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First-Place Matchup: No. 12 Spartans, No. 13 Buckeyes to Meet on Saturday

Nov. 9, 2017

Game 10: No. 12 Michigan State (7-2, 5-1 B1G) at No. 13 Ohio State (7-2, 5-1 B1G)
 Date | Time Saturday, Nov. 11 | 12:05 p.m.
 Location Columbus, Ohio
Ohio Stadium (104,944/FieldTurf)
 Television FOX
 Broadcast Team Joe Davis (play-by-play) | Brady Quinn (analyst) | Bruce Feldman (sideline)
 Mobile/Internet Coverage FOX Sports Go | Gametracker
 Radio Spartan Sports Network (Listen Live) | Affiliates
 Satellite Radio Ch. 965 (SiriusXM.com)
 Radio (Mobile) Broadcast available on Spartan Sports Network Mobile App: iPhone/iPad | Android
 Parking/Tailgating/Stadium Information Ohio State Gameday Information
 Tickets Available at ohiostatebuckeyes.com
 Parking Ohio State Parking Information
 Game Notes Michigan State | Ohio State
 Series Information OSU leads, 30-15
 Social Media @MSU_Football | Facebook

FIRST-AND-10 --
• No. 12 Michigan State travels to No. 13 Ohio State on Saturday, Nov. 11 in a battle for first place in the Big Ten East Division. The game will be nationally televised on FOX beginning at noon. Both the Spartans and Buckeyes stand at 5-1 in the conference standings with three games left to play in the regular season. MSU improved to 7-2 overall with a thrilling 27-24 win over No. 7 Penn State last Saturday in Spartan Stadium, as Matt Coghlin hit a 34-yard field goal on the last play of regulation, while OSU lost its first Big Ten game with a 55-24 loss at Iowa. The Spartans made the biggest one-week jump in the four-year history of the College Football Playoff rankings by leaping 12 spots from No. 24 to No. 12; Ohio State is currently ranked 13th.

• Saturday's game is the 46th meeting between Michigan State and Ohio State and for the sixth time in the last eight matchups, both teams enter the contest ranked in the AP Top 25 (OSU 11th, MSU 13th). The Buckeyes lead the all-time series 30-15, including a 14-9 record in games played in Columbus. Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio is 3-5 during his tenure against Ohio State (2-1 in Columbus) and 3-7 overall (0-2 at Cincinnati). The Spartans are looking for their third straight win in Ohio Stadium (won 10-7 in 2011 and 17-14 in 2015).

• According to the NCAA, MSU has played the fifth-toughest schedule to date in the FBS (opposition with a 44-25 record; .638). The Spartans have played four teams currently ranked in the AP Top 25, including three wins (No. 16 Penn State, No. 21 Michigan, No. 25 Iowa).

• The Spartans and Buckeyes have split the past six meetings. Michael Geiger hit a 41-yard field goal as time expired to give No. 9 Michigan State a 17-14 victory over No. 2 Ohio State in 2015 in Columbus en route to winning the Big Ten Championship, while also snapping the Buckeyes' 23-game winning streak. The Spartans held the Buckeyes to 132 yards of total offense in that game, the fewest ever by an Urban Meyer-coached team. In the 2013 Big Ten Championship Game, No. 10 MSU snapped No. 2 Ohio State's school-record 24-game winning streak with a 34-24 win as the Spartans clinched their first Rose Bowl berth in 26 years. MSU's three losses to Meyer-coached teams at Ohio State have been by a combined 14 points, including two games decided by 17-16 scores in East Lansing (2012 and 2016). Dantonio is one of only two coaches to defeat Ohio State twice under Meyer (Dabo Swinney, Clemson). The Spartans have defeated Ohio State 10 times when the Buckeyes entered the game ranked in the AP Top 25, including four times when the Buckeyes were either ranked No. 1 (1974, 1998) or No. 2 (2013, 2015).

• A trademark of Mark Dantonio's Michigan State teams has been their ability to produce wins late in the season. Under Dantonio, Michigan State has compiled a 26-10 record (.722) in November. His teams have won 20 of the last 27 games in November (3-0 in 2010; 4-0 in 2011; 1-2 in 2012; 4-0 in 2013; 3-1 in 2014; 3-1 in 2015; 1-3 in 2016; 1-0 in 2017). During MSU's three Big Ten Championship seasons (2010, 2013, 2015) under Dantonio, MSU is 10-1 in November.

• The Spartans have consistently produced wins against highly ranked teams under Dantonio. MSU is 9-5 in its last 14 games against teams ranked in The Associated Press Top 10, including an 8-5 record since 2013 (beat No. 2 Ohio State and No. 5 Stanford in 2013; lost to No. 3 Oregon and beat No. 4 Baylor in 2014; beat No. 7 Oregon, No. 2 Ohio State and No. 4 Iowa, and lost to No. 2 Alabama in 2015; lost to No. 2 Michigan, No. 2 Ohio State and No. 8 Penn State in 2016; beat No. 7 Michigan and No. 7 Penn State in 2017). Dantonio has defeated nine AP Top 10 teams and 19 AP Top 25 teams, both of which rank second most in school history. He is 9-9 against AP Top 10 teams overall at MSU. Michigan State's eight wins over AP Top-10 teams since 2013 are second most in the FBS (Alabama).

• MSU's passing game has blossomed in the past two games, averaging 422.5 yards per game (school-record 445 yards at Northwestern; 400 yards vs. Penn State). Sophomore quarterback Brian Lewerke, after setting school records for passing yards (445), total offense (475 yards) and completions (39) at Northwestern on Oct. 28, was at it again in the victory over No. 7 Penn State, throwing for 400 yards, tied for the second most in school history, while completing 33-of-56 passes. He is the first Spartan quarterback ever and just the third Big Ten QB in the last 20 years to throw for 400 yards in back-to-back games (Drew Brees, Purdue, 1998; C.J. Bacher, Northwestern, 2007). In the past two games, Lewerke is 72-of-113 (.637) for 845 yards, six touchdowns and two interceptions. Lewerke ranks among the Big Ten leaders in total offense (third at 286.1 ypg), passing (fifth at 245.2 ypg.) and passing efficiency (sixth with 133.4 rating). His 445 yards passing and 475 total yards against Northwestern are both the most by a Big Ten quarterback in a single game this season.

• Michigan State's young group of wide receivers, which doesn't have a senior in the playing rotation and only returned 20 catches from a year ago, is also coming of age during the second half of the season. In the past two games, junior Felton Davis III has 20 receptions for 276 yards (138.0 ypg) and three TDs, sophomore Darrell Stewart has 16 grabs for 163 yards (81.5 ypg) and one TD, and freshman Cody White has 14 catches for 216 yards (108.0 ypg) and two scores.

• Redshirt freshman kicker Matt Coghlin was named the Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week after delivering the game-winning field goal as time expired to defeat No. 7 Penn State, 27-24. Coghlin connected on a 34-yard field goal on the last play of regulation to give the Spartans a dramatic victory over the Nittany Lions and push MSU into a tie for first place in the Big Ten East Division. Coghlin also hit a 32-yard field goal with 10:56 left in the game to tie the game at 24. In addition, he was 3-for-3 in point-after attempts.

• Now in his 11th season as head coach of the Spartans, Mark Dantonio owns a 97-44 (.688) record. After leading the Spartans to a 7-2 start this season, he has been named one of 20 coaches on the Paul "Bear" Bryant Coach of the Year Award Watch List. Dantonio has won the most Big Ten Championships (three) and bowl games (four) of any Spartan head coach and also ranks first with nine bowl appearances. He is the only active Big Ten coach to win multiple Big Ten Championships (2010, 2013, 2015), claim a victory in the Rose Bowl (2014), and coach in the College Football Playoff (2015). The second-winningest coach in school history with 97 victories, trailing only Hall of Famer Duffy Daugherty (109), Dantonio also ranks first in program history in conference winning percentage (.667, 58-29 record, minimum 10 games), second in Big Ten wins (58), home wins (58) and AP Top 25 victories (19), tied for second in AP Top 25 finishes (six), and fifth in overall winning percentage (.688).

COACHES:
Michigan State:
Head Coach: Mark Dantonio
MSU Record: 97-44 (11th year)
Overall Record: 116-61 (14th year)
Record vs. OSU: 3-7 (3-5 at MSU)

Ohio State:
Head Coach: Urban Meyer
PSU Record: 68-8 (sixth year)
Overall Record: 172-31 (16th year)
Record vs. MSU: 3-2

STAT LEADERS --
Michigan State:
Rushing -- LJ Scott (127 carries for 554 yards, 4.4 avg, 5 TDs)
Passing -- Brian Lewerke (192-of-315, .610, 2,207 yards, 16 TDs, 5 INTs)
Receiving -- Felton Davis III (45 catches for 586 yards, 13.0 avg., 8 TDs)
Tackles -- Joe Bachie (77 tackles, 34 solo, 37 assists, 7.5 TFLs, 3 sacks, 2 FF, 1 FR, 1 INT, 1 PBU)

Ohio State:
Rushing -- J.K. Dobbins (119 carries for 914 yards, 7.7 avg, 5 TDs)
Passing -- J.T. Barrett (189-of-280 for 2,374 yards, 28 TDs, 5 INTs)
Receiving -- K.J. Hill (43 catches for 417 yards, 9.7 avg, 3 TDs)
Tackles -- Jordan Fuller (52 tackles, 41 solo, 11 assists, 2 TFLs, 2 PBUs, 1 INT)

A QUICK GLANCE AT NO. 13 OHIO STATE (7-2, 5-1 BIG TEN) --
• The 13th-ranked Buckeyes are 7-2 overall and 5-1 in Big Ten Conference play, after losing at Iowa, 55-24, last Saturday. Iowa intercepted OSU quarterback J.T. Barrett on the Buckeyes' first play from scrimmage for a pick six and an early 7-0 Hawkeye advantage. After Ohio State tied it at 17-17 early in the second quarter, Iowa reeled off 31 unanswered points over the rest of the second quarter to early in the fourth quarter to open a 48-17 advantage and posted the 55-24 win. OSU is ranked 11th in the AP and Amway Coaches Polls.

• Ohio State was coming off a 39-38 win over No. 2 Penn State on Oct. 28, which followed a 56-14 win at Nebraska on Oct. 14 and a 62-14 home victory over Maryland on Oct. 7. The Buckeyes' other loss came to No. 5 Oklahoma on Sept. 9.

• Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer is in his sixth year guiding the Buckeyes with a 68-8 record, along with a 172-31 overall record in his 16th year as a head coach.

• In the loss to Iowa, Ohio State allowed 487 yards of total offense to Iowa, as the Hawkeyes gained 244 yards passing and 243 rushing. Ohio State had 371 yards of total offense, with 208 through the air and 163 on the ground.

• Barrett was picked off four times by the Hawkeye defense and was sacked once, but threw for 208 yards on 18-of-34 passing with three TDs. The senior signal-caller also led OSU in rushing with 63 yards on 14 carries.

• Ohio State tops the Big Ten and is fifth in the FBS in scoring offense (43.8 ppg) while ranking eighth in the conference and 38th in the country in scoring defense (22.3 ppg).

• OSU leads the Big Ten and is fourth in the FBS in total offense (549.0 ypg), leading the league and ranking 16th in the nation in passing offense (313.7 ypg) to go with ranking second in the conference and 20th in the 20th in rushing offense (235.3 ypg). The Buckeye defense is fourth in the Big Ten and 20th in the FBS in total defense (323.0 ypg), ranking sixth in the league and 17th in the nation in rushing defense (122.3 ypg) as well as sixth in the conference and 39th in the country in passing defense (200.7 ypg).

• The Buckeyes lead the nation in first downs (256) as well as leading the league and ranking fifth in the country in team passing efficiency (167.1).

• Ohio State tops the Big Ten and is second in the FBS in punt return defense (0.00), as Utah leads the nation at -4.00. No opponent has yet to return a punt on the Buckeyes this season.

• For the season, Barrett is 189-of-280 (.675) for 2,374 yards with 28 TDs and five INTs. Barrett leads the Big Ten and is 11th in the FBS in total offense (321.2 ypg) as well as first in the conference and third in the country in passing TDs. He also ranks second in the league and 24th in the nation in passing yards per game (263.8 ypg), while also leading the conference and ranking seventh in the country in passing efficiency (168.1). Barrett also ranks 14th in the league in rushing (57.4 ypg).

• Barrett leads the Big Ten quarterbacks in rushing with 517 yards on 101 carries (5.1 ypc/57.4 ypg) with five rushing TDs, which ranks second behind Penn State's Trace McSorley with eight.

• Dobbins tops the B1G and ranks eighth in the FBS in rushing yards per carry (7.68), along with second in the league and 25th in the nation in rushing yards per game (101.6 ypg). He has 914 yards on 119 carries with five TDs.

• Sophomore wide receiver K.J. Hill leads the Buckeyes with 43 receptions for 417 yards with three TDs, ranking sixth in the league in receptions per game (4.8). Hill is one of nine OSU receivers with double-digit receptions and one of 10 with TD catches.

• Jordan Fuller spearheads the Buckeye defense with 52 tackles, adding 2.0 tackles for loss, along with two pass break-ups and one interception.

• Senior safety Denzel Ward is fifth in the B1G and 29th in the FBS in passes defended (1.2 pg) with 11 total on 10 pass break-ups and one interception.

SPARTANS FROM THE BUCKEYE STATE --
Joe Bachie (Brook Park/Berea-Midpark), R-Fr. OT Luke Campbell (Lewis Center/Olentangy), R-Fr. PK Matt Coghlin (Cincinnati/Archbishop Moeller), Jr. LB Andrew Dowell (North Ridgeville/St. Edward), So. S David Dowell (North Ridgeville/St. Edward), Sr. LB Chris Frey (Upper Arlington/Upper Arlington), Jr. P Jake Hartbarger (Waterville/Anthony Wayne), So. CB Justin Layne (Cleveland/Benedictine), Fr. CB Josiah Scott (Hamilton, Ohio/Fairfield) and Jr. RB LJ Scott (Hubbard/Hubbard).

MSU/OHIO STATE SERIES NOTES --
• Saturday's game is the 46th meeting between Michigan State and Ohio State and for the sixth time in the last eight matchups, both teams enter the contest ranked in the AP Top 25. The Buckeyes lead the all-time series 30-15, including a 14-9 record in games played in Columbus. Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio is 3-5 during his tenure against Ohio State (2-1 in Columbus) and 3-7 overall (0-2 at Cincinnati). The Spartans are looking for their third straight win in Ohio Stadium (won 10-7 in 2011 and 17-14 in 2015).

• The Spartans and Buckeyes have split the past six meetings. Michael Geiger hit a 41-yard field goal as time expired to give No. 9 Michigan State a 17-14 victory over No. 2 Ohio State in 2015 in Columbus en route to winning the Big Ten Championship, while also snapping the Buckeyes' 23-game winning streak. The Spartans held the Buckeyes to 132 yards of total offense in that game, the fewest ever by an Urban Meyer-coached team.

• In the 2013 Big Ten Championship Game, No. 10 MSU snapped No. 2 Ohio State's school-record 24-game winning streak with a 34-24 win as the Spartans clinched their first Rose Bowl berth in 26 years.

• MSU's three losses to Meyer-coached teams at Ohio State have been by a combined 14 points, including two games decided by 17-16 scores in East Lansing (2012 and 2016). Dantonio is one of only two coaches to defeat Ohio State twice under Meyer (Dabo Swinney, Clemson).

• The Spartans have defeated Ohio State 10 times when the Buckeyes entered the game ranked in the AP Top 25, including four times when the Buckeyes were either ranked No. 1 (1974, 1998) or No. 2 (2013, 2015).

THE LAST MEETING --
Nov. 19, 2016, in East Lansing, Mich. (AP): Mike Weber ran for 111 yards and a touchdown, and No. 2 Ohio State held off Michigan State 17-16 after the upset-minded Spartans missed a 2-point conversion with 4:41 remaining. The Spartans were down 17-10 when LJ Scott scored on a 1-yard run with 4:41 to play. Michigan State went for the lead, but Tyler O'Connor's pass on the 2-point conversion attempt was intercepted in the end zone. The Spartans got the ball back one more time, at their own 20 with 2:04 remaining. Tyquan Lewis sacked O'Connor on the first play, and then Gareon Conley intercepted him on the second.

Scott ran for 160 yards and also scored on a 64-yard catch-and-run in the first minute of the game, but the Ohio State defense didn't allow much more after that. J.T. Barrett threw a 24-yard touchdown pass to Curtis Samuel in the first quarter, and the game was tied at 10 at halftime. Weber's 4-yard TD run in the third gave the Buckeyes the lead for good.

MSU/OHIO STATE COACHING CONNECTIONS --
• Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio spent three years as the defensive coordinator at Ohio State (2001-03) where he served under Jim Tressel. During Dantonio's tenure at Ohio State, the Buckeyes posted a combined record of 32-6 (.842), including the 2002 National Championship. Dantonio also was a graduate assistant at Ohio State under Earle Bruce in 1983-84.

• Michigan State co-offensive coordinator Jim Bollman served as Ohio State's offensive coordinator for 11 seasons (2001-11).

• Michigan State linebackers/special teams coach Mike Tressel is the nephew of former Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel. Mike spent two years as a graduate assistant coach at Ohio State, working for his uncle from 2002-03.

• Michigan State assistant head coach/offensive line coach Mark Staten served as a graduate assistant for Jim Tressel at Ohio State from 2002-03.

• Michigan State defensive ends/special teams coordinator Mark Snyder spent three years (2001-03) at Ohio State as the linebackers coach under Jim Tressel and was the Buckeyes' defensive coordinator in 2004.

• Michigan State director of personnel/player development and relations Dino Folino began his coaching career as a graduate assistant under legendary Coach Woody Hayes at Ohio State, where the Buckeyes won two straight Big Ten championships in 1974-75 and made back-to-back Rose Bowl appearances (1975-76).

POST-GAME NOTES FROM THE PENN STATE GAME --
• The game was delayed for three hours and 22 minutes at the 9:38 mark in the second quarter due to severe weather . . . the delay started at 1:15 p.m. and play resumed at 4:37 p.m. . . . the game started at 12:05 p.m. and ended at 7:03 p.m.

• MSU head coach Mark Dantonio is 5-3 against Penn State while coaching the Spartans, including a 3-1 record in Spartan Stadium . . . Dantonio is 5-4 overall against the Nittany Lions (lost at Penn State in 2005 while coaching Cincinnati).

• Michigan State now holds a slim edge in the all-time series, 16-15-1, including a 10-5 record in Spartan Stadium . . . the Spartans have won four of the last five meetings against Penn State . . . MSU also regained the Land Grant Trophy, which has been awarded to the winner of the MSU-PSU game since 1993.

• MSU has posted 17 fourth-quarter comebacks under Dantonio (MSU trailed 24-21 heading into the fourth quarter).

• MSU now has eight walk-off wins (scoring as time expired in regulation or in OT) under Dantonio . . . MSU's last win on the last play of the game in regulation came on Michael Geiger's 41-yard field goal to defeat No. 2 Ohio State on Nov. 21, 2015, in Columbus, Ohio.

OFFENSE
• A week after setting numerous school records at Northwestern, sophomore quarterback Brian Lewerke had another impressive game, becoming the first Spartan quarterback to throw for 400 yards in back-to-back games . . . he threw for a school-record 445 yards at Northwestern, and for 400 against Penn State . . . the 400 yards tied for the second-most yards by a Spartan QB in a single game (Bill Burke with 400 in win over Michigan in 1999) . . . according to BTN, Lewerke is one of just three Big Ten quarterbacks in the last 20 years to throw for 400 yards in two consecutive games (Drew Brees, Purdue, 1998; C.J. Bacher, Northwestern, 2007) . . . Lewerke finished the game 33-of-56 passing . . . he completed six passes of 20-plus yards . . . he also had 425 yards of total offense, second in school history behind only his 475 last week at Northwestern . . . Lewerke was 9-of-14 for 156 yards on third down in the game . . . he also was the holder on the game-winning field goal by Matt Coghlin.

Felton Davis III recorded career highs in catches (12) and receiving yards (181) . . . the 12 catches tied for fourth most in a single game by a Spartan, and the 181 receiving yards were 13th most by a Spartan in a game . . . the 12 catches matched his season total from last year . . . the 181 receiving yards were the second most by a Spartan receiver against Penn State (Charles Rogers with 191 in 2001) . . . Davis had a diving 33-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter that tied the game at 14, his team-leading eighth of the season.

Hunter Rison had three catches for 52 yards, with two of the catches coming on back-to-back first downs on MSU's touchdown scoring drive in the third quarter.

LJ Scott scored on a 3-yard touchdown run in the third quarter as the Spartans took a 21-14 lead . . . it marked Scott's 22nd career rushing touchdown.

• Michigan State converted 10-of-18 third-down conversions.

DEFENSE
• Penn State junior running back Saquon Barkley came into the game leading the nation in all-purpose yards, averaging 206.3 ypg, but finished with just 111 all-purpose yards (63 rushing, 33 receiving, 15 kick return), his second-lowest total of the season . . . Barkley's school-record streak of 15 consecutive games with a touchdown was snapped.

• Junior safety Khari Willis tied his career high with 11 tackles, including a 9-yard sack.

• Sophomore safety David Dowell recorded two interceptions in a game for the second time this season (vs. Michigan) . . . he has a team-leading four interceptions this season.

• Sophomore linebacker Joe Bachie recorded his second interception of the season and also had six tackles.

• Sophomore defensive tackle Kyonta Stallworth recorded a career-high six tackles . . . he entered the game with four career tackles.

SPECIAL TEAMS
Matt Coghlin connected on both of his field-goal attempts (32 yards, 34 yards), both of which came in the fourth quarter . . . Coghlin's 34-yard field goal as time expired gave MSU the 27-24 victory . . . it marked the first game-winning field goal as time expired for the Spartans since Michael Geiger kicked a game-winning 41-yarder at No. 2 Ohio State in 2015.

FINDING A WAY TO WIN --
• All five of Michigan State's Big Ten wins have been within one score. Under Dantonio, the Spartans have managed to win their fair share of close games. Since the beginning of the 2010 season, Michigan State is 25-12 (.676) in games decided by one score or less, including all four bowl victories. 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, Notre Dame (17-13) in 2013, Nebraska (39-38) in 2015, Indiana (24-21 in OT), Illinois (31-27) and Ohio State (17-16) in 2016, and Northwestern (39-31 in 3OT) in 2017.

SPARTANS HAVE PLAYED FIFTH-TOUGHEST SCHEDULE IN FBS --
• According to the NCAA, MSU has played the fifth-toughest schedule to date in the FBS (opposition with a 44-25 record; .638). The Spartans have played four teams currently ranked in the AP Top 25, including three wins (No. 16 Penn State, No. 21 Michigan, No. 25 Iowa).

BOWLING ONCE AGAIN --
• With the victory over Indiana on Oct. 21, Michigan State became bowl eligible for the 10th time in 11 seasons under Mark Dantonio. The Spartans made a school-record nine consecutive bowl trips from 2007-15 before missing out on the postseason in 2016.

SPARTANS MAKE BIGGEST ONE-WEEK JUMP IN COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF ERA --
• MSU has defeated two teams in the current CFP rankings (No. 14 Penn State, No. 20 Iowa). Both of the Spartans' losses were to teams that are ranked (No. 3 Notre Dame, No. 25 Northwestern).

• The Spartans were ranked in every CFP poll in 2014 and 2015 before missing out on the rankings in 2016. MSU finished No. 8 in the final 2014 CFP rankings and No. 3 in 2015.

SPARTANS UP TO NO. 13 IN AP POLL --
• Michigan State remains ranked in The Associated Press Poll this week, moving up 11 spots to No. 13 following its win over then-No. 7 Penn State. The Spartans have been ranked in the AP Poll for the past five weeks.

• Michigan State entered the national polls for the first time this season on Oct. 8 following its 14-10 win at Michigan. The Spartans debuted at No. 21 in The Associated Press Poll and No. 22 in the Amway Coaches Poll. It marked the first time MSU was ranked since Sept. 25, 2016, when the Spartans were ranked No. 17 in the AP Poll and No. 16 in the Coaches Poll. At that time, MSU had been ranked for a school-record 46 consecutive weeks, spanning back to Oct. 27, 2013. For 33 of those 46 weeks, MSU had been ranked in the Top 10.

• Michigan State is 57-16 (.781) as a ranked team in the AP Poll under Dantonio. As a ranked team, Michigan State has only lost to an unranked opponent four times under Dantonio (37-4; at Notre Dame, 2011; at Nebraska, 2015; at Indiana, 2016; at Northwestern, 2017).

PLAYING THROUGH THE ELEMENTS --
• Michigan State has experienced two weather delays in games this season and three of its six Big Ten games have been played in heavy rain.

• On Oct. 7 at No. 7 Michigan, a majority of the second half was played in a torrential downpour as the Spartans came away with the 14-10 victory.

• The next week at Minnesota, the start of the game was delayed 44 minutes due to lightning in MSU's 30-27 win over the Gophers, but most of the night game was played in rain and temperatures in the low-40s.

• Against No. 7 Penn State on Nov. 4 in East Lansing, the game was delayed for three hours and 22 minutes at the 9:38 mark in the second quarter due to severe weather. The delay started at 1:15 p.m. and play resumed at 4:37 p.m. The game started at 12:05 p.m. and ended at 7:03 p.m. on Matt Coghlin's game-winning 34-yard field goal as time expired in the 27-24 MSU win over the Nittany Lions.

BALL CONTROL --
• Michigan State ranks second in the Big Ten and sixth in the FBS in time of possession (33:54). The Spartans have led in time of possession in eight games this season and have led in time of possession in 66 percent of games under Mark Dantonio; the Spartans owns an .817 winning percentage (76-17) in those games.

Brian Lewerke PROVING TO BE A DUAL-THREAT QUARTERBACK --
• In his first full year as the starting quarterback, sophomore Brian Lewerke ranks third in the Big Ten and 27th in the FBS in total offense, averaging 286.1 yards per game (245.2 passing ypg, 40.9 rushing ypg). He led the Spartans in rushing through the first five games of the season and still ranks second among Big Ten quarterbacks in rushing, averaging 40.9 ypg (Ohio State's J.T. Barrett is first, averaging 57.4 ypg). Lewerke also ranks among the Big Ten leaders in passing (fifth at 245.2 ypg), passing touchdowns (fifth with 16), passing efficiency (sixth with 133.4 rating) and rushing (18th at 40.9 ypg). Lewerke was named one of the top 10 players in the Big Ten at midseason (No. 10) by CollegeFootballNews.com.

• The 6-3, 212-pound Lewerke is 192-of-315 passing (.610) for 2,207 yards, 16 touchdowns and five interceptions in nine games this season. He has played in 13 career games (11 starts; 7-4 record).

• A week after setting numerous school records at Northwestern on Oct. 28, Lewerke had another impressive game against Penn State on Nov. 4, becoming the first Spartan quarterback to throw for 400 yards in back-to-back games. He threw for a school-record 445 yards at Northwestern, and for 400 against Penn State; the 400 yards tied for the second-most yards by a Spartan QB in a single game (Bill Burke with 400 in win over Michigan in 1999).

• According to BTN, Lewerke is one of just three Big Ten quarterbacks in the last 20 years to throw for 400 yards in two consecutive games (Drew Brees, Purdue, 1998; C.J. Bacher, Northwestern, 2007).

• Lewerke finished the Penn State game 33-of-56 passing, including 9-of-14 for 156 yards on third down. He completed six passes of 20-plus yards. Lewerke also had 425 yards of total offense, second in school history behind only his 475 at Northwestern.

• Lewerke set school single-game records for passing yards (445), total offense (475) and completions (39) in the triple-overtime loss at Northwestern on Oct. 28. His 57 passing attempts also marked a career high and tied for the second most in school history (record: 61 by Brian Hoyer vs. Penn State in 2006); MSU's previous single-game records were 400 passing yards (Bill Burke vs. Michigan, 1999), 416 yards of total offense (Connor Cook vs. Indiana, 2015) and 35 completions (Jeff Smoker vs. Ohio State, 2003). Lewerke also threw a career-high four touchdowns against the Wildcats, tied for the second most in school history (accomplished 13 previous times). On MSU's 12-play, 88-yard game-tying touchdown drive at the end of the fourth quarter, Lewerke was 10-of-11 for 88 yards on the drive, capped by a 13-yard touchdown pass to Felton Davis III. Lewerke's 445 yards passing and 475 total yards against Northwestern are both the most by a Big Ten quarterback in a single game this season.

• Lewerke had 396 yards of total offense (340 passing, 56 rushing) vs. Notre Dame, the sixth-highest single-game total in the school record book. He also threw for 340 yards against the Irish.

• Lewerke has led the Spartans in rushing four times (69 yards vs. Bowling Green; career-high 81 vs. Western Michigan; 42 vs. Iowa; 61 vs. Michigan) and had 56 yards vs. Notre Dame.

• Lewerke ran for a career-high 81 yards against Western Michigan on Sept. 9, the most by a Spartan quarterback since Drew Stanton had 83 against Purdue in Nov. 4, 2006.

• Lewerke scored his first career rushing touchdown on a 61-yard run in the first quarter vs. WMU, the longest TD run by a Spartan quarterback since Charlie Baggett ran for a 69-yard score on Oct. 27, 1973, vs. Purdue. It tied the longest rush by a Spartan QB since Damon Dowdell also had a 61-yard run against Wisconsin on Nov. 13, 2004; the last time a Spartan QB had a longer run was Bobby McAllister at Purdue (70 yards) on Nov. 5, 1988.

• Lewerke also had a 1-yard TD run in the third quarter vs. WMU to become the first Spartan QB to record two rushing TDs in a single game since Drew Stanton in 2006 against Eastern Michigan (Sept. 9). He finished with 242 yards of total offense against the Broncos, as he was 13-of-21 passing for 161 yards and one touchdown.

• The native of Phoenix, Arizona, recorded his first career win as a starting quarterback in the season-opening victory over Bowling Green while recording then-career highs in passing yards (250), completions (22), attempts (33), passing touchdowns (3) and total offense (319 yards) against the Falcons. Lewerke also rushed eight times for 69 yards.

• Lewerke played in four games and started twice (Northwestern, Maryland) as a redshirt freshman in 2016 before suffering a season-ending injury (broken tibia) in the fourth quarter of the Michigan game on Oct. 28. He bounced back quickly from the injury and fully participated in all of spring practice.

• Last season, Lewerke became the first Spartan freshman quarterback to start a game (Northwestern) since 2004 (Stephen Reaves vs. Central Michigan).

• In 13 career games, Lewerke has completed 60 percent of his passes (223-for-372) for 18 touchdowns and six interceptions. He has 517 rushing yards on 104 carries (39.8 ypg; 5.0 avg.).

Felton Davis III LEADS YOUNG RECEIVING CORPS --
• Junior wide receiver Felton Davis III is the veteran of a receiving corps that features one junior (Davis), two sophomores (Trishton Jackson, Darrell Stewart), one redshirt freshmen (Cam Chambers) and three true freshmen (Laress Nelson, Hunter Rison, Cody White) in its regular rotation.

• The 6-4, 195-pound native of Richmond, Virginia, leads the Spartans in receptions (45), receiving yards (586) and touchdown catches (8), all of which are career highs and rank among the Big Ten leaders (tied for first in TD catches with eight; fifth in receptions at 5.0 pg; seventh in receiving yards at 65.1 ypg). Thirty-four of his 45 receptions (76 percent) have been for either a first down or a touchdown. Davis' career-high eight TD catches are also tied for 10th in the FBS.

• Davis recorded career highs in catches (12) and receiving yards (181) in the win over No. 7 Penn State on Nov. 4. The 12 catches tied for fourth most in a single game by a Spartan, and the 181 receiving yards were 13th most by a Spartan in a game. The 12 catches matched his season total from last year. Davis had a diving 33-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter that tied the game at 14, his team-leading eighth of the season.

• Davis was named the Big Ten Co-Offensive Player of the Week after recording then-career highs in catches (9) and receiving yards (114) in the Sept. 30 win over Iowa. Davis also tied his career high with two touchdown catches. In the first half alone, Davis had seven receptions for 88 yards. On the first play from scrimmage, Davis had a 31-yard reception to set up his first TD catch later in the drive, a 22-yard scoring strike from Brian Lewerke. Davis also had a 6-yard TD reception later in the first quarter.

• Davis III finished with eight receptions for 95 yards at Northwestern and tied his career high with two touchdowns (13 yards to tie the game with 25 seconds left in the game; 6 yards in first overtime)

• In 28 career games, Davis is MSU's active leader in receptions (59), receiving yards (786) and TD catches (9).

PLENTY OF TARGETS ON OFFENSE FOR THE SPARTANS --
• Fifteen different Spartans have caught at least one pass this season for the Spartans, including six with at least double-figure receptions or more.

• Sophomore Darrell Stewart leads the team in all-purpose yards (738; 82.0 ypg) and ranks second on the team in catches (40) and receiving yards (427). He leads the team with 13 explosive plays (20 yards or more), including six kick returns, five receptions and two rushes. Stewart set career highs in receptions (11) and receiving yards (98) at Northwestern on Oct. 28, and his 11 catches tied for the seventh most by an MSU player in a single game. The Houston, Texas, native was one of 10 Spartans to help volunteer with the Hurricane Harvey relief efforts during the bye weekend (Sept. 15-17) in Houston.

• Freshman Cody White ranks third on the team in catches (25) and receiving yards (365). In the last three games (Indiana, Northwestern, Penn State), White has 20 receptions for 315 yards, including 12 for first downs.

• White was named the Big Ten Co-Freshman of the Week after setting a Spartan freshman single-game record with 165 receiving yards at Northwestern on Oct. 28. That total was also the 20th-most overall by an MSU player in a single game and the third most by a Spartan against Northwestern. White had a career-high nine catches against the Wildcats, including six for first downs with two touchdown catches. He caught a season-long 60-yard pass in the first quarter on the opening series of the game, the longest pass play of the season for the Spartans, to set up his first career touchdown catch on a 6-yard reception later in the same drive. A native of Novi, Michigan, the 6-3, 206-pound White also had a 45-yard reception on third-and-18 in the fourth quarter. He started his first career game against the Wildcats.

• Freshman Hunter Rison has 16 receptions for 211 yards, ranking fourth on the team in both of those categories. Eleven of his 16 catches have resulted in a first down, including two key first downs late in the fourth quarter vs. Indiana on Oct. 21.

SPARTAN DEFENSE ONCE AGAIN ONE OF THE NATION'S BEST --
• Michigan State continues to rank among the Big Ten leaders in several defensive categories, including rushing defense (first at 87.0 ypg), third-down percentage defense (second at .308), total defense (third at 303.7 ypg), first downs defense (fourth with 147) and pass efficiency defense (fifth with 112.2 rating).

• The Spartans also rank among the FBS Top 20 leaders in rushing defense (third), total defense (12th), third-down defense (16th) and first downs defense (19th).

• MSU has held three opponents from scoring an offensive touchdown (Bowling Green, Western Michigan, Indiana).

• MSU has held opponents to just 21 trips inside the red zone, second fewest in the Big Ten and tied for 11th fewest in the FBS.

STOPPING THE RUN --
• Michigan State ranks first in the Big Ten and third in the FBS in rushing defense (87.0 ypg). MSU has held six opponents under 100 yards rushing this season (Bowling Green had 67 in season opener on Sept. 2; Iowa had 19 on Sept. 30; Minnesota had 74 on Oct. 14; Indiana had 95 on Oct. 21; Northwestern had 64 on Oct. 28; No. 7 Penn State had 65 on Nov. 4), and No. 7 Michigan had a season-low 102 yards on Oct. 7.

• Michigan State has allowed just four rushes of 20-plus yards, third fewest in the FBS, and just 20 rushes of 10-plus yards, which is second fewest (Alabama: 17).

• MSU held Iowa to just 19 rushing yards, the fewest by the Hawkeyes against the Spartans since 1999 (7 yards) . . . the 19 rushing yards were also the fewest by an Iowa team since Sept. 24, 2005 (-9 against Ohio State) . . . MSU's defense now has two of Iowa's five lowest single-game rushing totals since 2005, as the Spartans limited Iowa to 23 yards on Oct. 5, 2013.

• Stopping the run has been the main theme for MSU on defense in the Dantonio era, and it led to ranking No. 1 in the NCAA FBS in rushing defense in 2014 (88.5 ypg). Since the Big Ten began awarding stat champions in all games in 1985, Michigan State (2011-14) became only the second team in conference history to lead the league in rushing defense four years in a row (Michigan, 1990-93). MSU's 88.5 rushing yards allowed in 2014 was the eighth-lowest total in school history. The Spartans have ranked in the Top 25 in rushing defense six times in the last eight seasons, including a run of five straight years in the top 11 (2011-15). MSU is currently ranked No. 3 in the FBS in rushing defense (87.0 ypg).

• In 141 games under Dantonio, Michigan State has held its opponent under 100 yards rushing 69 times (49 percent). MSU is 60-9 (.870) in those games, including a 50-4 (.926) record since 2010.

Joe Bachie LEADS SPARTAN DEFENSE IN TACKLES AND PRODUCTION POINTS --
• Sophomore Joe Bachie has started all nine games at middle linebacker for the Spartans and leads the team in tackles (77; 8.6 avg.), which ranks fifth in the Big Ten. In addition, he ranks second on the team in tackles for loss (7.5 for 27 yards) and tied for third in sacks (three for 15 yards). He also leads the team in production points with 233. He was named to the midseason All-Big Ten Team by The Athletic.

• Bachie has been named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week twice this season. Following his career-best 13-tackle performance vs. Indiana on Oct. 21, Bachie shared conference player of the week honors. He also had 1.5 tackles for loss, including a 1-yard sack, and a forced fumble against the Hoosiers.

• Bachie was named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week after helping lead the Spartan defense to an impressive performance in the 14-10 win at No. 7 Michigan on Oct. 7 in Ann Arbor. He recorded double-digits in tackles for the third time of the season, tying a team high with 10 stops against the Wolverines, and had an 11-yard sack in the second quarter. He compiled a career-high 40 production points.

• According to STATS, Bachie became just the second Big Ten linebacker and fifth in the FBS in the last five years (since 2012) to record double-digit tackles (10) and at least one interception, one forced fumble, one sack and one pass break-up in the same game.

• He forced a fumble on Michigan's second offensive series in the first quarter, giving MSU excellent field position at the Michigan 46-yard line. The Spartans capitalized with a six-play, 46-yard touchdown drive, capped by a 14-yard TD run by Brian Lewerke, giving the Spartans a lead they wouldn't relinquish.

• Bachie was at it again in the second half, as he recorded his first career interception on the second play of the fourth quarter. He was also credited with a pass break-up on the game's final play as Michigan attempted a Hail Mary pass in the end zone. The Spartans held Michigan to 10 points, the lowest total in the Jim Harbaugh era at UM, and just 102 yards rushing.

• Bachie had 38 production points vs. Iowa on Sept. 30 in which he led MSU in tackles (9) and tackles for loss (3.5) to go along with a 3-yard sack and fumble recovery in the red zone.

• The 6-2, 233-pound Bachie has led the Spartans in tackles six times this season, including double-digit stops in four games (career-high 13 vs. Indiana; 11 against Western Michigan; 10 vs. Michigan and Bowling Green).

• Bachie sat out the first six games of the season last year, but had his redshirt removed at Maryland on Oct. 22 and played the final six contests in 2016.

• The Brook Park, Ohio, native emerged as a leader during the offseason and was voted to the team's Eagles Leadership Council in the spring and again in the fall.

FROM WALK-ON TO LEADING THE TEAM IN TACKLES FOR LOSS AND SACKS --
• Sophomore defensive end Kenny Willekes, who entered the program as a walk-on for the 2015 season, has emerged as a force on the defensive line for the Spartans. Willekes earned a scholarship this past spring and hasn't looked back since. The native of Rockford, Michigan, has started seven games at defensive end and leads the team in tackles for loss (10.5 for 30 yards) and sacks (5.0 for 20 yards). Willekes played in just one game as a redshirt freshman in 2016.

• Willekes recorded two sacks each against Michigan (Oct. 7) and Minnesota (Oct. 14).

• He leads the defensive line and ranks fourth on the team with 49 tackles. He also has two fumble recoveries, one forced fumble and five quarterback hurries. He ranks second on the team with 133 production points.

SPARTANS INCREASING THE PRESSURE ON THE QUARTERBACK IN 2017 --
• A year after recording just 11 sacks, fewest in the Big Ten, the Spartans have already surpassed that total through nine games in 2017 with 22. Kenny Willekes leads the team with five sacks.

• MSU recorded four sacks each against Western Michigan (Sept. 9) and No. 7 Michigan (Oct. 7), and had three apiece against Iowa on Sept. 30 and Minnesota on Oct. 14.

LIMITING THE BIG PLAY --
• In addition to the increased pressure on the quarterback, the Spartans are also limiting big plays. The Spartans have given up just 32 plays of 20-plus yards, which is third fewest in the Big Ten and tied for the 19th fewest in the FBS.

MICHIGAN STATE HEAD COACH Mark Dantonio NOTES -
• Now in his 11th season as head coach of the Spartans, Mark Dantonio owns a 97-44 (.688) record. After leading the Spartans to a 7-2 start this season, he has been named one of 20 coaches on the Paul "Bear" Bryant Coach of the Year Award Watch List. Dantonio has won the most Big Ten Championships (three) and bowl games (four) of any Spartan head coach and also ranks first with nine bowl appearances. He is the only active Big Ten coach to win multiple Big Ten Championships (2010, 2013, 2015), claim a victory in the Rose Bowl (2014), and coach in the College Football Playoff (2015). The second-winningest coach in school history with 97 victories, trailing only Hall of Famer Duffy Daugherty (109), Dantonio also ranks first in program history in conference winning percentage (.667, 58-29 record, minimum 10 games), second in Big Ten wins (58), home wins (58) and AP Top 25 victories (19), tied for second in AP Top 25 finishes (six), and fifth in overall winning percentage (.688).

• Dantonio won his 71st game at MSU on Oct. 25, 2014, against Michigan to move into second place all-time in victories in school history (record: Duffy Daugherty, 109). Dantonio won his 100th career game as a head coach on Oct. 17, 2015, at Michigan Stadium as the Spartans rallied to defeat the Wolverines, 27-23, on a 38-yard fumble return as time expired. His career record stands at 115-61 (.653) in his 14th season.

• Dantonio's .667 winning percentage (58-29) in Big Ten games ranks first in MSU history (minimum 10 Big Ten games). He ranks second in school history in conference wins (Duffy Daugherty, 72).

NOVEMBER IS FOR CONTENDERS --
• A trademark of Mark Dantonio's Michigan State teams has been their ability to produce wins late in the season. Under Dantonio, Michigan State has compiled a 26-10 record (.722) in November. His teams have won 20 of the last 27 games in November (3-0 in 2010; 4-0 in 2011; 1-2 in 2012; 4-0 in 2013; 3-1 in 2014; 3-1 in 2015; 1-3 in 2016; 1-0 in 2017). During MSU's three Big Ten Championship seasons (2010, 2013, 2015) under Dantonio, MSU is 10-1 in November.

SPARTAN FOOTBALL PROGRAM NOTES -
• Michigan State is in the midst of its second-winningest decade in school history. The Spartans are 75-27 (.735) since 2010 and during that span, MSU has claimed three Big Ten Championships (2010, 2013, 2015) and three Big Ten Division titles (2011, 2013, 2015). In addition, the Spartans recorded a school-record four consecutive bowl victories (2012 Outback against No. 18 Georgia, 2012 Buffalo Wild Wings against TCU, 2014 Rose Bowl Game against No. 5 Stanford, 2015 Cotton Bowl Classic against No. 4 Baylor), which also tied a Big Ten record. MSU was the only school to finish in the top-six of the national polls from 2013-15 (No. 3 in 2013, No. 5 in 2014, No. 6 in 2015).

• The 75 wins this decade are second most in the Big Ten and tied for 10th most in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision, while the 46 wins since 2013 are third in the Big Ten and tied for eighth most in the FBS. The 36 wins from 2013-15 marked the winningest three-year stretch in the history of the program. MSU's highest winning percentage by decade is currently the 1950s (.766, 70-21-1 record).

• The Spartans have had sustained success in the Big Ten Conference under Dantonio. MSU has won two of the past four Big Ten Championships (2013, 2015) and three overall this decade, also claiming a championship in 2010. The Spartans own victories in 31 of their last 42 games against Big Ten opponents (including the Big Ten Championship Game), dating back to the 2012 regular-season finale, including 19 wins by double-figures.

PLAYING THEIR BEST UNDER THE SPOTLIGHT --
• The Spartans have consistently produced wins against highly ranked teams under Dantonio. MSU is 9-5 in its last 14 games against teams ranked in The Associated Press Top 10, including an 8-5 record since 2013 (beat No. 2 Ohio State and No. 5 Stanford in 2013; lost to No. 3 Oregon and beat No. 4 Baylor in 2014; beat No. 7 Oregon, No. 2 Ohio State and No. 4 Iowa, and lost to No. 2 Alabama in 2015; lost to No. 2 Michigan, No. 2 Ohio State in 2016 and No. 8 Penn State in 2016; beat No. 7 Michigan and No. 7 Penn State in 2017). The eight wins over AP Top-10 teams since 2013 are second most in the FBS, behind only Alabama.

• Michigan State defeated nine bowl teams in 2015, including four wins over AP Top 25 teams (No. 7 Oregon on Sept. 12, No. 12 Michigan on Oct. 17, No. 2 Ohio State on Nov. 21, No. 4 Iowa on Dec. 5). It marked the first time in school history the Spartans beat three AP Top-10 teams (No. 7 Oregon, No. 2 Ohio State, No. 4 Iowa) in the same season. In the final AP rankings, MSU defeated four Top 25 teams (No. 4 Ohio State, No. 9 Iowa, No. 12 Michigan, No. 19 Oregon).

• The win over No. 2 Ohio State in Columbus on Nov. 21, 2015, snapped the defending National Champion Buckeyes' 23-game winning streak, and the last-second victory against No. 12 Michigan on Oct. 17, 2015, marked MSU's seventh win in eight years over the Wolverines.

• Michigan State has won 12 of its last 19 games played against AP Top 25 opponents.

• Under Mark Dantonio, the Spartans are 19-25 in 44 games played against teams ranked in The Associated Press Top 25; however, MSU is 12-8 against ranked teams since 2013. The 19 wins over AP Top 25 teams rank second among head coaches in MSU history (Duffy Daugherty with 25 from 1954-72). Dantonio is 9-9 against AP Top 10 teams at MSU (9-5 since 2011).

Joe Bachie AND Khari Willis NAMED GAME CAPTAINS AGAINST OHIO STATE --
• Sophomore linebacker Joe Bachie and junior safety Khari Willis will be the Eagles to rotate as game captains vs. Ohio State on Saturday. In order for all of the Eagles to serve as game captains twice, team captain Chris Frey didn't walk out to midfield for the Western Michigan game, and Brian Allen didn't walk out to midfield for the Minnesota game. Bachie also served as a game captain vs. Bowling Green, and Willis was a game captain vs. Iowa.


 

 

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