No. 10 Spartans Take On No. 2 Ohio State in Big Ten Championship Game
Dec. 5, 2013
Michigan State is looking to win its eighth Big Ten Championship in school history and first since claiming a share of the conference crown in 2010, along with Wisconsin. The Spartans also have won Big Ten titles in 1953, 1965, 1966, 1978, 1987 and 1990. MSU is also seeking its first Rose Bowl appearance since 1988, when it defeated USC, 20-17. Michigan State fell in the inaugural Big Ten Championship Game in 2011 to Wisconsin, 42-39.
The Spartans are also looking to win their school-record 12th game of the season. With 11 victories already in 2013, this marks the fifth time MSU has recorded double-digit wins in a season (10 in 1966, 10 in 1999, 11 in 2010, 11 in 2011), including three under Dantonio.
Through 12 games, Michigan State's defense ranks No. 1 in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision in total defense (237.7 yards per game), rushing defense (64.8 ypg.) and pass efficiency defense (91.8 rating). The Spartans have been ranked No. 1 in the nation in total defense for 12 consecutive weeks. MSU also ranks among the national leaders in opponent third-down conversions (second at .287; 52-for-181), first downs defense (second at 14.1 pg.), scoring defense (fourth at 11.8 ppg.) and passing defense (ninth at 172.9 ypg.). The Spartans also lead the Big Ten in seven defensive categories: total defense, scoring defense, rushing defense, pass defense, pass efficiency defense, opponent third-down conversions, first downs defense.
The Spartans are the first Big Ten team to win all eight of their conference games by double-digit points since the league went to an eight-game schedule in 1971. In addition, MSU is the first undefeated Big Ten team to win all of its league games by double-figure points since Michigan in 1943 (6-0 record).
Saturday's game marks the 42nd meeting between Michigan State and Ohio State, with the Buckeyes leading the all-time series, 28-13; this will mark the first time the teams have faced each other at a neutral site. The Spartans snapped a seven-game losing streak to Ohio State with a 10-7 win in Columbus in 2011, but Ohio State returned the favor in East Lansing last season by defeating MSU, 17-16, in the Big Ten opener. OSU has won eight out of the last nine games in the series and 13 of the last 16 meetings overall. MSU head coach Mark Dantonio is 1-3 against the Buckeyes during his tenure in East Lansing and 1-5 overall (0-2 at Cincinnati).
Seventh-year Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio swept Big Ten Coach of the Year honors by winning both the Dave McClain Coach of the Year (media) and Hayes-Schembechler Coach of the Year (coaches). Six Spartans were named to the All-Big Ten First Team and a total of 16 players have received all-conference recognition. The six first-team selections are the most for Michigan State since 1990, and the 16 honorees overall equal the second most under Dantonio (19 in 2011, 16 in 2010). Two Spartans took home individual awards, as senior Darqueze Dennard was named the Tatum-Woodson Big Ten Defensive Back of the Year, while sophomore Shilique Calhoun was named the Smith-Brown Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year. Dennard, Calhoun and senior linebacker Max Bullough were first-team selections by both the coaches and media. Junior safety Kurtis Drummond, senior safety Isaiah Lewis and junior punter Mike Sadler were named first-team All-Big Ten by the coaches. The five first-team selections on defense are tied for the most in school history (1966).
Saturday's game marks just the second time since 1966 and the first since the 2000 Florida Citrus Bowl in which Michigan State will play an AP Top 10 team while also being ranked in the Top 10. The ninth-ranked Spartans defeated No. 10 Florida, 37-34, in the 2000 Citrus Bowl.
Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio spent three years as the defensive coordinator at Ohio State (2001-03) where he served under Jim Tressel. During Dantonio's tenure at Ohio State, the Buckeyes posted a combined record of 32-6 (.842), including the 2002 National Championship. Dantonio previously worked alongside Ohio State defensive coordinator Luke Fickell (then special teams coordinator). In addition, MSU co-offensive coordinator Jim Bollman served as Ohio State's offensive coordinator for 11 seasons (2001-11).
The Spartans have won 40 of their last 52 games (.769), dating back to the beginning of the 2010 season. The 40 wins are most in the Big Ten and 11th most in the FBS during that same time period. In addition, MSU has recorded 35 Big Ten victories since 2008, the most of any team in the conference (Note: Ohio State has won 40 games, but had to vacate seven victories following the 2010 season.).The Spartans produced back-to-back 11-win seasons in 2010-11 for the first time in program history, claimed a share of the Big Ten Championship in 2010, and have won two Big Ten Legends Division titles (2011, 2013).
STAT LEADERS -
Ohio State (after 12 games):
THE LAST MEETING -
Miller put Ohio State ahead 17-13 with a 63-yard touchdown pass to Devin Smith in the third quarter, and the Buckeyes' maligned defense held Le'Veon Bell and the Michigan State running game in check.
Michigan State took a 13-10 advantage in the third on a terrific individual effort by Keith Mumphery. With the ball on the Ohio State 29 after a personal foul call on the Buckeyes, Mumphery took Maxwell's short pass and eluded four tacklers before dragging a couple more Buckeyes into the end zone.
Still, it wasn't enough and Michigan State's lead didn't last long. Miller barely picked up a first down with a run on third-and-1, then lofted a deep pass on the next play to Smith, who beat Johnny Adams along the right sideline to put Ohio State ahead to stay.
Miller turned the ball over three times in Michigan State territory, including a fumble early in the fourth, but the Buckeyes actually caught a break on that play. The ball bounced right to Kurtis Drummond of the Spartans, who began running down the right sideline before the play was blown dead and Miller was ruled down. The call was reversed after a review, giving Michigan State the ball at its own 32 - but the Buckeyes were saved from a big return that would almost surely have followed if the call had been correct to begin with.
The Buckeyes then appeared to have stopped the Spartans when Maxwell underthrew a pass on fourth-and-1 from the Ohio State 44, but Travis Howard was called for defensive holding on the opposite side of the field, keeping the drive alive.
Dan Conroy's 48-yard field goal pulled Michigan State within a point with 7:07 remaining.
Miller remained down holding his left knee after his fumble but was able to come back the next time Ohio State had the ball. The Spartans forced a three-and-out anyway and took over at their own 20 with 5:39 left, down 17-16. They could manage only one first down before having to punt, and they never got the ball back.
Ohio State drove 75 yards in eight plays to open the game, taking a 7-0 lead on Jordan Hall's 1-yard scoring run. Miller had runs of 20 and 13 yards on the drive, but he was hit along the sideline at the end of the latter one and was shaken up. He had to leave the game but was back for his team's next possession.
The Spartans answered immediately with a 34-yard field goal by Conroy, and that was all the scoring for the half. Miller threw an interception and lost a fumble in second quarter, but Conroy missed a 42-yard attempt in the final minute.
MSU/OHIO STATE COACHING CONNECTIONS -
Michigan State co-offensive coordinator Jim Bollman served as Ohio State's offensive coordinator for 11 seasons (2001-11).
Michigan State linebackers/special teams coach Mike Tressel is the nephew of former Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel. Mike spent two years as a graduate assistant coach at Ohio State, working for his uncle from 2002-03.
Michigan State tight ends/tackles coach Mark Staten served as a graduate assistant for Jim Tressel at Ohio State from 2002-03.
Ohio State tight ends/fullbacks coach Tim Hinton spent three years as running backs coach at Cincinnati (2004-06) under Mark Dantonio.
Ohio State co-offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Ed Warinner spent two years as a graduate assistant under George Perles at Michigan State (1985-86), working with the linebackers and defensive backs.
Michigan State graduate assistant coach Rob Harley, a member of Ohio State's 2002 National Championship team, earned three letters as a strong safety for Coach Jim Tressel and helped the Buckeyes to a combined record of 29-8 from 2003-05, including three-straight postseason bowl appearances (2003 Fiesta, 2004 Alamo and 2006 Fiesta). His great-great uncle Chic Harley was Ohio State's first three-time All-American. Due largely to his popularity as a player, the Buckeyes quickly outgrew the 20,000-seat Ohio Field and inspired the construction of Ohio Stadium, nicknamed "The House That Harley Built."
PROGRAM NOTES -
With its 14-0 victory over Purdue, Michigan State became bowl eligible for a school-record seventh consecutive season.
MSU's 40 wins since 2010 is 11th most among NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision teams and most in the Big Ten during that same period. The Spartans have posted four consecutive winning seasons, a first for the program since recording six in a row from 1985-90. MSU has won 40 of their last 52 games (.769), dating back to the beginning of the 2010 season. In addition, the Spartans have won 13 of their last 14 games, dating back to the 2012 regular-season finale.
Michigan State has appeared in a school-record six consecutive bowl games (2007 Champs Sports Bowl, 2009 Capital One Bowl, 2010 Alamo Bowl, 2011 Capital One Bowl, 2012 Outback Bowl, 2012 Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl). The six-year bowl streak is currently tied for the 18th longest in the NCAA FBS and second longest in the Big Ten.
Michigan State is one of only eight schools to have had at least one player chosen every year since the inception of the common NFL Draft in 1967. MSU joins Arizona State, Florida, Michigan, Nebraska, Tennessee, Texas and USC as the only programs with at least one draft choice for 47 consecutive years.
Michigan State and Florida are the only schools in the country to win multiple National Championships in football and men's basketball. MSU has won six national titles in football (1951, 1952, 1955, 1957, 1965, 1966) and two in men's basketball (1979, 2000). Michigan State is also the only school in the nation to win multiple national championships in football, men's basketball and hockey.
Since 2008, MSU has recorded 35 Big Ten victories, the most of any team in the conference (Note: Ohio State has won 40 games, but had to vacate seven victories following the 2010 season.). The Spartans produced back-to-back 11-win seasons in 2010-11 for the first time in program history, claimed a share of the Big Ten Championship in 2010, and won the inaugural Big Ten Legends Divisions title in 2011.
Since 2010, MSU has recorded 25 Big Ten victories, the most of any team in the conference (Note: Ohio State has won 26 games, but had to vacate seven victories following the 2010 season.)
DANTONIO NAMED COACH OF THE YEAR, SIX SPARTANS EARN FIRST-TEAM ALL-BIG TEN HONORS -
Six Spartans were named to the All-Big Ten First Team and a total of 16 players have received all-conference recognition. The six first-team selections are the most for Michigan State since 1990, and the 16 honorees overall equal the second most under Dantonio (19 in 2011, 16 in 2010).
Two Spartans took home individual awards, as senior Darqueze Dennard was named the Tatum-Woodson Big Ten Defensive Back of the Year, while sophomore Shilique Calhoun was named the Smith-Brown Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year.
Dennard, Calhoun and senior linebacker Max Bullough were first-team selections by both the coaches and media. Junior safety Kurtis Drummond, senior safety Isaiah Lewis and junior punter Mike Sadler were named first-team All-Big Ten by the coaches. The five first-team selections on defense are tied for the most in school history (1966).
Senior linebacker Denicos Allen and senior offensive guard Blake Treadwell were second-team picks by both the coaches and media. Sophomore quarterback Connor Cook received second-team accolades from the coaches, while sophomore center Jack Allen garnered second-team honors from the media. Drummond and Sadler were also second-team choices by the media.
Senior offensive tackle Fou Fonoti, senior offensive tackle Dan France, junior running back Jeremy Langford, junior defensive end Marcus Rush and sophomore cornerback Trae Waynes were honorable mention selections by both the coaches and media. In addition, Jack Allen was named honorable mention by the coaches, while Cook, Lewis and placekicker Michael Geiger were honorable mention choices by the media.
2013 ALL-BIG TEN TEAMS - MICHIGAN STATE SELECTIONS
Second Team - Defense
SPARTAN DEFENSE RANKS NO. 1 IN THE FBS -
Michigan State, Alabama, Louisville and Virginia Tech are the only five schools in the FBS to rank in the top 10 nationally in total defense, scoring defense, rushing defense and passing defense.
The Spartans also lead the Big Ten in seven defensive categories: total defense, scoring defense, rushing defense, pass defense, pass efficiency defense, opponent third-down conversions, first downs defense.
Michigan State's defense has allowed just 3.77 yards per play and 2.23 yards per rushing attempt, both of which rank No. 1 in the FBS. In addition, MSU also leads the FBS in fewest opponent plays of 10-plus yards (99) and fewest opponent rushes of 10-plus yards (19). The Spartans also have allowed just 32 plays of 20-plus yards (2.7 pg.), which is tied for fourth fewest in the FBS.
The Spartans have held 10 of their 12 opponents below 100 yards rushing. Michigan State was the last team in the FBS this season to allow an opponent to rush for more than 100 yards in a game (Nebraska, 182 yards on Nov. 16). In 91 games under Mark Dantonio, MSU has held its opponents under 100 yards rushing 45 times (49 percent).
Michigan State has held every opponent this season under its season average in points and total offense. . Since the beginning of 2011, Michigan State has held opponents under 100 rushing yards in 25 of 39 games (seven in 2011; eight in 2012; 10 in 2013). In addition, MSU has held 12 opponents under 50 yards rushing (three times in 2011; five in 2012; four in 2013) since 2011.
Michigan State's defense features five first-team All-Big Ten selections, which tied for the most in school history (1966). Senior linebacker Max Bullough, sophomore defensive end Shilique Calhoun, senior cornerback Darqueze Dennard, junior safety Kurtis Drummond and senior safety Isaiah Lewis all garnered first-team accolades from the league's coaches, while Bullough, Calhoun and Dennard were also on the media's first team. Eight of MSU's starters received All-Big Ten recognition (second team: senior linebacker Denicos Allen; honorable mention: junior defensive end Marcus Rush, sophomore cornerback Trae Waynes). Calhoun was named the Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year, while Dennard was named the Defensive Back of the Year.
Nine of MSU's defensive starters have started multiple years at their respective position, including five third-year starters (LB Allen, LB Bullough, CB Dennard, SS Lewis, DE Rush).
Michigan State has led the Big Ten in total defense and rushing defense the past two seasons.
TOUGH TO SCORE ON SPARTAN DEFENSE -
Michigan State's defense has allowed just four touchdowns in the last 24 quarters.
MSU went a span of 194 minutes and 33 seconds without allowing a touchdown, as the Spartans kept Purdue (Oct. 19), Illinois (Oct. 26) and Michigan (Nov. 2) out of the end zone. Indiana scored a touchdown in the fourth quarter against the Spartans on Oct. 12, and Nebraska snapped the streak with a TD in the first quarter on Nov. 16.
Michigan State has held six opponents without scoring a touchdown (South Florida, Purdue, Illinois, Michigan, Northwestern, Minnesota).
The Spartans shut out six of their eight Big Ten opponents in the second half (Iowa, Purdue, Illinois, Michigan, Northwestern and Minnesota). Overall, MSU has shut out its opponent in the second half seven times this season (South Florida).
The Spartans blanked Purdue, 14-0, on Oct. 19 in Spartan Stadium, marking MSU's first Big Ten shutout since 1999 against Northwestern. Under Dantonio, the Spartans have recorded three shutouts (2008 vs. Florida Atlantic, 2011 vs. Florida Atlantic, 2013 vs. Purdue). MSU's defense has allowed more than 17 points just twice all season (28 vs. Indiana and Nebraska) and it has given up just 55 points total in the second half of games this season (5.0 pg.).
In 2012, the Spartans surrendered 16 offensive touchdowns (six rushing, 10 passing) - the second-fewest allowed in the NCAA FBS. Only Notre Dame (15) permitted fewer TDs. Through 12 games in 2013, the Spartans have allowed 16 touchdowns (five rushing, 11 passing), tied for second fewest in the FBS.
Since the beginning of the 2010 season, Michigan State's defense has held 16 opponents (30 percent) to less than 10 points, including six times this season (South Florida, Purdue, Illinois, Michigan, Northwestern, Minnesota).
TURNOVERS, SACKS THE DIFFERENCE IN 2013 FOR SPARTANS -
Michigan State ranks first in the Big Ten and tied for fifth in the FBS in turnover margin (+15, 1.3 per game). The Spartans have forced a total of 27 turnovers (11 fumbles, 16 interceptions), including five for touchdowns (three fumble recoveries, two interception returns). MSU has converted those 27 takeaways into 93 points. The Spartans have forced the most turnovers in the Big Ten (27) and have also turned the ball over the least amount of times (12) in the conference. MSU's five interceptions also are a conference low and are tied for sixth fewest in the FBS.
Michigan State has forced at least one turnover in 73 of 91 games over the last seven seasons (80 percent of the games played since 2007), including 11 games this season.
The Spartans rank third in the Big Ten and 17th in the FBS with 16 interceptions.
Michigan State forced five turnovers in the win over Nebraska on Nov. 16, the most caused by the Spartans in the Coach Mark Dantonio era. MSU converted those five turnovers into 24 points.
TRULY ELITE -
MSU has also ranked in the NCAA FBS Top 10 the past two seasons in rushing defense (eighth in 2012 at 98.6 yppg.; ninth in 2011 at 100.5 ypg.) and scoring defense (ninth in 2012 at 16.3 ppg.; 10th in 2011 at 18.4 ppg). Michigan State, Alabama and Florida State are the only schools in the nation to rank among the NCAA FBS Top 10 in total defense, rushing defense and scoring defense the past two seasons.
In addition, MSU has ranked among the NCAA FBS Top 15 in pass defense in 2011 (11th at 176.9 ypg.) and 2012 (ninth at 175.8 ypg.). Michigan State and Alabama are the only two programs in the country to rank in the NCAA FBS Top 15 the past two seasons in total defense, rushing defense, passing defense and scoring defense.
Since the beginning of 2011, Michigan State has held 25 opponents under 100 rushing yards (seven in 2011; eight in 2012; 10 in 2013), which ranks third in the NCAA FBS.
Here's a look at where MSU's defense ranks among the nation's elite the past three seasons:
SPARTANS RANK TIED FOR THIRD IN FBS WITH FIVE DEFENSIVE TOUCHDOWNS -
Michigan State has scored 19 defensive touchdowns under Dantonio, including five each in 2007, 2011 and this season. Michigan State scored four defensive touchdowns in the first two games of the season, marking a school record (single-game records dating back to 1946). The five defensive touchdowns are tied for the second most in a single season in school history (school-record six in 1999; five in 2007 and 2011).
Pat Narduzzi NAMED FINALIST FOR FRANK BROYLES AWARD -
The Broyles Award selection committee has chosen the following five finalists for the 2013 Broyles Award:
Rhett Lashlee, Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks, Auburn
Narduzzi has helped construct the No. 1 defense in the Football Bowl Subdivision this season. Through 12 games, Michigan State's defense ranks No. 1 in the FBS in total defense (237.7 yards per game), rushing defense (64.8 ypg.) and pass efficiency defense (91.8 rating). MSU has been ranked No. 1 in the nation in total defense for 12 consecutive weeks. The Spartans also rank among the national leaders in opponent third-down conversions (second at .287; 52-for-181), first downs defense (second at 14.1 pg.), scoring defense (fourth at 11.8 ppg.) and passing defense (ninth at 172.9 ypg.).
INSIDE THE NUMBERS -
Michigan State finished its Big Ten schedule with a perfect 8-0 record for the first time in school history. MSU became the 14th Big Ten team to post an 8-0 mark in league play (Ohio State 2013, Ohio State 2006, Ohio State 2002, Iowa 2002, Michigan 1997, Northwestern 1995, Penn State 1994, Michigan 1989, Illinois 1983 [9 games], Michigan 1980, Ohio State 1979, Ohio State 1975, Michigan 1971).
Michigan State ranks first in the Big Ten and second in the FBS in opponent third-down conversions (52 of 181, 28.7 percent). Conversely, the Spartans rank fourth in the Big Ten in converting third downs on offense, with a success rate of 46 percent (86 of 187).
Dantonio has always stressed the importance of a balanced offense, and the 2013 Spartans couldn't be more balanced statistically. MSU has 21 rushing touchdowns and 18 passing touchdowns, and is averaging 186.2 yards a game rushing and 194.0 yards a game passing. Twelve different offensive players have scored TDs for MSU this season.
Michigan State is 19-9 (.679) in Big Ten road games under Dantonio, including a six-game winning streak and a 13-3 record (.813) since 2010. MSU went a perfect 4-0 in conference road games this season (wins at Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska and Northwestern). Dantonio has won at least one road game at every Big Ten stadium.
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 18-5 record (.783) in November. His teams have won 12 of the last 14 games in November (3-0 in 2010; 4-0 in 2011; 1-2 in 2012, 4-0 in 2013). In 2012, MSU 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's offensive line has only allowed 12 sacks, which ranks first in the Big Ten (tied) and 12th fewest in the NCAA FBS (tied Iowa and Cincinnati). The offensive line features seven players with starting experience (136 combined starts).
The Spartans tallied 38 plays of 20 yards or more on offense (13 rushing, 25 passing) in their eight league games (4.8 per game), compared to just 11 (five rushing, six passing) during their four non-conference games (2.3 pg.).
Under Mark Dantonio, Michigan State is 45-8 (.849) when leading in time of possession, including a 32-5 record (.865) since 2010. The Spartans rank sixth in the NCAA FBS in time of possession (33:32 per game) in 2013.
Michigan State is outrushing its opponents by 121 yards per game (186.2 to 64.8). Under Mark Dantonio, Michigan State is 50-11 (.820) when outrushing its opponent, including a 34-4 record (.895) since 2010. The Spartans are 20-3 (.870) in games when gaining 200 or more yards under Dantonio.
Under Mark Dantonio, Michigan State has produced a 38-11 record (.776) in home games, including a 15-game winning streak (7-0 in 2010, 7-0 in 2011, won first game in 2012). MSU completed its 19th undefeated home season in Spartan Stadium history with a 7-0 mark this fall.
Michigan State lost five Big Ten games in 2012 by a combined total of 13 points, including one in double overtime (Iowa) and two within the last 10 seconds of regulation (Michigan, Nebraska). During one stretch, MSU had seven-straight games decided by four points or fewer, the longest such streak in school history and the longest by an NCAA FBS team since at least 1996.
Since the beginning of the 2010 season, Michigan State is 13-7 (.650) in games decided by 10 points or less, including a 4-5 record in 2012. The losses have come against Wisconsin in the 2011 Big Ten Championship Game (42-39), Ohio State (17-16), Iowa (19-16 in 2OT), Michigan (12-10), Nebraska (28-24) and Northwestern (23-20) in 2012, and Notre Dame (17-13) in 2013.
SCOUTING OHIO STATE -
Second-year head coach Urban Meyer has not lost at Ohio State (24-0). Meyer is 128-23 overall in 12 seasons and won two National Championships at Florida (2006, 2008).
While Michigan State features the top rushing defense in the nation (64.8 ypg.), Ohio State is the second-ranked rushing offense in the FBS (321.3 ypg.). The Buckeyes also rank among the FBS Top 10 offensively in scoring offense (third with 48.2 ppg.), total offense (sixth with 530.5 ypg.), passing efficiency (seventh with 164.0 rating), red-zone offense (fourth at .946) and third-down conversion percentage (ninth at .521).
For the second year in a row, junior Braxton Miller was named the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year. Miller ranks among the Big Ten leaders in touchdown passes (tied for first with 21), passing efficiency (second with 164.3 rating), total offense (third with 265.0 ypg.), rushing (eighth with 89.1 ypg.) and passing (ninth with 175.9 ypg.).
Senior Carlos Hyde was named the Big Ten Running Back of the Year after leading the league in rushing (143.3 ypg.) and scoring (10.7 ppg.) during the regular season.
The Buckeyes placed three offensive players on the coaches All-Big Ten First Team (Miller, Hyde, center Corey Linsley), while five players made the media first team (Miller, Hyde, Linsley, guard Andrew Norwell, tackle Jack Mewhort). Defensively, Ohio State sits at fourth in the Big Ten and 30th in the FBS in total defense (355.8 ypg.). OSU's strength is stopping the run, as it ranks second in the conference and fifth in the FBS in rushing defense (100.0 ypg.).
Junior linebacker Ryan Shazier leads the Big Ten and ranks third in the FBS in both tackles (122; 10.2 pg.) and tackles for loss (21 for 75 yards). Shazier and defensive back Bradley Roby were each named to the All-Big Ten First Team by the coaches and media.
MSU/OHIO STATE SERIES NOTES -
MSU head coach Mark Dantonio is 1-3 against the Buckeyes during his tenure in East Lansing and 1-5 overall (0-2 at Cincinnati).
Michigan State has a history of taking down highly ranked Ohio State teams. The Spartans upset top-ranked Ohio State in 1998 and 1974, and also own Top 10 wins over the Buckeyes in 1951 (No. 7), 1971 (No. 9) and 1972 (No. 5).
The last two years, Ohio State has scored a total of 24 points against Michigan State. MSU held Ohio State to a season-low 17 points in last year's matchup, and beat the Buckeyes 10-7 in 2011 in Columbus.
SPARTANS FROM THE BUCKEYE STATE -
WINNINGEST SENIOR CLASS IN MSU HISTORY -
The Class of 2013 includes: Denicos Allen (Hamilton, Ohio), Max Bullough (Traverse City, Mich.), Henry Conway (Shaker Heights, Ohio), Darqueze Dennard (Dry Branch, Ga.), Denzel Drone (Plant City, Fla.), Kyler Elsworth (Goodrich, Mich.), Danny Folino (East Lansing, Mich.), Fou Fonoti (Lakewood, Calif.), Bennie Fowler (Bloomfield, Mich.), Dan France (North Royalton, Ohio), Derek Hoebing (Vermillion, Ohio), Tyler Hoover (Novi, Mich.), Jairus Jones (Tampa, Fla.), Isaiah Lewis (Indianapolis, Ind.), Andrew Maxwell (Midland, Mich.), Kevin Muma (Troy, Mich.), Micajah Reynolds (Lansing, Mich.) and Blake Treadwell (East Lansing, Mich.).
SPARTANS AGAINST RANKED TEAMS -
NOTABLE WINNING STREAK -
MSU's nine-game conference winning streak, dating back to last year's regular season finale against Minnesota, is the second longest in school history (school record: 16 from 1965-67).
NOTES FROM THE MINNESOTA GAME -
Michigan State went a perfect 7-0 at home for the third time in the last four seasons. The Spartans have gone undefeated at home 19 times since the stadium opened in 1923. After going 0-4 in Big Ten home games in 2012 (those four losses by a combined total of 11 points), MSU posted a perfect 4-0 record in conference games this season, winning those four games by a combined total of 62 points. Under Mark Dantonio, MSU has produced a 38-11 (.776) in home games. The Spartans have won 23 of their last 28 home games.
Eighteen seniors made their final appearance in Spartan Stadium against Minnesota. With a 40-12 record (.769), the 2013 senior class is the winningest in the 117-year history of MSU football. The 2013 senior class finished with a 23-5 record (.821) in Spartan Stadium.
Michigan State tied its season high with 11 tackles for loss (43 yards) against Minnesota. The Spartans also recorded 11 tackles behind the line of scrimmage against Michigan (65 yards).
Michigan State outgained Minnesota on the ground, 181-169 yards. The Spartans are 10-1 this season when outrushing their opponent.
Junior Jeremy Langford recorded his seventh-straight 100-yard rushing game against Minnesota, with 21 carries for 134 yards and a touchdown. His seven-consecutive 100-yard rushing games ties Lorenzo White's single-season record set in 1985. Langford scored his 16 rushing TD of the season on a 15-yard run in the first quarter. He has rushed for 899 yards during his seven-game streak, averaging 128.4 yards per game.
Junior Tony Lippett led the Spartans in receptions for the third-straight game, with four catches for a career-best 71 yards against Minnesota. During the three-game stretch, Lippett has 11 receptions for 202 yards (67.3 yards per game).
Fifth-year senior linebacker Denicos Allen matched his career high with 13 tackles against Minnesota, including two for losses (7 yards). Allen recorded double-figure tackles for the third time in his career (also posted 13 stops vs. Iowa in 2012). He also was credited with three quarterback hurries against the Golden Gophers. Allen has produced a tackle for loss in 10 of 12 regular-season games.
Junior free safety Kurtis Drummond equaled his career high with 10 tackles against Minnesota. Drummond registered 10 stops at Nebraska two weeks ago and 10 against the Cornhuskers in 2012.
Senior cornerback Darqueze Dennard matched his career high with nine tackles against Minnesota. Dennard tallied nine stops at Northwestern last week. He also was credited with a pass break-up and quarterback hurry against the Golden Gophers.
Sophomore defensive end Shilique Calhoun recorded a career-best seven tackles against Minnesota, including 2.5 for losses (12 yards).
Junior defensive end Marcus Rush matched his career highs in tackles for loss (2.5 for 13 yards) and sacks (2 for 12 yards) against Minnesota.
Sophomore cornerback Trae Waynes recorded the first two interceptions of his career against Minnesota, with both coming in the first half (one in the first quarter and one in the second quarter).
Sophomore nose tackle Mark Scarpinato totaled a career-best four tackles against Minnesota, including a half sack (4 yards). Scarpinato also was credited with a pass break-up.
COOK GROWS IN CONFIDENCE AS STARTING QB -
The 6-foot-4, 218-pound Cook recorded his sixth 200-yard passing game of the season, completing 16-of-23 throws for a career-high 293 yards and two touchdowns in Michigan State's 30-6 victory at Northwestern, as the Spartans claimed the Big Ten Legends Division title for the second time in three seasons. Cook posted those impressive numbers despite facing a wind chill of 9 degrees and wind gusts from 21-29 mph. He threw scoring passes of 87 yards to Bennie Fowler in the second quarter and 15 yards to Josiah Price in the third quarter. His 87-yard TD strike to Fowler tied the fourth-longest passing play in MSU history.
He connected on 15-of-31 passes for 193 yards and a touchdown in MSU's first-ever win over Nebraska, 41-28, in Lincoln. On a third-and-13 play midway through the fourth quarter, he hooked up with Keith Mumphery for a 27-yard scoring play as MSU took a 34-21 lead.
Cook recorded his fifth 200-yard passing game of the season, completing 18-of-33 throws for 252 yards, one touchdown and one interception in MSU's 29-6 win over Michigan. His 14-yard TD strike to Fowler in the back, right corner of the end zone with 23 seconds left in the first half gave MSU the lead for good at 13-6. Early in the fourth quarter, Cook scored his first career rushing TD on a 1-yard run as MSU built a 22-6 lead.
He completed 15-of-16 throws for 208 yards and three TDs in MSU's 42-3 victory at Illinois. His .938 completion percentage set the school single-game record and marked the seventh-best single-game total in Big Ten history. Cook's 264.8 passing efficiency rating against Illinois ranks as the fifth-best single-game total posted by a quarterback in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision this season and the best against a BCS opponent. He finished the game with 11-straight completions for 185 yards, including scoring tosses of 29 yards to Fowler, 13 yards to Price and a career-long 47 yards to Mumphery. It marked the first time a Spartan quarterback had completed 11 passes in a row since Kirk Cousins against Notre Dame in 2011. Cook completed passes to 10 different receivers. He led the Spartans to TDs on six consecutive possessions.
Cook hit 22-of-31 throws for 235 yards, two TDs and an interception in MSU's 42-28 Homecoming victory over Indiana. He threw TD passes of 11 yards to Jeremy Langford and 34 yards to Fowler in the second quarter. He completed passes to 11 different receivers.
Cook set career highs for pass completions (25), pass attempts (44) and passing yards (277) in MSU's 26-14 win at Iowa in his Big Ten debut. His 277 passing yards mark the second-highest single-game total by a Spartan quarterback against Iowa (Brian Hoyer threw for 308 yards at Iowa in 2007). Cook completed scoring strikes of 46 yards to Macgarrett Kings Jr. and 37 yards to Fowler. His 37-yard TD toss to Fowler gave MSU the lead for good at 17-14 early in the third quarter. He completed passes to nine different receivers. Cook also rushed six times for 21 yards to account for a career-best 298 total yards. He attempted 119 passes before throwing his first interception of the 2013 season (fourth quarter at Iowa).
In his first career road start at No. 22 Notre Dame, he hit 16-of-32 passes for 135 yards, including a 12-yard TD toss to Kings midway through the second quarter.
The Hinckley, Ohio, native recorded his first career 200-yard passing game in MSU's 55-17 victory over Youngstown State, completing 15-of-22 passes for 202 yards and a career-best four TDs. Cook became the first Spartan QB to throw four TD passes in a game since Brian Hoyer against Penn State in 2007. He also became the first MSU QB to throw four TD passes in a half since Drew Stanton had four scoring tosses in the first half at Illinois in 2005. Cook threw TD passes of 13 yards to Andre Sims Jr., 12 to Trevon Pendleton, 24 to Kings and 17 to Fowler. He finished with 227 total yards (202 passing and 25 rushing).
PLAYMAKERS BEGIN TO EMERGE IN THE PASSING GAME -
He led the team in receptions for the third-straight game, with four catches for a career-best 71 yards against Minnesota. During the three-game stretch, Lippett has 11 receptions for 202 yards (67.3 yards per game).
He had a team-best three receptions for 64 yards at Northwestern, including a career-long 48-yard grab on the opening play of the second half that set up a field goal.
Lippett led the team with four catches for a career-best 67 yards at Nebraska, including a 34-yard grab on a third-and-5 play early in the third quarter (drive resulted in a TD).
He had five receptions for 62 yards against Michigan.
The 6-3, 191-pound Lippett finished with a team-high five catches for 49 yards against Purdue. He also threw his first career TD pass, a 5-yard toss to junior tight end Andrew Gleichert in the fourth quarter.
Lippett had a career-high six receptions for 64 yards against Indiana.
Sophomore Macgarrett Kings Jr. ranks second on the team in receptions with 34 for 394 yards (11.6 avg.) and three TD receptions. Kings also ranks among the team leaders in third-down catches (second with 13) and 20-yard receptions (third with four). Twenty-one of his 34 receptions (62 percent) have resulted in either a TD or a first down. He has caught at least one pass in each of MSU's 12 games this season. Over his last 10 games, Kings has 30 catches for 356 yards and three scores.
The 5-foot-10, 186-pound Kings matched his career high with five receptions for 28 yards in Michigan State's 42-28 Homecoming win over Indiana. It marked the third-straight game that Kings had five catches (five for 37 yards and a TD at Notre Dame; and five for 94 yards and a score at Iowa).
In MSU's 26-14 victory at Iowa, Kings tied his career high with five receptions for a career-best 94 yards, including a 46-yard TD grab from Connor Cook in the second quarter. It marked both a career-long reception for Kings as well as the longest offensive play from scrimmage for the Spartans this season. He also returned three punts for 53 yards, including a 30-yard return in the third quarter that set up Michael Geiger's 35-yard field goal. Kings accounted for a career-best 147 all-purpose yards against the Hawkeyes.
Fifth-year senior Bennie Fowler leads the team in receiving yards (496), TD catches (6) and 20-yard receptions (8). He ranks third on the team in receptions with 31. Twenty-one of his 31 receptions (68 percent) have resulted in either a TD or a first down. Over his last nine games, Fowler has 28 catches for 462 yards and six TDs (Note: He sat out the Purdue game with a hamstring injury.)
He had two catches for 99 yards in MSU's 30-6 win at Northwestern, including an 87-yard TD reception from Cook in the second quarter that tied the fourth-longest pass play in MSU history.
He led the team with six receptions for 75 yards in MSU's 29-6 victory over No. 23 Michigan, including a 14-yard TD grab from Cook in the back, right corner of the end zone with 23 seconds left in the first half that gave the Spartans a 13-6 halftime lead. His 25-yard reception on a third-and-12 play early in the fourth quarter set up Cook's 1-yard TD run.
Fowler caught two passes for 40 yards at Illinois, including an acrobatic 29-yard TD grab from Cook with nine seconds left in the first half that gave MSU a 14-3 halftime lead.
On a third-and-6 play midway through the second quarter against Indiana, he scored on a 34-yard crossing route from Cook. It marked the second-straight game that Fowler recorded a TD reception of over 30 yards.
The 6-1, 212-pound Fowler had a career-high nine receptions for 92 yards at Iowa, including a 37-yard TD reception from Cook in the third quarter that gave the Spartans the lead for good at 17-14.
LANGFORD ECLIPSES 1,000-YARD RUSHING MILESTONE -
The 6-foot, 206-pound Langford recorded his seventh-straight 100-yard rushing game with 21 carries for 134 yards and a touchdown in Michigan State's 14-3 victory over Minnesota, as the Spartans finished the Big Ten schedule with a perfect 8-0 record for the first time in school history. His seven-consecutive 100-yard rushing games ties Lorenzo White's single-season record set in 1985. Langford scored his 16 rushing TD of the season on a 15-yard run in the first quarter. He ripped off a career-long 44-yard run late in the fourth quarter. Langford has rushed for 899 yards during his seven-game streak, averaging 128.4 yards per game.
He produced 150 yards and two scores on 25 rushes in MSU's 30-6 victory at Northwestern. With his 20-yard TD run midway through the second quarter, Langford became the 22nd 1,000-yard rusher in Spartan history (14 different players). He iced the game with a 37-yard scoring run early in the fourth quarter. Langford accounted for a career-best 185 all-purpose, with two catches for 35 yards including a career-long 24-yard grab in the third quarter.
He set career highs for carries (32), rushing yards (151) and rushing touchdowns (3) in MSU's 41-28 win at Nebraska. Langford scored on runs of 6, 3 and 37 yards. He added four receptions for 23 yards.
He recorded his four-straight 100-yard rushing game with 26 carries for 120 yards in Michigan State's 29-6 victory over No. 23 Michigan. Langford closed out the scoring with a 40-yard touchdown run with 2:43 left in the fourth quarter, as he carried seven times for 62 yards on MSU's eight-play, 97-yard drive. He became the first 100-yard rusher against the Michigan defense this season.
Langford carried 22 times for 104 yards in MSU's 42-3 win at Illinois, including TD runs of 1 and 7 yards. He ran 24 times for a career-best 131 yards in MSU's 14-0 victory over Purdue.
Langford earned Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week honors after posting his first career 100-yard rushing game in MSU's 42-28 Homecoming victory over Indiana, with 23 carries for 109 yards and a personal-best three rushing touchdowns. He scored on runs of 5, 2 and career-long 32 yards. Langford accounted for a career-best four TDs, including his first career TD reception on an 11-yard screen pass from Connor Cook early in the second quarter.
He gained 68 yards on 14 attempts in MSU's 17-13 loss at No. 22 Notre Dame.
Langford rushed 15 times for 68 yards and two scores in MSU's 55-17 victory over Youngstown State. He scored on runs of 3 and 2 yards against the Penguins.
In his first career start at tailback, Langford picked up 94 yards on 20 carries in MSU's 26-13 season-opening win over Western Michigan. Langford also scored his first career offensive touchdown on a 2-yard run late in the first half against the Broncos.
DENNARD NAMED FINALIST FOR BRONKO NAGURSKI TROPHY & JIM THORPE AWARD -
Dennard, who has accepted an invitation to play in the Senior Bowl, leads the Spartans in passes defended (12) and pass break-ups (8) and is tied for first in interceptions (4). He ranks fourth on the team in tackles (56) and fifth in production points (189). Dennard has been credited with 2.5 tackles for losses (6 yards) and ranks mong the Big Ten leaders in interceptions (tied for third) and passes defended (tied for seventh at 1.0 per game). He helps anchor a defensive unit that ranks among the NCAA FBS Top 10 in six different stat categories: rushing defense (first at 64.8 yards per game), total defense (first at 237.7 ypg.), passing efficiency defense (first with 91.8 rating), scoring defense (fourth at 11.8 points per game), turnover margin (fifth at +1.3 per game) and passing defense (ninth at 172.9 ypg.).
On Senior Day against Minnesota in his last appearance at Spartan Stadium, Dennard tied his career high with nine tackles and also recorded his eighth pass break-up of the season.
He recorded a career-best nine tackles and an interception in Michigan State's 30-6 victory at Northwestern, as the Spartans claimed the Big Ten Legends Division title for the second time in three seasons. It marked Dennard's personal best fourth interception of the season and 10th of his career. MSU's defense pitched a shutout in the second half against the Wildcats while allowing just seven first downs and 95 total yards.
Dennard produced an impressive all-around effort in the win over No. 23 Michigan, as MSU held the Wolverines out of the end zone for the second consecutive season. He picked off a Devin Gardner pass at the 3-yard line in the fourth quarter, and the Spartans proceeded to march 97 yards on an eight-play touchdown drive to seal the 29-6 victory. Dennard also forced a fumble and collected four tackles against the Wolverines.
Dennard produced seven tackles in Michigan State's 14-0 victory over Purdue, including a half tackle for loss (1 yard). MSU's defense recorded its first shutout since 2011 (44-0 over Florida Atlantic) and its first against a Big Ten opponent since 1999 (34-0 at Northwestern).
He totaled five tackles, a quarterback hurry and a pass break-up in MSU's 42-28 Homecoming win over Indiana, as the Spartans limited IU to season lows in passing offense (259 yards) and total offense (351). The Hoosiers entered the game ranked ninth in the nation in total offense (535.0 ypg.) and 10th in passing offense (346.0 ypg.).
Dennard was selected Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week after recording eight tackles and a career-high two interceptions in MSU's 26-14 win at Iowa. The Spartan defense limited the Hawkeyes to 264 total yards - 183 yards below their season average. In addition, MSU held Iowa to 23 yards rushing (1.4 yards per carry) - 221 yards below its season average. Michigan State shut out the Hawkeyes in the second half, as Iowa managed just six first downs, 6 rushing yards and 104 total yards in the final two quarters. Dennard's second interception at the 5:25 mark in the fourth quarter helped ice the game, and it marked the third multi-interception game of his career (2012 Outback Bowl vs. Georgia, 2012 vs. Nebraska).
The Dry Branch, Ga., native was credited with five tackles, including a half tackle for loss (2 yards), a QB hurry and two pass break-ups in MSU's 21-6 victory over South Florida. In the season opener, Dennard matched his career-high with three pass break-ups in MSU's 26-13 win over Western Michigan.
Dennard is in his third season as a starting cornerback for the Spartans. He has collected 161 tackles and 28 passes defended (18 pass break-ups, 10 interceptions) in 42 career games, including 38 starts (27 consecutive).
ALLEN ANCHORS NATION'S TOP DEFENSIVE UNIT -
Playing in Spartan Stadium for the final time on Senior Day, Allen tied his career high with 13 tackles, including two for losses (7 yards), as Michigan State completed its first-ever 8-0 Big Ten season with a 14-3 victory over Minnesota.
Allen, who set season highs for tackles for loss (3 for 20 yards) and sacks (2 for 18) in Michigan State's 29-6 victory over No. 23 Michigan, was named Walter Camp Football Foundation National Defensive Player of the Week. He also earned Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week honors after matching his season high with nine tackles against the Wolverines.
Michigan State limited the Wolverines to minus-48 yards rushing - the lowest single-game rushing total in U-M history. It also marked the fewest rushing yards allowed by MSU under head coach Mark Dantonio and tied for the third-fewest allowed in school history (school-record minus-63 rushing yards by Pittsburgh in 1960; minus-60 rushing yards by Pittsburgh in 1981; minus-48 rushing yards by Northwestern in 1983). It also marked the fewest rushing yards allowed by an NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision team this season. The Spartans recorded season highs in tackles for loss (11 for 65 yards) and sacks (7 for 49). MSU recorded tackles for loss on the last three plays of the third quarter, including 1.5 sacks by Allen.
The Spartans permitted just 12 first downs and 168 total yards against the Wolverines. Michigan gained 51 yards on the game-opening drive and managed just 117 yards on its next 11 possessions. The Wolverines went just 2-of-14 on third-down conversions.
Allen recorded five tackles, with 2.5 resulting in losses (9 yards) including an 8-yard sack, in MSU's 42-3 win at Illinois. The Spartans held the Illini to eight first downs, 25 rushing yards (1.2 yards per carry) and 128 total yards. In the second half, MSU limited Illinois to only one first down and 18 total yards. Allen registered eight tackles and scored his first career touchdown, returning a fumble 45 yards for a score in the second quarter, in MSU's 14-0 victory over Purdue. MSU's defense recorded its first shutout since 2011 (44-0 over Florida Atlantic) and its first against a Big Ten opponent since 1999 (34-0 at Northwestern). The Spartans limited Purdue to three first downs, 7 rushing yards (10 carries) and 113 total yards in the second half.
He recorded a team-high eight tackles, including two for losses (5 yards), in MSU's 42-28 Homecoming victory over Indiana. Allen also was credited with two quarterback hurries, as the Spartans limited IU to season lows in passing offense (259 yards) and total offense (351). The Hoosiers entered the game ranked ninth in the nation in total offense (535.0 ypg.) and 10th in passing offense (346.0 ypg).
Allen recorded a season-high nine tackles including a half tackle for loss (2 yards), in a 17-3 loss at No. 22 Notre Dame. MSU limited the Irish to 14 first downs, 82 rushing yards on 32 attempts (2.6 avg.) and 224 total yards. Notre Dame's 224 total yards marked the lowest figure in Brian Kelly's tenure as the Irish head coach.
He tallied eight stops, including a 2-yard sack, and two QB hurries in MSU's 21-6 win over South Florida. The Spartan defense allowed 12 first downs, 89 rushing yards, 66 passing yards and 155 total yards against USF, as the Bulls went one-of-13 (.077) on third-down conversions.
Allen produced five tackles, including a 6-yard sack, in MSU's 26-13 victory over Western Michigan in the season opener. The Spartan defense limited WMU to 11 rushing yards on 27 carries (0.4 avg.).
The Hamilton, Ohio, native ranks among MSU's all-time leaders in tackles for loss (third with 44.5) and sacks (sixth with 19.5). Allen has started 38 consecutive games at linebacker - the second-longest active streak on the team.
CALHOUN NAMED BIG TEN DEFENSIVE LINEMAN OF THE YEAR -
Calhoun also was named one of six finalists for the Ted Hendricks Award, which is given annually to the nation's top defensive end. He was added to the 2013 Paul Hornung Award Watch List after Week 3, which is awarded to the nation's most versatile player, and was named a Midseason All-American by SI.com (second team) and Phil Steele (second team).
The 6-foot-4, 250-pound Calhoun produced a career-high seven tackles, including 2.5 for losses (12 yards) and a half sack (1 yard), in Michigan State's home finale against Minnesota, as the Spartans held the Gophers to a season-low three points.
He recorded career highs in tackles (6), tackles for loss (3 for 19 yards) and sacks (2.5 for 17) in Michigan State's 29-6 win over No. 23 Michigan. He also was credited with two QB hurries and a career-best seven QB hits.
The Middletown, N.J., native produced three tackles, including 1.5 for losses (8 yards), and forced a fumble in MSU's 42-3 victory at Illinois. Early in the second quarter, he disrupted a reverse in the backfield, tackling Ryan Lankford for a 7-yard lose and forcing a fumble that Marcus Rush recovered at the Illini 23. Four plays later, Jeremy Langford scored on a 1-yard run to give the Spartans the lead for good at 7-3.
Calhoun contributed two tackles, including a 3-yard sack, two QB hurries and three QB hits in MSU's 14-0 win over Purdue. MSU's defense recorded its first shutout since 2011 (44-0 over Florida Atlantic) and its first against a Big Ten opponent since 1999 (34-0 at Northwestern). The Spartans limited Purdue to three first downs, 7 rushing yards (10 carries) and 113 total yards in the second half.
He was credited with three tackles, including a half tackle for loss, four QB hurries and a career-best six QB hits in MSU's 26-14 victory at Iowa.
Calhoun collected several weekly honors after scoring two touchdowns and recording two tackles for loss, including a 9-yard sack, in MSU's 21-6 win over South Florida on Sept. 7 at Spartan Stadium. He totaled 43.5 production points against the Bulls.
Calhoun was named the Walter Camp Football Foundation National Defensive Player of the Week, Chuck Bednarik Award National Defensive Player of the Week, FWAA/Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week, CBSSports.com National Defensive Player of the Week and College Football Performance Awards National Defensive Performer of the Week. He also was selected CFPA National Defensive Lineman of the Week and Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week. In additon, Calhoun was listed on the Paul Hornung Award Honor Roll for Week 2.
Calhoun scored two touchdowns against USF, returning a fumble 4 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter and his first career interception 56 yards for another score in the third quarter. He was credited with three solo tackles against the Bulls, with two resulting in losses (12 yards) including a 9-yard sack, and two quarterback hurries. Michigan State's defense allowed 12 first downs, 89 rushing yards (2.5 yards per carry), 66 passing yards and 155 total yards against South Florida.
In 12 games, Calhoun has scored three defensive TDs, as he also returned a fumble 16 yards against Western Michigan. His three defensive TDs tie a modern-day Michigan State single-season record (games dating back to 1946), and he became the first Spartan to accomplish the feat in the first two games of the season. Calhoun is the first Spartan defensive player to score three TDs in one season since linebacker T.J. Turner accounted for three in 12 games in 1999 (88-yard interception return at Purdue; 26-yard fumble return at Northwestern; and 24-yard fumble return vs. Florida in 2000 Florida Citrus Bowl).
Calhoun is one of only two defensive players in the Football Bowl Subdivision this season to score three touchdowns this season.
Max Bullough: MAN IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NATION'S TOP DEFENSE -
In his last appearance in Spartan Stadium, Bullough recorded nine tackles, including a 2-yard loss, as Michigan State completed its first-ever 8-0 Big Ten season with a 14-3 victory over Minnesota. Bullough also compiled nine tackles in the win at Nebraska on Nov. 16.
Bullough was named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week after recording a season-high 10 tackles in Michigan State's 14-0 win over Purdue, with two resulting in losses including a 7-yard sack that produced a fumble that senior Denicos Allen recovered and returned 45 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter. Bullough reached double-figure tackles for the seventh time in his career.
Bullough has led the Spartans in tackles the previous two seasons (89 in 2011; career-high 111 in 2012). He was re-elected as team captain and is just the third Spartan to be named a captain at least twice in the Dantonio era (Greg Jones, 2009-10; Kirk Cousins, 2009-11).
The Traverse City, Mich., native has 296 career tackles in 52 games, including a team-high 39 consecutive starts. He ranks 11th in MSU history with 30 tackles for loss (100 yards) in his career, including 7.5 sacks (48 yards), and ranks 19th in the school record book in tackles (296). Bullough also has 11 passes defended (three interceptions, eight pass break-ups) and four forced fumbles.
Bullough is also the eighth player in program history to earn multiple Academic All-America honors. The finance major, who owns a 3.56 grade-point average, garnered first-team honors this year after landing on the second team last season.
ALL-AMERICA CANDIDATE Mike Sadler A VALUABLE WEAPON ON SPECIAL TEAMS -
An All-America candidate, Sadler has been a valuable weapon on special teams for the Spartans, as he ranks third in the Big Ten and 37th in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision in punting with his 42.4-yard average. He leads the FBS with 22 punts downed inside the 10-yard line (34 percent) and ranks tied for third with 29 inside the 20 (45 percent). Sadler also has had eight punts downed inside the 5, including three at the 1-yard line. In addition, he has 12 punts of 50-plus yards and opponents have collected just 94 punt return yards against the Spartans through 12 games.
Sadler averaged 40.6 yards on seven punts, including four kicks placed inside the 10-yard line, in Michigan State's 41-28 win at Nebraska, as the Spartans claimed at least a share of the Big Ten Legends Division title. His 56-yard punt in the first quarter was fumbled away to the Spartans at the Nebraska 8 and led to MSU's first touchdown. His 35-yard punt in the third quarter was downed by Kurtis Drummond at the Nebraska 1, and Tommy Armstrong Jr. fumbled on the next play, setting up another MSU touchdown. Midway through the fourth quarter, Sadler ran 3 yards on a fake field goal for a first down to set up Connor Cook's 27-yard touchdown pass to Keith Mumphery.
In the 29-6 victory over Michigan, Sadler placed three of his five punts inside the 20, including two inside the 10. He dropped his only punt at Illinois, a 54-yarder, on the Illini 8-yard line, and placed three of his seven punts inside the 10 against Purdue.
He was named the Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week for the third time in his career and also the College Football Performance Awards' National Punter of the Week after averaging a career-best 59.2 yards on four punts in the win over Indiana, including a season-long 69 yarder in the fourth quarter.
Sadler downed four of his seven punts inside the 20 against South Florida, including a career-high four inside the 10 and three inside the 5. Overall against the Bulls, he totaled seven punts for 319 yards (45.6 average).
In the season opener against Western Michigan, Sadler placed a career-high six punts inside the 20 and tied his career high with 11 punts (38.5 avg.; 423 yards).
A native of Grand Rapids, Mich., Sadler is in his third season as Michigan State's starting punter. He owns a career average of 42.4 yards per punt, which ranks sixth in MSU history. He was a first-team All-Big Ten selection by the coaches as a sophomore in 2012 after leading the conference and ranking 21st in the FBS, averaging 43.3 yards per punt.
Sadler is also the first player in program history to earn Academic All-America honors three times. A second-team selection in 2011 and 2012, Sadler garnered first-team accolades this season. Sadler, who graduated in May with a bachelor's degree in applied engineering sciences while maintaining a 3.97 grade-point average, is currently pursuing his Ph.D in economics.
BULLOUGH NAMED TO 2013 NATIONAL FOOTBALL FOUNDATION SCHOLAR-ATHLETE CLASS -
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.
Bullough becomes the sixth NFF National Scholar-Athlete in Michigan State history and the first since quarterback Kirk Cousins earned the honor in 2011. A finance major, Bullough currently owns a 3.56 GPA.
TWO SPARTANS EARN ACADEMIC ALL-AMERICA HONORS -
A total of four Spartans - sophomore offensive lineman Jack Allen, Bullough, red-shirt freshman tight end Josiah Price and Sadler - were nominated for the Capital One Academic All-District 5 Team as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). Bullough and Sadler also were named to the Academic All-District 5 Team.
To be nominated for the Capital One 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.
DANTONIO SWEEPS BIG TEN COACH OF THE YEAR HONORS -
Dantonio was named one of 16 semifinalists for the Maxwell Football Club Coach of the Year.
Dantonio owns a 62-29 (.681) record at Michigan State. He already ranks among MSU's all-time leaders in career wins (fourth) and winning percentage (fifth).
Among Spartan coaches who have coached at least 10 Big Ten games, Dantonio owns the best winning percentage (.679, 38-18 record). "Biggie" Munn went 5-1 in his only Big Ten season in 1953.
Dantonio has four nine-win seasons at Michigan State, the most by any coach in school history (9 in 2008, 11 in 2010, 11 in 2011, 11 in 2013); "Biggie" Munn (1951, 1952, 1953) and Duffy Daugherty (1955, 1965, 1966) each had three nine-win seasons at MSU. Dantonio is the only coach in MSU history to lead multiple teams to double-digit win seasons (11 in 2010, 2011 and 2013).
Since 2007, Dantonio has helped produce 26 first-team All-Big Ten selections, four consensus First-Team All-Americans (2008: RB Javon Ringer; 2009-10: LB Greg Jones; and 2011: DT Jerel Worthy) and 13 NFL Draft picks, including six in 2012. It marked the most NFL Draft selections for the Spartans since seven players were taken in 2000.
From his first day on the job, Dantonio has pledged to support student-athletes as they pursue excellence, both in the classroom and on the playing field. In his first six seasons, more than 80 percent (86 of 106) of his Michigan State players who have completed their eligibility have earned their undergraduate degrees. In addition, 70 Spartans have earned Academic All-Big Ten honors, including six Academic All-American selections (Blair White, 2009 second team; Mike Sadler, 2013 first team, 2012 second team, 2011 second team; Max Bullough, 2013 first team, 2012 second team).
Under Mark Dantonio, Michigan State has produced a 38-11 record (.776) in home games, including a 15-game winning streak (7-0 in 2010, 7-0 in 2011, won first game in 2012). The Spartans have won 23 of their last 28 home games.
Dantonio has led Michigan State to Top 25 finishes in three of the last five seasons (2008: No. 24 both polls; 2010: No. 14 both polls; and 2011: No. 10 USA TODAY/No. 11 AP).
Dantonio was named the Big Ten Coach of the Year in 2010 after leading the Spartans to a share of the Big Ten Championship and a school-record 11 wins. He was also selected the National Coach of the Year by Rivals.com, Scout.com and CBSSports.com, and was named a finalist for the Paul "Bear" Bryant, Eddie Robinson and Liberty Mutual National Coach of the Year Awards. In 2008, Dantonio was named one of 15 finalists for the George Munger Coach of the Year Award after leading MSU to a 9-3 regular-season mark.
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