
A three-time letterman for Duffy Daugherty from 1960-62, Saimes helped the Spartans to a combined record of 18-8-1 (.685). He served as team captain as a senior in 1962.
As a junior, he was selected UPI Midwest Back of the Week after rushing 14 times for a career-best 142 yards and two scores, as top-ranked MSU defeated No. 6 Notre Dame, 17-7. The Canton, Ohio, native scored on runs of 24 and 25 yards against the Irish.
The 5-foot-10, 186-pound Saimes finished seventh in the Heisman Trophy balloting and earned First-Team All-America honors as a senior from The Associated Press, United Press International, Football Writer's Association, Football Coaches Association, New York News, The Sporting News and CBS-TV. In 1962, he led the team in rushing with 642 yards and scored nine touchdowns, while registering three interceptions from his safety position. In addition, Saimes was presented the Cleveland Touchdown Club's Joe Fogg Memorial Trophy as the Midwest's Collegiate Player of the Year.
A two-time All-Big Ten selection and two-time team MVP (1961-62), Saimes finished his collegiate career with 1,253 rushing yards and 18 TDs.
Following his senior season, he was selected to play in the East-West Shrine Game, Hula Bowl and Coaches' All-America Game. In 1963, Saimes was a sixth-round draft pick by both the NFL's Los Angeles Rams and AFL's Buffalo Bills. He spent 10 years in pro football, including seven seasons in Buffalo (1963-69) and three more in Denver (1970-72), and recorded 22 career interceptions. Saimes, who made five-straight Pro Bowl appearances from 1964-68, was named to the AFL's All-Time Team in 1970 and the Bills' 50th Anniversary All-Time Team in 2009.
He was inducted into the MSU Athletics Hall of Fame in 2000.
SPARTANS FROM THE BUCKEYE STATE -
COUSINS ESTABLISHES HIMSELF AS ONE OF NATION'S TOP QUARTERBACKS -
The 6-foot-3, 205-pound Cousins ranks among the Big Ten leaders in passing yards (third at 236.8 yards per game), passing efficiency (fourth with a 147.9 rating) and total offense (sixth at 227.2 ypg.). He also is listed among the NCAA FBS leaders in completion percentage (tied for 15th at .692) and passing efficiency (37th). Cousins has completed 81-of-117 throws for 947 yards, five touchdowns and two interceptions.
Cousins recorded his 18th career 200-yard passing game, completing 13-of-22 throws for 213 yards, one TD and one interception in MSU's 45-7 victory over Central Michigan. His 18 career 200-yard passing games ties Drew Stanton (2003-06) for second most in Spartan history (school record: 23 by Smoker, 2000-03). His 15-yard TD pass to Larry Caper in the third quarter marked the 46th of his career, tying Bill Burke (1996-99) for second on MSU's all-time list.
He recorded his fourth career 300-yard passing game at Notre Dame while setting personal bests for pass completions (34) and pass attempts (53). His 329 passing yards are the most ever by a Spartan quarterback against the Irish (previous record: 327 yards by Drew Stanton, 2005). His 34 completions are second-highest single-game total in MSU history (school record: 35 by Jeff Smoker vs. Ohio State, 2003) while his 53 attempts are fifth-best figure in school history and the most since Brian Hoyer attempted a school-record 61 passes at Penn State in 2006. In three career games against Notre Dame, Cousins completed 72 percent of his passes (68-of-95) for 734 yards, four TDs and three interceptions.
With 222 passing yards in the 2011 season opener against Youngstown State, Cousins became just the fourth Spartan quarterback to eclipse the 6,000-yard career milestone, joining Jeff Smoker (8,932 yards), Drew Stanton (6,524) and Brian Hoyer (6,159). He connected on 18-of-22 throws against the Penguins, including an 18-yard TD strike to B.J. Cunningham late in the third quarter that gave MSU a 21-6 lead. Cousins completed his first six pass attempts for 114 yards.
The Holland, Mich., native currently ranks first in MSU history in completion percentage (.650; 537-of-826) and passing efficiency (146.8). Those figures also rank among the best in Big Ten history: third in completion percentage and fifth in passing efficiency. He is listed among MSU's all-time leaders in passing yards (second with 6,762 yards), total offense (third with 6,636 yards), pass completions (third with 537) and pass attempts (fourth with 826). In addition, Cousins ranks among all active NCAA FBS leaders in completion percentage (11th), passing efficiency (11th), passing yards (12th) and TD passes (16th).
CUNNINGHAM OPENS 2011 SEASON WITH A BANG -
The 6-foot-2, 215-pound Cunningham already ranks as MSU's all-time leader in receptions with 168. He also is listed among the school's career leaders in receiving yards (fifth with 2,208 yards) and TD receptions (tied for eighth with 14). In addition, Cunningham ranks among all active NCAA FBS leaders in receptions (13th) and receiving yards (15th).
Cunningham recorded career highs in receptions (12) and receiving yards (158) at Notre Dame. His 12 catches tied for fourth most in a game by a Spartan wide receiver (record: 14 by Matt Trannon vs. Eastern Michigan in 2006). His 158 receiving yards were the most since Blair White had 186 yards against Northwestern in 2009, and the second most for a Spartan wide receiver against Notre Dame (Charles Rogers, 175 yards in 2002). It marked his fourth-career 100-yard receiving game, including his second against the Irish (seven receptions for 101 yards vs. Notre Dame in 2010). In four career games against Notre Dame, Cunningham had 26 receptions for 361 yards and one TD.
Cunningham became MSU's all-time leader in receptions with his 7-yard grab on a third-and-4 play on the first series against Florida Atlantic. He finished with five catches for 73 yards against the Owls.
The Westerville, Ohio, native caught nine passes for 130 yards in the 2011 season opener against Youngstown State, as he tied Trannon's (2003-06) record for career receptions with 148. His 18-yard TD catch from Cousins late in the third quarter gave MSU a 21-6 lead. It marked his third career 100-yard receiving game.
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