Spartans Host No. 21 Nebraska in Legends Division Showdown
 
 
 
Under Mark Dantonio, Michigan State is 13-3 in the month of November, including seven-straight wins.
 
Under Mark Dantonio, Michigan State is 13-3 in the month of November, including seven-straight wins.
 
 

Nov. 1, 2012

Game 10:
Michigan State (5-4, 2-3 Big Ten) vs. No. 21/21 Nebraska (6-2, 3-1 Big Ten)
 Date | Time Saturday, Nov. 3 | 3:30 p.m.
 Location East Lansing, Mich.
Spartan Stadium (75,005/Natural Grass)
 Televison ABC (ESPN2 outer markets) | TV Coverage Map
 Broadcast Team Sean McDonough (play-by-play) | Chris Spielman (analyst) | Quint Kessinich (sidelines)
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 Game Notes Michigan State | Nebraska
 Statistics Michigan State | Nebraska
 Depth Charts Michigan State | Nebraska
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FIRST-AND-10 (what you need to know about the MSU-Nebraska matchup) -
• Saturday's game marks just the seventh meeting between Michigan State and Nebraska. The Cornhuskers, who defeated MSU in Lincoln last season, 24-3, lead the all-time series, 6-0, including a 1-0 record in East Lansing, Mich. In the six previous meetings, Nebraska has outscored the Spartans, 205-37.

• Since 2010, Michigan State and Wisconsin have won the most Big Ten games (16) of any conference team.

• The Spartans have won 27 of their last 36 games (.750), dating back to the beginning of the 2010 season, including a 16-5 record (.762) in Big Ten regular-season play. Michigan State's 27 wins since 2010 are tied for 10th most among NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision teams.

• 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 13-3 record (.813) in November. His teams have won seven-straight games in November (3-0 in 2010 and 4-0 in 2011). In the four seasons (2003-06) prior to Dantonio's arrival, Michigan State went just 2-11 (.154) in November.

• Michigan State has lost three Big Ten games this season by a combined total of six points, including one in double overtime (Iowa). All three games have been decided by a field goal or less.

• Based on cumulative opposition, Michigan State's 2012 schedule ranks as the nation's sixth-most difficult, according to NCAA figures. The Spartans' opponents have a combined record of 53-29 (.646) against other NCAA Bowl Subdivision teams.

• Over the last three seasons, Michigan State is 12-4 (.750) in games decided by 10 points or less, including a 3-3 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.

• The Spartan defense ranks among the NCAA FBS Top 20 in seven categories: total defense (fifth at 267.4 ypg.), rushing defense (seventh at 91.2 ypg.), scoring defense (10th at 15.0 ppg.), third-down defense (tied for 12th at .300), pass defense (14th at 176.2 ypg.), pass efficiency defense (14th at 104.3) and passes defended (tied for 15th at 5.7 pg.). In addition, MSU also leads the Big Ten in three defensive categories (total defense, rushing defense and scoring defense).

• Through nine games, the Spartans have surrendered 10 offensive touchdowns (three rushing, seven passing) - the third-fewest allowed in the NCAA FBS. Only Notre Dame (6) and Alabama (7) have permitted fewer TDs. MSU has only allowed two offensive touchdowns in the second half in 2012 (Ohio State, Iowa).

• 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 (77), sacks (2.0 for 14 yards) and production points (229). His 9.0 tackles for loss (39 yards) rank second on the team. He has posted at least nine tackles in six consecutive games. In conference games, Bullough ranks fourth in the Big Ten in tackles, averaging 10.2 per game.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS -
• 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 (32:55 per game).

• Under Mark Dantonio, Michigan State is 38-9 (.809) when outrushing its opponent, including a 22-2 record (.917) 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 103-51 (+52) in the second half this season (includes overtime).

• 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.

• Michigan State is 14-9 (.609) in Big Ten road games under Mark Dantonio, including an 8-3 record (.727) since 2010.

• The Spartans have won 27 of their last 36 games (.750), dating back to the beginning of the 2010 season, including a 16-5 record (.762) in Big Ten regular-season play.

• 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).

• Fifth-year senior Dan Conroy has made 72 consecutive PATs, just four shy of tying the school-record of 76 straight shared by Brett Swenson (2007-09) and Dave Rayner (2003-04).

Le'Veon Bell surpassed the 1,000-yard rushing mark last week at Wisconsin; he has 1,061 rushing yards in nine games this season.


STAT LEADERS -
Michigan State (after nine games):
Rushing - Le'Veon Bell (247 carries for 1,061 yards, 4.3 avg., 8 TDs)
Passing - Andrew Maxwell (184 of 329 for 2,015 yards, 9 TDs, 5 INTs)
Receiving - Keith Mumphery (32 catches for 412 yards, 12.9 avg., 1 TDs)
Tackles - Max Bullough (77 tackles, 40 solos, 37 assists, 9.0 TFL, 2 sacks)

Nebraska (after eight games):
Rushing - Ameer Abdullah (129 carries for 716 yards, 5.6 avg., 8 TDs)
Passing - Taylor Martinez (138 of 209 for 1,781 yards, 16 TDs, 5 INTs)
Receiving - Kenny Bell (28 catches for 591 yards, 21.1 avg., 6 TDs)
Tackles - Will Compton (62 tackles, 24 solos, 38 assists, 6 TFL, 3 sacks)

THE LAST MEETING -
Oct. 29, 2011, in Lincoln, Neb. (AP): Rex Burkhead scored three touchdowns and ran for 130 yards on 35 carries as No. 13 Nebraska defeated ninth-ranked Michigan State 24-3. Burkhead, who went over 100 yards for the fifth time in six games, scored at the end of 80- and 89-yard drives in the third quarter to put Nebraska up 24-3. Taylor Martinez completed 6-of-7 passes for 80 yards in the third quarter after going 1-for-6 in the first half.

Michigan State (6-2, 3-1), coming off the incredible finish to its win over Wisconsin last week, managed just 187 yards against Nebraska's improving defense. Kirk Cousins was 11-of-27 for 86 yards, with an interception that set up the Huskers' first score.

The Huskers led 10-3 at half and put away the game with two time-consuming drives in the third quarter. Martinez completed only a shovel pass for no yards and was intercepted on a poorly thrown ball in the first half, but offensive coordinator Tim Beck called on him to throw anyway. He went 4-for-4 and completed third-down passes to Tim Marlowe and Brandon Kinnie before Burkhead scored from a yard out. Officials initially ruled Burkhead lost a fumble at the goal line, but the video review showed that the ball crossed the goal line.

After another defensive stop by Nebraska, Martinez led the Huskers on a 12-play series that lasted 5:24 and essentially wrapped up the game. Burkhead carried on eight of the first nine plays and then, two plays after limping off the field with a cramp in his left leg, caught a 27-yard touchdown pass. Burkhead led a rushing attack that finished with 190 yards against a defense that had been allowing 88.9 a game.

Cousins, who last week became the winningest quarterback in MSU history, struggled from the start. Lance Thorrell stepped in front of a pass intended for B.J. Cunningham and returned it 26 yards to set up the Huskers at the Spartans' 25. Burkhead scored from the 1 seven plays later. Cousins couldn't get the Spartans into the end zone after Johnny Adams intercepted a poorly thrown ball by Martinez and ran it back to the Nebraska 28. A defensive holding call put the ball inside the 10, but Cousins' end-zone pass to Cunningham was too hot to handle and then Nebraska safety Daimion Stafford dropped a bad throw that could have been run back for a touchdown.

MSU/NEBRASKA COACHING CONNECTION -
• Former Nebraska head coach Bob Devaney spent four seasons as an assistant coach at Michigan State, including one season under Clarence "Biggie" Munn and three years under Duffy Daugherty. During his tenure as an assistant coach, the Spartans posted a combined record of 28-10 (.737) while winning a share of the Big Ten title in 1953 and the National Championship in 1955. In 11 seasons as Nebraska's head coach (1962-72), Devaney compiled a record of 101-20-2 (.829) while leading the Cornhuskers to eight Big Eight crowns and back-to-back National Championships in 1970-71.

• Michigan State defensive line coach Ted Gill and Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini spent the 1991 season on Hayden Fry's defensive staff at Iowa. Gill coached the Hawkeyes' defensive line while Pelini served as a graduate assistant, working primarily with the secondary.

Trenton Robinson NAMED HONORARY CAPTAIN -
Former All-Big Ten safety and San Francisco 49er rookie Trenton Robinson has been selected as honorary captain for Saturday's game against Nebraska. He will address the team during the pre-game meal and join the 2012 captains at midfield for the coin toss.

A first-team All-Big Ten selection by the media in 2011, Robinson started 13 of 14 games at free safety, tied for the team lead in interceptions (4) and finished third on the team with a career-best 80 tackles (48 solos, 32 assists). His four interceptions ranked second in the Big Ten and tied for No. 22 in the NCAA FBS. He finished tied for third on the team in passes defended (6) and seventh in production points (136).

The 5-10, 195-pound Robinson registered six tackles against No. 18 Georgia in the 2012 Outback Bowl. He produced a season-high 12 tackles against Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship Game. Robinson made eight stops in MSU's 31-17 victory at Northwestern. He was selected Spartan Defensive Player of the Week after recording a career-best two interceptions, a pass break-up and six tackles in MSU's come-from-behind win over Minnesota. His first pick against the Gophers came early in the fourth quarter and set up a Spartan field goal, and his second interception came at the MSU 23-yard line with 10 seconds left in the game to ice a 31-24 victory. Robinson made eight stops, including one for a 7-yard loss, at No. 13 Nebraska. He played an excellent all-around game against No. 4 Wisconsin, recording eight tackles, including one for a 1-yard loss, and an interception. Robinson contributed six stops and a pass break-up in MSU's fourth-straight win over Michigan. He tallied five tackles against Central Michigan and recorded his first interception of the season, returning it 34 yards to set up a second-quarter touchdown.

A four-year letterman, Robinson started 32 of 46 career games. His career totals included 229 tackles, nine interceptions and 12 pass break-ups. His nine interceptions rank tied for 12th in the MSU record book.

A sixth-round selection (No. 180 overall) of the 49ers in the 2012 NFL Draft, Robinson has appeared in three games so far this season.

NOTES FROM THE WISCONSIN GAME -
• With the 16-13 overtime win, Michigan State has now defeated Wisconsin in three of the last four meetings and four of the last six. It marked MSU's first win in Madison since a 42-28 victory on Oct. 27, 2001.

Michigan State, which held Wisconsin to 19 yards rushing last week, features the top rushing defense in the Big Ten (91.2 ypg.).


• Michigan State snapped Wisconsin's 21-game home winning streak, which was the second-longest active streak in the nation and also the second longest in school history. It marked UW's first loss at home since Oct. 17, 2009 (Iowa) and ended the Badgers' 12-game Big Ten home winning streak.

• The Spartans outrushed Wisconsin, 61-19, as MSU improved to 38-9 under Mark Dantonio when outrushing its opponent (22-2 record since 2010). Wisconsin's 19 yards rushing were the fewest by a Badger team since Sept. 23, 2006 (12 against Michigan).

• The Michigan State defense had a season-high 12 tackles for loss (59 yards) and posted five sacks at Wisconsin. The Spartans totaled only six sacks in their first eight games. MSU has recorded 21 tackles for loss (88 yards) in the last two games (against Michigan and Wisconsin).

• The Spartan defense held Wisconsin to 190 total yards, the first time the Badgers have managed less than 200 yards since Nov. 20, 2004 (186 vs. Iowa).

• Michigan State's defense has held four opponents (Boise State, Eastern Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin) to under 50 yards rushing this season.

• Michigan State improved to 8-3 in Big Ten road games since the 2010 season (2-1 in 2012).

• MSU improved to 6-5 all-time in overtime games, having won four of its last five. Wisconsin's 13 points are the fewest allowed by MSU in an OT game. Coach Dantonio is 4-3 in overtime games at MSU. The Spartans have played in seven overtime games since 2006, which ties for fourth most of any team in the NCAA FBS.

Andrew Maxwell recorded his fifth 200-yard passing game of the season, completing 24-of-39 throws for 216 yards at Wisconsin. On MSU's last two possessions, Maxwell went 9-of-11 for 81 yards and two TDs. With MSU trailing 10-3 late in the fourth quarter, he led the Spartans on a 12-play, 75-yard touchdown drive in 4:58, capped by a 5-yard TD toss to Le'Veon Bell with just 1:08 remaining. Maxwell hit 8-of-9 passes for 69 yards on that game-tying drive.

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 267.4 ypg.), rushing defense (seventh at 91.2 ypg.), scoring defense (10th at 15.0 ppg.), third-down defense (tied for 12th at .300), pass defense (14th at 176.2 ypg.), pass efficiency defense (14th at 104.3) and passes defended (tied for 15th at 5.7 pg.). In addition, MSU also leads the Big Ten in three defensive categories (total defense, rushing defense and scoring defense).

• Through nine games, the Spartans have surrendered 10 offensive touchdowns (three rushing, seven passing) - the third-fewest allowed in the NCAA FBS. Only Notre Dame (6) and Alabama (7) have permitted fewer TDs. MSU has only allowed two offensive touchdowns in the second half in 2012 (Ohio State, Iowa).

• Michigan State has allowed its opponents just 20 trips into the red zone - tied for the sixth fewest in the NCAA FBS. Of those 20 trips into the red zone, opponents have scored just six touchdowns - tied with Alabama for the second-fewest TDs allowed (Notre Dame ranks first with five).

• Through nine games in 2012, Michigan State has held its opponents scoreless in 19 of 36 quarters (53 percent). In addition, the Spartans have forced their opponents to go three-and-out on 42 of 111 possessions (38 percent; 4.67 per game).

• Michigan State's defense has allowed just 44 points in the second half/overtime this season (two touchdowns, 10 field goals). The Spartans have shut out three opponents in the second half (Boise State, Eastern Michigan, Indiana).

• Since the beginning of last season, Michigan State has held 12 opponents under 100 rushing yards (seven in 2011; five in 2012) and seven under 10 points. In addition, MSU has held seven opponents under 50 yards rushing (three times in 2011; four in 2012) since 2011.

• Michigan State has forced at least one turnover in 59 of 75 games over the last six seasons (79 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 (15th at 117.9 yards per game)
Punting: Mike Sadler (23rd at 42.9 yards per punt)
Field Goals: Dan Conroy (9th at 1.78 made per game)
All-Purpose Runners: Le'Veon Bell (26th at 141.7 yards per game)

BELL ECLIPSES 1,000-YARD RUSHING MILESTONE -
Junior running back Le'Veon Bell ranks fourth in the Big Ten and 15th in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision in rushing, averaging 117.9 yards per game in 2012. Bell also ranks second in the nation in carries (247), seventh in rushing yards (1,061) and 26th in all-purpose yards (141.7 ypg.). The Columbus, Ohio, native also is listed among the Big Ten leaders in all-purpose yards (third) and rushing touchdowns (tied for seventh with eight). A complete back, his 29 receptions (145 yards) are tied for second on the team.

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 562 of his 1,061 rushing yards (53 percent) after contact and has broken 14 tackles this season. His 562 rushing yards after contact rank first among all NCAA FBS running backs. In addition, he has produced 52 first downs and 17 runs of 10 or more yards, including six gains of 20 or more yards.

With 77 yards on 21 carries in Michigan State's 16-13 overtime victory at Wisconsin, Bell eclipsed the 1,000-yard rushing milestone for the first time in his career. He became the 13th running back (21 times combined) in Spartan history to record a 1,000-yard rushing season. His first career TD reception came on a 5-yard shovel pass from Andrew Maxwell with 1:08 left in the fourth quarter and sent the game into overtime tied at 10.

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 MSU'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 2,614 yards and 29 TDs in 36 career games. He ranks among MSU's all-time leaders in rushing TDs (tied for sixth with 29), rushing attempts (eighth with 536) and rushing yards (10th with 2,614). Bell ranks among the Top 20 active NCAA FBS leaders in carries (12th), rushing yards (15th) and rushing TDs (17th).

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 second in the Big Ten in passing (223.9 yards per game) and fifth in total offense (217.6 ypg.). He has completed 184-of-329 throws (.559) for 2,015 yards, nine touchdowns, five interceptions and five 200-yard passing games this season. Maxwell's 15 25+-yard completions rank second in the Big Ten, behind Nebraska's Taylor Martinez (23).

Andrew Maxwell sparked MSU's come-from-behind win last weekend at Wisconsin, completing 9-of-11 throws for 81 yards and two touchdowns on MSU's final two possessions.


In four road games this season, Maxwell has connected on 89-of-144 passes (.618) for 973 yards, seven TDs and one interception. His road passing totals rank among the best for Big Ten quarterbacks: first in TD passes (7), second in passing yards (243.3 ypg.) and third in passing efficiency (133.2 rating).

Maxwell has a 125.0 passing efficiency rating in the second half of games, as he has completed 56 percent (86-of-155) of his throws for 1,055 yards, seven TDs and two interceptions. His 1,055 second-half passing yards rank 16th (tied) among all NCAA FBS quarterbacks.

He completed 24-of-39 throws for 216 yards and two TDs to lead Michigan State to a 16-13 overtime victory at No. 25 Wisconsin, as the Spartans recorded their first win in Madison since 2001 while snapping the nation's second-longest active home winning streak at 21 games. Over MSU's last two possessions, Maxwell connected on 9-of-11 passes for 81 yards and two scores. Trailing 10-3 with 6:06 left in the fourth quarter, he hit 8-of-9 throws for 69 yards while leading a game-tying 12-play, 75-yard drive. On third-and-4, his 5-yard shovel pass to Le'Veon Bell tied the score at 10 with 1:08 remaining in regulation. On third-and-8 in overtime, Maxwell fired a game-winning 12-yard TD strike to Bennie Fowler. His 24 completions matched his career high.

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 MSU's 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 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 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 (32 for 412 yards), Tony Lippett (29 for 293), Le'Veon Bell (29 for 145), Bennie Fowler (28 for 364), Dion Sims (26 for 335) and Aaron Burbridge (21 for 288). Five different players have led the team in receptions in the first nine games.

BURBRIDGE EMERGES AS RECEIVING THREAT -
In conference games, true freshman Aaron Burbridge ranks fourth (tied) in the Big Ten in receptions (4.8 per game) and fifth in receiving yards (68.5 per game). In seven 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 -
Despite missing nearly three full games with an ankle injury, junior tight end Dion Sims ranks fifth on the team with 26 receptions for 335 yards (12.9 avg.) and two scores. His 26 catches and 335 receiving yards both represent career highs. He had 12 catches in 2011 and 133 receiving yards in 2009.

Through the first five games of the 2012 season, Sims led the Spartans in catches (24), receiving yards (313) and TD receptions (2). He sat out entire Iowa game and played only nine snaps at Michigan after suffering an ankle injury early 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-one of his 26 receptions this season (81 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 (77), sacks (2.0 for 14 yards) and production points (229). His 9.0 tackles for loss (39 yards) rank second on the team. He has posted at least nine tackles in six consecutive games. In conference games, Bullough ranks fourth in the Big Ten in tackles, averaging 10.2 per game.

The 6-foot-3, 252-pound Bullough recorded nine tackles while setting career highs for both tackles for loss (2.5 for 15 yards) and sacks (2 for 14) in Michigan State's 16-13 overtime victory at No. 25 Wisconsin, as the Spartans recorded their first win in Madison since 2001 while snapping the nation's second-longest active home winning streak at 21 games. MSU limited Wisconsin to 19 yards rushing (37 carries) - nearly 182 fewer than its season average. The Spartans also held the Badgers to 190 total yards - the first time UW managed fewer than 200 yards total offense since Nov. 20, 2004 (186 vs. Iowa). MSU's produced season highs in both tackles for loss (12 for 59) and sacks (5 for 38).

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 189 tackles in 36 career games. Bullough has started every game at middle linebacker since the beginning of the 2011 season (23 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, 26-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.

GHOLSTON NAMED CFPA NATIONAL DEFENSIVE LINEMAN OF THE WEEK -
Junior defensive end William Gholston was named the College Football Performance Awards National Defensive Lineman of the Week after tallying a season-best 4.5 tackles for loss (10 yards) in Michigan State's 16-13 overtime win at Wisconsin. His 4.5 tackles for loss were the second most by a Big Ten player in a single game this season and rank eighth most by a Spartan defender in a single game.

The 6-foot-7, 278-pound Gholston leads the team and ranks tied for second in the Big Ten with 9.5 tackles for loss (33 yards). He leads the Spartan defensive linemen and is tied for fifth overall in tackles with 35. Gholston also leads the team in sacks (tied - 2 for 10 yards) and quarterback hurries (5). His five pass break-ups are tied for second among NCAA FBS defensive linemen. Gholston, who ranks third on the team in production points (124), has recorded at least one tackle for loss in five of the nine games.

ALLEN WREAKS HAVOC IN OPPOSING BACKFIELDS -
Junior linebacker Denicos Allen ranks second on the team in tackles (61) and production points (174) and third in tackles for loss (8.0 for 23 yards). In conference games, Allen ranks among the Big Ten leaders in tackles for loss (tied for fourth at 1.3 per game; 6.5 for 13 yards) and tackles (tied for 10th at 8.8 per game; 44 total). He has produced at least one tackle for loss in each of the last four games.

Allen posted eight tackles (all solos), including one for a 4-yard loss, in Michigan State's 16-13 overtime win at Wisconsin. MSU limited Wisconsin to 19 yards rushing (37 carries) - the Badgers lowest rushing total since Sept. 23, 2006 (12 against Michigan).

For the first time in his career, the 5-foot-11, 225-pound Allen 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 MSU's only touchdown, a 14-yard run by Le'Veon Bell early in the first quarter.

The Hamilton, Ohio, native has registered 162 tackles in 36 career games. Allen already ranks among MSU's all-time Top 20 in sacks (12th with 12 for 78 yards) and tackles for loss (tied for 13th with 27.5 for 112 yards).

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 (senior nose tackle Anthony Rashad White vs. Nebraska).