No. 12 Spartans Host Indiana on Senior Day
Football Media Center: Indiana
Nov. 18, 2011
|No. 12/12 Michigan State (8-2, 4-1 Big Ten) vs. Indiana (1-9, 0-6 Big Ten)|
|Date | Time||Saturday, Nov. 19 | 12 p.m.|
|Location||East Lansing, Mich. | Spartan Stadium (75,005/Natural Grass)|
|Televison||Big Ten Network|
|Broadcast Team||Eric Collins (play-by-play) | Chris Martin (analyst) | Dionne Miller (sidelines)|
|Radio||Spartan Sports Network (Listen Live)|
|Satellite Radio||SIRIUS: Channel 85; XM: Channel 85|
|Radio (Mobile)||Broadcast available on Spartan Sports Network Mobile App: iPhone/iPad | Android|
|Tickets||Limited number available at msuspartans.com|
|Parking/Stadium Information||Gameday Answers | Tailgating Information|
|Game Notes||Michigan State | Indiana|
|Statistics||Michigan State | Indiana|
|Depth Charts||Michigan State | Indiana|
|Live Stats||Live Stats (Mobile Users) | Gametracker|
|Social Media||@MSU_Football | Facebook|
FIRST-AND-10 (what you need to know about the MSU-Indiana matchup) -
Saturday's game marks the 58th meeting between Michigan State and Indiana. The Spartans lead the all-time series against the Hoosiers, 40-15-2, including a 21-6-1 record in games played in Spartan Stadium. MSU has won 10 of the last 12 meetings overall and three straight in East Lansing.
Since 1950, the winner of the Michigan State-Indiana game has been presented the Old Brass Spittoon. The brass spittoon came from one of Michigan's earliest trading posts and is widely believed to be nearly 190 years old. Legend has it that the spittoon was around when both institutions were founded - Indiana in 1820 and MAC in 1855. Since 1950, Michigan State leads the series 40-12-1.
Michigan State currently leads the Big Ten Legends Division with a 5-1 record, one game ahead of both Nebraska (4-2) and Michigan (4-2).
The Spartans are ranked No. 15 in the latest Bowl Championship Series Standings, released Sunday, Nov. 13. 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 25 consecutive weeks, the longest streak for the program since the national newspaper began administering the poll in 1991.
Seventeen seniors will make their final appearance in Spartan Stadium on Saturday against Indiana. The 2011 senior class has helped Michigan State to a record of 34-15 (.694) since 2008, including three straight bowl bids (2009 Capital One Bowl, 2010 Alamo Bowl, 2011 Capital One Bowl) and a fourth appearance to be determined following the regular season. The 34 wins are the most by any senior class in the 115-year history of Michigan State football (previous record: 33 wins by 2010 class). The 2011 class is also the first to defeat Michigan four straight years since 1959-62 and owns a home record of 23-4 (.852).
MSU is 3-1 in Senior Day games under head coach Mark Dantonio.
Michigan State is tied for first in the Big Ten and tied for ninth in the FBS with 14 interceptions. The Spartans have recorded an interception in nine of their 10 games this season. Junior safety Isaiah Lewis and senior safety Trenton Robinson both lead the Big Ten and rank tied for 15th in the nation with four interceptions. Lewis is also one of just seven players in the FBS to return two interceptions for touchdowns this season. Four other Spartans have recorded interceptions in 2011: Johnny Adams (2), Kurtis Drummond (2), Max Bullough (1) and Darqueze Dennard (1).
Michigan State leads the Big Ten in total defense (259.5 ypg.) and rushing defense (101.9 ypg). In addition, the Spartans rank among the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision Top 20 in six different statistical categories: third in total defense, fourth in pass defense (157.5 ypg.), sixth in pass efficiency defense (102.9 rating), eighth in scoring defense (16.5 points per game), 12th in rushing defense and 18th in sacks (2.8 per game).
Through six Big Ten games, the Spartans have recorded 44 tackles for loss, including a league-best 24 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.
Red-shirt freshman Mike Sadler has been named the Big Ten Freshman of the Week for his performance in the win over Iowa. Sadler averaged a season-best 46.2 yards per punt (six punts for 277 yards), including three inside the opponent's 20, against the Hawkeyes. Sadler has placed 17 of his 46 punts (37 percent) inside the 20 this season; the 17 punts inside the 20 rank second in the Big Ten and tied for 17th most in the NCAA FBS. In addition, he has pinned nine punts inside the 10 (tied for seventh in NCAA FBS). This marks the third weekly Big Ten honor for Sadler this season; he was named the Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week for his performance in the Minnesota game and earned Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors for his role in the win over Michigan. For the season, Sadler is averaging 39.7 yards per punt (46 punts for 1,826 yards). He is one of 15 starting freshman (true and redshirt) punters in the FBS.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS -
Michigan State has won 19 of its last 23 games, dating back to the beginning of the 2010 season, including a 12-2 record in Big Ten play.
MSU is bowl eligible for a school-record fifth consecutive year (2007 Champs Sports Bowl, 2009 Capital One Bowl, 2010 Alamo Bowl, 2011 Capital One Bowl).
MSU has won 13 straight games in Spartan Stadium - 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).
The Spartans are attempting to claim back-to-back perfect home seasons for the first time since 1955-56. MSU went 7-0 at home in 2010, and is 6-0 at Spartan Stadium this season. The Spartans have gone undefeated at home 17 times (including ties in 1966, 1940, 1933, 1930) since the stadium opened in 1923. MSU went 7-0 at home for the first time in 2010.
Michigan State has won 19 games the past two seasons, equaling the 1965-66 teams for the best two-year win total in the history of the program.
MSU has won 22 Big Ten games over the past four years, second in the conference only to Ohio State (24).
Michigan State has posted back-to-back eight win seasons for the first time since 1989-90.
Michigan State has been a strong first-half team, outscoring its opponents, 174-82 (+92). In the second quarter alone, MSU has outscored its opponents by 92 points, 115-23.
The Spartans have only allowed their opponents 22 trips into the red zone this season, which is second fewest in the Big Ten and tied for the eighth fewest trips permitted in the NCAA FBS.
The Spartan defense has allowed only three gains of 40-plus yards from scrimmage in 2011 - tied for the sixth-fewest surrendered by an NCAA FBS team. The Spartans have also allowed only 30 gains of 20-plus yards (tied for 13th in the FBS) and 10 of 30-plus yards (tied for 10th in the FBS).
Kirk Cousins threw for 260 yards in the win at Iowa and became just the second Spartan quarterback to eclipse the 8,000-yard passing mark; he currently has 8,064 career passing yards. Cousins tied his career high with three touchdowns against the Hawkeyes and now has 57 career passing touchdowns, four shy of the school record (61 by Jeff Smoker).
The winningest quarterback in Spartan history, Cousins owns a 24-11 (.686) record as a starter at MSU. He is 19-4 the last two seasons.
Cousins has connected on 56-of-95 third-down throws (.589) for 674 yards, with 35 of those completions resulting in first downs and six for touchdowns.
Over his last two games, sophomore running back Le'Veon Bell is averaging 104.0 rushing ypg. and 163.0 all-purpose ypg. He accounted for a career-best 165 all-purpose yards against Minnesota, rushing 15 times for 96 yards and two touchdowns (TD runs of 1 and 35 yards). At Iowa, Bell had a career-high 20 carries for 112 yards, including a 25-yard TD run in the second quarter, to go along with two receptions for 49 yards.
Over his last five games, senior Keshawn Martin has produced four touchdowns (three TD receptions and one rushing TD) and has led MSU with 24 catches for 294 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. He had four receptions for 87 yards, including a 67-yard catch, at Iowa.
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 led the Spartans in tackles in back-to-back games against Nebraska (15) and Minnesota (14). The 29 tackles were 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 also marked 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's career-high 15 tackles at Nebraska matched 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.
Michigan State has had four different starting combinations in 10 games on the offensive line this season, including three different starting centers (Blake Treadwell, Travis Jackson, Ethan Ruhland).
UPON FURTHER REVIEW -
With wins over Michigan and Wisconsin, Michigan State became the first team to defeat opponents with 6-0 or better overall records in consecutive Big Ten Conference games.
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).
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.
DANTONIO NOTES -
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 an 11-3 record (.786) in November. MSU went a perfect 3-0 in November last season for the first time since 1999. In the four seasons (2003-06) prior to Dantonio's arrival, Michigan State went just 2-11 (.154) in November.
Dantonio 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).
Dantonio is the first head coach in MSU history to win at least eight games three times in his first five seasons (9 wins in 2008; school-record 11 wins in 2010).
With the win over Minnesota, Dantonio 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).
POST-GAME NOTES: MICHIGAN STATE 37, IOWA 21 -
With the 37-21 win, Michigan State snapped its seven-game losing streak at Kinnick Stadium and recorded its first win in Iowa City since a 17-14 win over the Hawkeyes on Oct. 7, 1989.
The 37 points scored by MSU were the most ever by a Spartan team in Iowa City (previous high: 35 points in 35-0 win in 1965).
Kirk Cousins threw for 260 yards, the fourth most by a Spartan quarterback against Iowa. He tied his career high with three touchdowns.
Michigan State did not commit a turnover in the game and forced three Iowa turnovers. MSU forced two Iowa turnovers in the first half (Johnny Adams interception; Jeremy Gainer forced fumble and Jeremy Langford recovery) that led to 14 MSU points. With Iowa driving late in the fourth quarter, Jairus Jones forced a fumble at the MSU 8-yard line and Tony Lippett recovered the ball and returned it 15 yards to the MSU 23-yard line with 2:53 remaining. MSU has a +7 turnover margin (+0.70) this season, which ranks 17th in the FBS.
B.J. Cunningham tied his career high with two touchdown receptions; he had a 6-yard TD in the first quarter and a 22-yard TD in the second quarter. Cunningham has a team-leading five TD receptions this season and has 18 career receiving touchdowns, which is tied for fifth most in MSU history, along with Gari Scott.
Brian Linthicum recorded career highs in receptions (5) and receiving yards (71); he was named the College Football Performance Awards' National Tight End of the Week for his game against the Hawkeyes.
Dan Conroy made a season-high three field goals (22, 31, 48 yards); he is ninth in MSU history with 26 career field goals.
MSU limited Iowa to 87 yards rushing. It marked the fifth time this season the Spartans have held their opponent to under-100 yards rushing.
Michigan State's defense held Iowa sophomore running back Marcus Coker to 57 yards rushing on 21 carries (2.7 avg.), his second-lowest output of the year on the ground. Coker entered the game as the Big Ten's leading rusher, averaging 122.3 ypg.
THE LAST MEETING -
Sept. 27, 2008, in Bloomington, Ind. (AP): Javon Ringer rushed for 198 yards on 44 carries and scored one touchdown, while Brian Hoyer ran for one TD and threw for two more to lead the Spartans past Indiana, 42-29.
It was a wild, wacky game for the Old Brass Spittoon. There were two safeties, three replay reviews, a blocked punt, and Hoyer and Hoosiers quarterback Kellen Lewis each threw career-long touchdown passes.
But the strangest, and most important play, came late in the third quarter when Indiana's backup quarterback, Ben Chappell, connected with Terrance Turner for a 97-yard touchdown pass that appeared to give Indiana the lead. Instead, right guard Cody Faulkner was called for holding in the end zone, giving Michigan State a safety and a 36-29 lead.
Indiana never recovered from the nine-point swing, losing its second straight game.
Hoyer finished 14-of-26 for 261 yards, scored on a 1-yard plunge to wipe out Indiana's 7-6 lead and hooked up with Mark Dell on a 14-yard TD pass and Charlie Gantt on an 82-yard score before the first half ended.
Michigan State never trailed again but struggled to put away the Hoosiers.
Marcus Thigpen scored on TD runs of 6 and 78 yards and caught a 79-yard TD pass from Lewis. He finished with 113 yards rushing and 94 receiving, while Lewis was 12-of-21 for 177 yards despite missing more than a quarter with a left leg injury.
MSU/INDIANA COACHING CONNECTIONS -
Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi and Indiana head coach Kevin Wilson worked together at Miami-Ohio for three years (1990-92) under Randy Walker. Narduzzi spent two years as a graduate assistant before taking over as receivers coach in 1992, while Wilson served as offensive line coach for two seasons before adding the responsibilities of offensive coordinator in 1992.
Michigan State defensive line coach Ted Gill and Indiana head coach Kevin Wilson worked together at North Carolina from 1984-86 when Gill was the defensive line/linebackers coach for the Tar Heels and Wilson was a graduate assistant.
Michigan State offensive coordinator Dan Roushar and Indiana defensive tackles/special teams coordinator Mark Hagen worked together at Northern Illinois for three seasons from 1997-99 when Roushar was the offensive coordinator/offensive line coach for the Huskies and Hagen was the defensive tackles coach.
WINNINGEST SENIOR CLASS IN MSU HISTORY BIDS FAREWELL -
Seventeen seniors will make their final appearance in Spartan Stadium Saturday against Indiana. The 2011 senior class has helped Michigan State to a record of 34-15 (.694) since 2008, including three straight bowl bids (2009 Capital One Bowl, 2010 Alamo Bowl, 2011 Capital One Bowl) and a fourth appearance to be determined following the regular season. The 34 wins are the most by any senior class in the 115-year history of Michigan State football (previous record: 33 wins by 2010 class). The 2011 class is also the first to defeat Michigan four straight years since 1959-62 and owns a home record of 23-4 (.852). The Spartans are 3-1 in Senior Day games under head coach Mark Dantonio.
The Class of 2011 includes fullback Todd Anderson (Napoleon, Mich.), tight end Garrett Celek (Cincinnati, Ohio), quarterback Kirk Cousins (Holland, Mich.), wide receiver B.J. Cunningham (Westerville, Ohio), offensive guard Joel Foreman (Highland, Mich.), tight end Brian Linthicum (St. Louis, Mo.), wide receiver Keshawn Martin (Inkster, Mich.), offensive lineman Jared McGaha (Powell, Tenn.), wide receiver Keith Nichol (Lowell, Mich.), defensive tackle Blake Pacheco (Salinas, Calif.), nose tackle Kevin Pickelman (Marshall, Mich.), free safety Trenton Robinson (Bay City, Mich.), wide receiver Chris D. Rucker (Detroit, Mich.), punter Kyle Selden (Waterford, Mich.), fullback Adam Setterbo (Spring Lake, Mich.), wide receiver Brad Sonntag (Saginaw, Mich.) and defensive lineman Johnathan Strayhorn (Detroit, Mich.). Those 17 seniors along with former defensive/offensive lineman Antonio Jeremiah (Hilliard, Ohio), who retired from football prior to the 2011 season due to a career-ending knee injury, will be recognized during a pregame ceremony.
LORENZO WHITE NAMED HONORARY CAPTAIN -
Former two-time First-Team All-American Lorenzo White has been selected honorary captain for Saturday's game against Indiana. He will address the team during the pre-game meal and join the 2011 captains at midfield for the coin toss. White still ranks as MSU's all-time leader in rushing attempts (1,082), rushing yards (4,887), rushing touchdowns (43) and 100-yard rushing games (23).
A four-year letterman for Coach George Perles (1984-87), White helped MSU to a combined record of 28-18-1 during his career, including three postseason bowl appearances. He led the Spartans to the 1987 Big Ten Championship and a 20-17 victory over USC in the 1988 Rose Bowl. White carried the ball a school-record 56 times for 292 yards and two TDs in MSU's 27-3 victory over Indiana in the 1987 home finale, as the Spartans claimed the Big Ten title.
A two-time First-Team All-Big Ten selection (1985 and 1987), White became first player in school history to lead the team in rushing for four-straight years. He also finished fourth in Heisman Trophy balloting twice (1985 and 1987).
The 5-foot-11, 211-pound White led the NCAA FBS with 1,908 rushing yards in 1985. He produced some of the top single-season totals in NCAA FBS history in 1985 (No. 21 at 173.5 rushing yards per game; No. 24 with 1,908 rushing yards). White still holds NCAA FBS record for most rushes in two consecutive games (102 in 1985: 53 vs. Purdue and 49 vs. Minnesota).
The Fort Lauderdale, Fla., native was selected by the Houston Oilers in the first round (No. 22 overall) of the 1988 NFL Draft . White, a Pro Bowl selection in 1992, had 1,062 career carries for 4,242 yards and 30 TDs in eight pro seasons (Houston Oilers, 1988-94; Cleveland Browns, 1995).
COUSINS ESTABLISHES HIMSELF AS ONE OF NATION'S TOP QUARTERBACKS -
Fifth-year senior Kirk Cousins, one of 16 semifinalists for the Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award, became the winningest quarterback in Spartan history with Michigan State's dramatic 37-31 victory over No. 4 Wisconsin on Oct. 29. Cousins is 24-11 (.686) in 35 career starts, including a 19-4 record since the beginning of the 2010 season. His career winning percentage (seventh) and career victories (ninth) rank among all active NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision quarterbacks.
The 6-foot-3, 205-pound Cousins ranks among the Big Ten leaders in passing yards (third at 224.9 yards per game), touchdown passes (third with 16), passing efficiency (fourth with a 141.8 rating) and total offense (seventh at 215.9 ypg.). He has completed 188-of-296 throws (.635) for 2,249 yards, 16 TDs and five interceptions.
Cousins recorded his seventh 200-yard passing game of the season and 22nd of his career, completing 18-of-31 throws for 260 yards and three TDs in MSU's 37-21 victory at Iowa, as the Spartans recorded their first win in Iowa City since 1989, ending a seven-game losing streak in Kinnick Stadium. He (8,064 career yards) became just the second Spartan quarterback to eclipse the 8,000-yard passing milestone. Cousins also tied his career high with three TD passes, including first-half scoring tosses of 6 and 22 yards to B.J. Cunninngham and 17 yards to Edwin Baker. He now has 57 career TD passes, just four shy of Jeff Smoker's school record of 61.
Cousins completed 23-of-34 passes for 296 yards and two TDs in MSU's 31-24 victory over Minnesota. On the final drive of the first half, he went 6-of-8 passing for 66 yards, including a 2-yard TD toss to fullback Todd Anderson on a first-and-goal play. Cousins completed passes to four different receivers during that eight-play, 74-yard drive that last 52 seconds.
He was named Big Ten Co-Offensive Player of the Week after connecting on 22-of-31 throws for 290 yards and three TDs in the win over the Badgers, including his 44-yard Hail Mary pass to Keith Nichol on the final play of regulation. The three TD passes matched his career best. In addition to the game-winner to Nichol, Cousins completed scoring passes of 35 yards to Cunningham and 15 yards to Keshawn Martin.
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.
Cousins connected on 18-of-22 throws for 222 passing yards in the 2011 season opener against Youngstown State, including an 18-yard TD strike to Cunningham late in the third quarter that gave MSU a 21-6 lead. He completed his first six pass attempts for 114 yards.
The Holland, Mich., native currently ranks first in MSU history in passing efficiency (145.2) and second in completion percentage (.641; 644-of-1,005). Those figures also rank among the Top 10 in Big Ten history: tied for seventh in completion percentage and eighth in passing efficiency. He is listed among MSU's all-time leaders in pass attempts (second with 1,005), pass completions (second with 644), passing yards (second with 8,064 yards), TD passes (second with 57), 200-yard passing games (second with 22) and total offense (third with 7,886 yards). In addition, Cousins ranks among all active NCAA FBS leaders in passing yards (15th), TD passes (16th), completions (17th), completion percentage (17th), total offense (18th) and passing efficiency (20th).
COUSINS NAMED TO 2011 NFF SCHOLAR-ATHLETE CLASS -
Michigan State fifth-year senior Kirk Cousins, the winningest quarterback in school history and a three-time Academic All-Big Ten selection, has been named to the 2011 National Football Foundation National Scholar-Athlete Class. Based upon his selection, Cousins also becomes one of 16 finalists for the William V. Campbell Trophy, which recognizes an individual as the absolute best scholar-athlete in the nation. Each Campbell Trophy finalist will be presented an $18,000 post-graduate scholarship at the 54th annual NFF Awards Dinner, scheduled for Dec. 6 at the Waldorf=Astoria in New York City.
The NFF's National Scholar-Athlete program, launched in 1959, is the first initiative in history to award scholar-athletes postgraduate scholarships for their combined athletic, academic and leadership abilities. Nominated by their respective schools, which are limited to one nominee each, candidates must be a senior or graduate student in their final year of eligibility, have a grade point average of at least 3.2 on a 4.0 scale, have outstanding football ability as a first-team player and have demonstrated strong leadership and citizenship. The class is selected each year by the NFF Awards Committee, which is comprised of a nationally recognized group of media, College Football Hall of Famers and athletics administrators.
Cousins becomes the fifth NFF National Scholar-Athlete in Michigan State history and the first since safety Steve Wasylk earned the honor in 1993.
Selected from a nationwide pool of 127 student-athletes, representing all NCAA divisions as well as NAIA, the 16-member class also includes: Georgia punter Drew Butler, Delta State (Miss.) quarterback Micah Davis, Navy offensive guard John Dowd, Northwestern State linebacker Yaser Elqutub, South Dakota State running back Chris Ganious, Colorado School of Mines quarterback Clay Garcia, Northern Illinois quarterback Chandler Harnish, Kansas State defensive back Tysyn Hartman, South Florida offensive lineman Chaz Hine, Purdue linebacker Joe Holland, Washington State wide receiver Jared Karstetter, Army linebacker Andrew Rodriguez, Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill, Yale quarterback Patrick Witt and Dubuque (Iowa) wide receiver Michael Zweifel.
Named in honor of Bill Campbell, the chairman of Intuit, former player and head coach at Columbia University, and the 2004 recipient of the NFF's Gold Medal, the award comes with a 25-pound bronze trophy and a $25,000 postgraduate scholarship. A total of $300,000 in scholarships will be distributed during the annual NFF Awards Dinner.
Cousins recently accepted an invitation to join NCAA President Dr. Mark Emmert as a panelist for an education session titled "Students First: Giving Student-Athletes the College Experience They Deserve" on Jan. 11, 2012, at the NCAA Convention in Indianapolis, Ind.
Just the second three-time captain in the 115-year history of Spartan football, Cousins was selected to speak on behalf of all student-athletes attending the 2011 Big Ten Kickoff Luncheon. His speech on "privilege and responsibility" has more than 145,000 views on YouTube. Cousins participates in the Spartan Buddies program, volunteering in the pediatric ward at Sparrow Hospital in Lansing, and the Athletes in Action sports ministry. In 2010, he was named to the Allstate American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Good Works Team, the preeminent community service award in college football, and was presented the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award (MSU recipient) and MSU's Clarence J. Underwood Jr. Sportsmanship Award. Cousins, who carries a 3.68 grade-point average in kinesiology, is scheduled to graduate in December 2011.
"Kirk Cousins is certainly deserving of this special recognition by the National Football Foundation because he represents the ideal scholar-athlete," MSU head coach Mark Dantonio said. "Throughout his career, Kirk has pursued excellence in the classroom and on the playing field, and he's made a concerted effort to have a positive impact in the community. In addition, Kirk is a remarkable leader who has become a great ambassador, not only for this University and the Big Ten Conference, but all of college football. He's a winner in all aspects of his life."
COUSINS NAMED WUERFFEL TROPHY FINALIST FOR SECOND STRAIGHT YEAR -
For the second-straight year, Michigan State fifth-year senior quarterback Kirk Cousins has been named one of the finalists for the Wuerffel Trophy, the national award that honors the college football player who best combines exemplary community service with outstanding academic and athletic achievement.
The award is named after former Heisman Trophy winner Danny Wuerffel, who led the Florida Gators to the 1996 National Championship, played six years in the National Football League and has received national recognition for his humanitarian and community service efforts with Desire Street Ministries in New Orleans and around the country.
The winner of the 2011 Wuerffel Trophy will be announced on Dec. 6, with the formal presentation scheduled for Feb. 17, 2012, at the All Sports Association's 43rd Annual Awards Banquet in Fort Walton Beach, Fla.
CUNNINGHAM CLOSING OUT BANNER SENIOR YEAR -
Fifth-year senior B.J. Cunningham ranks fourth in the Big Ten in receptions (5.5 per game) and receiving yards (87.3 per game) and. In addition, Cunningham ranks among the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision Top 50 in both stat categories: 32nd in receiving yards and tied for 49th in receptions. Cunningham leads the team in receptions (55), receiving yards (873), touchdown receptions (5) and 20-yard receptions (13). Thirty-seven of his career-high 55 receptions (67 percent) have resulted either a touchdown or a first down.
The 6-foot-2, 215-pound Cunningham already ranks as Michigan State's all-time leader in receptions with 194. He also is listed among the school's career leaders in receiving yards (third with 2,653 yards) and touchdown receptions (tied for fifth with 18). In addition, Cunningham ranks among all active NCAA FBS leaders in receptions (13th) and receiving yards (14th).
He had four catches for 46 yards in MSU's 37-21 victory at Iowa, including first-half TD grabs of 6 and 22 yards from Kirk Cousins as the Spartans built a 31-7 halftime lead.
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 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 had six receptions for 102 yards in MSU's 37-31 victory over No. 4 Wisconsin, including a 35-yard TD grab from Cousins in the second quarter.
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. He scored on a 33-yard strike from 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.
LINTHICUM JOHN MACKEY & CFPA NATIONAL TIGHT END OF THE WEEK -
Fifth-year senior Brian Linthicum, who set career highs for receptions (5) and receiving yards (71) in the Spartans' 37-21 victory at Iowa, was selected John Mackey Tight End of the Week. In addition, Linthicum was named College Football Performance Awards' National Tight End of the Week (shared the CFPA weekly honor with Notre Dame's Tyler Eifert).
Four of his five receptions against the Hawkeyes resulted in first downs. Linthicum's 10-yard grab from Kirk Cousins late in the second quarter set up Le'Veon Bell's 25-yard touchdown run as MSU built a 24-7 lead. Early in the third quarter, his season-long 28-yard reception from wide receiver Keshawn Martin helped set up Dan Conroy's second field goal, a 31-yarder, as the Spartans took a 34-7 lead.
The 6-foot-5, 245-pound Linthicum has started nine of 10 games this season and ranks fourth on the team in receptions with 18 for 205 yards (11.4 avg.). He has caught at least two passes in each of the last five games.
The St. Louis, Mo., native transferred to Michigan State following his freshman (2007) season at Clemson. Linthicum, who has started 22 of 35 career games for the Spartans, has 56 receptions for 701 yards (12.5 avg.) and three TDs.
WORTHY NAMED MIDSEASON ALL-AMERICAN, LOMBARDI AWARD SEMIFINALIST -
Junior Jerel Worthy helps anchor a Spartan defensive unit that leads the Big Ten in rushing defense (101.9 yards per game) and total defense (259.4 ypg.). In addition, the Spartans rank among the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision Top 20 in six different statistical categories: third in total defense, fourth in pass defense (157.5 ypg.), sixth in pass efficiency defense (103.0 rating), eighth in scoring defense (16.5 points per game), 12th in rushing defense and 18th in sacks (2.8 per game).
Worthy, who ranks sixth 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 was 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 10 games this season. He has been credited with 20 tackles, including 2.5 sacks (19 yards).
In its 37-21 win at Iowa, MSU limited Marcus Coker, the nation's sixth-leading rusher, to just 57 yards on 21 carries - 65 yards below his season rushing average.
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 34 of 36 career games and recorded 97 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.
RAY NOMINATED FOR DISCOVER ORANGE BOWL/FWAA COURAGE AWARD -
Michigan State's Arthur Ray Jr. has been nominated for the 2011 Discover Orange Bowl/FWAA Courage Award, to be announced at the end of the season. Ray, a senior offensive guard from Chicago, has returned to football this season, four years after bone cancer derailed his career.
Ray signed with Michigan State as a highly recruited lineman from Chicago's Mount Carmel High School in 2007, but was soon diagnosed with cancer in his left leg. Through nine surgeries - including four bone grafts - countless rounds of chemotherapy and several outbreaks of infection, he was unable to practice or play. For almost two years, he was unable to walk without crutches.
He had been given a medical disqualification and remained on scholarship with Michigan State. But last April, doctors cleared him to resume football.
Still, practicing was one thing; playing quite another. On Sept. 3, when the Spartans opened the season against Youngstown State, starting left guard Joel Foreman - a fifth-year senior and a team co-captain - asked Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio if he could give up his position to his friend. Foreman had started 22 straight games and 36 of 38 in his career.
Ray participated in only the first play, but blocked two players. He has since played against Florida Atlantic and continues to practice with the goal of earning more playing time.
For the sixth straight year, the Football Writers Association of America and the Discover Orange Bowl will announce a weekly nominee for the Discover Orange Bowl/FWAA Courage Award. A blue-ribbon panel will determine the award's recipient from those weekly nominees. The recipient of the Courage Award will be announced in December and presented with the trophy in conjunction with this year's Discover Orange Bowl.
The Courage Award was created by ESPN The Magazine's senior writer Gene Wojciechowski, also an FWAA member. A select group of FWAA members vote on the recipient each year. The requirements for nomination include displaying courage on or off the field, including overcoming an injury or physical handicap, preventing a disaster or living through hardship.
Previous winners of the FWAA's Courage Award are Rutgers defensive tackle Eric LeGrand (2010), the University of Connecticut football team (2009), Tulsa's Wilson Holloway (2008), Navy's Zerbin Singleton (2007), Clemson's Ray Ray McElrathbey (2006), the Tulane football team (2005), Memphis' Haracio Colen (2004), San Jose State's Neil Parry (2003) and Toledo's William Bratton (2002).
FOUR SPARTANS NAMED TO CAPITAL ONE ACADEMIC ALL-DISTRICT TEAM -
Four Michigan State players - sophomore linebacker Max Bullough, fifth-year senior quarterback Kirk Cousins, fifth-year senior offensive guard Joel Foreman and red-shirt freshman punter Mike Sadler - have been named the Capital One Academic All-District First Team (Disctrict 5), as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).
To be nominated for the Academic All-District Team, a student-athlete must be a starter or important reserve with at least a 3.3 cumulative grade-point average (on a 4.0 scale) for his career. He also must have reached sophomore athletic and academic standing.
District 5 includes all schools from the states of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio.
Players named to the Academic All-District Team have their names appear on the national ballot for Academic All-America honors (announced Dec. 8).