Spartans Travel to Madison to Take on Badgers
 
 
 
Max Bullough, who leads the team with 68 tackles, has been named one of 12 semifinalists for the Butkus Award.

 
Max Bullough, who leads the team with 68 tackles, has been named one of 12 semifinalists for the Butkus Award.
 
 

Oct. 25, 2012

Game 9:
Michigan State (4-4, 1-3 Big Ten) at RV/No. 25 Wisconsin (6-2, 3-1 Big Ten)
 Date | Time Saturday, Oct. 27 | 3:30 p.m.
 Location Madison, Wis.
Camp Randall Stadium (80,321/FieldTurf)
 Televison ABC (ESPN2 outer markets) | Coverage Map
 Broadcast Team Mike Patrick (play-by-play) | Ed Cunningham (analyst) | Jeannine Edwards (sidelines)
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 Game Notes Michigan State | Wisconsin
 Statistics Michigan State | Wisconsin
 Depth Charts Michigan State | Wisconsin
 Social Media @MSU_Football   |  Facebook

FIRST-AND-10 (what you need to know about the MSU-Wisconsin matchup) -
• Saturday's game marks the 52nd meeting between Michigan State and Wisconsin. The Spartans lead the all-time series 29-22, including a 13-13 record in games played in Madison, Wis. The last six games in the series have been decided by a combined total of 31 points (all six games decided by 10 points or less). Michigan State has won three of the last five meetings, including a 37-31 victory over the fourth-ranked Badgers last October as Kirk Cousins hooked up with Keith Nichol with a 44-yard Hail Mary pass on the final play of regulation. The Spartans have lost three-straight games in Camp Randall Stadium. MSU's last win in Madison came on Oct. 27, 2001, 42-28.

• Since 2010, Michigan State has won 15 Big Ten games, trailing only Wisconsin (16) in conference victories.

• Michigan State is 13-9 (.591) in Big Ten road games under Mark Dantonio, including a 7-3 record (.700) since 2010.

• Michigan State has lost consecutive Big Ten games in the same season for the first time since October 2009 (vs. Iowa, 13-15; and at Minnesota, 34-42).

• The Spartan defense ranks among the NCAA FBS Top 20 in seven categories: total defense (fifth at 277.1 ypg.), passes defended (tied for sixth at 6.1 pg.), pass efficiency defense (10th at 101.0), third-down defense (10th at .291), scoring defense (11th at 15.2 ppg.), rushing defense (12th at 100.2 ypg.) and pass defense (16th at 176.9 ypg.). In addition, MSU also leads the Big Ten in three defensive categories (total defense, rushing defense and scoring defense).

• Through eight games, the Spartans have surrendered nine offensive touchdowns (three rushing, six passing) - the sixth-fewest allowed in the NCAA FBS. Only Alabama (5), Notre Dame (5), Cincinnati (8), Oklahoma (8) and Rutgers (8) have permitted fewer TDs (Florida also has allowed nine TDs). MSU has only allowed two offensive touchdowns in the second half in 2012 (Ohio State, Iowa).

• Junior running back Le'Veon Bell ranks second in the Big Ten and 11th in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision in rushing, averaging 123.0 yards per game in 2012. With 984 rushing yards, Bell needs just 16 yards to reach the 1,000-yard milestone for the first time in his career. He also ranks second in the nation in carries (226), third in rushing yards (984) and 21st in all-purpose yards (146.1 ypg.). The Columbus, Ohio, native also is listed among the Big Ten leaders in all-purpose yards (third) and rushing touchdowns (tied for fifth with eight).

• In three road games this season, junior Andrew Maxwell has connected on 65-of-105 passes (.619) for 757 yards, five TDs and one interception. His road passing totals rank among the best for Big Ten quarterbacks: first in passing yards (252.3 ypg.), tied for first in TD passes (5) and second in passing efficiency (136.3 rating).

• In conference games, true freshman Aaron Burbridge leads the Big Ten in receptions (6.3 per game) and ranks second in receiving yards (91.3 per game). Burbridge led MSU in receptions and receiving yards for the third consecutive game, with six catches for 51 yards at Michigan. In six games overall, he has 21 catches for 288 yards (13.7 avg.). Eleven of his 21 receptions (52 percent) have resulted in a first down, including four 20-yard grabs.

• Junior linebacker and captain Max Bullough, one of 12 semifinalists for the Butkus Award, leads the team in tackles (68) and production points (201). His 6.5 tackles for loss (24 yards) rank second on the team. In conference games, Bullough ranks fifth in the Big Ten in tackles, averaging 10.5 per game. He reached double figures in tackles for the third time in 2012 and fifth time in his career, with 10 stops at Michigan.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS -
• Based on cumulative opposition, Michigan State's 2012 schedule ranks as the nation's 10th-most difficult, according to NCAA figures. The Spartans' opponents have a combined record of 45-26 (.634) against other NCAA Bowl Subdivision teams.

• Under Mark Dantonio: Michigan State is 33-5 (.868) when leading in time of possession, including an 18-2 record (.900) since 2010. The Spartans currently lead the Big Ten and rank No. 8 in the NCAA FBS in time of possession (33:24 per game).

• Under Mark Dantonio, Michigan State is 37-9 (.804) when outrushing its opponent, including a 21-2 record (.913) since 2010.

• Under Mark Dantonio, Michigan State is 16-2 (.889) when rushing for 200-plus yards in a game.

• Michigan State has outscored its opponents 90-45 (+45) in the second half this season.

• Under Mark Dantonio, Michigan State has produced a 31-9 record (.775) in home games. The Spartans have won 16 of their last 19 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.

• The Spartans have won 26 of their last 35 games (.743), dating back to the beginning of the 2010 season, including a 15-5 record (.750) 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 26 wins since 2010 are tied for 11th most among NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision teams.

• Michigan State has won 19 of its last 23 games played in the state of Michigan since the beginning of the 2010 season (16-3 in Spartan Stadium; 1-1 at Michigan Stadium; 1-0 vs. Florida Atlantic at Ford Field in Detroit in 2010; 1-0 at Central Michigan in 2012).

• Over the last three seasons, Michigan State is 11-4 (.733) in games decided by 10 points or less, including a 2-3 record in 2012. The only losses have come against Wisconsin in the 2011 Big Ten Championship Game (42-39) along with Ohio State (17-16), Iowa (19-16 in 2OT) and Michigan (12-10) in 2012.

• Fifth-year senior Dan Conroy has made 71 consecutive PATs, just five shy of tying the school-record of 76 straight shared by Brett Swenson (2007-09) and Dave Rayner (2003-04).

Le'Veon Bell needs just 16 yards to reach the 1,000-yard milestone for the first time in his career.


STAT LEADERS -
Michigan State (after eight games):
Rushing - Le'Veon Bell (226 carries for 984 yards, 4.4 avg., 8 TDs)
Passing - Andrew Maxwell (160 of 290 for 1,799 yards, 7 TDs, 5 INTs)
Receiving - Keith Mumphery (27 catches for 349 yards, 12.9 avg., 1 TDs)
Tackles - Max Bullough (68 tackles, 36 solos, 32 assists, 6.5 TFL)

Wisconsin (after eight games):
Rushing - Montee Ball (196 carries for 982 yards, 5.0 avg., 13 TDs)
Passing - Joel Stave (61 of 107 for 977 yards, 5 TDs, 3 INTs)
Receiving - Jared Abbrederis (33 catches for 627 yards, 19.0 avg., 5 TDs)
Tackles - Mike Taylor (84 tackles, 42 solos, 42 assists, 10 TFL)

CURRENT SPARTANS vs. WISCONSIN -
Career Stat Leaders
Rushing - Le'Veon Bell (2 games: 50 carries for 268 yards, 5.4 avg., 1 TD)
Passing - N/A
Receiving - Le'Veon Bell (2 games: 7 catches for 38 yards, 5.4 avg.)
Tackles - Chris Norman (3 games: 21 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 PBU)

THE LAST MEETING -
Dec. 3, 2011, in Indianapolis, Ind. (AP): This time, Wisconsin got the stop it needed against Michigan State - and a big break to wrap up its second-straight Big Ten crown. Montee Ball scored four touchdowns, including a 7-yard score with 3:45 left in the inaugural conference championship game, giving the 15th-ranked Badgers a 42-39 come-from-behind victory over No. 11 Michigan State. The Badgers turned the tables on Michigan State, which won the first meeting in October on a last-second Hail Mary pass.

This time, it was the Badgers who scored late, forced a punt and managed to run out the clock when the Isaiah Lewis was called for running into the kicker, giving the Badgers a first down with 1:37 left in the game and Michigan State out of timeouts. Ball was spectacular early, topping 100 yards in the first quarter, and efficient late, scoring twice in the fourth quarter to rally the Badgers. But Russell Wilson was named the game's MVP after going 17-of-24 for 187 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. Wilson also broke an NCAA record by throwing a TD pass on the Badgers' opening possession, giving Wilson 37 consecutive games with a TD pass, one more than Graham Harrell's previous mark at Texas Tech. Kirk Cousins made most of it work. Only one of his 17 first-half passes hit the ground, and he wound up 22-of-30 for 281 yards, three touchdowns and one interception.

But it was Dantonio's ability to fool the normally stout Badgers' defense that nearly got the Spartans to Pasadena, Calif. On fourth-and-1 in the second quarter, he got Wisconsin to bite on a fake pitch and hooked up with a wide open B.J. Cunningham for a 30-yard TD pass to cut the deficit to 21-14. On its next possession, Michigan State receiver Keith Nichol, who wrestled the Hail Mary pass across the goal line to beat Wisconsin in October, beat the Badgers again. This time, he caught a short pass from Cousins and just before stepping out of bounds lateraled to Cunningham, who ran the final 4 yards for a TD. Michigan State then called for a fake extra point that Brad Sonntag ran in to make it 22-21.

After playing conventional football for most of the next two quarters and still leading 36-34, the Spartans lined up two different players in the Wildcat formation, ran a reverse and drove for a 25-yard field goal to make it 39-34 with 8:31 left in the game. But just like the first meeting, the Badgers answered. Wilson led Wisconsin on an eight-play, 64-yard scoring march, converting a fourth-and-6 when Wilson scrambled, threw back across the field and Jeff Duckworth made a spectacular adjustment to haul in a 36-yard pass. On the next play, Ball burst up the middle for a 7-yard TD, his fourth score of the night Wilson scrambled again on the conversion, finding Jacob Pedersen to give Wisconsin a 42-39 lead.

THE LAST MEETING IN CAMP RANDALL STADIUM -
Sept. 26, 2009, in Madison, Wis. (AP): Scott Tolzien threw for 243 yards and four touchdowns, leading Wisconsin past Michigan State 38-30. Garrett Graham caught three touchdown passes for the Badgers, who avenged a last-second loss to the Spartans in 2008.

Michigan State turned the ball over four times after committing two turnovers in three non-conference games. Wisconsin converted three of the turnovers, including two first-half interceptions, into touchdowns. Tolzien was 19-of-31, hitting Graham for three scores and Nick Toon for another. Graham finished with five catches for 58 yards. John Clay rushed for 142 yards and a touchdown for the Badgers. Tolzien and Graham hooked up for two touchdowns in the first half as the Badgers built a 21-7 lead.

After the teams traded field goals to start the second half, Kirk Cousins hit B.J. Cunningham for a 20-yard scoring pass late in the third quarter to pull the Spartans within 24-17. But the Badgers wrested the momentum back immediately, as David Gilreath returned the kickoff 32 yards and Tolzien found Isaac Anderson on a sideline route for 45 yards on the first play of the drive. Three plays later, Tolzien hit a streaking Nick Toon for a 19-yard score on the first snap of the fourth quarter. After a Michigan State fumble, Tolzien found a wide-open Graham for a 23-yard score and a 38-17 lead.

MSU/WISCONSIN COACHING CONNECTIONS -
• Michigan State defensive line coach Ted Gill served as (Wisconsin head coach) Bret Bielema's position coach at Iowa from 1990-92. Bielema spent the 1994 season as a graduate assistant at his alma mater, working for Coach Gill.

• Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi (2000-02) and offensive coordinator Dan Roushar (1998-2002) as well as Wisconsin offensive coordinator Matt Canada all worked under Joe Novak on the Northern Illinois coaching staff. In 2003, Canada succeeded Roushar as NIU's offensive coordinator. In addition, Wisconsin assistant head coach Thomas Hammock played running back for the Huskies from 1999-2002.

SPARTANS FROM THE BADGER STATE -
Michigan State's 2012 roster features three players from Wisconsin: freshman running back Marcus Horne (Milwaukee/Bradley Tech), red-shirt freshman nose tackle Mark Scarpinato (Milwaukee/Marquette University HS) and red-shirt freshman cornerback Trae Waynes (Kenosha/Bradford).

NOTES FROM THE MICHIGAN GAME -
• Michigan now leads the all-time series 68-32-5, including a 49-20-3 record in Ann Arbor. Michigan's 12-10 win snapped MSU's four-game winning streak in the series. Mark Dantonio is now 4-2 against the Wolverines.

• The Spartans kept Michigan out of the end zone for the first time in the series since 1967 (MSU 34-0).

• The 12 points scored by the Wolverines were the lowest by a U-M team in the series since scoring seven points in 1993.

• The 12 points were the fewest allowed in a Spartan loss since a 10-0 setback at Indiana on Oct. 30, 1993.

• It marked the first time Michigan State lost a game without allowing a touchdown since a 15-13 loss at Illinois on Oct. 20, 1990.

• Michigan State recorded a season-high 9.0 tackles for loss (29 yards) against Michigan.

• Junior Max Bullough, who posted double-digit tackles for the third time in the last four games, finished with 10 stops against Michigan. He also added a career-high two pass break-ups against the Wolverines and recorded his first interception of the season. Bullough has averaged 10.5 tackles over the last four games.

• Junior Denicos Allen led MSU in tackles for the second-straight game, with 11 stops against Michigan. He also recorded a season-high 3.0 tackles for loss against the Wolverines. He is averaging 12.0 tackles over the last two weekends.

• Sophomore Kurtis Drummond set career highs for tackles (5) and tackles for loss (1.5) at Michigan.

• Senior Anthony Rashad White recorded a season-high five tackles at Michigan, including a half tackle for loss. He also had a pass break-up.

• Freshman Aaron Burbridge led MSU in receptions and receiving yards for the third consecutive game, with six catches for 51 yards at Michigan. Over the last three games, Burbridge is averaging 6.3 receptions and 91.3 receiving yards per game.

• Sophomore Tony Lippett tied his career high with five receptions for 39 yards at Michigan.

• With 26 rushing attempts against Michigan, junior Le'Veon Bell moved into 11th place on the MSU career rushing attempts list with 515. He also became the 10th Spartan to surpass 2,500 career rushing yards. Bell now has a career-best 984 rushing yards this season (previous high: 948 yards as a sophomore in 2011). He returned his first kick of the season 30 yards on the first play of the game. Bell finished with 103 all-purpose yards (68 rushing, 30 kickoff return, 5 receiving) against the Wolverines.

• Red-shirt freshman Paul Lang scored the first touchdown of his career on a 2-yard reception from junior Andrew Maxwell in the third quarter.

• With junior Dan France sidelined with a concussion, red-shirt freshman Donavon Clark started his first career game at left tackle against Michigan. MSU has employed sixth different starting combinations on the offensive line in the first eight games of 2012.

• Sophomore Mike Sadler averaged 41.4 yards on seven punts against Michigan, including four placed inside the 20. On fourth-and-9 from MSU's 23-yard line in the fourth quarter, Sadler ran a fake punt 26 yards for a Spartan first down, leading to Dan Conroy's go-ahead field goal at the 5:48 mark.

SPARTAN DEFENSE ONE OF THE TOP IN THE NATION -
• After leading the Big Ten in total defense in 2011, the Spartans once again feature one of the top defensive units in all of college football this season.

• The Spartan defense ranks among the NCAA FBS Top 20 in seven categories: total defense (fifth at 277.1 ypg.), passes defended (tied for sixth at 6.1 pg.), pass efficiency defense (10th at 101.0), third-down defense (10th at .291), scoring defense (11th at 15.2 ppg.), rushing defense (12th at 100.2 ypg.) and pass defense (16th at 176.9 ypg.). In addition, MSU also leads the Big Ten in three defensive categories (total defense, rushing defense and scoring defense).

• Through eight games, the Spartans have surrendered nine offensive touchdowns (three rushing, six passing) - the sixth-fewest allowed in the NCAA FBS. Only Alabama (5), Notre Dame (5), Cincinnati (8), Oklahoma (8) and Rutgers (8) have permitted fewer TDs (Florida also has allowed nine TDs). MSU has only allowed two offensive touchdowns in the second half in 2012 (Ohio State, Iowa).

• Through eight games in 2012, Michigan State has held its opponents scoreless in 17 of 32 quarters (53 percent). In addition, the Spartans have forced their opponents to go three-and-out on 35 of 100 possessions (35 percent).

• Michigan State's defense has allowed just 38 points in the second half/overtime this season (two touchdowns, eight field goals). The Spartans have shut out three opponents in the second half (Boise State, Eastern Michigan, Indiana).

• 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 11 opponents under 100 rushing yards (seven in 2011; four in 2012) and seven under 10 points. In addition, MSU has held six opponents under 50 yards rushing (three in 2011; three in 2012) since 2011.

• Michigan State has forced at least one turnover in 59 of 74 games over the last six seasons (80 percent of the games played since 2007).

NCAA STAT LEADERS -
Here's a glance at how Michigan State ranks among the NCAA individual stat leaders in 2012:

Individual Statistics (Top 50)
Rushing: Le'Veon Bell (11th at 123.0 yards per game)
Punting: Mike Sadler (16th at 43.5 yards per punt)
Field Goals: Dan Conroy (8th at 1.9 made per game)
All-Purpose Runners: Le'Veon Bell (21st at 146.1 yards per game)

BELL APPROACHES 1,000-YARD MILESTONE -
Junior running back Le'Veon Bell ranks second in the Big Ten and 11th in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision in rushing, averaging 123.0 yards per game in 2012. With 984 rushing yards, Bell needs just 16 yards to reach the 1,000-yard milestone for the first time in his career. He also ranks second in the nation in carries (226), third in rushing yards (984) and 21st in all-purpose yards (146.1 ypg.). The Columbus, Ohio, native also is listed among the Big Ten leaders in all-purpose yards (third) and rushing touchdowns (tied for fifth with eight).

A Midseason First-Team All-America selection by Phil Steele, Bell has produced the top single-game total in the NCAA FBS this season for carries (44 vs. Boise State) and fifth-most rushing yards (253 vs. Eastern Michigan).

According to STATS, Bell has gained 517 of his 984 rushing yards (53 percent) after contact and has broken 14 tackles this season. His totals for rushing yards after contact and broken tackles rank first among all NCAA FBS running backs. In addition, he has produced 48 first downs and 17 runs of 10 or more yards, including six gains of 20 or more yards.

Bell recorded his fourth 100-yard rushing game of the 2012 season and eighth of his career, with 29 carries for 140 yards and a TD against Iowa. It marked his second-straight 100-yard rushing game against the Hawkeyes (20 rushes for 112 yards in 2011).

Bell led all players with 121 rushing yards on 37 carries in Michigan State's 31-27 win at Indiana. The 37 carries were the second most in his career (44 vs. Boise State).

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. 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) and all-purpose yards (265) against the Broncos, while also collecting 55 receiving yards on six catches. 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 16-2 (.889) when Bell scores at least one rushing TD (2010: 5-0; 2011: 7-1; and 2012: 4-1).

Bell has rushed for 2,537 yards and 29 TDs in 35 career games. He ranks among MSU's all-time leaders in rushing TDs (tied for sixth with 29), rushing yards (10th with 2,537) and rushing attempts (11th with 515). Bell ranks among the Top 20 active NCAA FBS leaders in carries (12th), rushing yards (15th) and rushing TDs (15th).

MAXWELL TAKES OVER THE REIGNS AS STARTING QUARTERBACK -
Fourth-year junior Andrew Maxwell, who spent the past two seasons as Kirk Cousins' understudy, is in his first season as the starting quarterback. The 6-foot-3, 212-pound Maxwell ranks third in the Big Ten in passing (224.9 yards per game) and sixth in total offense (219.0 ypg.). He has completed 160-of-290 throws (.552) for 1,799 yards, seven touchdowns, five interceptions and four 200-yard passing games this season. Maxwell's 15 25+-yard completions rank second in the Big Ten, behind Nebraska's Taylor Martinez (22).

Andrew Maxwell ranks third in the Big Ten in passing (224.9 yards per game) and sixth in total offense (219.0 ypg.).


In three road games this season, Maxwell has connected on 65-of-105 passes (.619) for 757 yards, five TDs and one interception. His road passing totals rank among the best for Big Ten quarterbacks: first in passing yards (252.3 ypg.), tied for first in TD passes (5) and second in passing efficiency (136.3 rating).

Maxwell has a 122.2 passing efficiency rating in the second half of games, as he has completed 54 percent (73-of-135) of his throws for 946 yards, five TDs and two interceptions. His 946 second-half passing yards rank 15th among all NCAA FBS quarterbacks.

His streak of consecutive pass attempts without an interception ended at 233 when Iowa's Greg Castillo came up with a pick in the second overtime.

Maxwell recorded career highs in completions (24) and passing yards (290) in the 31-27 comeback win at Indiana; the 290 passing yards marked the fourth most by a Spartan quarterback against the Hoosiers. His 36-yard touchdown pass to Bennie Fowler proved to be the game-winning score as Maxwell engineered his second fourth-quarter comeback of the season (Boise State). Maxwell also connected on a 15-yard TD pass to Larry Caper in the second quarter.

He completed 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) while completing 23 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 Sims and 7 yards to 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.

MAXWELL SPREADS THE BALL AROUND -
In his first year as the starting quarterback, Andrew Maxwell has done a nice job of spreading the ball around. Six Spartans have more than 20 receptions, including Keith Mumphery (27 for 349 yards), Le'Veon Bell (25 for 137), Dion Sims (24 for 313), Tony Lippett (24 for 244), Bennie Fowler (22 for 316) and Aaron Burbridge (21 for 288). Five different players have led the team in receptions in the first eight games.

BURBRIDGE EMERGES AS RECEIVING THREAT -
In conference games, true freshman Aaron Burbridge leads the Big Ten in receptions (6.3 per game) and ranks second in receiving yards (91.3 per game). In six games overall, he has 21 catches for 288 yards (13.7 avg.). Eleven of his 21 receptions (52 percent) have resulted in a first down, including four 20-yard grabs.

For the third-straight week, the 6-foot-1, 190-pound Burbridge led the Spartans in receptions, with six receptions for 51 yards in MSU's 12-10 loss at No. 23 Michigan. His 19-yard grab from Andrew Maxwell on the opening drive of the third quarter helped set up MSU's only touchdown against the Wolverines. He also had a 12-yard catch on MSU's go-head scoring drive late in the fourth quarter.

Burbridge led the team in catches and receiving yards for the second-straight week, with five receptions for 89 yards against Iowa. His season-long 38-yard grab in the second quarter helped set up Dan Conroy's 24-yard field goal that gave MSU a 10-0 lead.

Burbridge was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Week after becoming just the second freshman - and first true freshman - in Michigan State history to record a 100-yard receiving game, with eight receptions for 134 yards as the Spartans rallied from a 17-point deficit for a 31-27 victory at Indiana. His totals marked season highs for a Spartan wide receiver.

Burbridge's 134 receiving yards also set a Spartan single-game freshman record (previous: red-shirt freshman Terry Love had nine catches for 103 yards vs. Iowa in 2004) and are the third most by a true freshman in the NCAA this season against an FBS opponent.

The Farmington Hills, Mich., native helped spark MSU's second-half rally against the Hoosiers, with five receptions for 96 yards coming after halftime. He had at least one reception on four of MSU's five scoring drives. In three previous appearances this season, Burbridge had just two catches for 14 yards.

SIMS RANKS AMONG THE NATION'S TOP TIGHT ENDS -
Through the first five games of the 2012 season, junior tight end Dion Sims led the Spartans in catches (24), receiving yards (313) and touchdown receptions (2). His 24 catches and 313 receiving yards both represent career highs. Sims had 12 catches in 2011 and 133 receiving yards in 2009.

He sat out entire Iowa game and played only nine snaps at Michigan after suffering an ankle injury in the first quarter of MSU's Oct. 6 game at Indiana.

The 6-foot-5, 285-pound Sims was named a Fourth-Team Midseason All-American by Phil Steele. 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.

BULLOUGH NAMED BUTKUS AWARD SEMIFINALIST -
Junior linebacker and captain Max Bullough, one of 12 semifinalists for the Butkus Award and 20 quarterfinalists for the Lott IMPACT Trophy, leads the team in tackles (68) and production points (201). His 6.5 tackles for loss (24 yards) rank second on the team. In conference games, Bullough ranks fifth in the Big Ten in tackles, averaging 10.5 per game.

The 6-foot-3, 252-pound Bullough reached double figures in tackles for the third time in 2012 and fifth time in his career, with 10 stops at Michigan. He also added a career-high two pass break-ups and recorded his first interception of the season against the Wolverines.

Bullough recorded 11 stops against Iowa and posted a season-high 12 stops against No. 14 Ohio State to go along with two pass break-ups and a forced fumble.

The Traverse City, Mich., native has 180 tackles in 35 career games. Bullough has started every game at middle linebacker since the beginning of the 2011 season (22 consecutive games), a streak that ranks tied for longest on the Spartan defense (strong safety Isaiah Lewis; defensive end Marcus Rush) and second-longest on the team (right guard Chris McDonald, 25-straight starts). He led the team in tackles last season with 89.

Bullough is a third-generation Spartan, following in the footsteps of his grandfather Hank (guard, 1952-54) and father Shane (linebacker, 1983-86) who played football at Michigan State. Max's father, Shane, was also named a team captain in 1986. In addition, his grandfather Jim Morse (halfback, 1954-56) played for Coach Terry Brennan at Notre Dame, and his uncles Chuck Bullough (Michigan State, linebacker, 1988-91), Bobby Morse (Michigan State, running back, 1983-86) and Jim Morse (Notre Dame, cornerback, 1976-77) played college football. Max's brother, Riley, is a freshman linebacker on the Spartan roster.

ALLEN WREAKS HAVOC IN OPPOSING BACKFIELDS -
Junior linebacker Denicos Allen leads the team in tackles for loss (7 for 19 yards) and ranks second in tackles (53) and production points (159). In conference games, Allen ranks among the Big Ten leaders in tackles for loss (tied for third at 1.4 per game; 5.5 for 9 yards) and tackles (tied for seventh at 9.0 per game; 36 total). He has produced at least one tackle for loss in each of the last three games.

For the first time in his career, the 5-foot-11, 225-pound Allen has recorded double-digit tackles in back-to-back games: a career-best 13 stops against Iowa and 11 at Michigan. His first career interception also came against the Hawkeyes and helped set up Michigan State's only touchdown, a 14-yard run by Le'Veon Bell early in the first quarter.

The Hamilton, Ohio, native has registered 154 tackles in 35 career games. Allen already ranks among MSU's all-time Top 20 in sacks (12th with 12 for 78 yards) and tackles for loss (17th with 26.5 for 108 yards).

FIVE SPARTANS LISTED ON CAPITAL ONE ACADEMIC ALL-DISTRICT BALLOT -
Five Michigan State players - red-shirt freshman offensive lineman Jack Allen, junior linebacker Max Bullough, junior quarterback Andrew Maxwell, fifth-year senior offensive lineman Ethan Ruhland and sophomore punter Mike Sadler - have been nominated for the Capital One Academic All-District 5 Team as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).

To be nominated for the Capital One Academic All-District Team, a student-athlete must be a starter or important reserve with at least a 3.3 cumulative grade-point average (on a 4.0 scale) for his career. He also must have reached sophomore athletic and academic standing.

District 5 includes all schools from the states of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio.

Players named to the Capital One Academic All-District Team (released Nov. 8) will have their names appear on the national ballot for Academic All-America honors.

Spartan Academic All-District 5 Candidates
Jack Allen - general management (3.35)
Max Bullough - finance (3.73)
Andrew Maxwell - marketing (3.66)
Ethan Ruhland - human biology (3.35)
Mike Sadler - applied engineering sciences & supply chain management (4.0)

SPARTANS FACE ONE OF THE NCAA'S TOUGHEST SCHEDULES -
Based on cumulative opposition, Michigan State's 2012 schedule ranks as the nation's 10th-most difficult, according to NCAA figures. The Spartans' opponents have a combined record of 45-26 (.634) against other NCAA Bowl Subdivision teams.

2012 CAPTAINS ELECTED -
Junior linebacker Max Bullough, junior quarterback Andrew Maxwell and senior linebacker Chris Norman have been elected by their teammates to serve as Michigan State's captains for the 2012 season.

An additional captain will be selected each week during the 2012 season (fifth-year senior defensive tackle Tyler Hoover vs. Wisconsin).