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Holiday Bowl Game Notes: No. 16 Michigan State vs. No. 18 Washington State

Dec. 21, 2017

San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl: No. 16 Michigan State (9-3, 7-2 B1G) vs. No. 18 Washington State (9-3, 6-3 Pac-12)
 Date | Time Thursday, Dec. 28 | 9:05 p.m. EST/6:05 p.m. PST
 Location San Diego, Calif.
San Diego County Credit Union Stadium (66,000/Natural Grass)
 Television FS1
 Broadcast Team Gus Johnson (play-by-play) | Joel Klatt (analyst) | Jenny Taft (sideline)
 Mobile/Internet Coverage FOX Sports Go | Gametracker
 Radio Spartan Sports Network (Listen Live) | Affiliates
 Satellite Radio National broadcast on Ch. 83 (SiriusXM.com)
 Radio (Mobile) Broadcast available on Spartan Sports Network Mobile App: iPhone/iPad | Android
 Holiday Bowl Information Official Holiday Bowl Website
 Tickets Available at msuspartans.com
 Game Notes Michigan State | Washington State
 Series Information MSU leads, 5-2
 Social Media @MSU_Football | Facebook

FIRST-AND-10 –
• No. 16 Michigan State is making its first appearance in the San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl as the Spartans will take on No. 18 Washington State at SDCCU Stadium on Thursday, Dec. 28 at 9 p.m. EST. The game will be televised nationally on FS1, with Gus Johnson, Joel Klatt and Jenny Taft on the call. MSU closed the regular season on a two-game winning streak with victories over Maryland and Rutgers to enter the Holiday Bowl with a 9-3 overall record, including a 7-2 mark in conference play to tie for second place in the Big Ten East Division. The Cougars are also 9-3 overall and went 6-3 in league action, finishing third in the Pac-12 North Division.

• Now in his 11th season as head coach of the Spartans, Mark Dantonio owns a 99-45 (.688) record. He is looking to win his 100th game at Michigan State in the Holiday Bowl, which would make him just the eighth active FBS coach to own 100 wins at his current school. For the fourth time in his career, Dantonio was named a semifinalist in 2017 for the George Munger College Coach of the Year, presented by the Maxwell Football Club. Dantonio has won the most Big Ten Championships (three) and bowl games (four) of any Spartan head coach and also ranks first with 10 bowl appearances. He is the only active Big Ten coach to win multiple Big Ten Championships (2010, 2013, 2015), claim a victory in the Rose Bowl (2014), and coach in the College Football Playoff (2015).

• The 2017 Spartans are looking to become just the eighth team in school history to record double-digit wins in a single season. The Spartans have recorded at least 11 wins five times under 11th-year head coach Mark Dantonio (11 in 2010, 11 in 2011, school-record 13 in 2013, 11 in 2014, 12 in 2015) and won 10 games in 1965 and 1999.

• Michigan State is making its 27th all-time appearance in a bowl game and its 10th under Dantonio, the most bowl games of any coach in program history. MSU set a school record with nine consecutive bowl appearances from 2017-15, including a school-record four-game winning streak (2011 Outback Bowl over No. 18 Georgia; 2012 Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl over TCU; 2014 Rose Bowl over No. 5 Stanford; 2015 Cotton Bowl over No. 4 Baylor). MSU is 11-15 all-time in bowl games and 4-5 under Dantonio.

• The Spartans are 5-1 in bowl games in the state of California. MSU owns the highest winning percentage of any team with at least five appearances in the Rose Bowl (.800 at 4-1) and also won the 2001 Silicon Valley Bowl over Fresno State in San Jose, California. The Holiday Bowl marks MSU’s first-ever game in San Diego.

• The Holiday Bowl marks the eighth meeting between Michigan State and Washington State. MSU leads the all-time series, 5-2, with the last meeting taking place in 1977. It will be the first meeting between the two teams in a bowl game, and it will also be the first matchup between Mark Dantonio and WSU coach Mike Leach as head coaches; Dantonio was the defensive coordinator at Ohio State in 2002 when Leach was the head coach at Texas Tech.

• The second-winningest coach in school history with 99 victories, trailing only Hall of Famer Duffy Daugherty (109), Mark Dantonio also ranks first in program history in conference winning percentage (.667, 60-30 record, minimum 10 games), second in Big Ten wins (60), home wins (59) and AP Top 25 victories (19), tied for second in AP Top 25 finishes (six), and fifth in overall winning percentage (.688).

• According to the NCAA, MSU played the 19th-toughest schedule in the regular season (opposition with a 73-55 record; .570). The Spartans played four teams in the final College Football Playoff rankings, including a victory over No. 9 Penn State.

• Since the College Football Playoff first started in 2014, Michigan State has appeared in the rankings 19 times, third most in the Big Ten and tied for seventh most in the FBS. MSU finished No. 8 in 2014, No. 3 in 2015 and No. 16 in 2017.

• A trademark of Mark Dantonio’s Michigan State teams has been their ability to produce wins late in the season. Under Dantonio, Michigan State has compiled a 34-17 record (.677) in November, December and January. His teams have won 22 of the last 30 games in November (3-0 in 2010; 4-0 in 2011; 1-2 in 2012; 4-0 in 2013; 3-1 in 2014; 3-1 in 2015; 1-3 in 2016; 3-1 in 2017).

COACHES:
Michigan State: Mark Dantonio
Record at MSU: 99-45 (11th year)
Overall record: 117-62 (14th year)

Washington State: Mike Leach
WSU Record: 38-37 (16th year)
Overall Record: 122-80 (16th year)

STAT LEADERS –
Michigan State:
Rushing – LJ Scott (183 carries for 788 yards, 4.3 avg, 6 TDs)
Passing – Brian Lewerke (233-of-396, .588, 2,580 yards, 17 TDs, 7 INTs)
Receiving – Felton Davis III (51 catches for 658 yards, 12.9 avg., 8 TDs)
Tackles – Joe Bachie (94 tackles, 42 solo, 52 assists, 8.5 TFLs, 3.5 sacks, 2 FF, 1 FR, 3 INTs, 2 PBUs)

Washington State:
Rushing – Jamal Morrow (86 carries for 522 yards, 6.1 avg, 4 TDs)
Passing – Luke Falk (357-of-534 for 3,593 yards, 30 TDs, 13 INTs)
Receiving – James Williams (61 catches for 417 yards, 6.8 avg, 3 TDs)
Tackles – Jalen Thompson (69 tackles, 44 solo, 25 assists, 5.5 TFLs, 4 INTs, 2 PBUs, 3 FR)

A GLANCE AT WASHINGTON STATE (9-3, 6-3 PAC-12) –
• The Cougars are 9-3 overall and 6-3 in Pac-12 action, finishing third in the Pac-12 North Division. In its regular-season finale on Nov. 25, WSU lost in the Apple Cup at in-state rival No. 15 Washington, 41-14, spoiling Wazzu’s chance to play in the Pac-12 Championship game. That loss snapped a two-game win streak for the Cougars after beating No. 18 Stanford, 24-21, on Nov. 4 and Utah, 33-25, on Nov. 11.

• Washington State is 2-1 against ranked teams this season, beating No. 5 USC, 30-27, on Sept. 29 and No. 18 Stanford, 24-21, on Nov. 4, while losing to No. 15 Washington 41-14.

• Mike Leach has a 38-37 record in his sixth season at the leash of the Cougars, and has a 122-80 overall record in his 16th season as a head coach.

• Washington State is making its third straight bowl appearance and fourth in six years under Leach, marking the first time a coach has done either at WSU. It also marks the 14th overall bowl game for the Cougar program. Last season, WSU fell to Minnesota in the Holiday Bowl, 17-12, after defeating Miami in the 2015 Sun Bowl. Previously WSU has played in the Rose Bowl (1916, 1931, 1998, 2003), the Holiday Bowl (1981, 2003), the Aloha Bowl (1988), the Copper Bowl (1992), the Alamo Bowl (1994), the Sun Bowl (2001, 2015) and the 2013 New Mexico Bowl. The Cougars are 7-6 in bowl games all time.

• The Cougars are making their second straight and fourth overall appearance in the Holiday Bowl. Last season WSU fell to Minnesota, while it defeated No. 5 Texas in 2003 and narrowly fell to No. 14 BYU in 1981.

• In the Apple Cup loss to Washington, WSU got down 24-0 at halftime and was losing 34-0 through three quarters before scoring twice in the fourth quarter, sandwiched around a UW touchdown. The Cougars had 345 yards of total offense, with 369 passing but -24 rushing. Washington posted 421 yards of total offense with 328 rushing and 93 passing.

• On the season, Washington State is second in the FBS in passing offense (374.8 ypg). The Cougars average 71.7 rushing yards per game, for 446.4 yards of total offense per game, ranking 32nd in the FBS. WSU is 41st in the country in scoring offense (31.4 ppg).

• Defensively, WSU is 15th in the FBS in total defense (313.6 ypg), ranking ninth the nation in passing defense (167.4 ypg) and 42nd in the country in rushing defense (146.2 ypg). The Cougars are 47th in the FBS in scoring defense (24.4 ppg).

• The Washington State defense leads the nation in third-down conversion defense (.248), as opponents are 39-of-157 on third down.

• WSU senior quarterback Luke Falk holds the Pac-12 and WSU career passing record with 14,486 yards, as well as the Pac-12 and WSU record for total offense (14,086), career completions (1,404) and career TD passes (39).

• On the season, Falk leads the FBS in completions per game (29.75), while ranking seventh in the nation in completion percentage (.669) and 10th in passing TDs (30), as well as 11th in passing yards per game (299.4 ypg), 13th in passing yards (3,593), 21st in points responsible for (180), 23rd in points responsible for per game (15.0 ppg) and 25th in total offense (287.2 ypg).

• Falk is 357-of-534 (.669) for 3,593 yards with 30 TDs and 13 INTs, with 67 rushing attempts for -147 yards (-12.2 ypg), including having been sacked 39 times.

• Two of Falk’s primary targets in 2017 are no longer on the WSU roster: junior wide receiver Tavares Martin Jr. and sophomore wide receiver Isaiah Johnson-Mack. Martin led WSU in receptions (70), receiving yards (831), receiving yards per game (75.5) and receiving TDs (9), while Johnson-Mack was second in receiving yards (555) and receiving yards per game (46.2) while ranking tied for second in receiving TDs (5) and third in receptions (60).

• Redshirt sophomore James Williams is the active team leader in receptions with 61 catches for 417 yards (6.8 ypc/34.8 ypg) with three TDs. Fellow running back, senior Jamal Morrow, adds 56 catches for 479 yards (8.6 ypc/39.9 ypg) with five TDs. Junior wide receiver Kyle Sweet is the active leader for a wide receiver, with 50 receptions for 481 yards (9.6 ypc/40.1 ypg) with two TDs.

• Morrow leads WSU’s rushing attack with 522 yards on 86 carries (6.1 ypc/43.5 ypg) with four TDs, while Williams has 89 carries for 381 yards (4.3 ypc/31.8 ypg) with one score.

• Senior left guard Cody O’Connell is the first Cougar offensive lineman in school history to earn first-team All-America honors in multiple seasons. He was an Outland Trophy finalist and unanimous All-American last season, and was named a first-team All-American by the Walter Camp Foundation this season.

• Sophomore safety Jalen Thompson spearheads the Cougar defense with 69 tackles (44 solo/25 assists) with 5.5 tackles for loss. Thompson also leads WSU and is tied for 23rd in FBS with four interceptions, along with three fumble recoveries and two pass break-ups.

• Redshirt freshman linebacker Jahad Woods is second on the team with 61 tackles (30 solo/31 assists), and is also second in TFLs with 11.0, while adding 2.5 sacks, one interception and one forced fumble.

• Junior defensive lineman Hercules Mata’afa leads WSU and ranks sixth in the FBS in tackles for loss with 21.5, as well as 10th in the country with 9.5 sacks. He earned first-team AP All-America honors and was named the AP Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year. He has 43 total tackles (30 solo, 13 assists), adding two forced fumbles. Mata’afa will miss the first half of the Holiday Bowl after being ejected for targeting in the second half of the Apple Cup loss to Washington.

• Senior placekicker Erik Powell is 16th in FBS in field goals per game (1.58) and 30th in field goal percentage (.826), making 19-of-23 on the season with a long of 56 yards. Powell is also 44-of-45 on PATs. Powell also has punted 19 times for a 42.5 ypp average with a long of 64 yards, one of seven punts 50+ yards, with four inside the 20 and one touchback.

MSU/WASHINGTON STATE SERIES NOTES –
• The Holiday Bowl marks the eighth meeting between Michigan State and Washington State. MSU leads the all-time series, 5-2, with the last meeting taking place in 1977. It will be the first meeting between the two teams in a bowl game, and it will also be the first matchup between Mark Dantonio and WSU coach Mike Leach as head coaches; Dantonio was the defensive coordinator at Ohio State in 2002 when Leach was the head coach at Texas Tech.

SPARTANS vs. PAC-12 TEAMS –
• MSU has compiled a 35-21-1 record (.623) against current members of the Pac-12 Conference (3-0 vs. Arizona, 1-1 vs. Arizona State, 2-2 vs. California, 3-0 vs. Colorado, 3-3 vs. Oregon, 6-2-1 vs. Oregon State, 4-2 vs. Stanford, 3-3 vs. UCLA, 4-4 vs. USC, 1-2 vs. Washington and 5-2 vs. Washington State).

SPARTAN BOWL HISTORY –
• Michigan State is making its 27th bowl appearance overall and 10th under 11th-year head coach Mark Dantonio. The Spartans are 11-15 overall (.423) in bowl games and 4-5 under Dantonio.

• Michigan State is playing in a bowl game for the 10th time in the past 11 seasons. MSU played in a school-record nine consecutive bowl games from 2007-15 (2007 Champs Sports Bowl, 2009 Capital One Bowl, 2010 Alamo Bowl, 2011 Capital One Bowl, 2012 Outback Bowl, 2012 Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, 2014 Rose Bowl, 2015 Cotton Bowl Classic, 2015 College Football Playoff Semifinal at Cotton Bowl Classic).

• The Spartans tied a Big Ten record and set a school record with their four-game bowl winning streak (2011 Outback Bowl over No. 18 Georgia; 2012 Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl over TCU; 2014 Rose Bowl over No. 5 Stanford; 2015 Cotton Bowl over No. 4 Baylor).

DANTONIO NO STRANGER TO POSTSEASON PLAY –
Mark Dantonio is making his 25th appearance in postseason play (as a graduate assistant, assistant coach or head coach), including four NCAA I-AA playoffs and 20 bowl games. Dantonio has compiled a 10-10 record in bowl games, including a 5-5 mark as head coach.

• Dantonio will be making his 10th bowl appearance at MSU, extending his school record for most bowl appearances by a head coach (previous record: George Perles with seven from 1983-94). Dantonio is 4-5 in bowl games at Michigan State, including a school-record four-game winning streak (2012 Outback, 2012 Buffalo Wild Wings, 2014 Rose; 2015 Cotton). Dantonio has led his teams to 12 bowl appearances in 14 seasons as a head coach (10 at MSU, two at Cincinnati; did not coach in 2007 International Bowl with UC).

• Dantonio will be coaching in the 21st bowl game of his career in the Holiday Bowl (11th as head coach).

SAN DIEGO/SPARTAN CONNECTIONS –
• Michigan State has nearly 23,000 alumni living in the state of California, including nearly 1,500 in San Diego.

• Former Major League Baseball All-Star Steve Garvey, whose number 6 is retired by the San Diego Padres, played football and baseball at Michigan State. Garvey lettered as a defensive back in 1967 under Hall of Fame Coach Duffy Daugherty and was a 1968 All-American in baseball in his only season in East Lansing before becoming a 10-time Major League Baseball All-Star with the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres. A two-sport athlete, Garvey earned a letter as a defensive back in 1967 while recording 30 tackles. In the spring of 1968, he earned All-America and All-Big Ten honors after hitting .376 with nine home runs and 38 RBIs. Selected in the first round (No. 13 overall) of the 1968 MLB Draft by the Dodgers, Garvey appeared in five World Series and five National League Championship Series throughout his illustrious 19-year career. He was named the 1974 National League MVP and was also a two-time NLCS MVP (1978, 1984). Garvey played in 1,207 consecutive games from 1975-83, which set a National League record. One of the top defensive first baseman in the history of the game, Garvey won four Gold Gloves and his career fielding percentage of .996 currently ranks among the top 10 all-time. Garvey received the Roberto Clemente Award for humanitarian service in 1981 and the Lou Gehrig Award in 1984.

• Former Michigan State quarterback Tony Banks, who started for the Spartans in 1994 and 1995, is from San Diego and attended Hoover High School and San Diego Mesa College. Banks completed 301-of-496 passes for 4,129 yards and 20 touchdowns in his two seasons at MSU, and received the 1995 Downtown Coaches Club Award for most outstanding senior offensive player. He was selected in the second round (No. 42 overall) of the 1996 NFL Draft by the St. Louis Rams and spent nine seasons in the NFL with the Rams (1996-98), Ravens (1999-2000), Redskins (2001) and Texans (2003-05). Banks is one of 26 former Spartans to win a Super Bowl, as the Ravens beat the Giants in Super Bowl XXV in Tampa, Florida.

MSU’S SIX-GAME TURNAROUND TIED FOR BIGGEST IN SCHOOL HISTORY –
• MSU’s six-game win improvement from last season ties a school record (three in 1954 to nine in 1955; four in 1964 to 10 in 1965; seven in 2012 to 13 in 2013). A win in the Holiday Bowl would give the Spartans their biggest turnaround in school history.

GOING BOWLING FOR THE FIRST TIME –
• Michigan State features one of the youngest teams in the nation with 77 underclassmen on its 2017 roster (37 true freshmen, 16 redshirt freshmen, 24 sophomores), to go along with 21 juniors and 15 seniors. Although MSU last played in a bowl game during the 2015 season, the Holiday Bowl will still mark the first bowl trip for 62 players on the team. Only 18 players on MSU’s current roster have played before in a bowl game.

FLOWERS REPRESENTS THE GOLDEN STATE ON SPARTAN ROSTER –
• Michigan State has just one player on its 2017 roster from California: freshman cornerback Emmanuel Flowers (Chino Hills/Ayala High School).

SPARTANS FROM THE GOLDEN STATE, PART II –
• In 121 seasons, California has provided the Michigan State football program with 33 letterwinners. Notable Californians who have worn the Spartan uniform include: quarterback Tony Banks (San Diego, 1994-95), offensive tackle Fou Fonoti (Lakewood, 2011-13), cornerback Demetrice Martin (Pasadena, 1992-95), free safety Thomas Morris (Long Beach, 1980-81), defensive lineman Ogemdi Nwagbuo (San Diego, 2006-07), offensive tackle Siitupe Peko (Whittier, 1999-2000) and quarterback Mike Rasmussen (Fresno, 1970-71).

SENIOR CLASS TIED FOR SIXTH-WINNINGEST IN SCHOOL HISTORY –
• The 2017 Senior Class has helped Michigan State to a 35-16 record since 2014, including three bowl berths (2015 Cotton Bowl, 2015 College Football Playoff Semifinal at Cotton Bowl, 2017 Holiday Bowl) and one Big Ten Championship (2015). The 35 wins rank tied for sixth most by a senior class in school history.

• Michigan State’s 15-member 2017 Senior Class includes: OL Brian Allen (Hinsdale, Ill.), DE Demetrius Cooper (Chicago, Ill.), OT Dennis Finley (Detroit, Mich.), LB Chris Frey (Upper Arlington, Ohio), LB Sean Harrington (Commerce Township, Mich.), RB Gerald Holmes (Flint, Mich.), LB Shane Jones (Cincinnati, Ohio), TE Hussien Kadry (Dearborn, Mich.), WR Brock Makaric (Saginaw, Mich.), OL Nick Padla (Berrien Springs, Mich.), FB Joe Palange (Cleveland, Ohio), PK Brett Scanlon (Dowagiac, Mich.), OG Jeremy Schram (White Lake, Mich.), OG Casey Schreiner (Bethel Park, Pa.) and QB Damion Terry (Erie, Pa.).

SPARTANS LOOKING FOR DOUBLE-DIGIT WIN SEASON –
• The 2017 Spartans are looking to become just the eighth team in school history to record double-digit wins in a single season. The Spartans have recorded at least 11 wins five times under 11th-year head coach Mark Dantonio (11 in 2010, 11 in 2011, school-record 13 in 2013, 11 in 2014, 12 in 2015) and won 10 games in 1965 and 1999.

• In its 121-year football history, Michigan State has won at least nine games in a season 16 times, including a school-record seven under Dantonio. MSU won nine games in the regular season in 2017 for the 13th time; the Spartans claimed Rose Bowl wins during the 1953, 1955 and 1987 seasons in picking up their ninth victory.

MSU WINS SEVEN BIG TEN GAMES FOR THE 10TH TIME IN SCHOOL HISTORY –
• MSU went 7-2 in league play in 2017, recording seven Big Ten wins in a single season for the 10th time since officially joining the league for conference play in 1953 (six-game Big Ten schedule from 1953-64; seven-game from 1965-70; eight-game from 1971-80; nine-game from 1981-84; eight-game from 1985-2015; back to nine games beginning in 2016).

• Dantonio led the Spartans to a school-record eight Big Ten wins in 2013 before winning the Big Ten Championship Game over Ohio State. He has recorded seven conference wins in 2010 (7-1), 2011 (7-1), 2014 (7-1), 2015 (7-1) and 2016 (7-2). [Note: Big Ten Championship Games don’t count in league standings].

• The Spartans went 7-0 in back-to-back seasons in 1965 and 1966 to win Big Ten Conference titles. MSU also went 7-1 in 1978 and 7-0-1 in 1987 en route to conference crowns.

SPARTANS HAVE PLAYED 19TH-TOUGHEST SCHEDULE IN FBS –
• According to the NCAA, MSU played the 19th-toughest schedule in the regular season (opposition with a 73-55 record; .570). The Spartans played four teams in the final College Football Playoff rankings, including a victory over No. 9 Penn State.

FINDING A WAY TO WIN –
• Five of Michigan State’s seven Big Ten wins in 2017 were within one score. Under Dantonio, the Spartans have managed to win their fair share of close games. Since the beginning of the 2010 season, Michigan State is 25-12 (.676) in games decided by one score or less, including all four bowl victories.

SPARTANS FINISH NO. 16 IN COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF RANKINGS –
• Since the College Football Playoff first started in 2014, Michigan State has appeared in the rankings 19 times, third most in the Big Ten and tied for seventh most in the FBS. MSU finished No. 8 in 2014, No. 3 in 2015 and No. 16 in 2017.

• After its win over No. 7 Penn State on Nov. 4, Michigan State made the biggest one-week jump in the four-year history of the College Football Playoff rankings by moving up 12 spots from No. 24 to No. 12.

SPARTANS RANKED FOR EIGHTH CONSECUTIVE WEEK IN AP POLL –
• Michigan State finished the regular season ranked in The Associated Press Top 25 for eight consecutive weeks.

• Michigan State entered the national polls for the first time in 2017 on Oct. 8 following its 14-10 win at No. 7 Michigan. The Spartans debuted at No. 21 in The Associated Press Poll and No. 22 in the Amway Coaches Poll. It marked the first time MSU was ranked since Sept. 25, 2016, when the Spartans were ranked No. 17 in the AP Poll and No. 16 in the Coaches Poll. At that time, MSU had been ranked for a school-record 46 consecutive weeks, spanning back to Oct. 27, 2013. For 33 of those 46 weeks, MSU had been ranked in the Top 10.

• Michigan State is 59-17 (.776) as a ranked team in the AP Poll under Dantonio.

• As a ranked team, Michigan State has only lost to an unranked opponent four times under Dantonio (42-4; at Notre Dame, 2011; at Nebraska, 2015; at Indiana, 2016; at Northwestern, 2017).

PLAYING THROUGH THE ELEMENTS –
• Michigan State has experienced two weather delays in games this season and four of its nine Big Ten games were played in heavy rain or snow.

• On Oct. 7 at No. 7 Michigan, a majority of the second half was played in a torrential downpour as the Spartans came away with the 14-10 victory.

• The next week at Minnesota, the start of the game was delayed 44 minutes due to lightning in MSU’s 30-27 win over the Gophers, but most of the night game was played in rain and temperatures in the low-40s.

• Against No. 7 Penn State on Nov. 4 in East Lansing, the game was delayed for three hours and 22 minutes at the 9:38 mark in the second quarter due to severe weather. The delay started at 1:15 p.m. and play resumed at 4:37 p.m. The game started at 12:05 p.m. and ended at 7:03 p.m. on Matt Coghlin’s game-winning 34-yard field goal as time expired in the 27-24 MSU win over the Nittany Lions.

• In MSU’s home finale vs. Maryland on Nov. 18, the first quarter was played in a steady rain before the temperatures cooled and heavy snow flurries moved into the East Lansing area for the remainder of the contest. The game also featured steady winds all afternoon.

BALL CONTROL –
• Michigan State ranks first in the Big Ten and second in the FBS in time of possession (35:12). The Spartans have led in time of possession in 11 games this season and have led in time of possession in 67 percent of games under Mark Dantonio; the Spartans own an .813 winning percentage (78-18) in those games.

• Although the NCAA doesn’t officially keep track of single-game time of possession records, MSU’s time of possession (47:50 to 12:10) vs. Rutgers on Nov. 25 is believed to be an FBS record. Air Force had the previous record of 45:14 set in 2016 (according to Air Force Athletics).

Brian Lewerke PROVING TO BE A DUAL-THREAT QUARTERBACK –
• In his first full year as the starting quarterback, sophomore Brian Lewerke ranks third in the Big Ten and 38th in the FBS in total offense, averaging 255.5 yards per game (215.0 passing ypg, 40.5 rushing ypg). He led the Spartans in rushing through the first five games of the season and still ranks second among Big Ten quarterbacks in rushing, averaging 40.5 ypg (Ohio State’s J.T. Barrett is first, averaging 56.0 ypg). An honorable mention All-Big Ten choice by the coaches and media, Lewerke also ranks among the Big Ten leaders in passing (fifth at 215.0 ypg) and passing touchdowns (sixth with 17).

• The 6-3, 212-pound Lewerke is 233-of-396 passing (.588) for 2,580 yards, 17 touchdowns and seven interceptions in 12 games this season. He has played in 16 career games (14 starts; 9-5 record).

• Lewerke ranks sixth in an MSU single-season with 3,066 yards of total offense, which is the most by a sophomore in program history. He also ranks fifth in MSU single-season history in pass completions (233) and pass attempts (396), which are also Spartan sophomore records.

• A week after setting numerous school records at Northwestern on Oct. 28, Lewerke had another impressive game against Penn State on Nov. 4, becoming the first Spartan quarterback to throw for 400 yards in back-to-back games. He threw for a school-record 445 yards at Northwestern, and for 400 against Penn State; the 400 yards tied for the second-most yards by a Spartan QB in a single game (Bill Burke with 400 in win over Michigan in 1999). Lewerke became one of just three Big Ten quarterbacks in the last 20 years to throw for 400 yards in two consecutive games (Drew Brees, Purdue, 1998; C.J. Bacher, Northwestern, 2007).

• Lewerke finished the Penn State game 33-of-56 passing, including 9-of-14 for 156 yards on third down. He completed six passes of 20-plus yards. Lewerke also had 425 yards of total offense, second in school history behind only his 475 at Northwestern.

• Lewerke set school single-game records for passing yards (445), total offense (475) and completions (39) in the triple-overtime loss at Northwestern on Oct. 28. His 57 passing attempts also marked a career high and tied for the second most in school history (record: 61 by Brian Hoyer vs. Penn State in 2006); MSU’s previous single-game records were 400 passing yards (Bill Burke vs. Michigan, 1999), 416 yards of total offense (Connor Cook vs. Indiana, 2015) and 35 completions (Jeff Smoker vs. Ohio State, 2003). Lewerke also threw a career-high four touchdowns against the Wildcats, tied for the second most in school history (accomplished 13 previous times). On MSU’s 12-play, 88-yard game-tying touchdown drive at the end of the fourth quarter, Lewerke was 10-of-11 for 88 yards on the drive, capped by a 13-yard touchdown pass to Felton Davis III. Lewerke’s 445 yards passing and 475 total yards against Northwestern are both the most by a Big Ten quarterback in a single game this season.

• Lewerke had 396 yards of total offense (340 passing, 56 rushing) vs. Notre Dame on Sept. 23, the sixth-highest single-game total in the school record book. He also threw for 340 yards against the Irish.

• A true dual-threat quarterback, Lewerke’s 486 rushing yards are fourth most by a Spartan quarterback in a single season. He also has five rushing touchdowns this season. Lewerke has led the Spartans in rushing four times (69 yards vs. Bowling Green; career-high 81 vs. Western Michigan; 42 vs. Iowa; 61 vs. Michigan). He also had 63 yards vs. Maryland, 56 yards vs. Notre Dame and 53 yards vs. Rutgers.

• Lewerke ran for a career-high 81 yards against Western Michigan on Sept. 9, the most by a Spartan quarterback since Drew Stanton had 83 against Purdue in Nov. 4, 2006.

• Lewerke scored his first career rushing touchdown on a 61-yard run in the first quarter vs. WMU, the longest TD run by a Spartan quarterback since Charlie Baggett ran for a 69-yard score on Oct. 27, 1973, vs. Purdue. It tied the longest rush by a Spartan QB since Damon Dowdell also had a 61-yard run against Wisconsin on Nov. 13, 2004; the last time a Spartan QB had a longer run was Bobby McAllister at Purdue (70 yards) on Nov. 5, 1988.

• Lewerke also had a 1-yard TD run in the third quarter vs. WMU to become the first Spartan QB to record two rushing TDs in a single game since Drew Stanton in 2006 against Eastern Michigan (Sept. 9). He finished with 242 yards of total offense against the Broncos, as he was 13-of-21 passing for 161 yards and one touchdown.

• The native of Phoenix, Arizona, recorded his first career win as a starting quarterback in the season-opening victory over Bowling Green while recording then-career highs in passing yards (250), completions (22), attempts (33), passing touchdowns (3) and total offense (319 yards) against the Falcons. Lewerke also rushed eight times for 69 yards.

• Lewerke played in four games and started twice (Northwestern, Maryland) as a redshirt freshman in 2016 before suffering a season-ending injury (broken tibia) in the fourth quarter of the Michigan game on Oct. 29. He bounced back quickly from the injury and fully participated in all of spring practice.

• Last season, Lewerke became the first Spartan freshman quarterback to start a game (Northwestern) since 2004 (Stephen Reaves vs. Central Michigan).

• In 16 career games, Lewerke has completed 58 percent of his passes (264-for-453) for 2,961 yards, 19 touchdowns and eight interceptions. He has 635 career rushing yards on 131 carries (39.7 ypg; 4.8 avg.).

RUNNING GAME KEY FOR SPARTANS UNDER DANTONIO –
• Under Mark Dantonio, Michigan State is 81-17 (.827) when outrushing its opponent, including a 65-10 record (.867) since 2010. Conversely, MSU is 18-28 (.391) under Dantonio when being outgained on the ground by its opponent. The Spartans are 38-6 (.864) in games when gaining 200 or more rushing yards under Dantonio.

LJ Scott LEADS RUSHING ATTACK –
• Junior LJ Scott leads the Spartans in rushing with 788 yards on 183 carries (4.3 avg.). He ranks ninth in the Big Ten with 71.6 rushing yards per game.

• The 6-1, 230-pound Scott is one of 18 Spartan running backs in school history to rush for more than 2,000 career yards and is just 19 yards shy of reaching 2,500 career yards. He eclipsed the 2,000-yard mark during the Minnesota game and currently ranks 12th in the MSU record book with 2,481 rushing yards.

• Scott has two 100-yard rushing games this season (career-high 194 at Minnesota on Oct. 14; 147 vs. Maryland on Nov. 18) and eight for his career.

• Scott also has a career-high 18 receptions for 120 yards (6.7 avg.) to lead the team in all-purpose yards with 908 (82.5 ypg).

• In 37 career games, including 17 starts, Scott has rushed for 2,481 yards (67.1 ypg; 4.8 avg.) and 23 touchdowns. Scott ranks 12th in MSU history in rushing yards (2,481), 13th in carries (513) and tied for 13th in rushing touchdowns (23). His 1,693 rushing yards ranked No. 5 in school history for a player through their sophomore season (Lorenzo White: 2,682 yards in 1984 and 1985).

• Scott posted career highs in rushing yards (194) and carries (25) to lead the Spartans past Minnesota on Oct. 14. Scott also tied his career high with two rushing TDs (24 yards in second quarter; 6 yards in fourth quarter). He became the first Spartan to record a 100-yard rushing game this season. Scott’s previous career high was 160 yards vs. No. 2 Ohio State on Nov. 19, 2016. The 194 yards by Scott were the most rushing yards by a Spartan since the last time MSU played at Minnesota in 2012, when Le’Veon Bell had 266 yards rushing on 35 carries; it was also the fifth most rushing yards by a Spartan against Minnesota. Scott also had a season-high 220 all-purpose yards at Minnesota (one catch for 26 yards).

• Last season, Scott led the Spartans in nearly every rushing category, compiling career highs in rushing yards (994), carries (184) and rushing touchdowns (6). His 82.8 rushing yards per game average ranked eighth in the Big Ten during the regular season and his 86.9 ypg in conference play was sixth best. Scott’s 994 rushing yards were seventh most by a Spartan sophomore in a single season. He also had five 100-yard games, tied for third most in the Big Ten in the regular season, including four of the last six games (109.7 ypg last six games).

Gerald Holmes, Madre London ALSO BRING EXPERIENCE TO THE BACKFIELD –
• In addition to LJ Scott, senior Gerald Holmes and junior Madre London bring significant experience and will see their share of carries in the backfield. Holmes has rushed for 1,300 yards on 289 carries in 38 career games, including 14 starts, while London has 226 carries for 907 career yards in 32 games with eight starts. The trio of Holmes, London and Scott own a combined total of 4,688 rushing yards on 1,028 carries with 45 rushing touchdowns.

Brian Allen: HEART AND SOUL OF SPARTAN OFFENSE –
• Senior center Brian Allen, who has started a team-best 27 consecutive games, has anchored a young Spartan offensive line that features one junior, two sophomores, one redshirt freshman and two true freshmen in its rotation. He was voted a captain by his teammates in 2017 and was also voted the team’s most inspirational player (Biggie Munn Award) on offense.

• Allen was a semifinalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy, which is widely known as the “Academic Heisman,” and was named the recipient of the Michael R. Sadler Award, given to the top Division I football scholar-athlete in the state of Michigan. A three-time Academic All-Big Ten selection, Allen is an economics major with a 3.24 GPA.

• For his career, Allen has played in 50 career games, including a team-high 37 starts (16 at left guard, 16 at center, five at right guard). He has been named second-team All-Big Ten three times in his career and was a first-team All-Big Ten choice this season by Pro Football Focus. He was named to the Pro Football Focus Big Ten Team of the Week four times (vs. Bowling Green, Notre Dame, Northwestern and Ohio State).

• MSU has had a semifinalist for the Campbell Trophy six times in the past seven years. The Spartans had a finalist three of four years from 2011-14 (QB Kirk Cousins in 2011, LB Max Bullough in 2013, P Mike Sadler in 2014). Center Jack Allen (2015) and tight end Josiah Price (2016) were semifinalists the past two seasons.

Felton Davis III LEADS YOUNG RECEIVING CORPS –
• Junior wide receiver Felton Davis III is the veteran of a receiving corps that features one junior (Davis), two sophomores (Trishton Jackson, Darrell Stewart), one redshirt freshman (Cam Chambers) and three true freshmen (Laress Nelson, Hunter Rison, Cody White) in its regular rotation.

• The 6-4, 195-pound native of Richmond, Virginia, leads the Spartans in receptions (51), receiving yards (658) and touchdown catches (8), all of which are career highs and rank among the Big Ten leaders (tied for fourth in TD catches with eight; sixth in receptions at 4.3 pg; seventh in receiving yards at 54.8 ypg). Forty of his 51 receptions (78 percent) have been for either a first down or a touchdown. Davis’ career-high eight TD catches are also tied for 34th in the FBS.

• Davis recorded career highs in catches (12) and receiving yards (181) in the win over No. 7 Penn State on Nov. 4. The 12 catches tied for fourth most in a single game by a Spartan, and the 181 receiving yards were 13th most by a Spartan in a game. The 12 catches matched his season total from last year. Davis had a diving 33-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter that tied the game at 14, his team-leading eighth of the season.

• Davis was named the Big Ten Co-Offensive Player of the Week after recording then-career highs in catches (9) and receiving yards (114) in the Sept. 30 win over Iowa. Davis also tied his career high with two touchdown catches. In the first half alone, Davis had seven receptions for 88 yards. On the first play from scrimmage, Davis had a 31-yard reception to set up his first TD catch later in the drive, a 22-yard scoring strike from Brian Lewerke. Davis also had a 6-yard TD reception later in the first quarter.

• Davis finished with eight receptions for 95 yards at Northwestern on Oct. 28 and tied his career high with two touchdowns (13 yards to tie the game with 25 seconds left in the game; 6 yards in first overtime).

• In 31 career games, Davis is MSU’s active leader in receptions (65), receiving yards (858) and TD catches (9).

PLENTY OF TARGETS ON OFFENSE FOR THE SPARTANS –
• Fifteen different Spartans have caught at least one pass this season for the Spartans, including seven with at least double-figure receptions or more.

• Sophomore Darrell Stewart ranks second on the team in catches (48), receiving yards (486; 40.5 ypg) and all-purpose yards (798; 66.5 ypg). He leads the team with 13 explosive plays (20 yards or more), including six kick returns, five receptions and two rushes. Stewart set career highs in receptions (11) and receiving yards (98) at Northwestern on Oct. 28, and his 11 catches tied for the seventh most by an MSU player in a single game. The Houston, Texas, native was one of 10 Spartans to help volunteer with the Hurricane Harvey relief efforts during the bye weekend (Sept. 15-17) in Houston.

• Freshman Cody White, who has started the last five games, ranks third on the team in catches (32) and receiving yards (449) and tied for second in touchdown receptions (2). The All-Big Ten Freshman selection is just 5 yards away from the most receiving yards by a true freshman in program history and his 32 catches rank third most by a Spartan true freshman. White recorded 27 of his 32 catches in the second half of the season.

• White was named the Big Ten Co-Freshman of the Week after setting a Spartan freshman single-game record with 165 receiving yards at Northwestern on Oct. 28. That total was also the 20th-most overall by an MSU player in a single game and the third most by a Spartan against Northwestern. White had a career-high nine catches against the Wildcats, including six for first downs with two touchdown catches. He caught a season-long 60-yard pass in the first quarter on the opening series of the game, the longest pass play of the season for the Spartans, to set up his first career touchdown catch on a 6-yard reception later in the same drive. A native of Novi, Michigan, the 6-3, 206-pound White also had a 45-yard reception on third-and-18 in the fourth quarter. He started his first career game against the Wildcats.

• Freshman Hunter Rison, son of former Spartan All-American and Pro Bowl wide receiver Andre Rison, has 18 receptions for 223 yards; the 18 receptions rank tied for fifth on the team, while the 223 receiving yards ranks fourth. Eleven of his 18 catches have resulted in a first down, including two key first downs late in the fourth quarter vs. Indiana on Oct. 21.

SPARTAN DEFENSE ONCE AGAIN ONE OF THE NATION’S BEST –
• Michigan State continues to rank among the Big Ten leaders in several defensive categories, including rushing defense (second at 101.2 ypg), total defense (fourth at 297.8 ypg), third-down defense (fourth at .319) and pass efficiency defense (fourth with 110.9 rating).

• The Spartans also rank among the FBS Top 25 leaders in rushing defense (fifth), total defense (ninth), pass efficiency defense (13th) and third-down defense (16th).

STOPPING THE RUN –
• Michigan State ranks second in the Big Ten and fifth in the FBS in rushing defense (101.3 ypg).

• MSU has held eight opponents under 100 yards rushing this season (Bowling Green had 67 in season opener on Sept. 2; Iowa had 19 on Sept. 30; Minnesota had 74 on Oct. 14; Indiana had 95 on Oct. 21; Northwestern had 64 on Oct. 28; No. 7 Penn State had 65 on Nov. 4; Maryland had 83 on Nov. 18; Rutgers had 14 on Nov. 25), and No. 7 Michigan had just 102 yards on Oct. 7.

• Michigan State has allowed just seven rushes of 20-plus yards, fourth fewest in the FBS, and just 30 rushes of 10-plus yards, which is tied for second fewest (San Diego State: 25; Alabama and Washington: 30).

• MSU held Iowa to just 19 rushing yards, the fewest by the Hawkeyes against the Spartans since 1999 (7 yards) . . . the 19 rushing yards were also the fewest by an Iowa team since Sept. 24, 2005 (-9 against Ohio State) . . . MSU’s defense now has two of Iowa’s five lowest single-game rushing totals since 2005, as the Spartans limited Iowa to 23 yards on Oct. 5, 2013.

• Stopping the run has been the main theme for MSU on defense in the Dantonio era, and it led to ranking No. 1 in the NCAA FBS in rushing defense in 2014 (88.5 ypg). Since the Big Ten began awarding stat champions in all games in 1985, Michigan State (2011-14) became only the second team in conference history to lead the league in rushing defense four years in a row (Michigan, 1990-93). MSU’s 88.5 rushing yards allowed in 2014 was the eighth-lowest total in school history. The Spartans have ranked in the Top 25 in rushing defense six times in the last eight seasons, including a run of five straight years in the top 11 (2011-15). MSU is currently ranked No. 5 in the FBS in rushing defense (101.2 ypg).

• In 144 games under Dantonio, Michigan State has held its opponent under 100 yards rushing 71 times (49 percent). MSU is 62-9 (.873) in those games, including a 52-4 (.929) record since 2010.

SOPHOMORE LINEBACKER Joe Bachie NAMED TEAM MVP –
• Sophomore Joe Bachie, who has started all 12 games at middle linebacker for the Spartans and leads the team in tackles (94; 7.8 avg.), was named the recipient of the Governor’s Award, which is given annually to the program’s most valuable player as voted on by the team. He is the first Spartan sophomore to win the Governor’s Award since quarterback Drew Stanton in 2004.

• In addition to leading the team and ranking seventh in the Big Ten in tackles, he ranks second on the team in tackles for loss (8.5 for 29 yards) and interceptions (three) and fourth in sacks (3.5 for 16 yards). He also leads the team in production points with 289.

• A third-team All-Big Ten choice by the coaches and media, Bachie was named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week twice this season. Following his career-best 13-tackle performance vs. Indiana on Oct. 21, Bachie shared conference player of the week honors. He also had 1.5 tackles for loss, including a 1-yard sack, and a forced fumble against the Hoosiers. The 6-2, 233-pound Bachie has led the Spartans in tackles seven times this season, including double-digit stops in five games (career-high 13 vs. Indiana; 11 vs. Maryland; 11 against Western Michigan; 10 vs. Michigan and Bowling Green).

• Bachie was named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week after helping lead the Spartan defense to an impressive performance in the 14-10 win at No. 7 Michigan on Oct. 7 in Ann Arbor. He tied a team high with 10 stops against the Wolverines, including an 11-yard sack in the second quarter, in compiling a career-high 40 production points. He forced a fumble on Michigan’s second offensive series in the first quarter, giving MSU excellent field position at the Michigan 46-yard line. The Spartans capitalized with a six-play, 46-yard touchdown drive, capped by a 14-yard TD run by Brian Lewerke, giving the Spartans a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.

• Bachie was at it again in the second half, as he recorded his first career interception on the second play of the fourth quarter. He was also credited with a pass break-up on the game’s final play as Michigan attempted a Hail Mary pass in the end zone.

• The Spartans held Michigan to 10 points, tied for the lowest total in the Jim Harbaugh era at UM, and just 102 yards rushing. According to STATS, Bachie became just the second Big Ten linebacker and fifth in the FBS in the last five years (since 2012) to record double-digit tackles (10) and at least one interception, one forced fumble, one sack and one pass break-up in the same game. • Bachie had 38 production points vs. Iowa on Sept. 30 in which he led MSU in tackles (9) and tackles for loss (3.5) to go along with a 3-yard sack and fumble recovery in the red zone.

• Bachie also had interceptions vs. Penn State and Rutgers. He ranks second among Big Ten linebackers with three interceptions.

• The Brook Park, Ohio, native emerged as a leader during the offseason and was voted to the team’s Eagles Leadership Council in the spring and again in the fall.

FROM WALK-ON TO LEADING THE TEAM IN TACKLES FOR LOSS AND SACKS –
• Sophomore defensive end Kenny Willekes, who entered the program as a walk-on for the 2015 season, has emerged as a force on the defensive line for the Spartans. Willekes earned a scholarship this past spring and hasn’t looked back since. The native of Rockford, Michigan, has started 11 games at defensive end and leads the team in tackles for loss (14.5 for 42 yards) and sacks (7.0 for 28 yards). Willekes played in just one game as a redshirt freshman in 2016.

• Willekes, who was named to the final ballot for the Ted Hendricks Award, given annually to the nation’s best defensive end, ranks tied for fourth in the Big Ten in sacks (7; 0.58 pg) and tackles for loss (14.5; 1.21 pg). He recorded two sacks each against Michigan (Oct. 7), Minnesota (Oct. 14) and Maryland (Nov. 18).

• Willekes leads the defensive line and ranks fourth on the team with 69 tackles. He also has two fumble recoveries, two pass break-ups, one forced fumble and seven quarterback hurries. He ranks second on the team with 158 production points.

SPARTANS INCREASING THE PRESSURE ON THE QUARTERBACK IN 2017 –
• A year after recording just 11 sacks in 2016, fewest in the Big Ten, the Spartans have bounced back in 2017 with 28 sacks. Kenny Willekes leads the team with seven sacks.

• MSU recorded four sacks each against Western Michigan (Sept. 9), No. 7 Michigan (Oct. 7) and Maryland (Nov. 18), and had three apiece against Iowa on Sept. 30 and Minnesota on Oct. 14.

KEEPING OPPONENTS OUT OF THE END ZONE AND RED ZONE –
• MSU has held four opponents from scoring an offensive touchdown (Bowling Green, Western Michigan, Indiana, Rutgers).

• MSU has held opponents to just 29 trips inside the red zone, second fewest in the Big Ten and tied for 12th fewest in the FBS.

CORNERBACK Josiah Scott NAMED FIRST-TEAM FRESHMAN ALL-AMERICAN –
• Cornerback Josiah Scott was named a first-team Freshman All-American by ESPN.com. Scott became just the third true freshman position player under Mark Dantonio to start in his collegiate debut, and never looked back, starting in 11 games overall at cornerback during the regular season, the most ever by a freshman position player in the Dantonio era.

• The Fairfield, Ohio, native finished the regular season with a team-best nine pass break-ups – most among Big Ten freshmen and tied for ninth overall in the conference – along with two interceptions, 30 tackles, a forced fumble and one tackle for loss. He was previously selected to the BTN All-Freshman Team and also earned third-team All-Big Ten honors from the media.

• Scott is the first Spartan cornerback to earn Freshman All-America accolades in the Dantonio era at Michigan State.

SOPHOMORE SAFETY DAVID DOWELL EARNS FIRST-TEAM ALL-BIG TEN HONORS –
• Sophomore safety David Dowell earned first-team All-Big Ten honors by the media after ranking second in the Big Ten and tied for eighth in the FBS with five interceptions (78 return yards) during the regular season. He also has four pass break-ups and a career-high 49 tackles. Dowell had two interceptions each vs. Michigan and Penn State, and one at Ohio State. Dowell’s five interceptions are the most by a Spartan in the Mark Dantonio era and the most by a Spartan since 2001 (Broderick Nelson also with five).

• The North Ridgeville, Ohio, native started all nine games for MSU in Big Ten play. He was named the Rose Bowl Game Big Ten Player of the Week for his performance in the win at No. 7 Michigan, as he recorded two interceptions (35 return yards), one pass break-up, a forced fumble and seven tackles. Dowell also had two picks for 28 yards in the victory against No. 7 Penn State on Nov. 4. He tallied a career-high nine stops and his fifth interception of the season at Ohio State.

• Dowell is the 37th first-team All-Big Ten selection under Dantonio and just the second Spartan sophomore defensive back to earn first-team All-Big Ten honors (Phil Parker, 1983). Dowell is also the eighth different Spartan defensive back to earn first-team All-Big Ten accolades under Dantonio (S Otis Wiley in 2008; CB Johnny Adams in 2010 and 2011; S Trenton Robinson in 2011; CB Darqueze Dennard in 2012 and 2013; S Isaiah Lewis in 2013; S Kurtis Drummond in 2013 and 2014; CB Trae Waynes in 2014).

TYSON SMITH NOMINATED FOR ORANGE BOWL COURAGE AWARD –
• Junior cornerback Tyson Smith, who suffered a stroke last November and wasn’t medically cleared to play football until late June, has been nominated for the Orange Bowl Courage Award. In his first game back, Smith returned an interception 38 yards for a touchdown in the season-opening win against Bowling Green on Sept. 2. Smith missed all of winter conditioning and spring practice while recovering from his stroke. He was cleared to play June 29 and reported for Michigan State’s preseason camp on July 30.

• After the game, Smith told reporters: “The feeling when I stepped on the field, it was more than football, it was a blessing. I’m still me and I felt normal, but I didn’t know for sure if I was normal...Everybody was behind me, but I thought it was a low chance of me coming back...It meant everything in the world (to have my teammates celebrate with me after the touchdown). Those guys were behind me when I was out. To see that they were behind me, that meant a lot.”

• The Orange Bowl Courage Award honors players in college football who show great courage in the face of adversity. Michigan State’s Arthur Ray Jr., who battled back from cancer to see the field in 2011, won the Orange Bowl Courage Award in 2011.

Mark Dantonio NAMED SEMIFINALIST FOR GEORGE MUNGER COACH OF THE YEAR –
• Now in his 11th season as head coach of the Spartans, Mark Dantonio owns a 99-45 (.688) record. He is looking to win his 100th game at Michigan State in the Holiday Bowl, which would make him just the eighth active FBS coach to own 100 wins at his current school. For the fourth time in his career, Dantonio was named a semifinalist in 2017 for the George Munger College Coach of the Year, presented by the Maxwell Football Club. Dantonio has won the most Big Ten Championships (three) and bowl games (four) of any Spartan head coach and also ranks first with 10 bowl appearances. He is the only active Big Ten coach to win multiple Big Ten Championships (2010, 2013, 2015), claim a victory in the Rose Bowl (2014), and coach in the College Football Playoff (2015).

• The second-winningest coach in school history with 99 victories, trailing only Hall of Famer Duffy Daugherty (109), Dantonio also ranks first in program history in conference winning percentage (.667, 60-30 record, minimum 10 games), second in Big Ten wins (60), home wins (59) and AP Top 25 victories (19), tied for second in AP Top 25 finishes (six), and fifth in overall winning percentage (.688).

• Dantonio won his 71st game at MSU on Oct. 25, 2014, against Michigan to move into second place all-time in victories in school history (record: Duffy Daugherty, 109). Dantonio won his 100th career game as a head coach on Oct. 17, 2015, at Michigan Stadium as the Spartans rallied to defeat the Wolverines, 27-23, on a 38-yard fumble return as time expired. His career record stands at 117-62 (.654) in his 14th season.

• Dantonio’s .667 winning percentage (60-30) in Big Ten games ranks first in MSU history (minimum 10 Big Ten games). He ranks second in school history in conference wins (Duffy Daugherty, 72).

• Dantonio led the Spartans to the 2015 Big Ten Championship with a 16-13 victory over previously undefeated and fourth-ranked Iowa. It marked Dantonio’s third Big Ten Championship (2010, 2013, 2015), establishing a school record (previous: Daugherty and Perles with two each).

• Dantonio became the first coach in Big Ten history to record five 11-win seasons in a six-year span (11 in 2010; 11 in 2011; 13 in 2013, 11 in 2014; 12 in 2015), and his five 11-win seasons are tied with Joe Paterno of Penn State for third most in Big Ten history (Jim Tressel and Urban Meyer of Ohio State with six; Paterno with five at Penn State as Big Ten member). Prior to Dantonio’s arrival, MSU had not recorded an 11-win season in its history, and had just two 10-win seasons (1965, 1999).

• A two-time Big Ten Coach of the Year (2010, 2013), Dantonio has led Michigan State to Top 25 finishes six times (2008: No. 24 in both polls; 2010: No. 14 in both polls; 2011: No. 10 USA TODAY/No. 11 AP; 2013: No. 3 in both polls; 2014: No. 5 in both polls; and 2015: No. 6 in both polls). His six AP Top-25 finishes are tied for second most in school history (“Biggie” Munn, who coached from 1947-53, had six consecutive from 1948-53). Daugherty’s teams posted seven Top-25 finishes during his 19-year tenure from 1954-72.

• Michigan State extended its school record by playing in a bowl game for the ninth consecutive season in 2015 (2007 Champs Sports Bowl, 2009 Capital One Bowl, 2010 Alamo Bowl, 2011 Capital One Bowl, 2012 Outback Bowl, 2012 Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, 2014 Rose Bowl, 2015 Cotton Bowl, 2015 College Football Playoff Semifinal at Cotton Bowl).

• Dantonio also ranks first in school history with 10 bowl appearances, including a school-record streak of nine straight bowl games from 2007-15. He is 4-5 in bowl games at Michigan State, including a school-record four-game winning streak (2012 Outback, 2012 Buffalo Wild Wings, 2014 Rose, 2015 Cotton). Dantonio has led his teams to 12 bowl berths in 14 seasons as a head coach (10 at MSU, two at Cincinnati).

• 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 11 seasons, a total of 193 players have earned their undergraduate degrees. In addition, 163 Spartans have earned Academic All-Big Ten honors, including eight Academic All-America selections (five first-team honorees). Michigan State has placed three student-athletes in the National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete Class during Dantonio’s tenure.

• Dantonio is one of just four Spartan head coaches to coach in at least 100 games at MSU and ranks second in Spartan history with 144 games coached at Michigan State (Duffy Daugherty: 183; Dantonio: 144; George Perles: 139; Charlie Bachman: 114).

• Dantonio is the third-longest tenured coach in the Big Ten (Kirk Ferentz, Iowa: 19th season; Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern: 12th season) and eighth-longest in the FBS at the same school.

• Twenty-eight Spartans have been chosen in the NFL Draft under Dantonio’s watch, including three first-round selections (CB Darqueze Dennard, No. 24 in 2014 to Cincinnati; CB Trae Waynes, No. 11 in 2015 to Minnesota; OT Jack Conklin, No. 8 in 2016 to Tennessee).

• Since 2007, Dantonio has helped develop nine different first-team All-Americans and 11 selections overall: RB Javon Ringer (2008); LB Greg Jones (2009-10); DT Jerel Worthy (2011); RB Le’Veon Bell (2012); CB Darqueze Dennard and P Mike Sadler (2013); S Kurtis Drummond (2014); C Jack Allen (2014-15) and OT Jack Conklin (2015). In addition, Dantonio has helped produce 37 first-team All-Big Ten selections.

• Under Dantonio, Spartan teams have produced some of the longest winning streaks in school history. MSU’s 13-game Big Ten winning streak from 2012-14 was its second-longest conference run, while MSU’s 12-game winning streak that began on Nov. 15, 2014, and ended on Nov. 7, 2015, was tied for the third longest overall in school history. Dantonio also had an 11-game winning streak during the 2013-14 seasons. In addition, Michigan State has produced a 59-18 record (.766) in home games since 2007, including four undefeated home seasons (2010, 2011, 2013, 2015) and three one-loss seasons (2008, 2014, 2017).

CENTURY MARK –
Mark Dantonio will be looking to win his 100th game at Michigan State in the Holiday Bowl, which would make him just the eighth active FBS coach to own 100 wins at his current school.

SPARTAN FOOTBALL PROGRAM NOTES -
• Michigan State is in the midst of its second-winningest decade in school history. The Spartans are 77-28 (.733) since 2010 and during that span, MSU has claimed three Big Ten Championships (2010, 2013, 2015) and three Big Ten Division titles (2011, 2013, 2015). In addition, the Spartans have earned 10 bowl bids, including a school-record four consecutive bowl victories (2012 Outback against No. 18 Georgia, 2012 Buffalo Wild Wings against TCU, 2014 Rose Bowl Game against No. 5 Stanford, 2015 Cotton Bowl Classic against No. 4 Baylor), which also tied a Big Ten record. MSU was the only school to finish in the top-six of the national polls from 2013-15 (No. 3 in 2013, No. 5 in 2014, No. 6 in 2015).

• The 77 wins this decade are third most in the Big Ten and tied for 12th most in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision, while the 48 wins since 2013 are third in the Big Ten and tied for ninth most in the FBS. The 36 wins from 2013-15 marked the winningest three-year stretch in the history of the program.

• MSU’s highest winning percentage by decade is currently the 1950s (.766, 70-21-1 record), but the 77 wins this current decade are already the most of any previous decade in school history (previous: 70 in 1950s).

• The Spartans have had sustained success in the Big Ten Conference under Dantonio. MSU has won two of the past five Big Ten Championships (2013, 2015) and three overall this decade, also claiming a championship in 2010. The Spartans own victories in 33 of their last 45 games against Big Ten opponents (including the Big Ten Championship Game), dating back to the 2012 regular-season finale, including 20 wins by double-figures.

YOUTH MOVEMENT –
• Michigan State features one of the youngest teams in the nation with 77 underclassmen on its 2017 roster (37 true freshmen, 16 redshirt freshmen, 24 sophomores), to go along with 21 juniors and 15 seniors.

• Thirteen of MSU’s 22 projected starters either on offense or defense are underclassmen (nine sophomores, one redshirt freshman, three true freshmen). In addition, MSU’s starting placekicker (R-Fr. Matt Coghlin) and two starting returners (KR Connor Heyward; PR Cody White) are freshmen.

• Michigan State has played 13 true freshmen in 2017 (TE Matt Dotson, RB Connor Heyward, OG Kevin Jarvis, S Dominique Long, WR Laress Nelson, DE Jacub Panasiuk, S Tre Person, OG Jordan Reid, WR Hunter Rison, CB Josiah Scott, LB Antjuan Simmons, WR Andre Welch, WR Cody White), the most ever in one season under Dantonio (previous high: nine in 2016). Jarvis has started more games on the offensive line (nine at right guard) than any other true freshman under Dantonio.

• Nine Spartans made their first career starts vs. Bowling Green (DE Dillon Alexander, LB Joe Bachie, CB Josh Butler, RT Luke Campbell, TE Noah Davis, WR Trishton Jackson, TE Matt Sokol, CB Josiah Scott, DE Kenny Willekes).

• Seventeen Spartans have made their first career starts this season (DE Dillon Alexander, LB Joe Bachie, CB Josh Butler, RT Luke Campbell, TE Noah Davis,TE Matt Dotson, S David Dowell, TE Chase Gianacakos, WR Trishton Jackson, OG Kevin Jarvis, FB Collin Lucas, WR Laress Nelson, TE Matt Sokol, CB Josiah Scott, OT Jordan Reid, WR Cody White, DE Kenny Willekes).

• Cornerback Josiah Scott became just the third true freshman position player to start in his collegiate debut in the Mark Dantonio era (WR Mark Dell in 2007; S Isaiah Lewis in 2010). Scott started 11 games overall at cornerback during the regular season, the most ever by a freshman position player in the Dantonio era. Specialists who started as true freshmen in their collegiate debut under Dantonio include punter Aaron Bates in 2007 and long snapper Taybor Pepper in 2012.

ALL IN THE FAMILY –
• Michigan State features four sets of brothers on its 2017 roster: Brian and Matt Allen, Andrew and David Dowell (fraternal twins), Mike and Jacub Panasiuk, and Matt and Mitchell Sokol.

Cole Chewins NAMED FIRST-TEAM ACADEMIC ALL-AMERICAN –
• Sophomore offensive tackle Cole Chewins was named a first-team Academic All-American, as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of American (CoSIDA). Chewins, who is a junior academically after redshirting his first season in 2015, owns a 3.91 grade-point average as a finance major. He recently was named to the Academic All-Big Ten Team for the second time in his career, and was a Big Ten Distinguished Scholar for the 2016-17 academic year.

• A native of Clarkston, Michigan, Chewins has started all 12 games at left tackle this season for the Spartans.

Chewins earned his first letter in 2016 and has started 15 consecutive games at left tackle, tied for the third-longest starts streak on the team. A former walk-on, Chewins earned a scholarship in January 2016 following his redshirt season in 2015. He is one of 15 players on the team’s Eagles leadership council this fall.

• Chewins is the fifth first-team Academic All-America selection under 11th-year head coach Mark Dantonio (WR Blair White, 2009; LB Max Bullough, 2013; P Mike Sadler, 2013 and 2014).

SPARTANS BOAST NINE GRADUATES ON 2017 ROSTER –
• Entering the Holiday Bowl, Michigan State has nine graduates on its 2017 roster.

GRADUATED FROM MSU AND STILL ELIGIBLE (7)
Demetrius Cooper (August 2017) – Communication
Chris Frey (December 2017) – Advertising
Sean Harrington (May 2017) – Economics
Gerald Holmes (December 2017) – Studio Art
Shane Jones (December 2017) – Journalism
Brock Makaric (May 2017) – Economics
Matt Sokol (December 2017) – Economics

GRADUATE TRANSFERS (2)
Mickey Macius (Austin Peay) – Finance (May 2017)
Joe Palange (Utah State) – Sociology (December 2016)

SCHOOL-RECORD 27 SPARTANS NAMED TO ACADEMIC ALL-BIG TEN TEAM –
• A program-record 27 Michigan State football players were named to the 2017 Academic All-Big Ten Team. To be eligible for Academic All-Big Ten selection, students must be on a varsity team, as verified by being on the official squad list as of Nov. 1 for fall sports, who have been enrolled full-time at the institution for a minimum of 12 months and carry a cumulative grade-point average of 3.0 or higher.

• Michigan State’s list of honorees includes 11 multi-year selections. Brian Allen, Bullough, Frey, Hartbarger, Morrissey and Sowards are featured on the academic all-conference team for the third year in a row, while Chewins, Gianacakos, Miller, Sokol and Willis made the honor roll for the second straight season.

• In 11 seasons under Mark Dantonio, student-athletes have been named Academic All-Big Ten 163 times, including the second straight season with the highest in program history as part of three of four highest single-season marks in program history (record 27 in 2017; 22 in 2016; 17 in 2013 was fourth highest). Before last season’s 22, the previous single-season record was 18 in 2005.

SPARTANS SUCCESSFUL IN NONCONFERENCE GAMES –
Mark Dantonio is 37-14 (.725) against nonconference opponents, including a 28-4 (.875) mark in Spartan Stadium. Dantonio is 27-1 (.964) against teams in the Group of Five conferences.


 

 

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