No. 11 Spartans Host Purdue on Senior Day at Spartan Stadium
 
 
 
Eric Gordon will be one of 17 seniors playing in their final game at Spartan Stadium on Saturday.
 
Eric Gordon will be one of 17 seniors playing in their final game at Spartan Stadium on Saturday.
 
 

Nov. 19, 2010

No. 11/11 Michigan State (9-1, 5-1 Big Ten) vs. Purdue (4-6, 2-4 Big Ten)
 Date Saturday, Nov. 20
 Time 12 p.m. ET
 Location East Lansing, Mich. | Spartan Stadium (75,005/Natural Grass)
 Televison Big Ten Network
 Radio Spartan Sports Network (Listen Live)
 Satellite Radio SIRIUS: Channel 91; XM: Channel 196
 Tickets Available at www.msuspartans.com
 Parking/Stadium Information Gameday Answers
 Game Notes Michigan State | Purdue
 Statistics  Michigan State | Purdue
 Internet Coverage  Live Stats (Mobile Users) | Gametracker
 Social Media @MSU_Football   |  Facebook

STORYLINE
The No. 11/11 Michigan State Spartans (9-1, 5-1 Big Ten) will look to remain atop the Big Ten standings and cap a perfect home season on Senior Day Saturday at Spartan Stadium against Purdue (4-6, 2-4). The game will be televised on the Big Ten Network; kickoff is set for noon.

BROADCAST COVERAGE:
TELEVISION: The Big Ten Network will televise the Michigan State-Purdue game live to a national audience, with Eric Collins handling the play-by-play, Chris Martin providing color commentary and Charissa Thompson serving as the sideline reporter.

RADIO: The Spartan Sports Network, featuring veteran play-by-play announcer George Blaha, color analyst Jim Miller, sideline reporter Jason Strayhorn and broadcast host Will Tieman, will broadcast the game to 32 affiliates throughout the state. Michigan State football broadcasts can be heard on flagship stations WJIM (AM 1240)/WMMQ (FM 94.9) in Lansing and WJR Radio (AM 760) in Detroit. The MSU-Purdue game also can be heard live on satellite radio: SIRIUS (Channel 91) and XM (Channel 196).

FIRST-AND-10 -
• Saturday's game marks the 63rd meeting between Michigan State and Purdue. The Spartans lead the all-time series 31-28-3, including an 18-12 record in games played in East Lansing, Mich. The Boilermakers have won seven of the last 11 meetings; however, Michigan State has won the last three games in the series. Mark Dantonio is the first Spartan head coach to win his first three games against the Boilermakers. Purdue's last win in the series came on Nov. 4, 2006, 17-15, in Spartan Stadium. Five of the last seven games in the series have been decided by 10 points or less.

• Seventeen seniors will make their final appearance in Spartan Stadium Saturday against Purdue. This senior class has helped Michigan State to a combined record of 31-18 (.632), including four straight postseason bowl appearances (2007 Champs Sports Bowl, 2009 Capital One Bowl, 2010 Valero Alamo Bowl and 2011 TBD). The 31 wins equal the most victories ever recorded by a senior class (Class of 1990: 31 victories and four consecutive bowl games) in MSU's 114-year football history. The Spartans are 2-1 in Senior Day games under head coach Mark Dantonio.

• Michigan State has recorded nine wins for the second time in the last three years. It marks the 11th time in school history that MSU has won at least nine games (1905, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1955, 1965, 1966, 1987, 1999, 2008 and 2010). This season also marks the first time MSU has won at least nine games twice within a three-year span since 1965-66. The 2010 Spartans are attempting to become just the third team in school history to reach the 10-win milestone (1965 and 1999).

• Mark Dantonio is the first coach in Michigan State history to win at least nine games twice in his first four seasons. Dantonio now has 31 victories in his first four seasons at MSU, which is the most by any Spartan head coach in his first four years (Chester Brewer ranks second, with 30 wins from 1903-06).

• Michigan State is looking to complete its first ever 7-0 home season. The Spartans have gone undefeated at home 16 times since the stadium opened in 1923, including a perfect 6-0 record in 1999.

• Michigan State is ranked No. 11 in the latest Associated Press and USA TODAY Polls. The Spartans have earned a Top 25 national ranking for nine consecutive weeks.

• The Spartans are ranked No. 12 in the latest Bowl Championship Series Standings, released Sunday, Nov. 14. MSU stood No. 5 in Oct. 24 standings, its highest ranking ever in the BCS.

• A trademark of Mark Dantonio's Michigan State teams has been their ability to produce wins late in the regular season. Under Dantonio, the Spartans are 7-3 (.700) in games played in November. In the four seasons (2003-06) prior to his arrival, Michigan State went just 2-11 (.154) in November. The last time the Spartans posted a perfect record in November came in 1999 when Michigan State closed out the regular season with three straight victories (over Ohio State, Northwestern and Penn State).

• Michigan State's first 10 opponents comprise the nation's 24th-most difficult schedule, according to NCAA figures. The Spartans' past opponents have a combined record of 43-31 (.581) against other Bowl Subdivision teams.

• Senior linebackers Greg Jones and Eric Gordon have combined for 755 career tackles - the most by any active linebacker duo in the NCAA FBS (Connecticut's Lawrence Wilson and Scott Lutrus rank second with 730 combined stops). Jones has 446 career tackles, third most in school history, while Gordon ranks No. 17 on MSU's all-time list with 309 career stops. With 89 combined starts, Gordon (46) and Jones (43) have started more games at linebacker than any other duo in Spartan history.

UPON FURTHER REVIEW -
• Fifth-year senior linebacker Eric Gordon makes his 47th career start Saturday in the home finale against Purdue, tying the school record set by former Spartan tight end Chris Baker (1998-2001). In addition, Gordon has started more games at linebacker than any player in MSU history (previous record holder: Dan Bass, 44 career starts from 1976-79).

• Sophomore Edwin Baker leads the team in carries (151), rushing yards (979) and rushing touchdowns (11). Baker is 21 rushing yards shy of recording the 20th 1,000-yard season in school history, and he would be just the sixth sophomore at Michigan State to accomplish the feat (Lorenzo White, 1985; Tico Duckett, 1990; Marc Renaud, 1995; Sedrick Irvin, 1996; T.J. Duckett, 2000).

• Junior quarterback Kirk Cousins plays his best when the game is on the line, as his 176.1 second-half passing efficiency rating ranks eighth among all NCAA FBS quarterbacks. In the second half (20 quarters and overtime), he has connected on 71 percent (76-of-107) of his throws for 1,096 yards, eight TDs and three interceptions.

• Michigan State's receiving corps features two career 1,000-yard receivers: senior Mark Dell (123 for 2,100) and junior B.J. Cunningham (130 for 1,696). That duo has combined for 253 receptions, 3,697 yards and 20 career touchdowns. Their numbers rank among the best in Michigan State history: Dell is eighth all-time in receiving yards and 11th in receptions, while Cunningham is ninth in receptions and 16th in receiving yards. Both have caught 10 touchdown passes each, tied for 15th in the school record books.

• With his first career punt return for a score against Wisconsin, Keshawn Martin has accounted for touchdowns in five different ways during his career (rushing, receiving, passing, punt return and kickoff return) and joins Florida International's T.Y. Hilton and Troy's Jerrel Jernigan as the only active players in the NCAA FBS that have accomplished that feat.

• Michigan State ranks among the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision leaders in scoring defense (No. 17 allowing 18.8 points per game), rushing defense (No. 18 allowing 119.0 yards per game), takeaways (tied for 24th with 21), pass efficiency defense (No. 25 with a 115.4 rating), turnover margin (tied for 26th at +0.6 per game) and total defense (No. 28 allowing 327.9 ypg.). By comparison, the Spartans totaled only 14 takeaways during the entire 2009 season. MSU's defense has not allowed a 100-yard rusher this season.

• After intercepting six passes in 13 games last season, the Spartan defense has picked off 14 passes in the first 10 games of 2010. The 14 interceptions are tied for 17th in the NCAA FBS.

• Senior Aaron Bates currently ranks second in the Big Ten and No. 11 in the NCAA in punting with his 45.3-yard average. Bates is listed among MSU's all-time leaders in punts (second at 244), punting yards (third at 10,200), and punting average (seventh at 41.8). He has placed 77 of his 244 career punts (32 percent) inside the opponent's 20-yard line. Bates ranks third in punts and punting yards among all active NCAA FBS punters.

MSU/PURDUE COACHING CONNECTION -
• Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio spent the 1981 season at Purdue as a graduate assistant under Jim Young.

• Purdue head coach Danny Hope spent the 2002 season as the assistant head coach/offensive line coach at Louisville, where he worked for former Michigan State head coach John L. Smith.

• Michigan State offensive line coach Dan Roushar and Purdue linebackers coach Mark Hagen worked together at Northern Illinois (1998-99). Roushar served as the Huskies' offensive coordinator and offensive line coach, while Hagen coached the defensive tackles.

WINNINGEST SENIOR CLASS IN MSU HISTORY BIDS FAREWELL -
Seventeen seniors will make their final appearance in Spartan Stadium Saturday against Purdue. This senior class has helped Michigan State to a combined record of 31-18 (.632), including four straight postseason bowl appearances (2007 Champs Sports Bowl, 2009 Capital One Bowl, 2010 Valero Alamo Bowl and 2011 TBD). The 31 wins equal the most victories ever recorded by a senior class (Class of 1990: 31 victories and four consecutive bowl games) in MSU's 114-year football history.

Greg Jones, who is currently third in school history with 446 career tackles, will play his last home game as a Spartan against Purdue.


The Class of 2010 includes punter Aaron Bates (New Concord, Ohio), fullback Nick Bendzuck (Strongsville, Ohio), safety Josh Bodell (Frankfort, Mich.), offensive tackle J'Michael Deane (Toronto, Ontario), wide receiver Mark Dell (Farmington Hills, Mich.), tight end Charlie Gantt (Farmington Hills, Mich.), linebacker Eric Gordon (Traverse City, Mich.), safety Marcus Hyde (Fostoria, Ohio), safety Jesse Johnson (Durand, Mich.), linebacker Greg Jones (Cincinnati, Ohio), linebacker Jon Misch (Waterford, Mich.), defensive end Colin Neely (Bethlehem, Pa.), fullback Josh Rouse (Newton, Conn.), cornerback Chris L. Rucker (Warren, Ohio), snapper Alex Shackleton (Breckenridge, Colo.), center John Stipek (Macomb Township, Mich.) and offensive tackle D.J. Young (Lansing, Mich.).

The Spartans are 2-1 in Senior Day games under head coach Mark Dantonio.

TEAM MSU HELPS TACKLE HUNGER WITH FOURTH-ANNUAL FOOD DRIVE -
Michigan State University's Athletics Department and Division of Residential and Hospitality Services are co-sponsors of the fourth-annual "Help Tackle Hunger Food Drive" that runs through Saturday's MSU-Purdue football game.

MSU is seeking donations of non-perishable food and personal care items for the MSU Student Food Bank and Greater Lansing Food Bank. The greatest need exists for non-perishable goods such as canned beans, canned fish, canned fruits, boxed meals, canned meats, pasta, peanut butter, rice, instant potatoes and canned soup. Donations collected through Nov. 19 will be given to the MSU Student Food Bank. All game-day collections will be provided to the Greater Lansing Food Bank.

Over the last two years, the "Help Tackle Hunger Food Drive" has collected 5,500 pounds in donations. The 2010 goal is to gather 5,000 pounds of non-perishable food and personal care items.

Donations will be accepted through Saturday, Nov. 20 at the MSU Union, Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center, Spartan Village Community Center, University Village Community Center and in all residence hall service centers. On Saturday, Nov. 20, contributions may be brought to marked collection points near Spartan Stadium and in popular tailgating lot 89 and Munn Field. Monetary donations also will be accepted at all Sparty's coffeehouses, Union Central Store, Spartan Spirit Shop in the MSU Union and the Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center Gift Shop during the collection period and in Spartan Stadium on game day.

For additional information and a list of suggested donation items, please visit www.fooddrive.msu.edu.

DIXON EDWARDS NAMED HONORARY CAPTAIN -
Former Michigan State linebacker Dixon Edwards, who helped the Spartans win a pair of Big Ten titles (1987 and 1990) and later became a three-time Super Bowl champion with the Dallas Cowboys (1992, 1993 and 1995), has been selected honorary captain for Saturday's game against Purdue. He will address the team during the pre-game meal and join the 2010 captains at midfield for the coin toss.

A four-year letterman for Coach George Perles, Edwards helped the Spartans to a combined record of 31-14-1 (.685) from 1987-90, including a 3-1 record in postseason bowl games with wins over USC (20-17) in the 1988 Rose Bowl, Hawaii (33-13) in the 1989 Aloha Bowl and USC (17-16) in the 1990 John Hancock Sun Bowl.

As a junior in 1989, he ranked second on the team in tackles with 111, trailing only All-American Percy Snow (172). His 11 tackles for loss (52 yards) tied for the team lead in 1989. As a senior in 1990, Edwards earned second-team All-Big Ten honors from the coaches after recording a career-best 112 tackles, including seven for losses (33 yards). His 227 career tackles rank No. 23 on MSU's all-time list.

Edwards was selected by the Dallas Cowboys in the second round (No. 37 overall) of the 1991 National Football League Draft. The Cincinnati, Ohio, native spent eight years in the NFL (Dallas, 1991-95; Minnesota, 1996-98) and started 90 of 120 career games. While in Dallas, Edwards played on three Super Bowl champions (XXVII, XXVIII and XXX). His pro career totals included 438 tackles, 7.5 sacks, six forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries and two interceptions.

The 42-year-old Edwards currently resides in Dallas, Texas.

JONES NAMED SEMIFINALIST FOR BUTKUS & BEDNARIK AWARDS -
Senior linebacker Greg Jones leads Michigan State in tackles (87), tackles for loss (8 for 18 yards), forced fumbles (3), quarterback hurries (5) and production points (192). Jones ranks among the Big Ten leaders in forced fumbles (tied for second), tackles (fourth at 8.7 per game) and tackles for loss (tied for sixth). He anchors a Spartan defensive unit that ranks third in the Big Ten and No. 18 (tied) in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision in rushing defense, allowing 119.0 yards per game.

The 6-foot-1, 240-pound Jones has been selected Midseason First-Team All-America by SI.com, CBSSports.com, Phil Steele, CollegeFootballNews.com, Rivals.com, Heisman Pundit and BleacherReport.com. In addition, he has been named one of 15 semifinalists for the Butkus Award (top collegiate linebacker) and one of 16 semifinalists for the Bednarik Award (college defensive of the year).

A model of consistency, he has led the team in tackles in 30 of the last 36 games. Jones is attempting to become only the second player in MSU history to lead the Spartans in tackles for four straight seasons (linebacker Dan Bass, 1976-79).

In MSU's 31-8 win over Minnesota, he recorded nine tackles, including 2.5 for losses (3 yards), as the Spartans limited the Golden Gophers to 267 total yards. The second-year captain also made nine stops each in back-to-back road games against Northwestern and Iowa.

Jones, who posted a season-high 14 stops in a 26-6 Homecoming victory over Illinois, has been named National Defensive Player of the Week by the Walter Camp Football Foundation as well as Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week. He recorded double-figure tackles for the second time this season and for the 20th time his career. Jones also was credited with a pass break-up and a quarterback hurry. Michigan State limited the Illini to 114 rushing yards - 103 yards below its season average. Trailing 6-3 at halftime, the Spartan defense shut out the Illini in the second half while forcing three turnovers (four takeaways in the game). It marked the first time since a 31-3 win over Indiana on Oct. 4, 2003, that MSU didn't allow a touchdown in a Big Ten game.

Jones posted five tackles in MSU's 34-17 victory at No. 18 Michigan, as the Spartan defense held the Wolverines to season lows in points (17), rushing yards (162) and total yards (377).

He recorded eight tackles, including a season-best three for losses, in No. 24 MSU's 34-24 victory over No. 11 Wisconsin. The Spartan defense held Wisconsin to 165 rushing yards - nearly 93 yards below its season average. The Badgers entered the game ranked second in the Big Ten and No. 10 in the NCAA FBS in rushing, averaging 257.5 yards per game.

Jones, who recorded two interceptions, four tackles and forced a fumble in MSU's 45-7 victory over Northern Colorado, was named Big Ten Co-Defensive Player of the Week. Jones recorded the first two interceptions of his career against the Bears, with both leading to MSU scores. His 34-yard return in the first quarter set up Edwin Baker's 5-yard TD run, while his second-quarter pick set up Le'Veon Bell's second TD run.

He tallied nine tackles in MSU's 34-31 overtime victory over Notre Dame, including a 6-yard sack. Jones recorded 11 tackles and forced a fumble in MSU's 30-17 victory over Florida Atlantic at Ford Field.

The Cincinnati, Ohio, native has started 43 of 49 career games, including 37 consecutive starting assignments (tied for team high with linebacker Eric Gordon). He has 446 career tackles, including 44.5 for losses (158 yards) and 16.5 sacks (93 yards). Jones ranks among the FBS active leaders in total tackles (second), tackles per game (seventh at 9.1) and tackles for loss (sixth). He also ranks among MSU's all-time leaders in tackles for loss (second), total tackles (third) and sacks (sixth).

COUSINS HEATS UP IN THE SECOND HALF -
Junior quarterback Kirk Cousins ranks seventh in the Big Ten and No. 19 in the NCAA Football Subdivision in passing efficiency with his 151.6 rating. In addition, Cousins ranks fifth in the Big Ten in both passing yards (227.7 per game) and touchdown passes (15) and seventh in total offense (220.9 ypg.). He has completed 171-of-261 throws (.655) for 2,277 yards, 15 TDs and eight interceptions. In Big Ten games, Cousins ranks fourth in the conference in passing yards (235.7 ypg.), sixth in passing efficiency (145.0 rating) and seventh in total offense (226.5 ypg.)

The 6-foot-3, 202-pound Cousins plays his best when the game is on the line, as his 176.1 second-half passing efficiency rating ranks eighth among all NCAA FBS quarterbacks. In the second half (20 quarters and overtime), he has connected on 71 percent (76-of-107) of his throws for 1,096 yards, eight TDs and three interceptions.

With 198 passing yards at Iowa (21-of-29), Cousins became just the eighth quarterback in MSU history to eclipse the 5,000-yard career milestone. In the second half against the Hawkeyes, he connected on 9-of-14 passes for 108 yards, including a 6-yard TD toss to B.J. Cunningham early in the fourth quarter. It marked his 16th consecutive game with at least one TD pass, tying the school record set by Drew Stanton in 2005-06.

During one stretch, Cousins recorded six-straight 200-yard passing games (270.0 ypg.): against Notre Dame (245), Northern Colorado (290), Wisconsin (269), Michigan (284), Illinois (201) and Northwestern (season high 331).

Cousins was selected Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week after completing 29-of-43 throws for 331 yards and three TDs as MSU rallied from a 17-point deficit to remain unbeaten at 8-0 with a 35-27 victory at Northwestern. He posted career highs in pass completions (43), pass attempts (43) and TD passes (3 - tied). Cousins completed scoring passes of 7 and 15 yards to Mark Dell and 9 yards to Cunningham. He completed 17-of-23 passes for 201 yards and two TDs in the second half. Cousins connected on 7-of-8 throws for 98 yards on MSU's game-winning drive (11 plays, 88 yards), including a 9-yard scoring strike to Cunningham with 2:00 left that gave the Spartans their first lead at 28-27.

In a 26-6 Homecoming win over Illinois, Cousins connected on 7-of-12 passes for 128 yards in the second half, including a 48-yard TD strike to Cunningham that gave MSU its first lead at 13-6 with 8:26 left in the third quarter.

In MSU's 34-17 victory at No. 18 Michigan, he completed 7-of-10 second-half throws for 157 yards, including a 41-yard bomb to Dell early in the third quarter gave the Spartans a 24-10 lead.

In MSU's 34-24 victory over No. 11 Wisconsin in the Big Ten opener, Cousins hit 8-of-10 passes for 118 yards and two scores in the second half. His 8-yard TD toss to tight end Charlie Gantt on third-and-goal capped a six-play, 51-yard drive, and his 1-yard scoring strike to Cunningham on fourth-and-goal finished off a 15-play, 84-yard drive that took 8:03 off the clock and iced the game.

In MSU's 34-31 overtime victory over Notre Dame, Cousins went 12-for-12 for 129 yards in the second half, including a 24-yard TD strike to Cunningham that tied the score at 28 with 7:43 left in the fourth quarter.

BAKER APPROACHES 1,000-YARD RUSHING MILESTONE -
Sophomore Edwin Baker leads the team in carries (151), rushing yards (979) and rushing touchdowns (11). Baker is 21 rushing yards shy of recording the 20th 1,000-yard season in school history, and he would be just the sixth sophomore at Michigan State to accomplish the feat (Lorenzo White, 1985; Tico Duckett, 1990; Marc Renaud, 1995; Sedrick Irvin, 1996; T.J. Duckett, 2000).

The 5-foot-9, 208-pound Baker ranks fifth in the Big Ten and No. 24 in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision in rushing, averaging 97.9 yards per game. He has led the Spartans in rushing in six of the first 10 games. Forty of his 151 carries (26 percent) have resulted in either a first down or a score, including nine gains of 20 or more yards. He ranks 14th among all NCAA FBS rushers in yards gained on first down (88 attempts for 593 yards, 6.7 yards per carry).

Baker carried 27 times for 179 yards and four TDs to lead MSU to a 31-8 victory over Minnesota. He recorded his fourth 100-yard rushing game of the season, as he set career highs in carries (27) and rushing TDs (4). He gained 118 yards on 14 attempts in the first half, including a 30-yard scoring run in the first quarter and a pair of 1-yard TD runs on fourth-and-goal plays in the second quarter, as MSU built a 21-0 halftime lead. Baker added another 1-yard TD run in the fourth quarter to close out the scoring. His 179 rushing yards mark the fifth-best single-game total by a Spartan running back against Minnesota.

At Northwestern, Baker rushed 10 times for 73 yards, including a 25-yard TD run around left end with 1:07 left in the fourth quarter that helped seal MSU's 35-27 come-from-behind win.

In MSU's 34-17 victory at No. 18 Michigan, Baker carried 22 times for 147 yards, including a 61-yard TD run early in the second quarter that gave the Spartans a 7-3 lead. In the fourth quarter, he carried the ball 10-straight times for 49 yards, as MSU took the final 5:41 off the clock.

Baker opened the 2010 season with back-to-back 100-yard rushing games: 117 yards and two TDs against Western Michigan and a career-best 183 yards against Florida Atlantic, including a career-long 80-yard TD run. He gained 90 yards on 14 attempts against Notre Dame, including a 56-yard TD run in the third quarter, and picked up a team-high 87 yards on 18 rushes against No. 11 Wisconsin.