Football Media Center: Michigan
No. 17/16 Spartans will meet No. 18/17 Wolverines Saturday at Michigan Stadium.
Oct. 8, 2010
In a battle of undefeated rivals, No. 17/16 Michigan State (5-0, 1-0 Big Ten) takes on No. 18/17 Michigan (5-0, 1-0) Saturday at Michigan Stadium, beginning at 3:30 p.m. The game will be televised on ABC with a reverse mirror on ESPN for fans in outer markets.
TELEVISION: ABC will televise the Michigan State-Michigan game live to a regional audience (ESPN mirror in outer markets), with Sean McDonough handling the play-by-play, Matt Millen providing color commentary and Quint Kessenich serving as the sideline reporter. The MSU-Michigan game also will be available live online via ESPN3.com.
RADIO: The Spartan Sports 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 32 affiliates throughout the state. Michigan State football broadcasts can be heard on flagship stations WJIM (AM 1240)/WMMQ (FM 94.9) in Lansing and WJR Radio (AM 760) in Detroit. The MSU-Michigan game can be heard live on satellite radio: SIRIUS (Channel 91) and XM (Channel 196). In addition, the MSU-Michigan game also can be heard live nationally on Sports USA Radio Network, with Rich Cellini and Gary Barnett calling the action.
Michigan State | Michigan
Saturday's game marks the 103rd meeting between Michigan State and Michigan. The Wolverines lead the all-time series 67-30-5, including a 48-19-3 record in games played in Ann Arbor, Mich. The Spartans are 17-33-3 in games played in Michigan Stadium, including a 3-11 record since 1982.
Michigan State is seeking its third-straight win in the series for the first time since 1965-67. That three-game winning streak in the mid-1960s also marks the last time the Spartans recorded back-to-back wins in Michigan Stadium (1965, W 24-7; 1967, W 34-0).
Five of the last seven games in the series have been decided by eight points or less, including three overtime games (2004, 2005 and 2009).
Since 1953, the winner of the MSU-Michigan game has been presented the Paul Bunyan Trophy. The four-foot wooden statue was donated by then-Governor G. Mennen Williams to mark Michigan State's acceptance into the Big Ten. Since '53, Michigan leads the series 34-21-2. The trophy depicts the legendary giant lumberjack astride an axe with feet planted on a map of the state with flags representing the schools.
With wins over Western Michigan, Florida Atlantic, Notre Dame, Northern Colorado and Wisconsin, Michigan State is 5-0 for the first time since 1999. The Spartans opened the 1999 season 6-0, thanks to their 34-31 victory over third-ranked and previously unbeaten Michigan (also entered the game 5-0).
Michigan State's 2010 roster features 63 players from the state of Michigan, including 14 of the Spartans' 24 projected starters.
You don't have to look far to find the key stat in the Michigan State-Michigan series. The team with the most productive ground attack has won 37 of the last 40 games. During its two-game winning streak, MSU has outrushed the Wolverines, 364-112 (yards).
Junior Keshawn Martin, who accounted for 190 all-purpose yards and one score in MSU's 34-24 victory over No. 11 Wisconsin, has been named National Punt Returner of the Week by the College Football Performance Awards and Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week. Martin's 74-yard punt return for a touchdown midway through the second quarter gave MSU the lead for good at 13-10. He caught two passes for 34 yards and returned two punts for 83 yards and three kickoffs for 71 yards. Martin averaged 27.1 yards on his seven touches against the Badgers. His 30-yard reception from Kirk Cousins in the second quarter set up Dan Conroy's second field goal. Martin has accounted for TDs in five different ways during his career (rushing, receiving, passing, punt return and kickoff return) and joins Florida International's T.Y. Hilton as the only active players in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision that have accomplished that feat.
Michigan State ranks fourth in the Big Ten and No. 20 in the NCAA FBS in rushing offense, averaging 220.2 yards per game. Sophomore Edwin Baker (107.2 yards per game) and freshman Le'Veon Bell (94.2 ypg.) rank fourth and sixth, respectively, in the Big Ten in rushing.
Under head coach Mark Dantonio, Michigan State is 12-2 in games it gains 200-plus yards rushing, including a perfect 4-0 in 2010. In addition, the Spartans are 21-7 under Dantonio when outrushing their opponent, including a perfect 5-0 this season.
UPON FURTHER REVIEW -
Michigan State's receiving corps features two career 1,000-yard receivers: senior Mark Dell (98 for 1,611) and junior B.J. Cunningham (106 for 1,384). That duo has combined for 204 receptions, 2,995 yards and 14 career touchdowns.
Junior quarterback Kirk Cousins ranks among MSU's all-time leaders in passing efficiency (first at 148.3), completion percentage (second at .633), touchdown passes (seventh at 30), passing yards (10th at 4,122), pass completions (10th at 311) and pass attempts (11th at 491). Cousins also is listed among NCAA FBS active leaders in both passing efficiency (sixth) and completion percentage (10th). He has compiled an 10-7 record in 17 career starts.
Senior linebackers Greg Jones and Eric Gordon have combined for 673 career tackles - the most by any active linebacker duo in the NCAA FBS (Connecticut's Lawrence Wilson and Scott Lutrus rank second with 666 combined stops).
Senior Aaron Bates currently ranks third in the Big Ten and No. 14 in the NCAA in punting with his 45.3-yard average. Bates is listed among MSU's all-time leaders in punting yards (fifth at 9,246), punts (fifth at 223) and punting average (seventh at 41.5). He has placed 71 of his 223 career punts (32 percent) inside the opponent's 20-yard line.
MSU/MICHIGAN SERIES NOTES -
Saturday's game marks the 103rd meeting between Michigan State and Michigan. The Wolverines lead the all-time series 67-30-5, including a 48-19-3 record in games played in Ann Arbor, Mich. The Spartans are 17-33-3 in games played in Michigan Stadium, including a 3-11 record since 1982. Michigan State is seeking its third-straight win in the series for the first time since 1965-67. That three-game winning streak in the mid-1960s also marks the last time the Spartans recorded back-to-back wins in Michigan Stadium (1965, W 24-7; 1967, W 34-0).
Michigan has won six of the last eight and 13 of the last 19 meetings overall. Five of the last seven games in the series have been decided by eight points or less, including three overtime games (2004, 2005 and 2009). (Note: For a complete list of all-time series scores, please refer to page 126-127 in the 2010 MSU Football Media Guide.)
THE RIVALRY -
This marks the 103rd meeting between Michigan State and Michigan. The series celebrated its 100th anniversary in 1998 and it has gone uninterrupted for 64 years since World War II (1945).
This game marks the 63rd-consecutive sellout in the Michigan State-Michigan series, dating from 1948.
The home team has won 13 of the last 18 meetings between Michigan State and Michigan.
BATTLE FOR THE PAUL BUNYAN TROPHY -
Since 1953, the winner of the Michigan State-Michigan game has been presented the Paul Bunyan Trophy. The four-foot wooden statue was donated by then-Governor G. Mennen Williams to mark Michigan State's acceptance into the Big Ten. Since '53, Michigan leads the series 34-21-2. The trophy depicts the legendary giant lumberjack astride an axe with feet planted on a map of the state with flags representing the schools.
THE LAST MEETING -
Oct. 3, 2009, in East Lansing, Mich. (AP): Michigan State owns a two-game winning streak against Michigan for the first time since 1967. Freshman Larry Caper ran for a 23-yard touchdown in overtime to give the Spartans a 26-20 victory over the No. 22 Wolverines. MSU hadn't beaten Michigan twice in a row since winning three straight from 1965-67. Tate Forcier had two fourth-quarter TD passes for Michigan to come from 14 points down and force OT. The freshman hit Roy Roundtree for a 9-yard score with 2 seconds left in regulation. But Forcier was intercepted by Michigan State's Chris L. Rucker off a deflection in the end zone on the first possession of overtime, keeping the Wolverines from scoring. Forcier completed 17 of 32 passes for 223 yards. Kirk Cousins completed 15 of 21 passes for 152 yards and rushed for 75 yards for Michigan State. He also had two interceptions. But Cousins was hobbled by an ankle injury late in the game. Keith Nichol ran the offense for much of the fourth quarter and the overtime for the Spartans. Glenn Winston's 15-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter gave Michigan State a 20-6 lead. But Forcier led yet another comeback for Michigan, with rain and wind swirling around Spartan Stadium. He connected with Darryl Stonum for a 60-yard touchdown pass to cut the lead to 20-13 with 4:03 remaining. Then he hit Roundtree to cap off a 92-yard drive as time wound down. Leading 10-6 midway through the third quarter, MSU's defense forced Michigan into a fourth-and-inches at the Wolverines' 16-yard line. Michigan attempted a fake punt, which blew up when punter Zoltan Mesko was tackled behind the line of scrimmage. MSU capitalized on the good field position with a 24-yard field goal by Brett Swenson, giving the Spartans a 13-6 lead. MSU limited Michigan to 251 yards of offense. It helped that the Spartans had the ball for 40 minutes compared to 20 minutes for the Wolverines.
THE LAST MEETING IN MICHIGAN STADIUM -
Oct. 25, 2008, in Ann Arbor, Mich. (AP): Javon Ringer's second touchdown run broke a tie midway through the fourth quarter and Brian Hoyer's third touchdown pass padded the lead, lifting Michigan State to a 35-21 win over Michigan. Michigan State had not knocked off its rival since 2001, when T.J. Duckett scored with a disputed second on the clock, and was winless at the Big House since 1990. Michigan (2-6, 1-3) tied the game in the first quarter when the replay official overturned a ruling on the field, giving Brandon Minor a TD because his foot hit a pylon. The NCAA rule book, however, states: "A player or an airborne player who touches a pylon is out of bounds." Michigan State ended up making the missed call moot. The Spartans outgained Michigan 473-252, their highest total in a win at Michigan Stadium in a half-century. Ringer ran for 194 yards and two scores on 37 carries. Hoyer was 17-of-29 for 282 yards and a season-high three touchdowns.Blair White scored on a 61-yard reception to start the scoring and finished with four catches for 143 yards. The Wolverine's Steven Threet was 13-of-26 for 168 yards with a touchdown and three interceptions. He scored on a third-quarter run, giving Michigan its only lead. Minor ran for 55 yards and a score and was credited with a 19-yard TD reception.
SPARTANS RANK SECOND IN ALL-TIME VICTORIES vs. MICHIGAN -
Michigan State ranks second among opponents in all-time victories over Michigan. Only Ohio State (43) has posted more wins over the Wolverines than the Spartans (30).
GROUND GAME KEY FACTOR IN THIS SERIES -
You don't have to look far to find the key stat in the Michigan State-Michigan series. The team with the most productive ground attack has won 37 of the last 40 games. The only exceptions to that trend came in 2007 when Chad Henne threw for 221 yards and four scores, including two in the fourth quarter, as Michigan rallied from a 24-14 fourth-quarter deficit for a 28-24 victory; on Oct. 30, 2004, when Henne passed for 273 yards and four TDs as the Wolverines rallied from a 27-10 fourth-quarter deficit for a 45-37 triple-overtime win; and on Nov. 4, 1995, when Tony Banks threw for 318 yards, including a 25-yard scoring strike to Nigea Carter with 1:24 left in the fourth quarter that gave the Spartans a 28-25 victory over the seventh-ranked Wolverines.
Justin Kershaw NAMED HONORARY CAPTAIN -
Former Michigan State defensive tackle Justin Kershaw, who was a four-year letterwinner from 2005-08 and was elected as one of four captains for the 2008 season, has been selected honorary captain for Saturday's game against Michigan. He will address the team during the pre-game meal and join the 2010 captains at midfield for the coin toss.
Kershaw was one of the team's leaders his senior year, as the Spartans went 9-4 overall and earned a bid to the 2009 Capital One Bowl against Georgia. It marked MSU's first New Year's Day Bowl in nine years. The 2008 Spartans also went 6-2 in Big Ten play, the school's best league record since 1999, and finished No. 24 in The Associated Press and USA Today/Coaches' Polls.
The Columbus, Ohio, native produced 28 tackles his senior year, including a career-best eight for loss (25 yards) and three sacks (17 yards). Kershaw had two tackles, including one for a loss, in Michigan State's 35-21 win over Michigan that season, giving the Spartans their first win at Michigan Stadium since upsetting the No. 1 Wolverines in 1990. He closed his career starting 27 consecutive games on the defensive line and was the team's recipient of the Iron Man Award (strength and conditioning) in 2008.
Overall, Kershaw recorded 92 tackles in his career, with 16 resulting in losses (42). He appeared in 49 games, including 34 starts. Kershaw graduated in May 2008 with a bachelor's degree in interdisciplinary studies in social science - human resources and society.
UPSET SPECIALS -
Michigan State is 19-29 (.396) in its last 48 games against teams ranked in the Associated Press Top 25. MSU's 26-20 overtime victory over No. 22 Michigan on Oct. 3 marked the Spartans' first win over an opponent ranked in the AP Top 25 since defeating Notre Dame, 44-41 in overtime, in 2005. The Spartans had lost 12 straight games against teams ranked in the AP Top 25.
Sixteen of those 19 wins over ranked teams have come while Michigan State was unranked or ranked below its opponent. Nine of the last 16 games against AP Top 25 teams have been decided by nine points or less.
Under head coach Mark Dantonio, Michigan State has defeated four ranked opponents: No. 11 (AP)/No. 9 (USA TODAY/Coaches Poll) Wisconsin, No. 22 (AP) Michigan in 2009, No. 22 (USA TODAY) Northwestern in 2008 and No. 22 (USA TODAY) Penn State in 2007.
Since 1998, Michigan State is 8-8 (.500) against teams ranked in the AP Top 10, including a 5-3 record (.625) in games played in Spartan Stadium.
JONES EMERGES AS LEADING CANDIDATE FOR THE BUTKUS AWARD -
Senior linebacker Greg Jones leads the team in tackles (41), tackles for loss (5 for 15 yards), interceptions (2), forced fumbles (3), quarterback hurries (4) and production points (107). The 6-foot-1, 240-pound Jones ranks among the Big Ten leaders in forced fumbles (tied for first), tackles (tied for sixth at 8.2 per game), interceptions (tied for sixth at 0.4 per game) and tackles for loss (eighth at 1.0 per game).
A model of consistency, he has led the team in tackles in 26 of the last 31 games. Jones is attempting to become only the second player in MSU history to lead the Spartans in tackles for four straight seasons (linebacker Dan Bass, 1976-79).
He recorded eight tackles, including a season-best three for losses, in No. 24 MSU's 34-24 victory over No. 11 Wisconsin. The Spartan defense held Wisconsin to 165 rushing yards - nearly 93 yards below its season average. The Badgers entered the game ranked second in the Big Ten and No. 10 in the NCAA FBS in rushing, averaging 257.5 yards per game.
Jones, who recorded two interceptions, four tackles and forced a fumble in MSU's 45-7 victory over Northern Colorado, was named Big Ten Co-Defensive Player of the Week. Jones recorded the first two interceptions of his career against the Bears, with both leading to MSU scores. His 34-yard return in the first quarter set up Edwin Baker's 5-yard TD run, while his second-quarter pick set up Le'Veon Bell's second TD run.
He tallied nine tackles in MSU's 34-31 overtime victory over Notre Dame, including a 6-yard sack. Jones recorded 11 tackles and forced a fumble in MSU's 30-17 victory over Florida Atlantic at Ford Field.
The Cincinnati, Ohio, native has started 38 of 44 career games, including 32 consecutive starting assignments (tied for team high with linebacker Eric Gordon). He has 400 career tackles, including 41.5 for losses (155 yards) and 16.5 sacks (93 yards). Jones ranks among the FBS active leaders in total tackles (second), tackles per game (seventh at 9.1), tackles for loss (sixth) and sacks (tied for 12th). Jones ranks among MSU's all-time leaders in tackles for loss (third), total tackles (fourth) and sacks (sixth). He has produced double-figure tackles 19 times in his career.
COUSINS HEATS UP AS BIG TEN PLAY OPENS -
Junior quarterback Kirk Cousins ranks fifth in the Big Ten and No. 13 in the NCAA Football Subdivision in passing efficiency with his 164.8 rating. In addition, Cousins ranks fifth in the Big Ten in passing yards (226.4 per game) and seventh in total offense (222.2 ypg.). He has completed 81-of-120 throws (.675) for 1,132 yards, nine touchdowns and four interceptions. Over the last three games, he has completed 72 percent (59-of-82) of his passes for 804 yards, seven scores and three interceptions. Cousins has recorded three-straight 200-yard passing games (268.0 ypg.): against Notre Dame (245), Northern Colorado (290) and Wisconsin (269).
The 6-foot-3, 202-pound Cousins plays his best when the game is on the line, as his 196.6 second-half passing efficiency rating ranks sixth among all NCAA FBS quarterbacks. In the second half (10 quarters and overtime), he has connected on 82 percent (32-of-39) of his throws for 438 yards, three TDs and one interception.
In MSU's 34-24 victory over No. 11 Wisconsin in the Big Ten opener, Cousins hit 8-of-10 passes for 118 yards and two scores in the second half. His 8-yard TD toss to tight end Charlie Gantt on third-and-goal capped a six-play, 51-yard drive, and his 1-yard scoring strike to B.J. Cunningham on fourth-and-goal finished off a 15-play, 84-yard drive that took 8:03 off the clock and iced the game.
In MSU's 34-31 overtime victory over Notre Dame, Cousins went 12-for-12 for 129 yards in the second half, including a 24-yard TD strike to Cunningham that tied the score at 28 with 7:43 left in the fourth quarter.
BAKER, BELL PACE SPARTAN GROUND ATTACK -
Sophomore Edwin Baker and freshman Le'Veon Bell have combined to rush for 1,007 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2010 while averaging 7.2 yards per carry. As a team, the Spartans rank fourth in the Big Ten and No. 20 in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision in rushing offense, averaging 220.2 yards per game. Michigan State is one of only two teams (Nevada) in the NCAA FBS to feature two players ranked among the top 40 nationally in rushing.
The 5-foot-9, 208-pound Baker ranks fourth in the Big Ten and No. 20 in the NCAA FBS in rushing, averaging 107.2 yards per game. He leads the team in carries (75) and rushing yards (536) and ranks second in rushing TDs (5). Baker, who has led the team in rushing in two of the first five games, needs just 37 yards against Michigan to reach the 1,000-yard career rushing milestone. Twenty-three of his 75 carries (31 percent) have resulted in either a first down or a score, including three gains of 20 or more yards. He ranks second among all NCAA FBS rushers in yards gained on first down (50 attempts for 364 yards, 7.3 yards per carry), trailing only Nevada's Vai Taua (57 for 400).
Baker opened the 2010 season with back-to-back 100-yard rushing games: 117 yards and two TDs against Western Michigan and a career-best 183 yards against Florida Atlantic, including a career-long 80-yard TD run. He gained 90 yards on 14 attempts against Notre Dame, including a 56-yard TD run in the third quarter, and picked up a team-high 87 yards on 18 rushes against No. 11 Wisconsin.
The 6-2, 230-pound Bell ranks sixth in the Big Ten and No. 37 in the NCAA FBS in rushing, averaging 94.2 yards per game. His seven rushing TDs rank second in the conference, behind Michigan's Denard Robinson (8). He has rushed 64 times for 471 yards, averaging 7.4 yards per carry. Bell has led the team in rushing in three of the first give games. Nineteen of his 64 carries (30 percent) have resulted in either a first down or a score, including two gains of 20 or more yards.
Bell already has earned Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors twice, rushing for 141 yards and two TDs in the season opener against Western Michigan and a game-high 114 yards on 17 carries in MSU's 34-31 overtime victory over Notre Dame, including a 16-yard TD run in the third quarter. He rushed 11 times for 92 yards and three TDs against Northern Colorado, scoring on runs of 8, 1 and 15 yards. Bell ran 16 times for 75 yards against Wisconsin, including a 23-yard run around left end on a fourth-and-1 play late in the second quarter that set up Kirk Cousins' 8-yard TD pass to Mark Dell to give MSU a 20-10 halftime lead.
MARTIN SHOWCASES HIS ALL-PURPOSE SKILLS -
Junior Keshawn Martin ranks third in the Big Ten and No. 25 in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision in all-purpose yards, averaging 147.4 per game. His 737 all-purpose yards rank No. 11 among all NCAA FBS players, while averaging 16.8 yards every time he touches the football (44 plays). He has recorded 14 plays that gained 20 or more yards, including four plays over 40 yards. In his last four games, Martin has produced 689 all-purpose yards, averaging 172.3 yards per game during the stretch.
He leads the conference and ranks No. 8 in the NCAA FBS, averaging 18.5 yards on 10 punt returns. Martin ranks second (tied with Mark Dell) on the team with 16 receptions for 263 yards (16.4 avg.). In addition, he has returned 13 kickoffs for 272 yards (20.9 avg.) and rushed five times for 61 yards (12.2 avg.).
The 5-foot-11, 185-pound Martin, who accounted for 190 all-purpose yards and one score in No. 24 Michigan State's 34-24 victory over No. 11 Wisconsin, has been named College Football Performance Awards' National Punt Returner of the Week and Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week. His 74-yard punt return for a touchdown midway through the second quarter gave MSU the lead for good at 13-10. He caught two passes for 34 yards and returned two punts for 83 yards and three kickoffs for 71 yards. Martin averaged 27.1 yards on his seven touches against the Badgers. His 30-yard reception from Kirk Cousins in the second quarter set up Dan Conroy's second field goal.
With his first career punt return for a score against Wisconsin, Martin has accounted for TDs in five different ways during his career (rushing, receiving, passing, punt return and kickoff return) and joins Florida International's T.Y. Hilton as the only active players in the NCAA FBS that have accomplished that feat.
He had a career-best eight receptions for 96 yards in MSU's 34-31 overtime victory over Notre Dame, including a 6-yard touchdown grab from Cousins on a third-and-goal play late in the first half that tied the score at 7.
Martin accounted for over 200 all-purpose yards for the fourth time in his career in MSU's 30-17 victory over Florida Atlantic, generating 204 all-purpose yards on nine touches (averaging 22.7 yards per touch) . He returned four kickoffs for 89 yards and three punts for 62 yards against the Owls. His 47-yard punt return set up Le'Veon Bell's 9-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. He also had two catches for 53 yards. For his efforts agains FAU, Martin was one of nine players recognized as "Paul Hornung's Most Valuable Performances of the Week."
2010 CAPTAINS ELECTED -
Senior punter Aaron Bates, senior linebacker Greg Jones and junior quarterback Kirk Cousins have been elected by their teammates to serve as Michigan State's captains for the 2010 season. Bates becomes the first punter in the 114-year history of Spartan football to be named captain, while Jones and Cousins are repeat selections for the second-straight year. In addition, Jones and Cousins become MSU's first multi-year captains since quarterback Drew Stanton and defensive tackle Clifton Ryan were appointed by the coaching staff in 2005-06.
An additional captain will be selected each week during the 2010 season (fifth-year senior linebacker Eric Gordon vs. Michigan).
In 2009, Cousins became only the second sophomore in school history to be named captain, joining center Robert McCurry who was selected in 1949. In addition, McCurry is MSU's only three-time captain (1946-47-48).