Spartans Head to Indiana to Battle for the Old Brass Spittoon
Oct. 4, 2012
FIRST-AND-10 (what you need to know about the MSU-Indiana matchup) -
Since 1950, the winner of the Michigan State-Indiana game has been presented the Old Brass Spittoon. The brass spittoon came from one of Michigan's earliest trading posts and is widely believed to be nearly 190 years old. Legend has it that the spittoon was around when both institutions were founded - Indiana in 1820 and MAC in 1855. Since 1950, Michigan State leads the series 41-12-1.
Through the first five weeks of the 2012 season, Michigan State has faced the Big Ten's toughest and the nation's 11th-most difficult schedule, according to NCAA figures. The Spartans' first five opponents have a combined record of 11-3 (.786) against other NCAA Bowl Subdivision teams.
The Spartans are one of just three teams in the NCAA FBS to play three ranked teams before Oct. 1 (Kentucky and Arizona). It marks the first time MSU has played three ranked teams before Oct. 1 since 1987 (No. 16 USC, No. 9 Notre Dame, No. 7 Florida State).
Michigan State became the first team to play host to three opponents ranked in The Associated Press Top 25 before Oct. 1 since Stanford and Washington in 2007. The Spartans entertained No. 24 Boise State in the 2012 season opener, No. 20 Notre Dame in Week 3 and No. 14 Ohio State in the Week 5 Big Ten opener. Since 1996, only four teams have played host to three AP Top 25 opponents before Oct. 1 (2000 - Notre Dame).
Since 2010, Michigan State has won more Big Ten games (14) than any other conference team. Wisconsin is second with 13.
Since 2008, Michigan State has won more Big Ten games (24) than any other conference team. (Note: Ohio State has won 25 games during this same period, but had to vacate seven victories following the 2010 season; Penn State has also won 24, but had to vacate 23 victories from 2008-11.)
Junior running back Le'Veon Bell is off to a spectacular junior season, as he leads the Big Ten and ranks sixth in the FBS in rushing, averaging 131.0 yards per game. He also ranks third in the nation in carries (134) and 17th in all-purpose yards (159.6 ypg.). The Columbus, Ohio, native has been named Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week twice season (vs. Boise State and Eastern Michigan) and owns the top single-game total in the NCAA FBS this season in carries (44 vs. Boise State) and is second in rushing yards (253 vs. Eastern Michigan).
Michigan State is 15-1 (.938) when Le'Veon Bell scores at least one rushing touchdown (2010: 5-0; 2011: 7-1; and 2012: 3-0).
Junior tight end Dion Sims leads the Spartans in catches (24), receiving yards (313) and touchdown receptions (2). His 24 catches and 313 receiving yards both represent career highs and also rank second in the FBS this season among tight ends (Arizona State's Chris Coyle: 26 catches for 338 yards). Twenty of Sims' 24 receptions this season (83 percent) have gone for either a first down or a touchdown. Sims was selected John Mackey and College Football Performance Awards' National Tight End of the Week after recording his first career 100-yard receiving game with six receptions for 112 yards and a score against Eastern Michigan.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS -
Michigan State hasn't lost consecutive Big Ten games in the same season since October 2009 (vs. Iowa, 13-15; and at Minnesota, 34-42).
Michigan State fell out of the USA TODAY Coaches Poll this week for the first time since the 2010 season. MSU had been ranked in the poll for a school-record 34 consecutive weeks. The Spartans are receiving votes in both The Associated Press and USA TODAY Coaches Polls.
The Spartans have won 25 of their last 32 games (.781), dating back to the beginning of the 2010 season, including a 14-3 record in Big Ten regular-season play.
MSU is coming off back-to-back 11-win seasons for the first time in program history. The 22 wins in 2010 and 2011 were the highest two-year total in school history and ranked tied for seventh most among NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision teams during that same period.
Michigan State's 25 wins since 2010 are tied for eighth most among NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision teams (Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, South Carolina, Virginia Tech and Wisconsin also have 25 wins since the beginning of the 2010 season).
Under Mark Dantonio, Michigan State is 32-4 (.889) when leading in time of possession, including a 17-1 record (.944) since 2010. The Spartans currently lead the Big Ten and rank No. 7 in the NCAA FBS in time of possession (33:35 per game).
Under Mark Dantonio, Michigan State is 36-8 (.818) when outrushing its opponent, including a 20-1 record (.952) since 2010.
Under Mark Dantonio, Michigan State is 16-2 (.889) when rushing for 200-plus yards in a game.
Under Mark Dantonio, Michigan State has produced a 31-8 record (.795) in home games. The Spartans have won 16 of their last 18 home games. With its 20-3 victory on Sept. 15, Notre Dame snapped MSU's 15-game home winning streak - the fifth-longest in school history. Prior to the 2012 season, the Sporting News named Spartan Stadium No. 3 on its "Five Toughest Places to Play Right Now" list.
Michigan State has won 19 of its last 21 games played in the state of Michigan since the beginning of the 2010 season (16-2 in Spartan Stadium; vs. Florida Atlantic at Ford Field in Detroit in 2010; at Michigan in 2010; at Central Michigan in 2012).
Over the last three seasons, Michigan State is 10-2 in games decided by 10 points or less, including 4-1 in 2011. The only losses have come against Wisconsin in the 2011 Big Ten Championship Game (42-39) and Ohio State in this year's Big Ten opener (17-16).
STAT LEADERS -
Indiana (after four games):
THE LAST MEETING -
Cousins hit B.J. Cunningham for a 7-yard touchdown on Michigan State's first possession of the second half, giving the Spartans a 41-3 lead. On the next drive, he handed off on the first play, and then was replaced by Andrew Maxwell. Cousins saluted the Spartan logo at midfield before leaving to a large ovation. Michigan State finished with 470 total yards to 234 for Indiana, and forced the game's only two turnovers.
The Spartans scored on their first two possessions, thanks to a pair of big passes from Cousins to Cunningham. The first, a 37-yarder, led to a 21-yard field goal by Dan Conroy. On the second, the Indiana defense bit hard on a play-fake, leaving Cunningham alone behind the defense for a 63-yard score. Michigan State made it 17-0 before the first quarter was over as Cousins hit Keshawn Martin on the sideline. Martin avoided two poor tackles and raced into the end zone for a 47-yard score. A failed fake punt gave the Hoosiers good field position, but they were only able to turn it into a 22-yard field goal by Mitch Ewald. Nick Hill, though, returned the ensuing kickoff to the Indiana 24, and Martin took a sweep 19 yards for his second touchdown of the half.
Edwin Baker's 10-yard run made it 31-3 late in the second quarter, as the Hoosiers continued to struggle badly on both sides of the ball. Another Conroy field goal put the Spartans up by 31 at the half. After Cousins started the second half with the touchdown to Cunningham, Johnny Adams returned an interception 86 yards to give Michigan State a 48-3 lead. Baker's second touchdown provided the final margin.
THE LAST MEETING IN MEMORIAL STADIUM -
It was a wild, wacky game for the Old Brass Spittoon. There were two safeties, three replay reviews, a blocked punt, and Hoyer and Hoosiers quarterback Kellen Lewis each threw career-long touchdown passes.
But the strangest, and most important play, came late in the third quarter when Indiana's backup quarterback, Ben Chappell, connected with Terrance Turner for a 97-yard touchdown pass that appeared to give Indiana the lead. Instead, right guard Cody Faulkner was called for holding in the end zone, giving Michigan State a safety and a 36-29 lead. Indiana never recovered from the nine-point swing, losing its second straight game.
Hoyer finished 14-of-26 for 261 yards, scored on a 1-yard plunge to wipe out Indiana's 7-6 lead and hooked up with Mark Dell on a 14-yard TD pass and Charlie Gantt on an 82-yard score before the first half ended. Michigan State never trailed again but struggled to put away the Hoosiers. Marcus Thigpen scored on TD runs of 6 and 78 yards and caught a 79-yard TD pass from Lewis. He finished with 113 yards rushing and 94 receiving, while Lewis was 12-of-21 for 177 yards despite missing more than a quarter with a left leg injury.
MSU/INDIANA COACHING CONNECTIONS -
Michigan State defensive line coach Ted Gill and Indiana head coach Kevin Wilson worked together at North Carolina from 1984-86 when Gill was the defensive line/linebackers coach for the Tar Heels and Wilson was a graduate assistant.
Michigan State offensive coordinator Dan Roushar and Indiana defensive tackles/special teams coordinator Mark Hagen worked together at Northern Illinois for three seasons from 1997-99 when Roushar was the offensive coordinator/offensive line coach for the Huskies and Hagen was the defensive tackles coach.
SPARTANS FROM THE HOOSIER STATE -
NOTES FROM THE OHIO STATE GAME -
Michigan State fell to 32-24-4 (.567) in Big Ten openers, including a 3-3 record under Mark Dantonio. The Spartans are 1-5 in Big Ten openers vs. Ohio State, including an 0-2 mark in games played in Spartan Stadium.
Andrew Maxwell recorded his third 200-yard passing game of the season, completing 22-of-42 throws for 269 yards and one touchdown against Ohio State. Maxwell's 269 passing yards are the sixth-best single-game total by a Spartan quarterback against the Buckeyes.
Le'Veon Bell set career highs for receptions (8) and receiving yards (58) against Ohio State.
Tony Lippett caught a career-best four passes for 46 yards against Ohio State.
The Michigan State defense matched its season high with three takeaways (one interception and two fumble recoveries) against Ohio State. The Spartans also forced three turnovers at Central Michigan.
Ohio State's Braxton Miller (23 rushes for 136 yards) became the first player to record a 100-yard rushing game against Michigan State since Montee Ball gained 137 yards on 27 carries in the 2011 Big Ten Championship Game.
Max Bullough recorded a season-high 12 stops against Ohio State, as he reached double-figure tackles for the third time in his career. Bullough also was credited with a forced fumble and quarterback hurry.
Isaiah Lewis produced double-digit tackles for the second time this season, as he finished with 10 stops against Ohio State. Lewis also had one pass break-up.
Chris Norman registered a season-high nine tackles against Ohio State, with two (9 yards) for losses including a 6-yard sack.
Denicos Allen matched his season-high with six tackles against the Buckeyes.
Kurtis Drummond matched his career-high with three tackles, including one for a 2-yard loss. Drummond also intercepted a pass and recovered a fumble.
For the second-straight week, Dan Conroy converted 3-of-4 field-goal attempts, hitting from 34, 50 and 48 yards against Ohio State. His 50-yard field goal early in the third quarter matched his career long.
Mike Sadler averaged a career-best 55.4 yards on five punts against Ohio State, including a career-long 70-yarder in the second quarter.
SPARTAN DEFENSE ONE OF THE TOP IN THE NATION -
The Spartan defense ranks among the NCAA FBS Top 20 in seven categories: passes defended (tied for eighth at 6.0 pg.), total defense (ninth at 263.4 ypg.), pass efficiency defense (11th at 97.5), scoring defense (12th at 12.8 ppg.), pass defense (12th at 167.2 ypg.), third-down defense (12th at .279) and rushing defense (17th at 96.2 ypg.). In addition, MSU also leads the Big Ten in three defensive categories (total defense, pass efficiency defense and scoring defense).
Through five games, the Spartans have only surrendered five offensive touchdowns (two rushing, three passing).
Through five games in 2012, Michigan State has held its opponents scoreless in 11 of 20 quarters (55 percent). In addition, the Spartans have forced their opponents to go three-and-out on 16 of 62 possessions (26 percent).
In the 17-13 season-opening win over No. 24 Boise State, the Spartans held the Broncos without an offensive touchdown for the first time since 1997. They also limited the nation's highest scoring offense since 2000 to 206 yards of total offense and 37 rushing yards, both lows in the Coach Chris Petersen era at BSU; the 13 points scored are the third fewest under Petersen.
Since the beginning of last season, Michigan State has held 10 opponents under 100 rushing yards and seven under 10 points.
Michigan State has forced at least one turnover in 57 of 71 games over the last six seasons (80 percent of the games played since 2007).
NCAA STAT LEADERS -
Individual Statistics (Top 50)
BELL LEADS BIG TEN AND RANKS SIXTH IN NCAA FBS IN RUSHING -
According to STATS, Bell has gained 346 of his 655 rushing yards (53 percent) after contact and has broken 10 tackles this season. He has produced 28 first downs and 12 runs of 10 or more yards, including five gains of 20 or more yards.
The 6-foot-2, 237-pound Bell set career highs for receptions (8) and receiving yards (58) against Ohio State and totaled 103 all-purpose yards (58 receiving, 45 rushing) against the Buckeyes.
Bell earned Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week honors for the second time this season after rushing for a career-best 253 yards (36 carries) and a TD in Michigan State's 23-7 victory over Eastern Michigan. His 253 yards mark the sixth-highest single-game rushing total in MSU history. It marked Bell's second career 200-yard rushing game and sixth career 100-yard game. With his 15-yard run early in the second, Bell became just the 16th player in Spartan history to reach the 2,000-yard career milestone. He finished with 263 all-purpose yards (253 rushing, -8 receiving, 18 punt return) - the 11th-best single-season total in MSU history.
Bell rushed for 70 yards on 18 carries (3.9 avg.) and scored two touchdowns in the win over Central Michigan.
Bell collected several weekly honors after his career night helped lead Michigan State past No. 24 Boise State, 17-13, in the season-opening win. He was named the Big Ten Co-Offensive Player of the Week by the conference office and also the Big Ten Player of the Week by ESPN.com. In addition, he was named the Heisman Player of the Week by CBSSports.com. Bell rushed for 210 yards and set career highs for rushing attempts (44), receptions (6), receiving yards (55) and all-purpose yards (265) against the Broncos. He outgained the entire Boise State offense, 210-206, and 84 of his 210 yards came after contact. In addition, Bell's 265 all-purpose yards rank as the 10th-highest single-game total in Spartan history, and his 44 carries tied for fourth most in school history.
Bell's 210 rushing yards against Boise State tied for the 23rd-highest single-game total in school history, and he became the first Spartan running back to eclipse the 200-yard mark since Javon Ringer gained 201 yards on 39 rushes against Notre Dame in 2008. The 210 rushing yards were also the most by a Big Ten running back in a season opener since Purdue's Ralph Bolden in 2009 (234 vs. Toledo) and the most by a Spartan in an opener since T.J. Duckett in 2000 (219 vs. Marshall).
Michigan State is 15-1 (.938) when Bell scores at least one rushing TD (2010: 5-0; 2011: 7-1; and 2012: 3-0).
Bell has rushed for 2,208 yards and 26 TDs in 32 career games. He ranks among MSU's all-time leaders in rushing TDs (tied for ninth with 26), rushing attempts (15th with 423), rushing yards (15th with 2,208) and rushing average (tied for 15th at 5.22).
MAXWELL TAKES OVER THE REIGNS AS STARTING QUARTERBACK -
Maxwell has a 142.9 passing efficiency rating in the second half of games, as he has completed nearly 60 percent (43-of-72) of his throws for 595 yards, three TDs and no interceptions. His 595 second-half passing yards rank 18th among all NCAA FBS quarterbacks.
He recorded his third 200-yard passing game of the season, completing 22-of-42 throws for 269 yards and one TD against Ohio State. His 269 passing yards are the sixth-best single-game total by a Spartan quarterback against the Buckeyes.
Maxwell hit 16-of-29 passes for 159 yards and one score in MSU's 23-7 win over Eastern Michigan. In the second half, he connected on 7-of-10 tosses for 128 yards, including a 10-yard TD strike to Dion Sims to give the Spartans a 16-7 lead midway through the fourth quarter.
In a 20-3 loss to No. 20 Notre Dame, Maxwell set career highs for pass attempts (45) and completions (23) while completing throws to eight different receivers for 187 yards.
Maxwell opened the 2012 season with back-to-back 200-yard passing games against No. 24 Boise State and at Central Michigan and became the first Spartan starting quarterback to win his first two starts since Jeff Smoker in 2000 (Missouri, Notre Dame).
In a 41-7 win at Central Michigan, he completed 20-of-31 passes for a career-high 275 yards and two scores. Maxwell had TD tosses of 20 yards to Dion Sims and 7 yards to Bennie Fowler. In the first half, he went 17-of-28 for 213 yards as MSU built a 24-0 halftime lead.
In his first career start against No. 24 Boise State, Maxwell completed 22-of-38 throws for 248 yards and directed a game-winning drive in the fourth quarter. He went 3-for-3 for 38 yards during the nine-play, 56-yard fourth-quarter drive as MSU rallied from a 13-10 deficit. His 18-yard completion to Sims on a third-and-6 play from the BSU 25 set up Le'Veon Bell's game-winning 5-yard TD run. Maxwell iced the game by managing a 13-play, 52-yard drive, including two third-down completions for 15 yards, that consumed the final 6:32 off the clock.
Michigan State's last 19 quarterbacks have compiled a 13-6 record (.684) in their first collegiate start, including a 9-2 mark in home games.
SIMS RANKS AMONG NATION'S TOP TIGHT ENDS -
The 6-foot-5, 285-pound Sims ranks seventh in the Big Ten in receptions (4.8 per game). Twenty of his 24 receptions this season (83 percent) have gone for either a first down or a touchdown.
Sims was selected John Mackey and College Football Performance Awards' National Tight End of the Week after recording his first career 100-yard receiving game with six receptions for 112 yards and a score against Eastern Michigan. He had three catches for 73 yards in the fourth quarter, including a 10-yard TD grab from Andrew Maxwell that gave MSU a 16-7 lead.
The Detroit, Mich., native had a team-high six catches for 52 yards against No. 20 Notre Dame. He caught three passes for 48 yards at Central Michigan, including a 20-yard TD reception from Maxwell late in the second quarter. Sims recorded a career-best seven receptions for 65 yards in the season opener against No. 24 Boise State.
2012 CAPTAINS ELECTED -
An additional captain will be selected each week during the 2012 season (junior cornerback Darqueze Dennard vs. Indiana).
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