No. 4 Spartans, No. 5 Cardinal Ready for 100th Rose Bowl Game
Dec. 31, 2013
Michigan State is making its 24th postseason bowl appearance overall, including its fifth trip to the Rose Bowl. The Spartans are 9-14 (.391) in bowl games, including a 3-1 record in previous Rose Bowl appearances (defeated No. 5 UCLA, 28-20, in 1954; defeated No. 4 UCLA, 17-14, in 1956; lost to No. 5 UCLA, 14-12, in 1966; and defeated No. 16 USC, 20-17, in 1988). MSU is looking for a school-record third-straight bowl win after topping No. 18 Georgia in the 2012 Outback Bowl, 33-30 in triple overtime, and edging TCU in the 2012 Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, 17-16.
MSU ranked No. 4 in the final BCS Standings - its highest ranking ever. The Spartans are ranked No. 4 in the latest Associated Press and USA TODAY Polls. It marks MSU's highest ranking in the AP Poll since Sept. 18, 1967, when the Spartans stood No. 3 prior to the season opener against Houston. It also marks MSU's highest ranking since USA TODAY began administering the coaches poll during the 1991-92 season.
The Spartans finished their Big Ten regular-season schedule with a perfect 8-0 record for the first time in school history and claimed their second Legends Division title in three seasons. Michigan State became the 14th Big Ten team to post an 8-0 mark in league play. The Spartans are the first Big Ten team to win all eight of its 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).
Michigan State is making its school-record seventh consecutive bowl appearance (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).
The 2014 Rose Bowl Game marks the sixth-ever meeting between Michigan State and Stanford. MSU won the first-ever meeting, 38-14, on Oct. 8, 1955, in Spartan Stadium. The Spartans also defeated the Cardinal in 1956 and 1961. Stanford recorded its first win in the series in 1962 and won the last matchup in the 1996 Sun Bowl, 38-0.
Through 13 games, Michigan State's defense ranks No. 1 in the FBS in total defense (248.2 yards per game), rushing defense (80.8 ypg.) and opponent third-down conversions (.277). MSU has been ranked No. 1 in the nation in total defense for 13 consecutive weeks. The Spartans also rank among the national leaders in pass efficiency defense (second with 91.5 rating), first downs defense (fourth at 14.5 pg.), scoring defense (fourth at 12.7 ppg.) and passing defense (sixth at 167.4 ypg.). Michigan State also leads 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 have won 41 of their last 53 games (.774), dating back to the beginning of the 2010 season. The 41 wins are most in the Big Ten and tied for ninth 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.). Since 2010, the Spartans have won two Big Ten Championships (2010, 2013), two Big Ten Legends Division titles (2011, 2013), two bowl games (2012 Outback Bowl, 2012 Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl), and produced back-to-back 11-win seasons in 2010-11 for the first time in program history.
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 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).
The 100th Rose Bowl Game marks the first time since the "Game of the Century" in 1966 (No. 1 Notre Dame vs. No. 2 Michigan State) in which MSU will play a top-five AP team while also being ranked in the top five. No. 5 Stanford is also the highest ranked opponent MSU has played in a bowl game since the 1966 Rose Bowl (UCLA finished the 1965 regular season ranked No. 4 in the final AP Poll).
STAT LEADERS -
Stanford (after 13 games):
SPARTAN BOWL HISTORY -
Michigan State is making its 24th postseason bowl appearance overall, including its fifth trip to the Rose Bowl. The Spartans are 9-14 (.391) in bowl games, including a 3-1 record in previous Rose Bowl appearances (defeated No. 5 UCLA, 28-20, in 1954; defeated No. 4 UCLA, 17-14, in 1956; lost to No. 5 UCLA, 14-12, in 1966; and defeated No. 16 USC, 20-17, in 1988).
Nine of Michigan State's last 11 bowl opponents have been ranked in The Associated Press Top 25, including No. 5 Stanford in the 2014 Rose Bowl, No. 18 Georgia in the 2012 Outback Bowl, No. 15 Alabama in the 2011 Capital One Bowl, No. 16 Georgia in the 2009 Capital One Bowl, No. 14 Boston College in the 2007 Champs Sports Bowl, No. 22 Nebraska in the 2003 Alamo Bowl, No. 20 Fresno State in the 2001 Silicon Valley Football Classic, No. 10 Florida in the 2000 Florida Citrus Bowl and No. 21 Washington in the 1997 Aloha Bowl.
SPARTAN ROSE BOWL FLASHBACKS -
Jan. 1, 1954 | No. 3 Michigan State 28, No. 5 UCLA 20: Billy Wells ran for one touchdown and returned a punt for another score to lead No. 3 Michigan State to a 28-20 victory over No. 5 UCLA in the 1954 Rose Bowl.
UCLA jumped out to a 14-0 lead, capitalizing on two Spartan turnovers. Midway through the first quarter, Jim Salsbury recovered a fumble on the MSU 37 and six plays later, Paul Cameron hit Bill Stits with a 13-yard TD strike to give the Bruins a 7-0 lead. Early in the second quarter, Hardiman Cureton and Bob Long combined to sack Spartan QB Earl Morrall, who fumbled, and Cureton fell on it at the MSU 18. Seven plays later, Cameron scored on a 2-yard run off left tackle.
The momentum changed midway through the second quarter when Ellis Duckett blocked Cameron's punt from the UCLA 25 and returned it 6 yards for a touchdown as the Spartans cut the deficit to 14-7 at halftime.
The Spartans dominated play in the third quarter. Michigan State took the second-half kickoff and drove 78 yards in 14 plays with LeRoy Bolden scoring on a 1-yard dive to tie the game at 14. Wells capped a 10-play, 73-yard drive with a 2-yard TD run to give the Spartans their first lead at 21-14 late in the third quarter.
Early in the fourth quarter, UCLA forced another fumble and Jack Ellena recovered it at the MSU 24. Two plays later, Cameron hit Rommie Loudd with a 28-yard TD toss but Cameron's conversion attempt sailed wide and the Bruins still trailed 21-20.
Michigan State iced the game when Wells returned Cameron's punt 62 yards for a touchdown with 4:51 left in the fourth quarter. Wells led a well-balanced Spartan running attack, picking up 80 yards on 14 carries.
Jan. 2, 1956 | No. 2 Michigan State 17, No. 4 UCLA 14: Dave Kaiser converted his first career field-goal attempt, a 41-yarder with seven seconds left, to give No. 2 Michigan State a 17-14 win over No. 4 UCLA in the 1956 Rose Bowl.
Michigan State found itself in an early hole as Earl Morrall's pass on the first play from scrimmage was intercepted by Jim Decker and returned 4 yards to the MSU 16. Four plays later, Bob Davenport scored on a 2-yard run over left guard to give the Bruins a 7-0 lead with 11:48 left in the first quarter.
Midway through the second quarter, Michigan State put together an 11-play, 80-yard drive to pull even at 7. Walt Kowalczyk's 30-yard run to the UCLA 17 set up Morrall's 13-yard touchdown toss to Clarence Peaks.
On the second play of the fourth quarter, the Spartans took their first lead at 14-7 on Peaks' 67-yard TD pass to John Lewis, who caught the ball on the 50 and took it the distance. Five minutes later, UCLA's passing game produced a big play as Ronnie Knox hit Decker with a 47-yard bomb to the MSU 7. Three plays later, Doug Peters scored on a 1-yard plunge at center. Morrall directed an 11-play, 59-yard drive to the UCLA 24 but Gerald Planutis missed a 41-yard field-goal attempt. Five penalties were called in the closing minutes and field position shifted in Michigan State's favor when UCLA was flagged for three-straight fouls. The Spartans' game-winning drive started at the UCLA 19.
Jan. 1, 1966 | No. 5 UCLA 14, No. 2 Michigan State 12: Gary Beban ran for two touchdowns and threw for 147 yards to lead No. 5 UCLA to a 14-12 upset win over No. 2 Michigan State in the 1966 Rose Bowl.
Michigan State committed four first-half turnovers, with the first coming late in the first quarter as Don Japinga fumbled away a punt at the Spartan 6 that UCLA's John Erquiaga recovered. On the opening play of the second quarter, Beban scored on a 1-yard sneak to give the Bruins a 7-0 lead. UCLA then surprised the Spartans with an on-sides kick that Bruin Dallas Grider recovered at the MSU 42. Beban hooked up with Kurt Altenburg for a 27-yard pass to the MSU 1. Beban capped off the five-play, 42-yard drive with another 1-yard sneak as UCLA scored twice in 3:07 to build a 14-0 lead.
Michigan State rallied late in the fourth quarter, scoring twice in the final 6:13. Steve Juday's 42-yard strike to Gene Washington set up Bob Apisa's 38-yard TD run. Juday's two-point pass attempt failed and the Spartans trailed 14-6. The Spartan defense held on the next series and Bubba Smith partially blocked Larry Cox's punt to give MSU possession at the UCLA 49. Juday finished off the 14-play scoring drive with a 1-yard sneak with :31 left. On the two-point try, Apisa was stopped short of the goal line by Grider and Bob Stiles. UCLA stopped the Spartans on fourth-and-1 plays three times in the second half, including twice in the fourth quarter.
Michigan State outgained UCLA in total yards, 314-212. The Spartans picked up 204 yards on the ground, with Clinton Jones rushing for 113 yards on 20 carries.
Jan. 1, 1988 | No. 8 Michigan State 20, No. 16 USC 17: John Langeloh kicked a 36-yard field goal with 4:14 left in the fourth quarter, which proved to be the game winner, as No. 8 Michigan State defeated No. 16 Southern Cal, 20-17, in the 1988 Rose Bowl. The Spartans, making their first trip to Pasadena in 22 years, ended the Big Ten's six-game losing streak in the Rose Bowl.
USC scored on its second possession as a 12-play, 52-yard drive produced a 34-yard field goal by Quin Rodriguez. MSU responded with a 15-play, 76-yard drive of its own to take a 7-3 lead on Lorenzo White's 5-yard touchdown run around left end with :54 left in the first quarter.
The Spartans built a 14-3 advantage early in the second quarter as Bobby McAllister's 55-yard completion to Andre Rison set up White's second TD run from 3 yards out. The Trojans cut the deficit to 14-10 early in the third quarter as Rodney Peete hit Kevin Henry with a 33-yard TD strike.
Michigan State extended its lead to 17-10 on Langeloh's 40-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter. USC put together a 10-play, 80-yard drive to tie the score at 17 on Peete's 22-yard TD toss to Henry in the back of the end zone with 8:33 remaining. Facing a third-and-8 from the MSU 30, McAllister eluded a heavy rush and completed a 36-yard pass to Rison for a first down at the USC 34. Blake Ezor carried the ball six straight times to the USC 18 to set up Langeloh's game-winning field goal.
USC took the ensuing kickoff and drove to the MSU 30 but Peete fumbled away the center snap and Todd Krumm recovered. John Miller iced the game for the Spartans, intercepting Peete's "Hail Mary" pass at the MSU 13 with only three seconds left.
USC dominated the final stats, outgaining MSU, 410-276, in total yards, but the Trojans committed five turnovers while the Spartans managed to play error-free football. White gained a game-high 113 yards rushing and scored twice. Peete completed 22-of-41 throws for 249 yards and two TDs, but he was intercepted three times.
SPARTANS vs. PAC-12 TEAMS -
DANTONIO NO STRANGER TO POSTSEASON PLAY -
SPARTANS TOUGH IN NON-CONFERENCE GAMES -
PROGRAM NOTES -
With a school-record 12 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.
Michigan State secured its third-straight winning campaign (7-6) in 2012 with a thrilling 13-point second-half comeback victory over TCU in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, defeating the Horned Frogs, 17-16. The Spartans have won back-to-back bowl games for the first time since the 1989-90 seasons (MSU defeated Georgia, 33-30, in triple overtime in the 2012 Outback Bowl). MSU is the only Big Ten team to win its last two bowl games in the past two seasons.
With its 14-0 victory over Purdue, Michigan State became bowl eligible for a school-record seventh consecutive season.
MSU's 41 wins since 2010 is ninth most among NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision teams (tied with Oklahoma State and South Carolina) 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 41 of its last 53 games (.774), dating back to the beginning of the 2010 season. In addition, the Spartans have won 14 of their last 15 games, dating back to the 2012 regular-season finale.
Michigan State has appeared in a school-record seven 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 and 2014 Rose Bowl). The seven-year bowl streak is currently tied for the 14th 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 regular-season 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 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 selected 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, Louisville and Virginia Tech are the only three 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.
MSU's defense has allowed just 3.94 yards per play and 2.70 yards per rushing attempt, both of which rank No. 1 in the FBS. In addition, MSU also is tied for first in the FBS, along with Alabama, in fewest opponent rushes of 10-plus yards (30). The Spartans have allowed just 37 plays of 20-plus yards (2.8 pg.), which is tied for ninth fewest in the FBS.
The Spartans have held 10 of their 13 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 92 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 40 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 Big Ten Defensive Back of the Year and recipient of the Jim Thorpe Award (nation's best defensive back).
Michigan State has led the Big Ten in total defense and rushing defense the past two seasons. The Spartans are currently ranked No. 1 in both categories for the third year in a row.
TOUGH TO SCORE ON SPARTAN DEFENSE -
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 13 games in 2013, the Spartans have allowed 19 touchdowns (seven rushing, 12 passing), fourth fewest in the FBS.
Michigan State has only allowed its opponents to score on 19 percent of their possessions (30-of-162), including 12 percent (19-of-162) for touchdowns.
Michigan State has only allowed its opponents 27 trips into the red zone this season, tied for fifth fewest in the FBS. Among those 27 trips, the Spartans have given up 13 touchdowns (48.2 percent, eighth best in FBS).
Michigan State has held six opponents without scoring a touchdown (South Florida, Purdue, Illinois, Michigan, Northwestern, Minnesota). 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.
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), and nine times in the fourth quarter.
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 three times all season (28 vs. Indiana and Nebraska, 24 vs. Ohio State) and it has given up just 69 points total in the second half of games this season (5.3 pg.).
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 seventh in the FBS in turnover margin (+14, 1.1 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 (13) in the conference. MSU's six interceptions also are a conference low and are tied for 10th fewest in the FBS.
Michigan State has forced at least one turnover in 73 of 92 games over the last seven seasons (79 percent of the games played since 2007), including 11 games this season.
The Spartans rank third in the Big Ten and tied for 19th 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 three seasons in rushing defense (first in 2013 at 80.8 ypg.; eighth in 2012 at 98.6 yppg.; ninth in 2011 at 100.5 ypg.; ) and scoring defense (fourth in 2013 at 12.7 ppg.; ninth in 2012 at 16.3 ppg.; 10th in 2011 at 18.4 ppg). Michigan State 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 three seasons (2011-13).
In addition, MSU has ranked among the NCAA FBS Top 15 in pass defense in 2011 (11th at 176.9 ypg.), 2012 (ninth at 175.8 ypg.) and 2013 (sixth at 167.4 ypg.). Michigan State and Alabama are the only two programs in the country to rank in the NCAA FBS Top 15 the past three 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 tied for third in the NCAA FBS.
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 WINS 2013 FRANK BROYLES AWARD -
The five finalists included Rhett Lashlee (offensive coordinator/quarterbacks, Auburn), Philip Montgomery (offensive coordinator, Baylor), Kurt Roper (offensive coordinator/quarterbacks, Duke), Jeremy Pruitt (defensive coordinator, Florida State) and Narduzzi.
Narduzzi is the first MSU coach to win the award, which started in 1996.
Narduzzi was also named the National Coordinator of the Year by Athlon Sports and the National Defensive Coordinator of the Year by 247Sports and FootballScoop.com.
Narduzzi has helped construct the No. 1 defense in the Football Bowl Subdivision this season. Through 13 games, Michigan State's defense ranks No. 1 in the FBS in total defense (248.2 yards per game), rushing defense (80.8 ypg.) and opponent third-down conversions (.277). MSU has been ranked No. 1 in the nation in total defense for 13 consecutive weeks. The Spartans also rank among the national leaders in pass efficiency defense (second with 91.5 rating), first downs defense (fourth at 14.5 pg.), scoring defense (fourth at 12.7 ppg.) and passing defense (sixth at 167.4 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 leads the NCAA FBS in opponent third-down conversions (53 of 191, 27.7 percent). Conversely, the Spartans rank fourth in the Big Ten in converting third downs on offense, with a success rate of 45 percent (91 of 202).
Dantonio has always stressed the importance of a balanced offense, and the 2013 Spartans couldn't be more balanced statistically. MSU has 22 rushing touchdowns and 21 passing touchdowns, and is averaging 182.2 yards per game rushing and 202.5 yards per game passing. Thirteen different offensive players have scored TDs for MSU this season.
Michigan State has outscored its opponents, 202-69, in the second half this season, including 105-27 (+78 points) in the fourth quarter.
Under Mark Dantonio, Michigan State has compiled a 49-8 record (.860) when leading after three quarters, including a perfect 11-0 in 2013.
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 13 sacks, which ranks first in the Big Ten (tied) and 11th fewest in the NCAA FBS (tied Iowa and Cincinnati). The offensive line features seven players with starting experience (147 combined starts).
The Spartans have produced 43 plays of 20 yards or more on offense (15 rushing, 28 passing) in their last nine 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 46-8 (.852) when leading in time of possession, including a 33-5 record (.868) since 2010. The Spartans rank second in the Big Ten and fifth in the NCAA FBS in time of possession (33:28 per game) in 2013.
Michigan State is outrushing its opponents by 101.4 yards per game (182.2 to 80.8). 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 rushing 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 14-7 (.667) 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 STANFORD -
Stanford is making its fourth-straight appearance in a BCS game, the longest active streak in the nation (2011 Orange Bowl, 2012 Fiesta Bowl, 2013 Rose Bowl, 2014 Rose Bowl).
David Shaw, who owns a 34-6 career record, is in his third season as head coach at Stanford. Prior to taking over as head coach in 2012, Shaw was the program's offensive coordinator for four seasons from 2007-10. He was named the Pac-12 Coach of the Year in 2011 and 2012. Among active coaches, he was the third fastest to win 30 games (Larry Coker, Chris Petersen).
The Cardinal played one of the most difficult schedules (tied for 21st) in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision, according to NCAA.com, as their opponents compiled a 71-52 record during the regular season. Michigan State will be Stanford's eighth ranked opponent of the season.
Stanford has been ranked in The Associated Press Top 25 for a school-record 63 consecutive weeks, dating back to Sept. 5, 2010. The Cardinal are 46-7 (.868) since the beginning of the 2010 season, which is tied for most wins in FBS during that time period.
Stanford features the top-ranked defense in the Pac-12, as it leads the conference in total defense (339.0 ypg.), scoring defense (18.6 ppg.) and rushing defense (91.2 ypg.). Those figures also rank among the best in the FBS (No. 3 rushing defense, No. 10 scoring defense, No. 14 total defense). The Cardinal also rank No. 7 in the FBS with 40 sacks. Stanford ranks eighth in the Pac-12 and 90th in the FBS in passing yards allowed (247.8 ypg.).
Stanford has ranked in the FBS Top 10 in rushing defense the past three seasons (No. 3 in 2013 at 91.2 ypg.; No. 5 in 2012 at 97.0 ypg.; No. 4 in 2011 at 88.4 ypg.). The Cardinal have held 25 opponents under 100 yards rushing the past three seasons, which ranks No. 2 in the FBS, including nine times in 2013.
The Cardinal offensive line features two-time consensus All-America guard David Yankey. The unit has helped Stanford rank fourth nationally for fewest tackles for loss allowed/game (3.69) and 16th nationally for fewest sacks allowed/game (1.15).
Fifth-year senior linebacker and consensus first-team All-American Trent Murphy leads the FBS with 14 sacks (111 yards) and ranks third with 21.5 tackles for loss (137 yards).
Fifth-year senior linebacker and All-Pac-12 first-team selection Shayne Skov leads the team with 100 tackles, including 10 for losses (43 yards).
Junior Ty Montgomery is the top kick returner in the nation with a 31.2-yard average through 13 games. He has returned two kickoffs for touchdowns this season, including a 99-yard TD against Washington and a 100-yard return at Utah. Montgomery, who also leads the team with 58 receptions for 937 yards and 10 touchdowns, was named a first-team All-American by Walter Camp, Sporting News and USA TODAY.
Senior running back Tyler Gaffney leads the Pac-12 and ranks fifth in the FBS with 20 rushing touchdowns. He also ranks third in the FBS in rushing (124.5 ypg.) and carries (307), and seventh in rushing yards (1,618). Gaffney rushed a school-record 45 times for 157 yards in the win over No. 2 Oregon on Nov. 7.
Junior quarterback Kevin Hogan, who is in his second year as the starter, has completed 61 percent of his passes (170-of-277) for 2,487 yards, 20 touchdowns and nine interceptions.
MSU/STANFORD SERIES NOTES -
This marks the second time in series history both teams are ranked while playing against each other. No. 3 Michigan State topped No. 12 Stanford, 21-7, in Palo Alto, Calif., on Sept. 29, 1956.
MSU/STANFORD COACHING CONNECTIONS -
Former Michigan State letterwinner Tyrone Willingham compiled a 44-36-1 record (.549) in seven seasons at Stanford (1996-2001), including four bowl appearances. Willingham graduated from Michigan State in 1977 with a degree in physical education. A walk-on in both football and baseball at Michigan State, Willingham earned three letters in each sport. He compiled a 3-1 record in four starts at quarterback in 1973, taking over for an injured Charlie Baggett. As a senior in 1976, Willingham led the Spartans in both kickoff (19.7 avg.) and punt (6.2 avg.) returns. He had a career batting average of .266 and 42 RBI. In 1977, Willingham was awarded the Big Ten Conference Medal of Honor as MSU's outstanding scholar-athlete. He broke into the college coaching ranks as a graduate assistant at Michigan State under Darryl Rogers in 1977. Willingham returned to his alma mater in 1980 and spent three years (1980-82) as defensive secondary and special teams coach under Frank "Muddy" Waters.
MSU/LOS ANGELES CONNECTIONS -
A two-time All-American at Michigan State, Johnson was a member of the 1979 NCAA Championship team. Despite playing just two seasons at MSU, he totaled 1,059 points and 491 assists. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2002 and the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009.
The 6-foot-9 Johnson revolutionized the point guard position, leading the Spartans to a 25-5 mark as a freshman in 1977-78, capturing a Big Ten title and advancing to the Elite Eight. He averaged 17.0 points, 7.9 rebounds and 7.4 assists in his first year of college action, earning All-America accolades. One year later, he led the Spartans to the ultimate prize, averaging 17.1 points, 7.3 rebounds and 8.4 assists as a sophomore. His 8.4 assist-per-game average is the highest in MSU history. Johnson was a consensus first-team All-American in 1979, also earning Most Outstanding Player honors at the Final Four.
Johnson was named an All-Star 12 times in his 13-year NBA career, and garnered MVP honors in the game twice (1990, 1992). He was a three-time NBA MVP (1987, 1989, 1990) and also a three-time NBA Finals MVP (1980, 1982, 1987). Johnson finished his career No. 1 in NBA history in career assists and No. 2 in career steals. The Lansing, Mich., native was a member of the 1992 United States men's basketball team that captured the gold medal in Barcelona.
Former Michigan State baseball and football All-American Kirk Gibson spent three seasons playing with the Los Angeles Dodgers (1988-90). Joining the Dodgers in 1988, Gibson spurred Los Angeles to a World Championship in his first year as he was named the MVP of the National League. Gibson produced one of the most dramatic home runs in baseball history in Game 1 of the World Series against Oakland, hitting a two-out, two-run, pinch-hit homer in the bottom of the ninth off of Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley that gave the Dodgers a 5-4 win and propelled them to a sweep over the Athletics.
One of the great receivers in MSU history, Gibson was an All-American as a senior in 1978 as chosen by United Press, The Sporting News, Football News and the Newspaper Enterprise Association. He hauled in 42 receptions for a team-high 806 yards, then No. 1 on the school's seasonal list. He paced all Big Ten players in receptions (31) and receiving yards (613) in league outings. His game-breaking speed helped the Spartans to a Big Ten co-championship and a No. 12 national ranking. He closed out his career as MSU's all-time leader in receptions (112) and receiving yards (2,347). In addition, his 21.0 yards-per-catch average still ranks as the No. 1 mark in Spartan history. In 1996, he was named to the MSU Centennial Super Squad.
Gibson was a standout as a baseball player as well, earning All-America honors in that sport, making him just one of three MSU athletes to earn that recognition in two sports. A first-round draft pick (No. 12 overall) by the Detroit Tigers in 1978, he played on Detroit's World Series championship team in 1984. In his 17-year major league career, Gibson batted .268 with 255 home runs and 870 RBIs.
Gibson recently completed his third season as manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks. In his first full season as a manager, Gibson was named the 2011 National League Manager of the Year after helping guide Arizona to a 94-68 record and an NL West title. Gibson is just the fourth major leaguer to win both an MVP award and a Manager of the Year Award.
Former Michigan State All-America fullback Bob Apisa, who was a member of the 1965 and 1966 Big Ten and National Championship teams, currently lives in Los Angeles. Apisa was an All-America selection as a sophomore in 1965 by Football News and his junior year in 1966 by Football News and the New York News. In '65, despite missing most of the last three games due to a knee injury, he rushed for 666 yards, then the best seasonal mark turned in by a Spartan fullback, along with nine TDs. In 1966, Apisa once again was hampered by knee problems, but rushed for 445 yards and eight six-pointers. He finished his career as MSU's most prolific rushing fullback with 1,343 yards in 262 attempts. Apisa was selected in the ninth round of the 1968 NFL Draft by the Green Bay Packers.
Former Michigan State All-Big Ten first-team linebacker/defensive end Richard Saul played 12 seasons for the Los Angeles Rams (1970-81) and was a six-time Pro Bowler as an offensive lineman. He converted to a center in the pros. A three-year letterwinner (1967-69) who was a team captain his senior season, Saul also was a first-team Academic All-American at MSU in 1969.
Kirk Cousins WILL SERVE AS HONORARY CAPTAIN FOR 2014 ROSE BOWL GAME -
Cousins, who led the Spartans to back-to-back 11-win seasons in 2010 and 2011, was selected by the Washington Redskins in the fourth round (No. 102 overall) of the 2012 National Football League Draft.
The winningest quarterback in school history, Cousins compiled a 27-12 record (.692) in 39 career starts, including a 22-5 mark over his final two seasons. He became only the second three-time captain in MSU history (Robert McCurry, 1946-48) and the first Spartan starting quarterback to win three-straight games over Michigan.
As a senior in 2011, the 6-foot-3, 214-pound Cousins ranked among the Big Ten leaders in touchdown passes (tied for second with MSU single-season record 25), passing yards (second at 236.9 yards per game), passing efficiency (third with a 145.1 rating) and total offense (fifth at 234.1 ypg.). He also finished among the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision leaders in passing efficiency (30th) and total offense (49th). He completed 267-of-419 throws (.637) for 3,316 yards, 25 TDs and 10 interceptions. Cousins, a second-team All-Big Ten selection by the league's head coaches, had a school-record tying 11 200-yard passing games in 2011, including the last six games in a row. He was named one of 10 finalists for the Manning Award. In his final game in a Spartan uniform, Cousins completed 27-of-50 throws for 300 yards, one score and three interceptions in MSU's 33-30 triple-overtime victory over No. 18 Georgia in the 2012 Outback Bowl.
The Holland, Mich., native ranks first in MSU history in pass completions (723), passing yards (9,131), TD passes (66), passing efficiency (146.1), 200-yard passing games (26) and total offense (9,004 yards). He also is listed among MSU's all-time leaders in pass attempts (second with 1,128), completion percentage (second at .641; 723 of 1,128) and passing yards per game (third at 202.9). Cousins also finished his career ranked among the Big Ten's all-time Top 10 in completion percentage (tied for sixth), passing efficiency (seventh), passing yards (10th) and TD passes (tied for 10th).
Cousins is in his second season with the Washington Redskins. As a rookie in 2012, Cousins appeared in three regular-season games, including one start. He completed 33-of-48 throws (.688) for 466 yards, four touchdowns and three interceptions. In three games this season, Cousins has completed 41-of-70 throws (.586) for 488 yards, three touchdowns and four interceptions (as of Dec. 15).
FONOTI REPRESENTS THE GOLDEN STATE ON SPARTAN ROSTER -
SPARTANS FROM THE GOLDEN STATE, PART II -
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 -
Michigan State's victory over No. 2 Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship Game marked the highest ranked opponent the Spartans have defeated since topping No. 1 Ohio State in 1998.
NOTABLE WINNING STREAK -
With a victory over Stanford in the 2014 Rose Bowl, Michigan State would tie the fourth-longest winning streak in school history (10 straight wins, 1965 and 1978-79).
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 BIG TEN CHAMPIONSHIP GAME -
Michigan State won its school-record 12th game of the season (11 wins in 2010 and 2011).
Big Ten Championship Game Most Valuable Player Connor Cook threw for a career-high 304 yards passing on 24-of-30 throws...he also threw three touchdown passes.
Jeremy Langford set a school record with his eighth-straight 100-yard rushing game, as he collected 128 yards on 24 carries.
Indianapolis native Isaiah Lewis recorded a career-high 13 tackles and also had a pass break-up.
Michigan State held Ohio State to 374 yards of total offense, a season low for the Buckeyes.
MSU snapped Ohio State's 24-game winning streak, which was the longest in OSU history and tied for the fourth longest in Big Ten history.
Michigan State's nine-game winning streak is the longest since the Spartans won 10 in a row in 1978-79 (last seven games in 1978, first three games in 1979)...MSU has won 14 of its last 15 games.
COOK EARNS COACHES' ALL-BIG TEN SECOND-TEAM HONORS -
He ranks among Michigan State's Top 10 single-season leaders in TD passes (tied for fifth with 20), pass attempts (eighth with 344), pass completions (eighth with 201) and passing yards (11th with 2,423).
Cook has 52 completions of 15 or more yards, including 19 of 25 or more yards.
The 6-foot-4, 218-pound Cook earned Big Ten Championship Game MVP honors after completing 24-of-40 throws for a career-high 304 yards, three TDs and one interception as the Spartans knocked off previously unbeaten and second-ranked Ohio State, 34-24, to claim a berth in the Rose Bowl. He threw TD strikes of 72 yards to Keith Mumphery and 33 yards to Tony Lippett in the first half, and his 9-yard TD toss to Josiah Price gave MSU the lead for good at 27-24 early in the fourth quarter. With the game on the line in the fourth quarter, Cook connected on 9-of-13 passes for 103 yards, including the go-ahead score.
He completed 16-of-23 passes for 293 yards and two TDs in MSU'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 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 TD 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 Mumphery for a 27-yard scoring play as MSU took a 34-21 lead.
Cook hit 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 passes 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) and pass attempts (44) 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 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 had four receptions for 65 yards in Michigan State's 34-24 win over No. 2 Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship Game and scored his first TD of the season on a 33-yard grab from Connor Cook early in the second quarter, as the Spartans jumped out to a 17-0 lead over the Buckeyes.
Lippett 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, he had 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 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. is tied for the team lead in receptions with 39 for 461 yards (11.8 avg.) and three TD receptions. Kings also ranks among the team leaders in third-down catches (second with 14) and 20-yard receptions (third with six). Twenty-two of his 39 receptions (56 percent) have resulted in either a TD or a first down. He has caught at least one pass in each of MSU's 13 games this season. Over his last 11 games, Kings has 35 catches for 423 yards and three scores.
The 5-foot-10, 186-pound Kings led the team with five catches for 67 yards against Ohio State, including a career-long 48-yard grab in the fourth quarter that helped set up MSU's go-ahead score.
He 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 Cook in the second quarter. 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 (525), TD catches (6) and 20-yard receptions (8). He ranks third on the team in receptions with 34. Twenty-four of his 34 receptions (71 percent) have resulted in either a TD or a first down. Over his last 10 games, Fowler has 31 catches for 491 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 -
Langford ranks among Michigan State's single-season leaders in rushing TDs (tied for fifth with 17), rushing attempts (eighth with 269) and rushing yards (11th with 1,338).
The 6-foot, 206-pound Langford plays his best when the game is on the line, as his 386 fourth-quarter rushing yards (6.1 yards per carry) rank sixth in the NCAA FBS, according to cfbstats.com. He has helped ice games with five fourth-quarter TD runs, including four scores covering more than 25 yards: 40 yards against Michigan, 37 yards at Nebraska, 37 yards at Northwestern and 26 yards against Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship Game.
Langford set the school record with his eighth-straight 100-yard rushing game in MSU's 34-24 win over No. 2 Ohio State, with 24 rushes for 128 yards. He averaged 8.1 yards per carry (8 for 65 yards) in the fourth quarter, including a 26-yard TD run with 2:16 left that provided the final 10-point margin. His 34-yard gallop late in the third quarter helped set up Michael Geiger's 44-yard field goal as MSU pulled to within 24-20.
The Wayne, Mich., native has rushed for 1,027 yards during his eight-game streak, averaging 128.4 yards per game. His eight-consecutive 100-yard rushing games broke the single-season record he shared with Lorenzo White (seven-straight 100-yard games in 1985).
Langford carried 21 times for 134 yards and a touchdown in MSU'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. He scored on a 15-yard run in the first quarter and ripped off a career-long 44-yard run late in the fourth quarter.
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 yards, 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 rushed 26 times for 120 yards in MSU'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 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 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 BECOMES THE MOST-DECORATED DEFENSIVE BACK IN MSU HISTORY -
The 5-foot-11, 197-pound Dennard previously was selected recipient of the Jack Tatum Award, presented to college football's best defensive back by The Touchdown Club of Columbus. In addition, he was named one of five finalists the Bronko Nagurski Trophy (presented to the nation's top defensive player by the Football Writers Association of America).
Dennard is the first Spartan to be named a consensus first-team All-American at cornerback. He has been named first-team All-American by the Walter Camp Football Foundation, American Football Coaches Association, Associated Press, Football Writers Association of America, CBSSports.com, ESPN, USA TODAY, SI.com, Sporting News, Athlon Sports and Lindy's. He becomes the first MSU cornerback to earn first-team All-America honors since his position coach Harlon Barnett in 1989.
Dennard was chosen the Tatum-Woodson Big Ten Defensive Back of the Year and earned first-team All-Big Ten honors for the second year in a row. A unanimous first-team pick by the coaches, he recently was ranked the No. 3 defensive player in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision by CBSSports.com. In addition, Dennard was named Big Ten Defensive MVP by ESPN.com.
He ranks fourth on the team in tackles (59) and fifth in production points (210). Dennard has been credited with 2.5 tackles for losses (6 yards) and ranks among the Big Ten leaders in interceptions (tied for third) and passes defended (tied for seventh at 1.08 per game).
Dennard helps anchor a defensive unit that ranks among the NCAA FBS Top 10 in seven different stat categories: rushing defense (first at 80.8 yards per game), total defense (first at 248.2 ypg.), opponent third-down conversions (first at .277; 53-of-191), passing efficiency defense (second with 91.5 rating), scoring defense (fourth at 12.7 points per game), turnover margin (seventh at +1.1 per game) and passing defense (sixth at 167.4 ypg.). The Spartans have been ranked No. 1 in the nation in total defense for 13 consecutive weeks.
He recorded three tackles, two pass break-ups and forced a fumble in Michigan State's 34-24 win over No. 2 Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship Game. The Spartans limited the Buckeyes to 25 total yards in the fourth quarter, including zero passing yards, as MSU rallied from a 24-20 deficit to claim a BCS berth in the Rose Bowl.
On Senior Day against Minnesota in his last appearance at Spartan Stadium, Dennard tied his career high with nine tackles and also broke up a pass.
He recorded a career-best nine tackles and an interception in MSU'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.
He posted 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).
Dennard 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 164 tackles and 30 passes defended (20 pass break-ups, 10 interceptions) in 43 career games, including 39 starts (28 consecutive). Dennard has accepted an invitation to play in the 2014 Senior Bowl.
ALLEN ANCHORS NATION'S TOP DEFENSIVE UNIT -
Allen contributed eight tackles in Michigan State's 34-24 victory over No. 2 Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship Game. The Spartans held the Buckeyes to season lows in points and total yards (374). MSU limited OSU to one first down and 25 total yards in the fourth quarter, as MSU rallied from a 24-20 deficit. Ohio State went 1-for-10 on third-down conversions, including 0-for-5 in the second half.
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 recording 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 made 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 39 consecutive games at linebacker - the second-longest active streak on the team.
CALHOUN NAMED BIG TEN DEFENSIVE LINEMAN OF THE YEAR -
Calhoun was named one of six finalists for the Ted Hendricks Award, which is given annually to the nation's top defensive end. In addition, he was named to CollegeFootballNews.com's All-Sophomore Team (first team). He also was added to the Paul Hornung Award Watch List after Week 3 (nation's most versatile player).
The 6-foot-4, 250-pound Calhoun totaled four tackles, including half a sack (3 yards), two QB hits and a QB hurry in Michigan State's victory over No. 2 Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship Game.
He produced a career-high seven tackles, including 2.5 for losses (12 yards) and a half sack (1 yard), in MSU's home finale against Minnesota, as the Spartans held the Gophers to a season-low three points.
He recorded career highs tackles for loss (3 for 19 yards) and sacks (2.5 for 17) in MSU's 29-6 win over No. 23 Michigan. He also was credited with six tackles, 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 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 13 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.
ALL-AMERICAN Mike Sadler: A VALUABLE WEAPON ON SPECIAL TEAMS -
Sadler has been a valuable weapon on special teams for the Spartans, as he ranks fourth in the Big Ten and 40th in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision in punting with his 42.3-yard average. He leads the FBS with 22 punts downed inside the 10-yard line (31 percent) and ranks third with 30 inside the 20 (43 percent). Sadler also has had eight punts downed inside the 5, including three at the 1-yard line. In addition, he has 14 punts of 50-plus yards and opponents have collected just 116 punt return yards against the Spartans through 13 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. 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 42.3 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.
CONKLIN EARNS FRESHMAN ALL-AMERICA HONORS -
Conklin, who ranks fourth among offensive linemen with 55 knockdowns, has helped pave the way for 1,000-yard rusher Jeremy Langford. In addition, he hasn't allowed a sack this season.
Conklin produced a team-high five knockdowns in the home finale against Minnesota. He recorded a career-best eight knockdowns at Illinois. Conklin registered six knockdowns each at Nebraska and against Purdue. He totaled seven knockdowns against Indiana. The Plainwell, Mich., native earned his first start in his collegiate debut against Western Michigan and tallied 5.5 knockdowns in 74 snaps.
He came to Michigan State as a preferred walk-on in 2012 and earned a scholarship in the spring of 2013.
SEVENTEEN SPARTANS EARN ACADEMIC ALL-BIG TEN HONORS -
To be eligible for the Academic All-Big Ten Team, a student-athlete must be a letterwinner who is in at least his second academic year and carry a 3.0 or higher cumulative grade-point average (on a 4.0 scale).
Michigan State's list of honorees includes nine multi-year selections. Maxwell becomes the 18th four-time Academic All-Big Ten selection in MSU history. Bullough, Jackson and Sadler are featured on the academic all-conference team for the third-straight year, while Allen, Lang, Muma, Mumphery and Treadwell have made the honor roll for the second year in a row.
In the first seven seasons under Dantonio, 87 student-athletes have been named Academic All-Big Ten, including double-digit totals each of the last six years (2008-13).
DANTONIO SWEEPS BIG TEN COACH OF THE YEAR HONORS -
Dantonio also was named a finalist for the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year, Paul "Bear" Bryant Coach of the Year, Bobby Bowden Coach of the Year and Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year. In addition, he was named one of 16 semifinalists for the Maxwell Football Club Coach of the Year and was tabbed Big Ten Coach of the Year by Sporting News and CollegeFootballNews.com. Dantonio owns a 63-29 (.685) 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 three double-digit win seasons (2010, 2011, 2013), which is the most in school history. He also has four nine-win seasons at MSU, 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).
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