Nov. 4, 2013
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State has been named the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl National Team of the Week, the Football Writers Association of American announced Monday afternoon. Featuring the No. 1 defense in the Football Bowl Subdivision, the Spartans limited Michigan to minus-48 yards rushing - the lowest single-game rushing total in U-M history - in their 29-6 victory over the Wolverines in Spartan Stadium on Nov. 2.
The minus-48 yards rushing marked the fewest rushing yards allowed by MSU under head coach Mark Dantonio and tied for the third-fewest allowed in school history (school-record minus-63 rushing yards by Pittsburgh in 1960; minus-60 rushing yards by Pittsburgh in 1981; minus-48 rushing yards by Northwestern in 1983). It also marked the fewest rushing yards allowed by an NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision team this season. The Spartans recorded season highs in tackles for loss (11 for 65 yards) and sacks (7 for 49).
The Spartans permitted just 12 first downs and 168 total yards against the Wolverines. Michigan gained 51 yards on the game-opening drive and managed just 117 yards on its next 11 possessions. The Wolverines went just 2-of-14 on third-down conversions.
Senior linebacker Denicos Allen led the defensive effort for MSU with nine tackles, including three for losses (20 yards) with two sacks (18 yards), and was named the Walter Camp National Defensive Player of the Week and Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week. Sophomore defensive end Shilique Calhoun also had a career-high three tackles for loss (19 yards), including 2.5 sacks (17 yards).
Offensively, sophomore Connor Cook recorded his fifth 200-yard passing game of the season, completing 18-of-33 throws for 252 yards and a touchdown. Junior Jeremy Langford produced his fourth-straight 100-yard rushing game with 120 yards on a career-high 26 carries, including a 40-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.
Michigan State's 23-point win over Michigan marked the largest margin of victory in the series for the Spartans since a 34-0 shutout in Ann Arbor in 1967. It marked MSU's largest margin of victory over Michigan in Spartan Stadium since a 28-0 shutout in 1962.
The Spartans have won five of the last six meetings against the Wolverines, including a school-record three straight in Spartan Stadium. In addition, Michigan State has held Michigan without a touchdown the last two seasons.
Through nine games, Michigan State's defense ranks No. 1 in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision in total defense (210.2 yards per game), rushing defense (43.4 ypg.) and pass efficiency defense (90.3 rating). The Spartans also rank among the national leaders in first downs defense (second with 11.3 per game), opponent third-down conversions (second at 26 percent; 35-for-134), scoring defense (third at 11.6 ppg.) and passing defense (fourth at 166.8 ypg.). 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 3.47 yards per play, which ranks No. 1 in the FBS. In addition, the Spartans haven't allowed a touchdown in the last three games.
This marks the sixth time Michigan State has been the National Team of the Week since the inception of the award in 2002 (2011 vs. Michigan; 2010 vs. Wisconsin; 2006 vs. Northwestern; 2005 vs. Notre Dame; 2004 vs. Wisconsin).
With the 23-point victory over Michigan, MSU improved to 8-1 overall and 5-0 in the Big Ten Conference for the first time since 1966 and just the third time in school history. The Spartans moved up six places to No. 18 in the latest Associated Press Poll and five spots to No. 19 in the USA TODAY Coaches Poll. After a bye week, MSU returns to action on Saturday, Nov. 16 at Nebraska.