No. 24 Spartans, No. 23 Wolverines Ready to Battle for Paul Bunyan Trophy
Oct. 31, 2013
Saturday's game marks the 106th meeting between Michigan State and Michigan. The Wolverines lead the all-time series 68-32-5, including a 19-12-2 record in games played in East Lansing, Mich. MSU's four-game winning streak in the series, which matched a school record, was snapped with a 12-10 loss at Michigan Stadium last season. Michigan State is looking to defeat Michigan for the fifth time in six games for the first time since it won six of seven over UM from 1956-62. The Spartans are also looking to beat the Wolverines for the third consecutive time at Spartan Stadium for the first time in school history.
Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio is 4-2 during his tenure against Michigan, including a 2-1 record in Spartan Stadium. Dantonio and Charlie Bachman are the only Michigan State coaches to beat Michigan in four of their first five tries. Dantonio's .667 winning percentage is the highest for any Spartan coach against the Wolverines (second: Duffy Daugherty, .579, 1954-72).
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 35-23-2. The trophy depicts the legendary giant lumberjack astride an axe with feet planted on a map of the state with flags representing the schools.
As MSU's latest inductee into the College Football Hall of Fame (Class of 2013), Percy Snow's name will be added to the Spartan Stadium "Ring of Fame" prior to Saturday's game. Snow, a two-time All-America linebacker, was the first player in college football history to win both the Butkus and Lombardi Awards in the same season. The National Football Foundation will also honor Snow with its "On-Campus Salute" program before the game, a hallowed tradition that began with the inaugural class in 1951.
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 40 of the last 43 games. In the last five years of the rivalry, the Spartans have outrushed the Wolverines by 419 yards (938-519).
Through eight games, Michigan State's defense ranks No. 1 in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision in total defense (215.5 yards per game), rushing defense (54.9 ypg.) and first downs defense (12.8 pg.). The Spartans also rank among the national leaders in pass efficiency defense (second with a 88.81 rating), opponent third-down conversions (third at 28 percent; 33-for-120), scoring defense (third at 12.3 ppg.) and passing defense (third at 160.6 ypg.). Michigan State is one of three schools in the FBS, along with Louisville and Virginia Tech, to rank in the top five nationally in total defense, scoring defense, rushing defense and passing defense. The Spartans also lead the Big Ten in seven defensive categories (total defense, scoring defense, rushing defense, pass defense, pass efficiency defense, opponent third-down conversions, first downs defense). In addition, Michigan State's defense has allowed just 3.55 yards per play, which ranks No. 1 in the FBS.
Michigan State's 7-1 start is the second-best eight-game start under head coach Mark Dantonio. The Spartans won their first eight games in 2010 en route to winning a school-record 11 games and a share of the Big Ten Championship. This marks just the third time since 1967 that the Spartans have won at least seven of their first eight games (2003, 2010). In addition, the Spartans have started 6-1 in four of the past six seasons; prior to Dantonio's tenure, Michigan State had started 6-1 just two times since 1967 (1999, 2003).
Michigan State is off to a 4-0 start in Big Ten play for the first time since 2010 and just the fifth time in school history (1965, 1966, 2003, 2010).
The Spartans have won 36 of their last 47 games (.766), dating back to the beginning of the 2010 season. The 36 wins are the most in the Big Ten and 11th most among NCAA FBS teams during that same time period. In addition, MSU has recorded 31 Big Ten victories since 2008, the most of any team in the conference (Note: Ohio State has won 36 games, but had to vacate seven victories following the 2010 season.). The Spartans produced back-to-back 11-win seasons in 2010-11 for the first time in program history, claimed a share of the Big Ten Championship in 2010, and won the inaugural Big Ten Legends Divisions title in 2011.
STAT LEADERS -
Michigan (after seven games):
THE LAST MEETING -
Michigan State's Dan Conroy made a go-ahead field goal with 5:48 left after a fake punt kept the drive alive. The Spartans forced the Wolverines to punt from midfield after going ahead, but couldn't stop them when it mattered most in the final minute.
Robinson, who had been shut down in his two previous starts against the Spartans, made just enough plays to help Michigan win. He was 14 of 29 for 163 yards with an interception, a harmless turnover on an up-for-grabs pass at the end of the first half, and ran for 96 yards on 20 carries. Dileo was his top target, catching four passes for 92 yards to set up scores on a day in which the defenses for both teams were dominant.
Michigan State's quarterback, Andrew Maxwell, played relatively well, but he threw an interception to Jordan Kovacs that helped the Wolverines take a 9-7 lead early in the fourth quarter. Maxwell was 21 of 34 for 192 yards with a TD - a 2-yard toss to Paul Lang - that put the Spartans ahead 7-6 midway through the third quarter. Those were the first points Michigan's improving defense gave up in six quarters and the first TD in eight quarters.
THE LAST MEETING IN SPARTAN STADIUM -
"A clean sweep!" Worthy yelled.
In his four years with the Spartans, Worthy has never lost to Michigan. He and the rest of Michigan State's defensive line helped extend that run, shutting down Denard Robinson and the 11th-ranked Wolverines in a 28-14 victory.
The 23rd-ranked Spartans won their four straight against Michigan for the first time since 1959-62, equaling Michigan State's longest streak in the series. Kirk Cousins, a fifth-year senior, became the first Michigan State starting quarterback to win three straight over Michigan.
Keshawn Martin scored twice in the third quarter on similar lunges to the end zone, and Michigan State held off Robinson and the Wolverines during a wild fourth quarter. Michigan lost for the first time under coach Brady Hoke. The Wolverines had a chance to tie it, but Robinson was sacked on fourth-and-1 from the Michigan State 9-yard line with 6:16 to play.
Robinson later threw an interception, and Isaiah Lewis returned it 39 yards for a touchdown with 4:31 left to make it 28-14. Shortly after that, Robinson was shaken up by a hit and left the game.
Michigan State took the field in special green-and-bronze Nike Pro Combat uniforms. In a surprise move, Michigan showed up in "legacy" uniforms by Adidas that included pants that were white instead of the usual maize.
Robinson ran for a first-quarter touchdown but was mostly ineffective through the air, going 9 for 24 for 123 yards and a touchdown on a windy day in East Lansing. Down 21-7, Robinson found Roy Roundtree for a 34-yard touchdown with 9:49 left in the game. Martin then fumbled on an end around, giving Michigan the ball at the Michigan State 32.
After converting fourth-and-1 from the 23 with a short run, Robinson faced the same down and distance from the 9. Michigan called a slow-developing play-action attempt, and Johnny Adams sacked Robinson to end the drive. After Michigan got the ball back, Robinson's pass was intercepted by Lewis, who took it back for a touchdown.
MSU/MICHIGAN COACHING CONNECTIONS -
SPARTAN DEFENSE RANKS NO. 1 IN THE FBS -
Michigan State is one of three schools in the FBS, along with Louisville and Virginia Tech, to rank in the top five nationally in total defense, scoring defense, rushing defense and passing defense.
The Spartans also lead the Big Ten in seven defensive categories (total defense, scoring defense, rushing defense, pass defense, pass efficiency defense, opponent third-down conversions, first downs defense).
Michigan State's defense has allowed just 3.55 yards per play, which ranks No. 1 in the FBS. In addition, MSU has given up only 60 plays of 10-plus yards, including only 10 rushes of 10-plus yards, both of which rank No. 1 in the FBS. The Spartans also have allowed just 19 plays of 20-plus yards, tied for second fewest in the FBS.
The Spartans have held all eight of their 2013 opponents below 100 yards rushing, as Illinois managed 25 yards on 21 carries (1.2 avg.). Michigan State is the only team in the FBS this season that hasn't allowed a team to rush for 100 yards. In 87 games under Mark Dantonio, MSU has held its opponents under 100 yards rushing 43 times (49 percent). In addition, MSU is one of six schools in the FBS this season (Syracuse, Wisconsin, Memphis, Ohio State, East Carolina) that hasn't allowed a 100-yard rusher.
Michigan State, which leads the Big Ten and ranks third in the FBS in scoring defense (12.3 ppg.), hasn't allowed an opponent to score a touchdown in three games this season (South Florida, Purdue, Illinois). The Spartans shut out Purdue, 14-0, on Oct. 19 in Spartan Stadium, marking MSU's first Big Ten shutout since 1999 against Northwestern. Under Dantonio, the Spartans have three shutouts (2008 vs. Florida Atlantic, 2011 vs. Florida Atlantic, 2013 vs. Purdue).
Michigan State has led the Big Ten in total defense and rushing defense the past two seasons.
Michigan State returned seven starters and 11 players with starting experience from the Big Ten's top-ranked defense in 2012. The Spartan defense ranked among the NCAA FBS Top 10 in eight categories: touchdowns allowed (second with 16), pass efficiency defense (third at 98.8), total defense (fourth at 274.4 ypg.), pass break-ups (tied for eighth at 4.8 pg.), rushing defense (eighth at 98.6 ypg.), third-down defense (eighth at .305), pass defense (ninth at 175.8 ypg.) and scoring defense (ninth at 16.3 ppg.). In addition, MSU also led the Big Ten in six defensive categories (touchdowns allowed, total defense, scoring defense, pass efficiency defense, rushing defense and third-down defense).
The Spartans are one of just five NCAA FBS schools, along with Alabama, Florida State, Florida and LSU, to rank among the Top 10 nationally in total defense the past two seasons. Michigan State ranked fourth in total defense in 2012 (274.4 ypg.) and sixth in 2011 (277.4 ypg).
MSU has also ranked in the NCAA FBS Top 10 the past two seasons in rushing defense (eighth in 2012 at 98.6 yppg.; ninth in 2011 at 100.5 ypg.) and scoring defense (ninth in 2012 at 16.3 ppg.; 10th in 2011 at 18.4 ppg). Michigan State, Alabama and Florida State are the only schools in the nation to rank among the NCAA FBS Top 10 in total defense, rushing defense and scoring defense the past two seasons.
In addition, MSU has ranked among the NCAA FBS Top 15 in pass defense in 2011 (11th at 176.9 ypg.) and 2012 (ninth at 175.8 ypg.). Michigan State and Alabama are the only two programs in the country to rank in the NCAA FBS Top 15 the past two seasons in total defense, rushing defense, passing defense and scoring defense.
The Spartans returned five players who received All-Big Ten recognition on defense in 2012, including first-team selections Max Bullough (LB) and Darqueze Dennard (CB). Senior linebacker Denicos Allen, senior strong safety Isaiah Lewis and junior defensive end Marcus Rush earned honorable mention All-Big Ten accolades from the coaches and media.
In 2012, the Spartans surrendered 16 offensive touchdowns (six rushing, 10 passing) - the second-fewest allowed in the NCAA FBS. Only Notre Dame (15) permitted fewer TDs. Through eight games in 2013, the Spartans have allowed 12 touchdowns (four rushing, eight passing), tied for fourth fewest in the FBS. Since the beginning of 2011, Michigan State has held opponents under 100 rushing yards in 23 of 35 games (seven in 2011; eight in 2012; eight in 2013). In addition, MSU has held 11 opponents under 50 yards rushing (three times in 2011; five in 2012; three in 2013) since 2011.
Since the beginning of the 2010 season, Michigan State's defense has held 13 opponents to less than 10 points.
Michigan State has forced at least one turnover in 69 of 87 games over the last seven seasons (79 percent of the games played since 2007), including seven games this season.
SPARTANS LEAD FBS IN DEFENSIVE TOUCHDOWNS -
Michigan State has scored 19 defensive touchdowns under Dantonio, including five each in 2007, 2011 and this season. Michigan State scored four defensive touchdowns in the first two games of the season, marking a school record (single-game records dating back to 1946). The five defensive touchdowns are tied for the second most in a single season in school history (school-record six in 1999; five in 2007 and 2011).
PERCY SNOW TO BE ADDED TO SPARTAN STADIUM "RING OF FAME" -
As MSU's latest inductee into the College Football Hall of Fame, Snow's name will be added to the "Ring of Fame" prior to Saturday's game against Michigan. The National Football Foundation will also honor Snow with its "On-Campus Salute" program before the game, a hallowed tradition that began with the inaugural class in 1951.
A four-year letterman and three-year starter for Coach George Perles from 1986-89, Snow helped Michigan State to a combined record of 29-16-2 during his career, including three postseason bowl appearances (1988 Rose Bowl, 1989 Gator Bowl and 1989 Aloha Bowl).
A two-time first-team All-American and three-time first-team All-Big Ten selection, Snow led the Spartans in tackles for three consecutive seasons from 1987-89.
Snow was inducted into the Michigan State Athletics Hall of Fame in 2010.
Snow joins former Michigan State president John Hannah (No. 46) and College Football Hall of Fame members Don Coleman (No. 78), George Webster (No. 90), Charles "Bubba" Smith (No. 95), Brad Van Pelt (No. 10), John Pingel (No. 37) and Gene Washington (No. 84) on the Spartan Stadium "Ring of Fame". Hall of Fame Coaches Clarence "Biggie" Munn and Duffy Daugherty were added to the "Ring of Fame" last year.
FLOZELL ADAMS NAMED HONORARY CAPTAIN AGAINST MICHIGAN -
Adams captured first-team All-America recognition as picked by the Walter Camp Foundation as a senior in 1997. The '97 Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year, Adams started all 12 games at left tackle and helped the Spartans to a No. 24 spot nationally in rushing offense (199.5 ypg.). He also opened holes for MSU running backs who tallied 100 or more yards seven times during the season. At 6-foot-7, 330 pounds, Adams allowed only two sacks and recorded 37 pancakes.
Adams was drafted in the second round by the Dallas Cowboys in the 1998 NFL Draft. A five-time Pro Bowl selection (2003, '04, '06, '07, '08), Adams played 13 seasons in the NFL (12 seasons with Dallas from 1998-2009; one season with Pittsburgh in 2010) and started 194 of 198 career games. He started for the Steelers in Super Bowl XLV in Dallas.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS -
A trademark of Mark Dantonio's Michigan State teams has been their ability to produce wins late in the regular season. Under Dantonio, Michigan State has compiled a 14-5 record (.737) in November. His teams have won eight of the last 10 games in November (3-0 in 2010; 4-0 in 2011; and 1-2 in 2012). In 2012, MSU lost back-to-back games (Nebraska and Northwestern) in November for the first time since 2006 when the Spartans dropped three in a row. In the four seasons (2003-06) prior to Dantonio's arrival, MSU went just 2-11 (.154) in November.
Michigan State's offensive line has only allowed six sacks, which ranks tied for fewest in the Big Ten and tied for seventh fewest in the FBS.
Michigan State ranks second in the Big Ten in turnover margin (+6, 0.75 per game). The Spartans have forced a total of 15 turnovers (six fumbles, nine interceptions), including five for touchdowns (three fumble recoveries, two interception returns).
The Spartans have tallied 17 plays of 20 yards or more on offense (six rushing, 11 passing) in their four league games, compared to just 11 (five rushing, six passing) during their four non-conference games.
Under Mark Dantonio, Michigan State is 42-8 (.840) when leading in time of possession, including a 29-5 record (.853) since 2010. The Spartans lead the Big Ten and rank second in the NCAA FBS in time of possession (34:48 per game) in 2013.
Under Mark Dantonio, Michigan State is 47-11 (.810) when outrushing its opponent, including a 31-4 record (.886) since 2010. The Spartans are 20-3 (.870) in games when gaining 200 or more yards under Dantonio.
Under Mark Dantonio, Michigan State has produced a 36-11 record (.766) in home games, including a 15-game winning streak (7-0 in 2010, 7-0 in 2011, won first game in 2012).
Michigan State lost five Big Ten games in 2012 by a combined total of 13 points, including one in double overtime (Iowa) and two within the last 10 seconds of regulation (Michigan, Nebraska). During one stretch, MSU had seven-straight games decided by four points or fewer, the longest such streak in school history and the longest by an FBS team since at least 1996.
Since the beginning of the 2010 season, Michigan State is 13-7 (.650) in games decided by 10 points or less, including a 4-5 record in 2012. The losses have come against Wisconsin in the 2011 Big Ten Championship Game (42-39), Ohio State (17-16), Iowa (19-16 in 2OT), Michigan (12-10), Nebraska (28-24) and Northwestern (23-20) in 2012, and Notre Dame (17-13) in 2013. Twelve of MSU's last 22 games have been decided by 10 points or less (MSU record: 5-7).
BATTLE FOR IN-STATE BRAGGING RIGHTS -
SCOUTING MICHIGAN -
The Wolverines are led by third-year head coach Brady Hoke, who owns a 25-8 record as head coach at Michigan. Hoke is 72-58 overall in his 11th season as a head coach.
Michigan's offense ranks among the Big Ten's leaders in passing yards per completion (first at 16.6 ypc.), scoring (tied for second at 42.4 ypg.), passing efficiency (second with 157.3 rating), passing (third at 262.6 ypg.), and total offense (fifth at 446.4 ypg.). The 42.4 points per game also rank eighth in the FBS. The Wolverines rank ninth in the Big Ten in turnover margin (-2; -0.29 avg.).
Junior quarterback Devin Gardner ranks among the Big Ten leaders in total offense (328.4 ypg.), passing (second with 254.1 ypg.), touchdown passes (tied for second with 13), and passing efficiency (fourth with 159.6 rating). Gardner also ranks ninth in the Big Ten in rushing (74.3 ypg.), which leads all Big Ten quarterbacks.
Senior Jeremy Gallon ranks second in the Big Ten in receptions (6.4 pg.) and receiving yards (118.7 ypg.) and is tied for the league lead with seven touchdown receptions.
Senior Fitzgerald Toussaint leads the team and ranks sixth in the Big Ten in rushing (82.1 ypg.). He is also tied for the league lead with 11 rushing touchdowns, which ranks tied for ninth in the FBS.
Defensively, Michigan's strength is stopping the run; the Wolverines rank fourth in the Big Ten and eighth in the FBS, allowing just 99.9 rushing yards per game. Michigan ranks fifth in the Big Ten and 27th in the FBS in total defense, giving up an average of 355.3 yards per game.
Junior defensive end Frank Clark ranks tied for second in the Big Ten in sacks (4.5) and leads the team in tackles for loss (5.5) and fumble recoveries (2). Sophomore linebacker James Ross III ranks first on the team with 50 tackles, while junior linebacker Desmond Morgan is second with 47 tackles, including 3.5 for loss. Junior defensive back Raymon Taylor leads the team with seven pass break-ups and ranks third with 44 tackles.
MSU/MICHIGAN SERIES NOTES -
Michigan State is looking to defeat Michigan for the fifth time in six games for the first time since it won six of seven over UM from 1956-62. The Spartans are also looking to beat the Wolverines for the third consecutive time at Spartan Stadium for the first time in school history.
Since 1950, the Wolverines hold a 35-26-2 advantage over the Spartans.
Saturday's game marks the 16th time in series history both teams have been ranked while playing against each other. Michigan State is 8-6-1 against Michigan in those contests, including victories in three of the last four matchups.
Michigan State seventh-year head coach Mark Dantonio is 4-2 during his tenure against Michigan, including a 2-1 record in Spartan Stadium. Dantonio and Charlie Bachman are the only Michigan State coaches to beat Michigan in four of their first five tries. Dantonio's .667 winning percentage is the highest for any Spartan coach against the Wolverines (second: Duffy Daugherty, .579, 1954-72).
THE RIVALRY -
This game marks the 66th-consecutive sellout in the Michigan State-Michigan series, dating from 1948.
The home team has won 15 of the last 21 meetings between Michigan State and Michigan.
GROUND GAME KEY FACTOR IN THIS SERIES -
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.
SPARTANS RANK SECOND IN ALL-TIME VICTORIES vs. MICHIGAN -
SPARTANS AGAINST RANKED TEAMS -
NOTES FROM THE ILLINOIS GAME -
Connor Cook went 15-of-16 passing for 208 yards and three TDs ... Cook's .938 completion percentage is a school single-game record (min. 10 comp) and seventh-best in Big Ten history ... Cook finished the game with 11 straight completions for 185 yards ... it marks the first time a Spartan QB has completed 11 straight passes in a game since Kirk Cousins against Notre Dame in 2011 ... MSU's previous single-game completion record was .917, held by Dave Yarema and Dan Enos ... Yarema completed 11-of-12 passes against Northwestern in 1982, while Enos was 11-of-12 against Minnesota in 1990.
Jeremy Langford recorded his third-straight 100-yard rushing game with 104 yards 22 carries ... he had 109 rushing yards vs. Indiana and a career-high 131 against Purdue ... Langford is averaging 114.7 yards per game in his last three games and 96.8 yards per game in Big Ten action.
MSU was 14-of-16 on third-down conversions (.875) in the game.
Michigan State, which entered the game No. 1 in the FBS in total defense, held Illinois to just 128 yards of total offense, a season low for a Spartan opponent and the fewest given up by MSU since Minnesota had 96 yards of total offense on Nov. 24, 2012 ... MSU allowed 53 yards to Illinois on the Illini's first drive, which resulted in a field goal; the rest of the game, the Spartans gave up just 75 yards ... Illinois had just 18 yards of total offense and one first down in the second half ... MSU held Illinois to just 25 yards rushing on 21 attempts.
On Michigan State's second touchdown drive of the game late in the second quarter, MSU drove the ball 99 yards on 15 plays, covering 8:08 on the clock ... the drive came right after the Spartans stopped Illinois on fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line ... Michigan State was 5-for-5 on third-down conversions on the drive (Cook 11-yard pass to Bennie Fowler; Illinois pass interference; Cook 16-yard pass to Macgarrett Kings Jr.; Cook 4-yard rush; Cook 29-yard TD pass to Fowler) ... Cook was 6-of-6 passing for 81 yards on the drive.
Delton Williams rushed for 78 yards on just five carries (15.6 avg.), including his first career TD run on a 42-yard score in the fourth quarter.
Josiah Price caught his first career touchdown pass with a 13-yard reception on MSU's first drive of the third quarter.
Keith Mumphery collected a season-high 77 receiving yard on three grabs, including a career-long 47-yard reception for a touchdown on the first play of the fourth quarter. Michigan State gained 477 yards of total offense, marking its second-highest output of the season (547 vs. Indiana) ... MSU's 29 first downs was also the second-highest total of the season (30 vs. Youngstown State) ... the Spartans out-rushed the Illini, 269-25
Michigan State held a 39:06-20:54 advantage in time of possession over Illinois.
Michigan State scored a touchdown on six straight possessions, spanning the second quarter through the fourth quarter ... the Spartans had nine possessions overall; they punted on their first possession and fumbled on their second before rattling off six straight TDs ... MSU ended the fourth quarter on a 10-play, 39-yard drive that ended on the Illinois 24-yard line.
COOK GROWS IN CONFIDENCE AS STARTING QB -
The 6-foot-4, 218-pound Cook completed 15-of-16 throws for 208 yards and three touchdowns as Michigan State remained atop the Big Ten Legends Division standings at 4-0 with a 42-3 victory at Illinois. His .938 completion percentage set the school single-game record and marked the seventh-best single-game total in Big Ten history. Cook's 264.8 passing efficiency rating against Illinois ranks as the fourth-best single-game total posted by a quarterback in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision this season. He finished the game with 11-straight completions for 185 yards, including scoring tosses of 29 yards to Bennie Fowler, 13 yards to Josiah Price and a career-long 47 yards to Keith Mumphery. It marked the first time a Spartan quarterback had completed 11 passes in a row since Kirk Cousins against Notre Dame in 2011. Cook completed passes to 10 different receivers. It also marked his fourth 200-yard passing game of the season. Cook led the Spartans to TDs on six consecutive possessions.
He hit 22-of-31 throws for 235 yards, two TDs and an interception in MSU's 42-28 Homecoming victory over Indiana. He threw TD passes of 11 yards to Jeremy Langford and 34 yards to Fowler in the second quarter. He completed passes to 11 different receivers.
Cook set career highs for pass completions (25), pass attempts (44) and passing yards (277) in MSU's 26-14 win at Iowa in his Big Ten debut. His 277 passing yards mark the second-highest single-game total by a Spartan quarterback against Iowa (Brian Hoyer threw for 308 yards at Iowa in 2007). Cook completed scoring strikes of 46 yards to Macgarrett Kings Jr. and 37 yards to Fowler. His 37-yard TD toss to Fowler gave MSU the lead for good at 17-14 early in the third quarter. He completed passes to nine different receivers. Cook also rushed six times for 21 yards to account for a career-best 298 total yards. He attempted 119 passes before throwing his first interception of the 2013 season (fourth quarter at Iowa).
In his first career road start at No. 22 Notre Dame, he hit 16-of-32 passes for 135 yards, including a 12-yard TD toss to Kings midway through the second quarter.
The Hinckley, Ohio, native recorded his first career 200-yard passing game in MSU's 55-17 victory over Youngstown State, completing 15-of-22 passes for 202 yards and a career-best four TDs. Cook became the first Spartan QB to throw four TD passes in a game since Brian Hoyer against Penn State in 2007. He also became the first MSU QB to throw four TD passes in a half since Drew Stanton had four scoring tosses in the first half at Illinois in 2005. Cook threw TD passes of 13 yards to Andre Sims Jr., 12 to Trevon Pendleton, 24 to Kings and 17 to Fowler. He finished with 227 total yards (202 passing and 25 rushing).
PLAYMAKERS BEGIN TO EMERGE IN THE PASSING GAME -
The 5-foot-10, 186-pound Kings matched his career high with five receptions for 28 yards in Michigan State's 42-28 Homecoming win over Indiana. It marked the third-straight game that Kings had five catches (five for 37 yards and a TD at Notre Dame; and five for 94 yards and a score at Iowa).
In MSU's 26-14 victory at Iowa, Kings tied his career high with five receptions for a career-best 94 yards, including a 46-yard TD grab from Connor Cook in the second quarter. It marked both a career-long reception for Kings as well as the longest offensive play from scrimmage for the Spartans this season. He also returned three punts for 53 yards, including a 30-yard return in the third quarter that set up Michael Geiger's 35-yard field goal. Kings accounted for a career-best 147 all-purpose yards against the Hawkeyes.
Fifth-year senior Bennie Fowler leads the team in TD catches (4) and 20-yard receptions (5). He ranks second on the team in receptions (20) and receiving yards (278). Thirteen of his 20 receptions (65 percent) have resulted in either a TD or a first down. Over his last five games, Fowler has 17 catches for 244 yards and fourTDs (Note: He sat out the Purdue game with a hamstring injury.)
Fowler caught two passes for 40 yards at Illinois, including an acrobatic 29-yard TD grab from Cook with nine seconds left in the first half that gave MSU a 14-3 halftime lead.
On a third-and-6 play midway through the second quarter against Indiana, he scored on a 34-yard crossing route from Cook. It marked the second-straight game that Fowler recorded a TD reception of over 30 yards.
The 6-1, 212-pound Fowler had a career-high nine receptions for 92 yards at Iowa, including a 37-yard TD reception from Cook in the third quarter that gave the Spartans the lead for good at 17-14.
Junior Tony Lippett ranks third on the team in receptions (19) and receiving yards (190). Thirteen of his 19 receptions (68 percent) have resulted in a first down, including a team-best eight third-down grabs. Over his last four games, Lippett has 15 catches for 149 yards.
The 6-3, 191-pound Lippett finished with a team-high five catches for 49 yards against Purdue. He also threw his first career TD pass, a 5-yard toss to junior tight end Andrew Gleichert in the fourth quarter.
Lippett set career highs for receptions (6) and receiving yards (64) against Indiana.
Langford, a 6-foot, 206-pound junior, leads the team in rushing attempts (141), rushing yards (655), rushing TDs (9), scoring (60 points) and all-purpose yards (707). In conference games, he ranks fourth in the Big Ten in rushing (96.8 yards per game) and fifth in scoring (tied at 9.0 points per game). Overall, Langford ranks among the Big Ten leaders in total TDs (third with 10), rushing TDs (tied for third with 9) and rushing (seventh at 81.9 ypg.). Forty-two of his 141 carries (30 percent) have resulted in either a TD or a first down.
Langford recorded his third-straight 100-yard rushing game in MSU's 42-3 win at Illinois, with 104 yards on 22 carries. He scored on runs of 1 and 7 yards against the Illini. Langford is averaging 114.7 yards per game over his last three games.
He set personal bests for carries (24) and rushing yards (131) in Michigan State's 14-0 victory over Purdue.
Langford earned Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week honors after posting his first career 100-yard rushing game in MSU's 42-28 Homecoming victory over Indiana, with 23 carries for 109 yards and a personal-best three rushing touchdowns. He scored on runs of 5, 2 and career-long 32 yards. Langford accounted for a career-best four TDs, including his first career TD reception on an 11-yard screen pass from Connor Cook early in the second quarter.
He gained 68 yards on 14 attempts in MSU's 17-13 loss at No. 22 Notre Dame.
Langford rushed 15 times for 68 yards and two scores in MSU's 55-17 victory over Youngstown State. He scored on runs of 3 and 2 yards against the Penguins.
In his first career start at tailback, Langford picked up 94 yards on 20 carries in MSU's 26-13 season-opening win over Western Michigan. Langford also scored his first career offensive touchdown on a 2-yard run late in the first half against the Broncos.
Hill, a 5-8, 198-pound junior, ranks second on the team in carries (55) and rushing yards (289). Eighteen of his 55 carries (33 percent) have resulted in either a TD or a first down.
He gained 70 yards on 13 rushing attempts at Illinois. Hill rushed nine times for a career-high 83 yards against Youngstown State, including a career-long 35-yard TD run early in the third quarter. He produced 63 yards on nine carries against South Florida.
Williams, a 6-1, 220-pound true freshman, ranks third on the team in rushing with 210 yards on 29 carries (7.2 avg.).
He rushed five times for 78 yards and a touchdown at Illinois. Williams averaged 15.6 yards on five carries against the Illini and scored his first collegiate TD on a career-long 42-yard run in the fourth quarter.
Williams set season highs for carries (12) and rushing yards (92) against Indiana. His season-long 37-yard run set up MSU's final touchdown early in the fourth quarter.
In his collegiate debut at Iowa, Williams rushed for 32 yards on nine carries (3.6 avg.), including an 11-yard gain. All of his carries came in the second half against the Hawkeyes.
DENNARD NAMED SEMIFINALIST FOR JIM THORPE AWARD -
Dennard leads the Spartans in pass break-ups (7) and passes defended (9) and is tied for the team lead with two interceptions. He also ranks fifth on the team with 33 tackles, including two for losses (4 yards). The 5-foot-11, 197-pound Dennard ranks third on the team in production points with 132. In addition, he ranks tied for seventh in the Big Ten in passes defended (1.1 per game).
Dennard was named a Midseason All-American by CBSSports.com (second team) and Phil Steele (third team), and also was a first-team All-Big Ten Midseason selection by ESPN.com, Phil Steele and BTN.com.
Dennard produced seven tackles in Michigan State's 14-0 victory over Purdue, including a half tackle for loss (1 yard). MSU's defense recorded its first shutout since 2011 (44-0 over Florida Atlantic) and its first against a Big Ten opponent since 1999 (34-0 at Northwestern).
He totaled five tackles, a quarterback hurry and a pass break-up in MSU's 42-28 Homecoming win over Indiana, as the Spartans limited IU to season lows in passing offense (259 yards) and total offense (351). The Hoosiers entered the game ranked ninth in the nation in total offense (535.0 ypg.) and 10th in passing offense (346.0 ypg).
Dennard was selected Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week after recording career highs in tackles (8) and interceptions (2) in MSU's 26-14 win at Iowa. The Spartan defense limited the Hawkeyes to 264 total yards - 183 yards below their season average. In addition, MSU held Iowa to 23 yards rushing (1.4 yards per carry) - 221 yards below its season average. Michigan State shut out the Hawkeyes in the second half, as Iowa managed just six first downs, 6 rushing yards and 104 total yards in the final two quarters. Dennard's second interception at the 5:25 mark in the fourth quarter helped ice the game, and it marked the third multi-interception game of his career (2012 Outback Bowl vs. Georgia, 2012 vs. Nebraska).
The Dry Branch, Ga., native was credited with five tackles, including a half tackle for loss (2 yards), a QB hurry and two pass break-ups in MSU's 21-6 victory over South Florida. In the season opener, Dennard matched his career-high with three pass break-ups in MSU's 26-13 win over Western Michigan.
Dennard is in his third season as a starting cornerback for the Spartans. He has collected 138 tackles and 25 passes defended (17 pass break-ups, eight interceptions) in 38 career games, including 34 starts (23 consecutive).
ALLEN ANCHORS NATION'S TOP DEFENSIVE UNIT -
Allen recorded five tackles, with 2.5 resulting in losses (9 yards) including an 8-yard sack, in Michigan State's 42-3 win at Illinois, as the Spartans remained atop the Big Ten Legends Division standings at 4-0. The Spartans held the Illini to eight first downs, 25 rushing yards (1.2 yards per carry) and 128 total yards. In the second half, MSU limited Illinois to only one first down and 18 total yards.
Allen registered eight tackles and scored his first career touchdown, returning a fumble 45 yards for a score in the second quarter, in MSU's 14-0 victory over Purdue. MSU's defense recorded its first shutout since 2011 (44-0 over Florida Atlantic) and its first against a Big Ten opponent since 1999 (34-0 at Northwestern). The Spartans limited Purdue to three first downs, 7 rushing yards (10 carries) and 113 total yards in the second half.
He recorded a team-high eight tackles, including two for losses (5 yards), in MSU's 42-28 Homecoming victory over Indiana. Allen also was credited with two quarterback hurries, as the Spartans limited IU to season lows in passing offense (259 yards) and total offense (351). The Hoosiers entered the game ranked ninth in the nation in total offense (535.0 ypg.) and 10th in passing offense (346.0 ypg).
Allen recorded a season-high nine tackles including a half tackle for loss (2 yards), in a 17-3 loss at No. 22 Notre Dame. MSU limited the Irish to 14 first downs, 82 rushing yards on 32 attempts (2.6 avg.) and 224 total yards. Notre Dame's 224 total yards marked the lowest figure in Brian Kelly's tenure as the Irish head coach.
He tallied eight stops, including a 2-yard sack, and two QB hurries in MSU's 21-6 win over South Florida. The Spartan defense allowed 12 first downs, 89 rushing yards, 66 passing yards and 155 total yards against USF, as the Bulls went one-of-13 (.077) on third-down conversions. Allen produced five tackles, including a 6-yard sack, in MSU's 26-13 victory over Western Michigan in the season opener. The Spartan defense limited WMU to 11 rushing yards on 27 carries (0.4 avg.).
The Hamilton, Ohio, native ranks among MSU's all-time leaders in tackles for loss (sixth with 37.5) and sacks (sixth with 17). Allen has started 33 consecutive games at linebacker - the second-longest active streak on the team.
CALHOUN EMERGES AS PLAYMAKER ON D-LINE -
The 6-foot-4, 250-pound Calhoun produced three tackles, including 1.5 for losses (8 yards), and forced a fumble in Michigan State's 42-3 victory at Illinois. Early in the second quarter, he disrupted a reverse in the backfield, tackling Ryan Lankford for a 7-yard lose and forcing a fumble that Marcus Rush recovered at the Illini 23. Four plays later, Jeremy Langford scored on a 1-yard run to give the Spartans the lead for good at 7-3.
contributed two tackles, including a 3-yard sack, two QB hurries and three QB hits in MSU's 14-0 win over Purdue. MSU's defense recorded its first shutout since 2011 (44-0 over Florida Atlantic) and its first against a Big Ten opponent since 1999 (34-0 at Northwestern). The Spartans limited Purdue to three first downs, 7 rushing yards (10 carries) and 113 total yards in the second half.
He was credited with three tackles, including a half tackle for loss, four QB hurries and a career-best six QB hits in MSU's 26-14 victory at Iowa.
Calhoun collected several weekly honors after scoring two touchdowns and recording two tackles for loss, including a 9-yard sack, in MSU's 21-6 win over South Florida on Sept. 7 at Spartan Stadium. He totaled 43.5 production points against the Bulls.
Calhoun was named the Walter Camp Football Foundation National Defensive Player of the Week, Chuck Bednarik Award National Defensive Player of the Week, FWAA/Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week, CBSSports.com National Defensive Player of the Week and College Football Performance Awards National Defensive Performer of the Week. He also was selected CFPA National Defensive Lineman of the Week and Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week. In additon, Calhoun was listed on the Paul Hornung Award Honor Roll for Week 2.
Calhoun scored two touchdowns against USF, returning a fumble 4 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter and his first career interception 56 yards for another score in the third quarter. He was credited with three solo tackles against the Bulls, with two resulting in losses (12 yards) including a 9-yard sack, and two quarterback hurries. Michigan State's defense allowed 12 first downs, 89 rushing yards (2.5 yards per carry), 66 passing yards and 155 total yards against South Florida.
In eight games, Calhoun has scored three defensive TDs, as he also returned a fumble 16 yards against Western Michigan. His three defensive TDs tie a modern-day Michigan State single-season record (games dating back to 1946), and he became the first Spartan to accomplish the feat in the first two games of the season. Calhoun is the first Spartan defensive player to score three TDs in one season since linebacker T.J. Turner accounted for three in 12 games in 1999 (88-yard interception return at Purdue; 26-yard fumble return at Northwestern; and 24-yard fumble return vs. Florida in 2000 Florida Citrus Bowl).
Calhoun is the only defensive player in the Football Bowl Subdivision this season to score three touchdowns in the first eight weeks of the season.
Max Bullough: MAN IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NATION'S TOP DEFENSE -
Bullough was named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week after recording a season-high 10 tackles in Michigan State's 14-0 win over Purdue, with two resulting in losses including a 7-yard sack that produced a fumble that senior Denicos Allen recovered and returned 45 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter. Bullough reached double-figure tackles for the seventh time in his career.
Bullough has led the Spartans in tackles the previous two seasons (89 in 2011; career-high 111 in 2012). He was re-elected as team captain and is just the third Spartan to be named a captain at least twice in the Dantonio era (Greg Jones, 2009-10; Kirk Cousins, 2009-11).
The Traverse City, Mich., native has 270 career tackles in 48 games, including a team-high 35 consecutive starts. He ranks tied for 15th in MSU history with 27.5 tackles for loss (94 yards) in his career, including 7.5 sacks (48 yards), and also has 11 passes defended (three interceptions, eight pass break-ups) and four forced fumbles.
BULLOUGH NAMED TO 2013 NATIONAL FOOTBALL FOUNDATION SCHOLAR-ATHLETE CLASS -
The NFF's National Scholar-Athlete program, launched in 1959, is the first initiative in history to award scholar-athletes postgraduate scholarships for their combined athletic, academic and leadership abilities. Nominated by their respective schools, which are limited to one nominee each, candidates must be a senior or graduate student in their final year of eligibility, have a grade-point average of at least 3.2 on a 4.0 scale, have outstanding football ability as a first-team player and have demonstrated strong leadership and citizenship. The class is selected each year by the NFF Awards Committee, which is comprised of a nationally recognized group of media, College Football Hall of Famers and athletics administrators.
Bullough becomes the sixth NFF National Scholar-Athlete in Michigan State history and the first since quarterback Kirk Cousins earned the honor in 2011. A finance major, Bullough currently owns a 3.56 GPA.
FOUR SPARTANS LISTED ON CAPITAL ONE ACADEMIC ALL-DISTRICT BALLOT -
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 will have their names appear on the national ballot for Academic All-America honors.
Sadler is a two-time second-team Academic All-America selection, while Bullough earned second-team Academic All-America honors last season.
Spartan Academic All-District 5 Candidates
Mark Dantonio: PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS -
Michigan State is 17-9 (.653) in Big Ten road games under Dantonio, including an 11-3 record (.786) since 2010. The Spartans went 3-1 on the road in conference games in 2012, with wins at Indiana, Wisconsin and Minnesota, and a loss at Michigan.
A trademark of his Michigan State teams has been their ability to produce wins late in the regular season. Under Dantonio, Michigan State has compiled a 14-5 record (.737) in November. His teams have won eight of the last 10 games in November (3-0 in 2010; 4-0 in 2011; and 1-2 in 2012). In 2012, MSU lost back-to-back games (Nebraska and Northwestern) in November for the first time since 2006 when the Spartans dropped three in a row. In the four seasons (2003-06) prior to Dantonio's arrival, MSU went just 2-11 (.154) in November.
Dantonio recorded 51 wins from 2007-12, the most by a Spartan head coach in his first six seasons ("Biggie" Munn ranks second, with 45 wins from 1947-1952). Dantonio is the first head coach in MSU history to win at least nine games three times in his first five seasons (9 wins in 2008; back-to-back 11-win seasons in 2010 and 2011).
Dantonio has won at least nine games in a season three times (9 in 2008, 11 in 2010, 11 in 2011), tying him with the most seasons of at least nine wins of any coach in MSU history ("Biggie" Munn, 1951, 1952, 1953; Duffy Daugherty, 1955, 1965, 1966).
Since 2007, Dantonio has helped produce 20 First-Team All-Big Ten selections, four consensus First-Team All-Americans (2008: RB Javon Ringer; 2009-10: LB Greg Jones; and 2011: DT Jerel Worthy) and 13 NFL Draft picks, including six in 2012. It marked the most NFL Draft selections for the Spartans since seven players were taken in 2000.
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 six seasons, more than 80 percent (86 of 106) of his Michigan State players who have completed their eligibility have earned their undergraduate degrees. In addition, 70 Spartans have earned Academic All-Big Ten honors, including four Academic All-Americans (2009: Blair White, first team; 2011-12: Mike Sadler, second team; 2012: Max Bullough, second team).
Under Dantonio, Michigan State has produced a 35-11 record (.761) in home games, including a 14-game winning streak spanning the 2010 and 2011 seasons.The Spartans have won 20 of their last 25 home games.
Dantonio has led Michigan State to Top 25 finishes in three of the last five seasons (2008: No. 24 both polls; 2010: No. 14 both polls; and 2011: No. 10 USA TODAY/No. 11 AP).
at the official