No. 13 Spartans Travel To Iowa Looking To Stay Atop Legends Division
Nov. 10, 2011
FIRST-AND-10 (what you need to know about the MSU-Iowa matchup) -
The Spartans are ranked No. 17 in the latest Bowl Championship Series Standings, released Sunday, Nov. 6. In both The Associated Press Poll and the USA TODAY Poll, MSU is ranked 13th. MSU has been ranked in the USA TODAY Poll for 24 consecutive weeks, the longest streak for the program since USA TODAY began administering the poll in 1991.
Michigan State ranks second in the Big Ten and tied for ninth in the nation with 13 interceptions. The Spartans have recorded an interception in eight of their nine games this season. Junior safety Isaiah Lewis and senior safety Trenton Robinson both lead the Big Ten and rank tied for 12th in the FBS with four interceptions. Lewis is also one of just six players in the FBS to return two interceptions for touchdowns this season. Four other Spartans have recorded interceptions in 2011: Kurtis Drummond (2), Johnny Adams (1), Max Bullough (1) and Darqueze Dennard (1).
MSU has won 18 of its last 22 games, dating back to the beginning of the 2010 season. Although the Spartans' six-game Big Ten winning streak was snapped in the loss at Nebraska, MSU has still won 11 of its last 13 conference games.
The 2011 senior class has helped Michigan State to a combined record of 33-15 (.688). The 33 wins are tied with the Class of 2010 (33 victories and four consecutive bowl appearances) for the most victories ever recorded by a senior class in MSU's 115-year football history.
Michigan State leads the Big Ten in passing defense (145.9 ypg.) and total defense (249.4 ypg.). In addition, the Spartans rank among the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision Top 20 in six different statistical categories: second in pass defense, second in total defense, seventh in pass efficiency defense (102.8 rating), eighth in scoring defense (16.0 points per game), 14th in sacks (2.9 per game) and 17th in rushing defense (103.6 ypg.).
Through five Big Ten games, the Spartans have recorded 40 tackles for loss, including a league-best 21 sacks. MSU's nine sacks at Ohio State tied a school record and also ranks tied for first in a single game this season in the FBS.
For the second-straight week, sophomore defensive end William Gholston led the Spartans in tackles with 14 against Minnesota, including 1.5 for losses (5 yards). He also forced a fumble against the Gophers. In his last two games (vs. Nebraska and Minnesota), Gholston has recorded 29 tackles, with 3.0 resulting in losses (12 yards) including 1.5 sacks (8 yards), which is the most by a Spartan in a two-game span since 2009 (Greg Jones: 15 tackles vs. Montana State; 14 tackles vs. Central Michigan). It marks the first time a Spartan defensive lineman has recorded double figures in tackles in back-to-back games since Josh Shaw in 2000 (10 tackles vs. Missouri, 10 vs. Notre Dame). Gholston ranks third on the team with 49 tackles and is ninth in the Big Ten with 10.0 tackles for loss (33 yards).
Junior defensive tackle Jerel Worthy has been named one of 12 semifinalists for the Lombardi Award (college lineman of the year) and one of 16 semifinalists for the Chuck Bednarik Award (defensive player of the year). Worthy, who was named a midseason All-American by ESPN.com, CBSSports.com, SI.com, Sporting News and Phil Steele, has 19 tackles this season, including 5.5 for losses (28 yards) and 2.5 sacks (19 yards). His 11 career sacks are tied for 15th most in MSU history. Percy Snow is the only Spartan to win the Lombardi Award (1989).
Red-shirt freshman Mike Sadler has been named Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week for his performance in the win over Minnesota. Sadler averaged just 35.0 yards on five punt against the Gophers, but a season-best four of his five punts were placed inside the Minnesota 20-yard line. Sadler delivered two clutch punts in the final seven minutes, twice pinning Minnesota inside its own 10-yard line. His first punt was downed at the Minnesota 6 and the second fair caught by Brandon Green at the Gopher 10. One of 15 starting freshman punters in the FBS (true and redshirt), Sadler ranks third in the Big Ten and tied for 23rd in the nation with 14 punts inside the 20. In addition, he has placed seven punts inside the 10. Earlier this season, Sadler was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week for his role in the victory against Michigan.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS -
With the win over Minnesota, Dantonio improved to 40-21 during his tenure in East Lansing (.656) and became just the sixth Spartan coach to win at least 40 games (Chester Brewer, Charlie Bachman, Biggie Munn, Duffy Daugherty and George Perles). In addition, Dantonio reached the 40-win mark in 61 games, which is the fourth fastest in MSU history (Chester Brewer: 40 wins in his first 52 games from 1903-08; Charlie Bachman: 40 wins in his first 58 games from 1933 to 1939; Biggie Munn: 40 wins in his first 50 games from 1947-52). Dantonio already owns the most wins (41) by a Spartan head coach in his first five seasons (Biggie Munn ranks second, with 36 wins from 1947-1951).
Michigan State has been a strong first-half team, outscoring its opponents, 143-75 (+68). In the second quarter alone, MSU has outscored its opponents by 82 points, 98-16.
The Spartans have only allowed their opponents 18 trips into the red zone this season, which is tied for the fifth fewest trips permitted in the NCAA FBS.
Michigan State has had four different starting combinations in nine games on the offensive line this season, including three different starting centers (Blake Treadwell, Travis Jackson, Ethan Ruhland).
The Spartan defense has allowed only two gains of 40-plus yards from scrimmage in 2011 - tied for the third-fewest surrendered by an NCAA FBS team. The Spartans have also allowed only 28 gains of 20-plus yards (tied for 15th in the FBS) and eight of 30-plus yards (tied for sixth in the FBS).
MSU's win over Minnesota extended its current home winning streak to 13 games - its longest home streak since winning 19 straight from 1950-53 (teams coached by Clarence "Biggie" Munn). The 13-game home winning streak is the fifth longest in school history (school-record 23-game home winning streak from 1903-07; teams coached by Chester Brewer).
Michigan State did not commit a penalty against Wisconsin. It marked the first time MSU wasn't flagged for a penalty in a game since Oct. 4, 1975, at Notre Dame.
Kirk Cousins has connected on 52-of-84 third-down throws (.619) for 553 yards, with 32 of those completions resulting in first downs and five for touchdowns.
Sophomore running back Le'Veon Bell led MSU with 58 yards rushing at Nebraska and crossed the 1,000-yard mark for his career. Bell currently has 1,113 career rushing yards on 209 carries (5.4 avg.) in 22 career games and leads MSU with 528 rushing yards this season on 102 carries (5.2 avg.). He accounted for a career-best 165 all-purpose yards against Minnesota, rushing 15 times for a season-high 96 yards and two touchdowns (TD runs of 1 and 35 yards).
Over his last four games (vs. Michigan, Wisconsin, Nebraska and Minnesota), senior Keshawn Martin has produced four touchdowns (three TD receptions and one rushing TD) and has led MSU with 20 catches for 207 yards. Martin had three catches for 31 yards in Michigan State's 28-14 victory over No. 11 Michigan, including TD grabs of 10 and 13 yards in the third quarter. He scored on a 34-yard double reverse in the second quarter of MSU's 37-31 win over No. 4 Wisconsin. Martin also caught five passes for 41 yards against the Badgers, including a 15-yard TD reception early in the fourth quarter that gave the Spartans a 31-17 lead. Against Nebraska (five catches for 58 yards) and Minnesota (seven catches for 77 yards), Martin led MSU in both receptions and receiving yards.
Senior Trenton Robinson recorded a career-best two interceptions against Minnesota. His first interception (late in the third quarter) helped set up Dan Conroy's game-tying 40-yard field goal (24-24) early in the fourth quarter. With 10 seconds left, his second pickoff at the MSU 23-yard line iced the game. Robinson now has nine career interceptions, tied for 12th most in Spartan history.
Sophomore Isaiah Lewis recorded a career-high 12 tackles and his first career pass break-up against the Gophers. Lewis ranks second on the team with 55 tackles (2.5 for losses) and is tied for the Big Ten lead, along with teammate Trenton Robinson, with four interceptions.
Senior Keshawn Martin has accounted for touchdowns in five different ways during his career (rushing, receiving, passing, punt return and kickoff return), joining Florida International's T.Y. Hilton, Arizona State's Jamal Miles and Toledo's Eric Page as the only active players in the NCAA FBS that have accomplished that feat. Western Kentucky's Darrius Brooks also has scored TDs in five different ways in his career (rushing, receiving, passing, interception and blocked punt return).
Sophomore defensive end William Gholston recorded a career-high 15 tackles at Nebraska, matching a single-game high for a Spartan this season (Max Bullough 15 tackles vs. Youngstown State). Gholston became the first Spartan defensive lineman to reach double figures in tackles since Jonal Saint-Dic posted 10 stops against Northwestern in 2007, and it marked the highest single-game total by a Spartan defensive lineman since Josh Shaw produced 17 tackles against Wisconsin in 2000.
Sophomore linebacker Kyler Elsworth, who was named the Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week following his blocked punt in the win over Wisconsin, has recorded 20 tackles in his last three games (three vs. Wisconsin; career-high 10 vs. Nebraska; seven vs. Minnesota).
Dan Conroy connected on a 40-yard field goal in the fourth quarter vs. Minnesota, moving him into ninth place all-time at MSU with 23 career field goals.
UPON FURTHER REVIEW -
Michigan State became the second team in Big Ten history to go 3-0 against Ohio State, Michigan and Wisconsin in a three-game span, joining Penn State, which accomplished the feat in 2008.
With consecutive wins over No. 10 Michigan and No. 4 Wisconsin, Michigan State became just the third Big Ten team since 2002 to record back-to-back victories over Top 10 opponents, according to the USA TODAY Coaches Poll, joining Ohio State (2002) and Michigan (2003).
THE LAST MEETING -
MSU/IOWA COACHING CONNECTIONS -
Iowa defensive coordinator Norm Parker spent 12 years as an assistant coach at Michigan State under George Perles (1983-94). During his tenure at Michigan State, Parker coached outside linebackers and served as defensive coordinator for six years (1988-93).
Michigan State director of personnel/player development Dino Folino and Iowa defensive coordinator Norm Parker worked together under Perles from 1988-94. Folino coached the Spartan defensive secondary for seven years.
Iowa defensive backs coach Phil Parker, a 1986 Michigan State graduate, was a four-year letterman and three-time first-team All-Big Ten defensive back for the Spartans from 1982-85. Parker was named MVP of the 1984 Cherry Bowl (nine tackles and an interception vs. Army) and also helped lead the Spartans to a trip to the 1985 All-American Bowl. He later served as a graduate assistant under George Perles for the 1987 Big Ten and 1988 Rose Bowl championship team. Parker still ranks third among MSU's career leaders in interceptions with 16.
Michigan State director of personnel/player development Dino Folino and Iowa tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator Eric Johnson spent the 1998 season together at Vanderbilt. Folino coached the secondary and served as defensive coordinator under Woody Widenhofer, while Johnson worked as a graduate assistant coach.
MSU/IOWA CONNECTIONS, PART II -
COUSINS ESTABLISHES HIMSELF AS ONE OF NATION'S TOP QUARTERBACKS -
The 6-foot-3, 205-pound Cousins ranks among the Big Ten leaders in passing yards (third at 221.0 yards per game), touchdown passes (tied for third with 13), passing efficiency (fifth with a 139.6 rating) and total offense (seventh at 211.8 ypg.). He has completed 170-of-265 throws (.642) for 1,989 yards, 13 TDs and five interceptions.
Cousins recorded his sixth 200-yard passing game of the season and 21st of his career, completing 23-of-34 throws for 296 yards and two touchdowns against Minnesota. On the final drive of the first half, Cousins went 6-of-8 passing for 66 yards, including a 2-yard TD toss to fullback Todd Anderson on a first-and-goal play. He completed passes to four different receivers during that eight-play, 74-yard drive that last 52 seconds.
Cousins produced his 20th career 200-yard passing game in the win against the Badgers, completing 22-of-31 throws for 290 yards and three touchdowns, including his 44-yard Hail Mary pass to Keith Nichol on the final play of regulation. The three TD passes matched his career best (five times; last vs. Northwestern, 2010). In addition to the game-winner to Nichol, Cousins completed scoring passes of 35 yards to B.J. Cunningham and 15 yards to Keshawn Martin.
Following the win over Wisconsin, Cousins was named the Big Ten Co-Offensive Player of the Week, marking the second time in his career he was won the award (Oct. 25, 2010, following MSU's comeback win at Northwestern).
Battling windy conditions with gusts up to 40 mph, Cousins completed 13-of-24 passes for 120 yards and two touchdowns in Michigan State's 28-14 victory over No. 11 and previously undefeated Michigan. Cousins became the first Spartan starting quarterback to win three straight games over the Wolverines.
Cousins completed 20-of-32 passes for 250 yards in MSU's 10-7 victory at Ohio State, as the Spartans ended a seven-game losing streak against the Buckeyes and posted their first win in Columbus since 1998. His 33-yard TD strike to Cunningham in the back of the end zone gave MSU a 7-0 lead midway through the first quarter. His 250 passing yards marked the sixth-best single-game effort by a Spartan quarterback against Ohio State.
He completed 13-of-22 throws for 213 yards, one TD and one interception in MSU's 45-7 victory over Central Michigan.
Cousins recorded his fourth career 300-yard passing game at Notre Dame while setting personal bests for pass completions (34) and pass attempts (53). His 329 passing yards are the most ever by a Spartan quarterback against the Irish (previous record: 327 yards by Drew Stanton, 2005). His 34 completions are second-highest single-game total in MSU history (school record: 35 by Jeff Smoker vs. Ohio State, 2003) while his 53 attempts are fifth-best figure in school history and the most since Brian Hoyer attempted a school-record 61 passes at Penn State in 2006. In three career games against Notre Dame, Cousins completed 72 percent of his passes (68-of-95) for 734 yards, four TDs and three interceptions.
With 222 passing yards in the 2011 season opener against Youngstown State, Cousins became just the fourth Spartan quarterback to eclipse the 6,000-yard career milestone, joining Jeff Smoker (8,932 yards), Drew Stanton (6,524) and Brian Hoyer (6,159). He connected on 18-of-22 throws against the Penguins, including an 18-yard TD strike to Cunningham late in the third quarter that gave MSU a 21-6 lead. Cousins completed his first six pass attempts for 114 yards.
The Holland, Mich., native currently ranks first in MSU history in passing efficiency (144.7) and completion percentage (.643; 626-of-974). Those figures also rank among the best in Big Ten history: tied for third in completion percentage and seventh in passing efficiency. He is listed among MSU's all-time leaders in pass completions (second with 626), passing yards (second with 7,804 yards), TD passes (second with 54), 200-yard passing games (second with 21), pass attempts (second with 974) and total offense (third with 7,633 yards). In addition, Cousins ranks among all active NCAA FBS leaders in passing yards (14th), completion percentage (15th), TD passes (tied for 16th), completions (16th), passing efficiency (16th) and total offense (17th).
CUNNINGHAM OPENS 2011 SEASON WITH A BANG -
The 6-foot-2, 215-pound Cunningham already ranks as Michigan State's all-time leader in receptions with 190. He also is listed among the school's career leaders in receiving yards (third with 2,607 yards) and touchdown receptions (tied for sixth with 16). In addition, Cunningham ranks among all active NCAA FBS leaders in receptions (13th) and receiving yards (14th).
Cunningham recorded his fifth 100-yard receiving game of the season and seventh of his career, with three receptions for 104 yards in the win over Minnesota. His season-long 69-yard reception from Kirk Cousins in the first quarter helped set up MSU's first touchdown.
Cunningham had his streak of 41 consecutive regular-season games with at least one pass reception come to an end at Nebraska.
He posted his fourth 100-yard receiving game of the season and sixth of his career, with six receptions for 102 yards in MSU's 37-31 victory over No. 4 Wisconsin. With his 35-yard touchdown grab from Kirk Cousins in the second quarter, Cunningham tied Gene Washington for sixth place on MSU's all-time list with his 16th career TD reception.
Cunningham had nine receptions for 154 yards and a touchdown in MSU's 10-7 victory at Ohio State, as the Spartans ended a seven-game losing streak against the Buckeyes and recorded their first win in Columbus since 1998. Cunningham scored on a 33-yard strike from Kirk Cousins to give MSU a 7-0 lead midway through the first quarter. His 154 receiving yards are the most ever by a Spartan against Ohio State (previous record: 135 receiving yards by Frank Foreman, 1969).
He had three catches for 67 yards in MSU's 45-7 victory over Central Michigan, including a 54-yard grab from Cousins on the game's opening series that set up Le'Veon Bell's 1-yard TD run.
Cunningham recorded career highs in receptions (12) and receiving yards (158) at Notre Dame. His 12 catches tied for fourth most in a game by a Spartan wide receiver (record: 14 by Matt Trannon vs. Eastern Michigan in 2006). His 158 receiving yards were the most since Blair White had 186 yards against Northwestern in 2009, and the second most for a Spartan wide receiver against Notre Dame (Charles Rogers, 175 yards in 2002). It marked his second-career 100-yard receiving game against the Irish (seven receptions for 101 yards vs. Notre Dame in 2010). In four career games against Notre Dame, Cunningham had 26 receptions for 361 yards and one TD.
Cunningham became MSU's all-time leader in receptions with his 7-yard grab on a third-and-4 play on the first series against Florida Atlantic. He finished with five catches for 73 yards against the Owls.
The Westerville, Ohio, native caught nine passes for 130 yards in the 2011 season opener against Youngstown State, as he tied Trannon's (2003-06) record for career receptions with 148. His 18-yard TD catch from Cousins late in the third quarter gave MSU a 21-6 lead.
WORTHY NAMED MIDSEASON ALL-AMERICAN, LOMBARDI AWARD SEMIFINALIST -
Worthy, who ranks tied for fourth on the team in tackles for loss (5.5 for 28 yards), earned Midseason First-Team All-America honors from SI.com, CBSSports.com, Sporting News and Phil Steele. In addition, he has been named one of 12 semifinalists for the Lombardi Award (college lineman of the year), one of 16 semifinalists for the Chuck Bednarik Award (defensive player of the year) and one of 20 quarterfinalists for the Lott IMPACT Trophy (presented to Defensive IMPACT Player of the Year).
The 6-foot-3, 310-pound Worthy has recorded a tackle for loss in six of MSU's nine games this season. He has been credited with 19 tackles, including 2.5 sacks (19 yards).
Worthy made three tackles in MSU's 37-31 victory over No. 4 Wisconsin, including one for a 2-yard loss. He had two stops in MSU's 28-14 win over No. 11 Michigan, including a 4-yard half sack. Worthy also produced two tackles in MSU's 10-7 victory at Ohio State, with 1.5 tackles for loss including a 5-yard sack. He registered a season-high four stops and recovered a fumble at Notre Dame. Worthy wore retired jersey No. 95 against the Irish as a tribute to former two-time All-American Charles "Bubba" Smith, who passed away in early August. Smith's final game as a Spartan came in the 1966 "Game of the Century" between the No. 1 Irish and No. 2 Spartans that ended in a 10-10 tie.
The Huber Heights, Ohio, native has started 33 of 35 career games and recorded 96 tackles, with 22.5 resulting in losses (103 yards) including 11 sacks (69 yards). His 11 sacks are tied for 15th on MSU's all-time list.
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