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Spartans Head to Minnesota Looking to Become Bowl Eligible
 
 
 
Le'Veon Bell needs 65 yards in the regular-season finale at Minnesota to become just the seventh running back in MSU history to reach the 3,000-yard career milestone.

 
Le'Veon Bell needs 65 yards in the regular-season finale at Minnesota to become just the seventh running back in MSU history to reach the 3,000-yard career milestone.
 
 

Nov. 21, 2012

Game 12:
Michigan State (5-6, 2-5 Big Ten) at Minnesota (6-5, 2-5 Big Ten)
 Date | Time Saturday, Nov. 24 | 3:30 p.m.
 Location Minneapolis, Minn.
TCF Bank Stadium (50,805/FieldTurf)
 Televison BTN
 Broadcast Team Kevin Kugler (play-by-play) | Glen Mason (analyst) | Rebecca Haarlowe (sidelines)
 Internet Coverage Gametracker | Watch on BTN2Go
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 Radio (Mobile) Broadcast available on Spartan Sports Network Mobile App: iPhone/iPad | Android
 Game Notes Michigan State | Minnesota
 Statistics Michigan State | Minnesota
 Depth Charts Michigan State | Minnesota
 Social Media @MSU_Football   |  Facebook

FIRST-AND-10 (what you need to know about the MSU-Minnesota matchup) -
• Saturday's game marks the 45th meeting between Michigan State and Minnesota. The Spartans lead the all-time series, 27-17, including an 11-11 record in games played in Minneapolis. It marks Michigan State's second-ever appearance in TCF Bank Stadium (lost 42-34 in the stadium's inaugural season in 2009). Overall, Michigan State has won 21 of the last 27 meetings. As a head coach, Mark Dantonio has a 2-1 record against Minnesota.

• Michigan State is 14-9 (.609) in Big Ten road games under Mark Dantonio, including an 8-3 record (.727) since 2010.

• The 2012 senior class has helped Michigan State to a record of 33-18 (.647) since 2009, including three straight bowl bids (2010 Alamo Bowl, 2011 Capital One Bowl, 2012 Outback Bowl). The 33 wins are tied for second most by any senior class in the 116-year history of Michigan State football (record: 37 wins by 2011 class).

• The Spartans have won 27 of their last 38 games (.711), dating back to the beginning of the 2010 season, including a 16-7 record (.696) in Big Ten regular-season play. MSU's 27 wins since 2010 are tied for 14th most among NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision teams.

• Based on cumulative opposition, Michigan State's 2012 schedule ranks as the Big Ten's toughest and nation's fifth-most difficult (tied with Stanford), according to NCAA figures. The Spartans' opponents have a combined record of 71-42 (.628) against other NCAA Bowl Subdivision teams.

• 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 a 13-5 record (.722) in November. His teams have won seven of the last nine games in November (3-0 in 2010; 4-0 in 2011; and 0-2 in 2012). MSU has lost back-to-back games (Nebraska and Northwestern) in November for the first time since 2006 when the Spartans dropped three in a row. In the four seasons (2003-06) prior to Dantonio's arrival, MSU went just 2-11 (.154) in November.

• Michigan State has lost five Big Ten games this season by a combined total of 13 points, including one in double overtime (Iowa) and two within the last 10 seconds of regulation (Michigan, Nebraska). MSU's last seven games have been decided by four points or fewer, the longest such streak in school history and the longest by an FBS team since at least 1996.

• The Spartan defense ranks among the NCAA FBS Top 20 in seven categories: total defense (seventh at 289.4 ypg.), pass efficiency defense (10th at 103.6), scoring defense (10th at 16.9 ppg.), pass defense (15th at 181.1 ypg.), passes defended (tied for ninth at 6.0 pg.), third-down defense (13th at .304) and rushing defense (13th at 108.3 ypg.). In addition, MSU also leads the Big Ten in two defensive categories (total defense and scoring defense).

• Junior running back Le'Veon Bell ranks second in the Big Ten and ninth in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision in rushing, averaging 125.6 yards per game in 2012. Bell leads the nation in carries (315) while ranking 10th in rushing yards (1,382) and 23rd in all-purpose yards (144.6 ypg.). His 315 carries (fifth) and 1,382 rushing yards (ninth) rank among the Top 10 single-season totals in MSU history. Bell needs 65 yards in the regular-season finale at Minnesota to become just the seventh running back in MSU history to reach the 3,000-yard career milestone.

• Junior linebacker and captain Max Bullough, one of 12 semifinalists for the Butkus Award and 20 quarterfinalists for the Lott IMPACT Trophy, leads the team in tackles (95), tackles for loss (11 for 43 yards), sacks (2.5 for 15) and production points (274). He has posted at least eight tackles in eight consecutive games. In conference games, Bullough ranks fifth in the Big Ten in tackles, averaging 9.9 per game.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS -
• Fifth-year senior Dan Conroy has made 76 consecutive PATs, tying the school-record shared by Brett Swenson (2007-09) and Dave Rayner (2003-04).

• Michigan State is 14-9 (.609) in Big Ten road games under Mark Dantonio, including an 8-3 record (.727) since 2010.

• Under Mark Dantonio: Michigan State is 33-7 (.825) when leading in time of possession, including an 18-4 record (.818) since 2010. The Spartans currently rank second in the Big Ten and No. 8 in the NCAA FBS in time of possession (32:55 per game).

• Under Mark Dantonio, Michigan State is 38-10 (.792) when outrushing its opponent, including a 22-3 record (.880) since 2010.

• Under Mark Dantonio, Michigan State is 16-3 (.842) when rushing for 200-plus yards in a game.

• Michigan State has outscored its opponents 128-82 (+46) in the second half this season (includes overtime).

• The Spartans have won 27 of their last 38 games (.711), dating back to the beginning of the 2010 season, including a 16-7 record (.696) in Big Ten regular-season play.

Dion Sims ranks second among Big Ten tight ends in catches (32) and receiving yards (447).


STAT LEADERS -
Michigan State (after 11 games):
Rushing - Le'Veon Bell (315 carries for 1,382 yards, 4.4 avg., 10 TDs)
Passing - Andrew Maxwell (215 of 402 for 2,435 yards, 12 TDs, 7 INTs)
Receiving - Keith Mumphery (40 catches for 506 yards, 12.6 avg., 1 TD)
Tackles - Max Bullough (95 tackles, 46 solos, 49 assists, 11.0 TFL, 2.5 sacks)

Minnesota (after 11 games):
Rushing - Donnell Kirkwood (189 carries for 830 yards, 4.4 avg., 5 TDs)
Passing - Max Shortell (62 of 110 for 822 yards, 6 TDs, 4 INTs)
Receiving - A.J. Barker (30 catches for 577 yards, 19.2 avg., 7 TDs)
Tackles - Troy Stoudermire (68 tackles, 49 solos, 19 assists, 3.5 TFL, 3 PBU)

CURRENT SPARTANS vs. MINNESOTA -
Career Stat Leaders
Rushing - Le'Veon Bell (2 games: 21 carries for 95 yards, 4.5 avg., 2 TDs)
Passing - N/A
Receiving - Le'Veon Bell (2 games: 5 catches for 38 yards, 7.6 avg.)
Tackles - William Gholston (2 games: 14 tackles, 1.5 TFL for 5 yards, 0.5 sacks for 3 yards, 1 forced fumble)

THE LAST MEETING -
Nov. 5, 2011, in East Lansing, Mich. (AP): Le'Veon Bell's 35-yard touchdown run with 10:58 remaining helped No. 15 Michigan State hold off upset-minded Minnesota 31-24. Bell ran for 96 yards and two touchdowns, and Kirk Cousins threw for 296 yards and a pair of TDs.

The Spartans trailed 24-21 after three quarters before rallying. MarQueis Gray threw three touchdown passes to Da'Jon McKnight for the Golden Gophers, who upset Iowa last weekend but were unable to shake up the conference title race again.

With the score tied at 24, Bell found running room to the right and went all the way to the end zone to put the Spartans ahead. Minnesota had the ball at the Michigan State 45 with 15 seconds left, but Gray threw an interception. Gray was 19 of 32 for a career-high 295 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions, and McKnight caught nine passes for a career-high 173 yards.

Michigan State entered the game ranked No. 1 in the nation in pass defense, but Gray and McKnight didn't seem to notice. The 6-foot-4 quarterback found his senior receiver with a short pass early in the first quarter, and McKnight slipped past three potential tacklers before eventually dragging defensive back Johnny Adams into the end zone for a 64-yard touchdown to open the scoring. Cousins answered with a 4-yard scoring pass to Keith Nichol, but a fumble by the Spartans' Edwin Baker later in the quarter gave Minnesota the ball at the Michigan State 26. Gray's 13-yard touchdown pass to McKnight put the Gophers back ahead.

The Spartans tied it at 14 on a 1-yard scoring run by Bell in the second quarter. Down 17-14 in the final minute of the half, Michigan State finally found a rhythm, driving 74 yards and taking the lead on a 2-yard touchdown pass from Cousins to Todd Anderson with 5 seconds left in the second quarter. It was Anderson's fi rst career touchdown.

The advantage was short-lived. Minnesota went 80 yards in 11 plays at the start of the third and took a 24-21 lead when Gray found McKnight in the back of the end zone for a 15-yard touchdown on third-and-12.

Dan Conroy tied it at 24 with a 40-yard field goal 11 seconds into the fourth quarter, after tight end Brian Linthicum made a nice play in the end zone to prevent a possible interception. That drive started at the Minnesota 41 after Trenton Robinson's acrobatic interception. Robinson also made the interception in the final seconds that sealed the win.

MSU/MINNESOTA COACHING CONNECTIONS -
• Former legendary Michigan State head coach and College Football Hall of Famer Clarence "Biggie" Munn was a three-year letterman as a guard at Minnesota, from 1929-31, where he played one season for Dr. Clarence Spears and two years for "Fritz" Crisler. Munn, a two-time recipient of the Bronko Nagurski Award as team MVP (1930-31), earned consensus All-America honors as a senior in 1931 while helping the Golden Gophers to a 7-3 record.

In just seven seasons from 1947-53, Munn transformed Michigan State into one of the winningest and most respected programs in the nation, as he produced a remarkable record of 54-9-2 (.846). During his tenure, the Spartans won back-to-back National Championships in 1951 and 1952, rattled off a school-record 28-game winning streak, and won the 1953 Big Ten Co-Championship in the school's inaugural season in the conference. He capped off his illustrious career with a 28-20 victory over fifth-ranked UCLA in the 1954 Rose Bowl. Over his final four seasons, Munn compiled a 35-2 record (.946), including four consecutive Top 10 finishes in the final Associated Press and United Press International Polls from 1950-53. He was named National Coach of the Year by the American Football Coaches Association in 1952 after leading Michigan State to a perfect 9-0 record and the consensus National Championship. Munn, who produced 18 first-team All-Americans, became the only coach to beat Notre Dame's Frank Leahy three years in a row (1950-52). He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1959.

Prior to Michigan State's 2012 Homecoming game against Iowa, Munn had his name added to Spartan Stadium's "Ring of Fame."

• Michigan State first-year running backs coach Brad Salem's father Joe compiled a 19-35-1 record (.355) in five seasons as head coach at Minnesota, from 1979-83.

• Minnesota assistant head coach/linebackers coach Bill Miller spent four years as the defensive coordinator at Michigan State from 1999-2002. MSU head coach Mark Dantonio coached with Miller for two seasons at MSU (1999, 2000) when Dantonio was the secondary coach for the Spartans.

During his Michigan State tenure, Miller tutored six NFL Draft choices, including Julian Peterson (San Francisco, 2000), Aric Morris (Tennessee, 2000), Robaire Smith (Tennessee, 2000), Renaldo Hill (Arizona, 2001), T.J. Turner (New England, 2001) and Josh Shaw (San Francisco, 2002). In 2000, Miller was nominated for the Broyles Award, which is named in honor of former Arkansas head coach Frank Broyles and presented annually to the nation's top assistant football coach. Michigan State's defense persevered in 2000 despite losing six starters from the 1999 unit, including three players selected in the 2000 NFL Draft. Miller put together a defensive package that helped the Spartans lead the Big Ten in total defense (318.3 yards per game), pass defense (164.1 ypg) and pass efficiency defense (104.5 rating). In addition, Michigan State ranked among the NCAA leaders in those stat categories, including No. 7 in pass defense. In 1999, the Spartans ranked among the NCAA leaders in rushing defense (fifth at 77.0 yards per game), total defense (12th at 299.0 yards) and scoring defense (t-22nd at 19.2 points).

2012 SENIOR CLASS PLAYS FINAL BIG TEN GAME -
The 2012 senior class has helped Michigan State to a record of 33-18 (.647) since 2009, including three straight bowl bids (2010 Alamo Bowl, 2011 Capital One Bowl, 2012 Outback Bowl). The 33 wins are tied for second most by any senior class in the 116-year history of Michigan State football (record: 37 wins by 2011 class).

NOTES FROM THE NORTHWESTERN GAME -
• Michigan State leads the all-time series against Northwestern, 36-17, including an 18-7 record in games played in East Lansing. With the 23-20 win, the Wildcats ended a four-game losing streak against MSU. It also marked Northwestern's first win in Spartan Stadium since 2007, 48-41, in overtime.

• Michigan State is now 4-2 in Senior Day games under head coach Mark Dantonio.

• MSU finished the 2012 season with a losing record at home for only the 10th time in Spartan Stadium history and the first time since 2006 (also went 2-5).

• Junior running back Le'Veon Bell recorded his sixth 100-yard rushing game of the season and 10th of his career, with 32 carries for 133 yards against Northwestern. With 133 rushing yards, Bell moved into seventh place on MSU's all-time list with 2,935 yards.

• Junior quarterback Andrew Maxwell recorded his sixth 200-yard passing game of the season, throwing for a career-best 297 yards against Northwestern. His 297 passing yards are the third-highest single-game total by a Spartan quarterback in series history. Maxwell also set career highs for pass attempts (46) and touchdown passes (2; fourth time this season). On MSU's eight-play, 65-yard game-tying scoring drive, he went a perfect 5-for-5 for 53 yards, including a 15-yard TD strike to Aaron Burbridge.

• Sophomore wide receiver Keith Mumphery matched his career highs with six receptions for 79 yards against Northwestern. Earlier this season, Mumphery had six catches against Notre Dame and 79 receiving yards against Ohio State.

• Junior tight end Dion Sims posted his second 100-yard receiving game of the season (and his career), with five grabs for 102 yards. Sims had a career-long 44-yard reception from Andrew Maxwell on MSU's second offensive series.

• True freshman Aaron Burbridge scored his first career touchdown on a 15-yard reception from Andrew Maxwell in the third quarter.

• With his extra point after Michigan State's second touchdown, fifth-year senior Dan Conroy tied MSU's school record with 76 consecutive made PATs (shares record with Brett Swenson, 2007-09, and Dave Rayner, 2003-04).

• Junior strong safety Isaiah Lewis led the Spartans in tackles for the second time this season, with nine stops against Northwestern.

• Junior linebacker Max Bullough recorded eight tackles against Northwestern, with one tackle for loss (2 yards). His half sack (combined with junior defensive end William Gholston) against Kain Colter resulted in a 1-yard loss and a safety in the first quarter. Bullough has now produced at least one tackle for loss in each of the last six games.

SPARTAN DEFENSE ONE OF THE TOP IN THE NATION -
• After leading the Big Ten in total defense in 2011, the Spartans once again feature one of the top defensive units in all of college football this season.

• The Spartan defense ranks among the NCAA FBS Top 20 in seven categories: total defense (seventh at 289.4 ypg.), pass efficiency defense (10th at 103.6), scoring defense (10th at 16.9 ppg.), pass defense (15th at 181.1 ypg.), passes defended (tied for ninth at 6.0 pg.), third-down defense (13th at .304) and rushing defense (13th at 108.3 ypg.). In addition, MSU also leads the Big Ten in two defensive categories (total defense and scoring defense).

• Through 11 games, the Spartans have surrendered 15 offensive touchdowns (five rushing, 10 passing) - tied for the fifth-fewest allowed in the NCAA FBS along with BYU. Only Notre Dame (8), Alabama (13), Florida (13) and Rutgers (13) have permitted fewer TDs. MSU has only allowed five offensive touchdowns in the second half in 2012 (Ohio State, Iowa, two by Nebraska, and Northwestern).

• Michigan State has allowed its opponents just 28 trips into the red zone - the 10th fewest in the NCAA FBS. Of those 28 trips into the red zone, opponents have scored just nine touchdowns - the second-fewest TDs allowed (Notre Dame ranks first with seven).

• Through 11 games in 2012, Michigan State has held its opponents scoreless in 20 of 44 quarters (45 percent). In addition, the Spartans have forced their opponents to go three-and-out on 54 of 140 possessions (39 percent; 4.9 per game).

• Michigan State's defense has allowed just 68 points in the second half/overtime this season (five touchdowns, 11 field goals). The Spartans have shut out three opponents in the second half (Boise State, Eastern Michigan, Indiana).

• Since the beginning of last season, Michigan State has held 13 opponents under 100 rushing yards (seven in 2011; six in 2012) and seven under 10 points. In addition, MSU has held seven opponents under 50 yards rushing (three times in 2011; four in 2012) since 2011.

• Michigan State has forced at least one turnover in 60 of 77 games over the last six seasons (78 percent of the games played since 2007).

Mike Sadler ranks No. 21 in the FBS, averaging 43.2 yards per punt.


NCAA STAT LEADERS -
Here's a glance at how Michigan State ranks among the NCAA individual stat leaders in 2012:

Individual Statistics (Top 50)
Rushing: Le'Veon Bell (9th at 125.6 yards per game)
Punting: Mike Sadler (21st at 43.3 yards per punt)
Field Goals: Dan Conroy (t-9th at 1.64 made per game)
All-Purpose Runners: Le'Veon Bell (23rd at 144.6 yards per game)

BELL NEARS 3,000-YARD CAREER MILESTONE -
Junior running back Le'Veon Bell ranks second in the Big Ten and ninth in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision in rushing, averaging 125.6 yards per game in 2012. Bell leads the nation in carries (315) while ranking 10th in rushing yards (1,382) and 23rd in all-purpose yards (144.6 ypg.). His 315 carries (fifth) and 1,382 rushing yards (ninth) rank among the Top 10 single-season totals in MSU history.

The Columbus, Ohio, native also is listed among the Big Ten leaders in all-purpose yards (third) and rushing touchdowns (tied for fifth with 10). A complete back, his 29 receptions (145 yards) are fifth on the team.

Bell needs 65 yards in the regular-season finale at Minnesota to become just the seventh running back in MSU history to reach the 3,000-yard career milestone.

According to STATS, Bell has gained 708 of his 1,382 rushing yards (51 percent) after contact and has broken 17 tackles this season. His 708 rushing yards after contact rank first among all NCAA FBS running backs. In addition, he has produced 65 first downs and 22 runs of 10 or more yards, including nine gains of 20 or more yards.

A Doak Walker Award semifinalist and Midseason First-Team All-America selection by Phil Steele, Bell has produced the top single-game total in the NCAA FBS this season for carries (44 vs. Boise State) and 10th-most rushing yards (253 vs. Eastern Michigan).

He recorded his sixth 100-yard rushing game of the season and 10th of his career, with 32 carries for 133 yards against Northwestern.

Bell gained 188 yards on 36 carries for 188 yards in Michigan State's 28-24 loss to No. 21 Nebraska. For the third time this season, he scored two rushing touchdowns, scoring on runs of 11 yards and 1 yard. Bell also ripped off runs of 23, 40 and 26 yards against the Cornhuskers.

With 77 yards on 21 carries in MSU's 16-13 overtime victory at Wisconsin, Bell eclipsed the 1,000-yard rushing milestone for the first time in his career. He became the 13th running back (21 times combined) in Spartan history to record a 1,000-yard rushing season. His first career TD reception came on a 5-yard shovel pass from Andrew Maxwell with 1:08 left in the fourth quarter and sent the game into overtime tied at 10.

Bell carried 29 times for 140 yards and a TD against Iowa. It marked his second-straight 100-yard rushing game against the Hawkeyes (20 rushes for 112 yards in 2011).

Bell led all players with 121 rushing yards on 37 carries in MSU's 31-27 win at Indiana. The 37 carries were the second most in his career (44 vs. Boise State).

The 6-foot-2, 237-pound Bell set career highs for receptions (8) and receiving yards (58) against Ohio State and totaled 103 all-purpose yards (58 receiving, 45 rushing) against the Buckeyes.

Bell earned Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week honors for the second time this season after rushing for a career-best 253 yards (36 carries) and a TD in Michigan State's 23-7 victory over Eastern Michigan. His 253 yards mark the sixth-highest single-game rushing total in MSU history. With his 15-yard run early in the second, Bell became just the 16th player in Spartan history to reach the 2,000-yard career milestone. He finished with 263 all-purpose yards (253 rushing, -8 receiving, 18 punt return) - the 11th-best single-season total in MSU history.

Bell rushed for 70 yards on 18 carries (3.9 avg.) and scored two touchdowns in the win over Central Michigan.

Bell collected several weekly honors after his career night helped lead Michigan State past No. 24 Boise State, 17-13, in the season-opening win. He was named the Big Ten Co-Offensive Player of the Week by the conference office and also the Big Ten Player of the Week by ESPN.com. In addition, he was named the Heisman Player of the Week by CBSSports.com. Bell rushed for 210 yards and set career highs for rushing attempts (44) and all-purpose yards (265) against the Broncos, while also collecting 55 receiving yards on six catches. He outgained the entire Boise State offense, 210-206, and 84 of his 210 yards came after contact. In addition, Bell's 265 all-purpose yards rank as the 10th-highest single-game total in Spartan history, and his 44 carries tied for fourth most in school history.

Bell's 210 rushing yards against Boise State tied for the 23rd-highest single-game total in school history, and he became the first Spartan running back to eclipse the 200-yard mark since Javon Ringer gained 201 yards on 39 rushes against Notre Dame in 2008. The 210 rushing yards were also the most by a Big Ten running back in a season opener since Purdue's Ralph Bolden in 2009 (234 vs. Toledo) and the most by a Spartan in an opener since T.J. Duckett in 2000 (219 vs. Marshall).

Michigan State is 16-2 (.889) when Bell scores at least one rushing TD (2010: 5-0; 2011: 7-1; and 2012: 4-1).

Bell has rushed for 2,935 yards and 31 TDs in 37 career games. He ranks among MSU's all-time leaders in rushing TDs (sixth with 31), rushing yards (seventh with 2,935) and rushing attempts (eighth with 604). Bell ranks among the Top 20 active NCAA FBS leaders in carries (10th), rushing yards (12th) and rushing TDs (18th).

MAXWELL TAKES OVER THE REIGNS AS STARTING QUARTERBACK -
Fourth-year junior Andrew Maxwell, who spent the past two seasons as Kirk Cousins' understudy, is in his first season as the starting quarterback. The 6-foot-3, 212-pound Maxwell ranks third in the Big Ten in passing (221.4 yards per game) and sixth in total offense (215.0 ypg.). He has completed 215-of-402 throws (.535) for 2,435 yards, 12 touchdowns, seven interceptions and six 200-yard passing games this season. Maxwell's 18 25+-yard completions rank third in the Big Ten.

His 402 pass attempts (third), 215 completions (tied for sixth) and 2,435 rushing yards (10th) rank among the Top 10 single-season totals in MSU history.

In four road games this season, Maxwell has connected on 89-of-144 passes (.618) for 973 yards, seven TDs and one interception. His road passing totals rank among the best for Big Ten quarterbacks: first in TD passes (7), second in passing yards (243.3 ypg.) and third in passing efficiency (133.2 rating).

Maxwell recorded his sixth 200-yard passing game of the season, throwing for a career-best 297 yards against Northwestern. His 297 passing yards are the third-highest single-game total by a Spartan quarterback in series history. Maxwell also set career highs for pass attempts (46) and touchdown passes (2; fourth time this season). On MSU's eight-play, 65-yard game-tying scoring drive, he went a perfect 5-for-5 for 53 yards, including a 15-yard TD strike to Aaron Burbridge.

He completed 24-of-39 throws for 216 yards and two TDs to lead Michigan State to a 16-13 overtime victory at No. 25 Wisconsin, as the Spartans recorded their first win in Madison since 2001 while snapping the nation's second-longest active home winning streak at 21 games. Over MSU's last two possessions, Maxwell connected on 9-of-11 passes for 81 yards and two scores. Trailing 10-3 with 6:06 left in the fourth quarter, he hit 8-of-9 throws for 69 yards while leading a game-tying 12-play, 75-yard drive. On third-and-4, his 5-yard shovel pass to Le'Veon Bell tied the score at 10 with 1:08 remaining in regulation. On third-and-8 in overtime, Maxwell fired a game-winning 12-yard TD strike to Bennie Fowler. His 24 completions matched his career high.

His streak of consecutive pass attempts without an interception ended at 233 when Iowa's Greg Castillo came up with a pick in the second overtime.

Maxwell recorded career highs in completions (24) and passing yards (290) in MSU's 31-27 comeback win at Indiana; the 290 passing yards marked the fourth most by a Spartan quarterback against the Hoosiers. His 36-yard touchdown pass to Fowler proved to be the game-winning score as Maxwell engineered his second fourth-quarter comeback of the season (Boise State). Maxwell also connected on a 15-yard TD pass to Larry Caper in the second quarter.

He completed 22-of-42 throws for 269 yards and one TD against Ohio State. His 269 passing yards are the sixth-best single-game total by a Spartan quarterback against the Buckeyes.

Maxwell hit 16-of-29 passes for 159 yards and one score in MSU's 23-7 win over Eastern Michigan. In the second half, he connected on 7-of-10 tosses for 128 yards, including a 10-yard TD strike to Dion Sims to give the Spartans a 16-7 lead midway through the fourth quarter.

In a 20-3 loss to No. 20 Notre Dame, Maxwell set career highs for pass attempts (45) while completing 23 throws to eight different receivers for 187 yards.

Maxwell opened the 2012 season with back-to-back 200-yard passing games against No. 24 Boise State and at Central Michigan and became the first Spartan starting quarterback to win his first two starts since Jeff Smoker in 2000 (Missouri, Notre Dame).

In a 41-7 win at Central Michigan, he completed 20-of-31 passes for a career-high 275 yards and two scores. Maxwell had TD tosses of 20 yards to Sims and 7 yards to Fowler. In the first half, he went 17-of-28 for 213 yards as MSU built a 24-0 halftime lead.

In his first career start against No. 24 Boise State, Maxwell completed 22-of-38 throws for 248 yards and directed a game-winning drive in the fourth quarter. He went 3-for-3 for 38 yards during the nine-play, 56-yard fourth-quarter drive as MSU rallied from a 13-10 deficit. His 18-yard completion to Sims on a third-and-6 play from the BSU 25 set up Bell's game-winning 5-yard TD run. Maxwell iced the game by managing a 13-play, 52-yard drive, including two third-down completions for 15 yards, that consumed the final 6:32 off the clock.

Michigan State's last 19 quarterbacks have compiled a 13-6 record (.684) in their first collegiate start, including a 9-2 mark in home games.

MAXWELL SPREADS THE BALL AROUND -
In his first year as the starting quarterback, Andrew Maxwell has done a nice job of spreading the ball around. Six Spartans have more than 25 receptions, including Keith Mumphery (40 for 506 yards), Bennie Fowler (34 for 423), Dion Sims (32 for 447), Tony Lippett (32 for 356), Le'Veon Bell (29 for 145) and Aaron Burbridge (26 for 342). Five different players have led the team in receptions in the first 11 games.

Aaron Burbridge had four receptions for 47 yards vs. Northwestern, including his first career touchdown reception on a 15-yard pass from Andrew Maxwell in the third quarter.


BURBRIDGE EMERGES AS RECEIVING THREAT -
In conference games, true freshman Aaron Burbridge ranks eighth (tied) in receptions (4.0 per game) and ninth in the Big Ten in receiving yards (54.7 per game). In nine games overall, he has 26 catches for 342 yards (13.2 avg.). Twelve of his 26 receptions (46 percent) have resulted in a first down, including five 20-yard grabs.

Burbridge scored his first career touchdown on a 15-yard reception from Andrew Maxwell in the third quarter against Northwestern. He finished with four catches for 47 yards against the Wildcats.

For the third-straight week, the 6-foot-1, 190-pound Burbridge led the Spartans in receptions, with six receptions for 51 yards in MSU's 12-10 loss at No. 23 Michigan. His 19-yard grab from Maxwell on the opening drive of the third quarter helped set up MSU's only touchdown against the Wolverines. He also had a 12-yard catch on MSU's go-head scoring drive late in the fourth quarter.

Burbridge led the team in catches and receiving yards for the second-straight week, with five receptions for 89 yards against Iowa. His season-long 38-yard grab in the second quarter helped set up Dan Conroy's 24-yard field goal that gave MSU a 10-0 lead.

Burbridge was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Week after becoming just the second freshman - and first true freshman - in Michigan State history to record a 100-yard receiving game, with eight receptions for 134 yards as the Spartans rallied from a 17-point deficit for a 31-27 victory at Indiana. His totals marked season highs for a Spartan wide receiver.

Burbridge's 134 receiving yards also set a Spartan single-game freshman record (previous: red-shirt freshman Terry Love had nine catches for 103 yards vs. Iowa in 2004) and are the third most by a true freshman in the NCAA this season against an FBS opponent.

The Farmington Hills, Mich., native helped spark MSU's second-half rally against the Hoosiers, with five receptions for 96 yards coming after halftime. He had at least one reception on four of MSU's five scoring drives. In three previous appearances this season, Burbridge had just two catches for 14 yards.

SIMS RANKS AMONG THE NATION'S TOP TIGHT ENDS -
Despite missing nearly three full games with an ankle injury, junior tight end Dion Sims ranks third (tied) on the team with 32 receptions for 447 yards (14.0 avg.) and two scores. His 27 catches and 345 receiving yards both represent career highs. He had 12 catches in 2011 and 133 receiving yards in 2009.

Twenty-six of his 32 receptions (81 percent) have resulted in either a first down or a touchdown.

Sims posted his second 100-yard receiving game of the season (and his career), with five grabs for 102 yards against Northwestern. He had a career-long 44-yard reception from Andrew Maxwell on MSU's second offensive series.

Through the first five games of the 2012 season, Sims led the Spartans in catches (24), receiving yards (313) and TD receptions (2). He sat out entire Iowa game and played only nine snaps at Michigan after suffering an ankle injury early in the first quarter of MSU's Oct. 6 game at Indiana.

The 6-foot-5, 285-pound Sims was named a Fourth-Team Midseason All-American by Phil Steele.

Sims was selected John Mackey and College Football Performance Awards' National Tight End of the Week after recording his first career 100-yard receiving game with six receptions for 112 yards and a score against Eastern Michigan. He had three catches for 73 yards in the fourth quarter, including a 10-yard TD grab from Maxwell that gave MSU a 16-7 lead.

The Detroit, Mich., native had a team-high six catches for 52 yards against No. 20 Notre Dame. He caught three passes for 48 yards at Central Michigan, including a 20-yard TD reception from Maxwell late in the second quarter. Sims recorded a career-best seven receptions for 65 yards in the season opener against No. 24 Boise State.

BULLOUGH NAMED BUTKUS AWARD SEMIFINALIST -
Junior linebacker and captain Max Bullough, one of 12 semifinalists for the Butkus Award and 20 quarterfinalists for the Lott IMPACT Trophy, leads the team in tackles (95), tackles for loss (11 for 43 yards), sacks (2.5 for 15) and production points (274). He has posted at least eight tackles in eight consecutive games. In conference games, Bullough ranks fifth in the Big Ten in tackles, averaging 9.9 per game.

The 6-foot-3, 252-pound Bullough registered eight tackles against Northwestern, with one tackle for loss (2 yards). His half sack (combined with junior defensive end William Gholston) against Kain Colter resulted in a 1-yard loss and a safety in the first quarter. Bullough has now produced at least one tackle for loss in each of the last six games.

He reached double figures in tackles for the fourth time this season and sixth time in his career, with 10 stops against Nebraska.

Bullough recorded nine tackles while setting career highs for both tackles for loss (2.5 for 15 yards) and sacks (2 for 14) in Michigan State's 16-13 overtime victory at No. 25 Wisconsin, as the Spartans recorded their first win in Madison since 2001 while snapping the nation's second-longest active home winning streak at 21 games. MSU limited Wisconsin to 19 yards rushing (37 carries) - nearly 182 fewer than its season average. The Spartans also held the Badgers to 190 total yards - the first time UW managed fewer than 200 yards total offense since Nov. 20, 2004 (186 vs. Iowa). MSU's produced season highs in both tackles for loss (12 for 59) and sacks (5 for 38).

He posted 10 stops, a career-high two pass break-ups and recorded his first interception of the season at Michigan.

Bullough recorded 11 stops against Iowa and posted a season-high 12 stops against No. 14 Ohio State to go along with two pass break-ups and a forced fumble.

The Traverse City, Mich., native has 207 tackles in 38 career games. Bullough has started every game at middle linebacker since the beginning of the 2011 season (25 consecutive games), a streak that ranks tied for longest on the Spartan defense (strong safety Isaiah Lewis; defensive end Marcus Rush) and second-longest on the team (right guard Chris McDonald, 28-straight starts). He led the team in tackles last season with 89.

Bullough is a third-generation Spartan, following in the footsteps of his grandfather Hank (guard, 1952-54) and father Shane (linebacker, 1983-86) who played football at Michigan State. Max's father, Shane, was also named a team captain in 1986. In addition, his grandfather Jim Morse (halfback, 1954-56) played for Coach Terry Brennan at Notre Dame, and his uncles Chuck Bullough (Michigan State, linebacker, 1988-91), Bobby Morse (Michigan State, running back, 1983-86) and Jim Morse (Notre Dame, cornerback, 1976-77) played college football. Max's brother, Riley, is a freshman linebacker on the Spartan roster.

GHOLSTON PLAYS WELL DOWN THE STRETCH -
Junior defensive end William Gholston leads the team and ranks tied for eighth in the Big Ten with 11.0 tackles for loss (35 yards). He leads the Spartan defensive linemen and is tied for fifth overall in tackles with 45. Gholston also leads the team in sacks (tied with 2.5 for 10 yards) and quarterback hurries (tied with 5). His eight pass break-ups rank first among NCAA FBS defensive linemen. Gholston, who ranks third on the team in production points (160), has recorded at least one tackle for loss in seven of the 11 games.

The Detroit, Mich., native posted six tackles against Northwestern. His half sack (combined with junior linebacker Max Bullough) against Kain Colter resulted in a 1-yard loss and a safety in the first quarter.

He contributed five tackles, including one for a 2-yard loss, and a career-best two pass break-ups against No. 21 Nebraska.

The 6-foot-7, 278-pound Gholston was named the College Football Performance Awards National Defensive Lineman of the Week after tallying a season-best 4.5 tackles for loss (10 yards) in Michigan State's 16-13 overtime win at Wisconsin. His 4.5 tackles for loss were the second most by a Big Ten player in a single game this season and rank eighth most by a Spartan defender in a single game. He totaled a career-best 36 production points against the Badgers (previous high: 34 production points vs. Ohio State, 2011).

ALLEN WREAKS HAVOC IN OPPOSING BACKFIELDS -
Junior linebacker Denicos Allen ranks second on the team in tackles (tied with 72) and production points (198) and third in tackles for loss (9.0 for 42 yards). In conference games, Allen ranks among the Big Ten leaders in tackles for loss (tied for sixth at 1.07 per game; 7.5 for 32 yards) and tackles (tied for 13th at 7.9 per game; 55 total). He has produced at least one tackle for loss in five of his last six games.

The 5-foot-11, 225-pound Allen tallied six tackles, including a 19-yard sack, against No. 21 Nebraska.

Allen posted eight tackles (all solos), including one for a 4-yard loss, in Michigan State's 16-13 overtime win at Wisconsin. MSU limited Wisconsin to 19 yards rushing (37 carries) - the Badgers lowest rushing total since Sept. 23, 2006 (12 against Michigan).

For the first time in his career, Allen recorded double-digit tackles in back-to-back games: a career-best 13 stops against Iowa and 11 at Michigan. His first career interception also came against the Hawkeyes and helped set up MSU's only touchdown, a 14-yard run by Le'Veon Bell early in the first quarter.

The Hamilton, Ohio, native has registered 173 ackles in 38 career games. Allen already ranks among MSU's all-time Top 20 in sacks (tied for ninth with 13 for 97 yards) and tackles for loss (13th with 28.5 for 131 yards).

 

 

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