MSU Spartans
Rotating image

Sept.15, 1997

Michigan State Travels to Notre Dame

DATE: Sept. 20, 1997
SITE: Notre Dame Stadium (80,225), Notre Dame, Ind.
KICKOFF: 1:30 p.m. (EST)
SERIES RECORD: Notre Dame leads 41-18-1
FIRST MEETING: Notre Dame 34, Michigan State 6 (Nov. 25, 1897)
LAST MEETING: Notre Dame 21, Michigan State 20 (Sept. 17, 1994)
BROADCAST COVERAGE: Radio - The Spartan Radio Network, featuring veteran play-by-play announcer George Blaha, color analyst Larry Bielat and sideline reporter Ike Griffin, will broadcast the game to 28 affiliates throughout the state. Michigan State football broadcasts can be heard locally on flagship station WJIM (AM 1240, FM 97.5). Television - NBC Sports will televise the Michigan State-Notre Dame game live with Don Criqui and Bob Trumpy calling the action and John Dockery reporting from the sidelines.
OFFICIALS: Referee Dick Honig, Umpire Percy Mun, Linesman Mike Spanier, Line Judge Don Langeloh, Field Judge Mike Sheahan, Side Judge Jim Filson and Back Judge Jim Lapetina.

THE COACHES - Michigan State's Nick Saban (Kent State '73) is 14-11-1 (.558) in his third year with the Spartans and 23-13-1 (.635) in four seasons as a college head coach. Saban came to Michigan State following four seasons as the Cleveland Browns' defensive coordinator from 1991-94. He previously served as head coach at the University of Toledo where he guided the Rockets to a 9-2 record overall in 1990, including a share of the Mid-American Conference title at 7-1.

Notre Dame's Bob Davie (Youngstown State '76) is 1-1 (.500) in his first year with the Irish. Davie previously served as Notre Dame's defensive coordinator and inside linebackers coach under Lou Holtz from 1994-96. His college coaching credits also include stops at Texas A&M (1985-93), Tulane (1983-84), Pittsburgh (1977, 1980-82) and Arizona (1978-79).

TEAM COMPARISONS
                                Michigan State      Notre Dame
Basic Offense                   Pro Set             Multiple    
Basic Defense                   4-3                 3-4
Offensive Starters Returning    6                   7
Defensive Starters Returning    9                   6
Specialists Returning           2                   2
AVERAGE HEIGHTS & WEIGHTS (STARTERS)
                                    Michigan State      Notre Dame
Offensive Line & Tight End          6-5, 294            6-6, 288
Offensive Backs & Wide Receivers    6-1, 206            6-2, 207
Defensive Line                      6-5, 268            6-2, 268
Linebackers                         6-3, 234            6-2, 236
Defensive Backs                     6-0, 193            6-0, 193

CLASS BREAKDOWN (STARTERS)
Michigan State Offense: 6 seniors, 2 juniors, 2 sophomores, 1 freshman
Michigan State Defense: 2 seniors, 5 juniors, 4 sophomores
Notre Dame Offense: 5 seniors, 4 juniors, 2 sophomores
Notre Dame Defense: 5 seniors, 4 juniors, 2 sophomores

STAT LEADERS
Michigan State (After 2 Games):
Rushing - Sedrick Irvin (31 carries for 152 yards, 4.9 avg., 3 TDs)
Passing - Todd Schultz (26 of 40 for 298 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT)
Receiving - Octavis Long (8 catches for 105 yards, 13.1 avg., 1 TD)
Tackles - Tyrone Garland (17 tackles, 6 solos, 11 assists)

Notre Dame (After 2 Games):
Rushing - Autry Denson (46 carries for 175 yards, 3.8 avg., 3 TDs)
Passing - Ron Powlus (49 of 72 for 510 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs)
Receiving - Bobby Brown (14 catches for 140 yards, 10.0 avg., 0 TDs)
Tackles - Jimmy Friday (26 tackles, 12 solos, 15 assists)

1997 STAT COMPARISON
                            Michigan State      Notre Dame 
Scoring                     46.5                17.0
First Downs                 22.0                24.0
Total Offense               387.0               414.0
Rushing Yards               189.5               159.0   
Passing Yards               197.5               255.0
Time of Possession          34:12               34:42
Third Down Conversions      .424                .444
Points Allowed              15.5                20.5
Total Yards Allowed         271.5               390.0
Rushing Yards Allowed       41.5                155.0
Passing Yards Allowed       230.0               235.0

QUOTING NICK SABAN - Memphis Recap: "We definitely improved as a football team from Game 1 to Game 2. The team displayed good intensity and played with a lot of toughness.

"I was especially pleased the progress the team made on offense. We had almost perfect balance, rushing for 229 yards and passing for 235, and produced some big plays. Todd Schultz played very well. The wide receivers improved and developed some confidence. Octavis Long played his best game in a Spartan uniform with seven catches. Octavis had three outstanding receptions, including two he took away from the defenders. Gari Scott also broke a big play. The offensive line did an extremely good job run blocking against a quick Memphis defensive line. All three tailbacks (Sedrick Irvin, Marc Renaud and Leroy McFadden) ran the ball well.

"The defense played very well in the first half, allowing only one first down and 13 total yards. I'm most concerned because the defense hasn't had to play a full 60 minutes yet. We played the first unit longer against Memphis because the guys needed the extra work. We played a lot of people in the second half. We gave up some big plays in the second half but our inexperience contributed to the long gains. The defense forced three turnovers and set up two scores with field position inside the Memphis 10."

Notre Dame Scouting Report: "Notre Dame is an outstanding football team, with talented players on both sides of the ball. Notre Dame simply ran into a buzz saw last week. Purdue represented the Big Ten well and played a tremendous game. One game doesn't made a season and I'm sure we'll catch Notre Dame playing its best football of the season. We have a great deal of respect for Notre Dame's tradition and pride.

"Offensively, Notre Dame has moved the football, averaging more than 400 yards per game. Ron Powlus is a talented quarterback who threw for almost 300 yards last week against Purdue. Notre Dame certainly features a more balanced offensive attack since Jim Colletto took over as offensive coordinator. An experienced offensive line is the strength of Notre Dame's offensive unit. Powlus has been sacked only once this season in 72 pass attempts. Notre Dame is a capable offensive team. This unit has gained a lot of yards but it has struggled to put points on the board.

"The strength of Notre Dame's defense is in the secondary where all four starters return. Melvin Dansby and Kory Minor are two outstanding players in the front seven.

"Notre Dame features a dangerous kick-returner in Allen Rossum and an outstanding punter in Hunter Smith."

Spartan Update: "It's time for Michigan State to start playing its best football against the best teams on the schedule. This game will be a good measuring stick. It's always a challenge the first time you play on the road. It remains to be seen if we have the maturity and character to overcome the adversity of playing a good football team on the road."

MICHIGAN STATE/NOTRE DAME SERIES NOTES - Notre Dame leads it 41-18-1, including a 26-7 record in games played in South Bend and a 15-7 mark in games played in Notre Dame Stadium. The Fighting Irish have won eight-straight games in the series, including a 21-20 victory in the last meeting on Sept. 17, 1994, in East Lansing, Mich. Notre Dame has won 10 out of the last 11 games and 17 out of the last 19 overall. Michigan State's last win in the series came on Sept. 20, 1986, when it knocked off No. 20 Notre Dame, 20-15, in Spartan Stadium. The Spartans last victory in Notre Dame Stadium came on Sept. 17, 1983, 28-23. (Note: For a complete list of all-time series results please refer to page 156 in the 1997 MSU Football Media Guide.)

THE LAST MEETING - Notre Dame scored 14 unanswered points and limited Michigan State to 21 total yards in the second half as the eighth-ranked Irish rallied for a 21-20 victory in Spartan Stadium on Sept. 17, 1994. Michigan State jumped out to a 10-0 lead on Chris Gardner's 31-yard field goal and Mill Coleman's 30-yard touchdown run. Ron Powlus directed a five-play, 72-yard drive and hit Derrick Mayes with a 29-yard TD pass as Notre Dame pulled to within three at 10-7. The Spartans built a 20-7 halftime lead as Tony Banks scored on a 3-yard run and Gardner added a 24-yard field goal. Michigan State dominated the first half, outgaining Notre Dame 249-114. The Irish put together a 10-play 80-yard drive midway through the third quarter with Lee Becton scoring on a 36-yard run. Powlus went 3-for-3 on the 84-yard game-winning drive, including a 15-yard TD strike to Robert Farmer with 12:12 left in the fourth quarter. Notre Dame outgained Michigan State, 430-270. Becton (90) and Randy Kinder (104) combined for 194 yards on 30 carries. Powlus completed 10-of-30 passes for 161 yards and four interceptions. Banks hit 15-of-27 pass attempts for 190 yards.

SPARTANS RANK THIRD IN ALL-TIME VICTORIES VS. ND - Michigan State ranks third among opponents in all-time victories over Notre Dame. Only Southern Cal (24) and Purdue (22) have posted more wins over the Irish than the Spartans (18).

    All-Time Wins vs. Notre Dame
    Opponent        Games Played        Wins vs. ND
    Southern Cal    68                  24
    Purdue          69                  22
    Michigan State  60                  18
    Pittsburgh      56                  16

ROLE REVERSAL - For the first time since 1985, Notre Dame enters its game against Michigan State unranked. The Irish have been nationally ranked in the nine previous meetings (1986-94). For only the sixth time in series history, Michigan State enters the contest as the only ranked team. The last time Michigan State came into the game ranked and the Irish unranked was 1969. (Note: Notre Dame won the 1969 matchup, 42-28.)

MSU/ND CONNECTIONS

  • Michigan State defensive coordinator Dean Pees served as Notre Dame's secondary coach under Lou Holtz in 1994 - the last time these two teams met.
  • Michigan State back-up quarterback Gus Ornstein started his collegiate career at Notre Dame. Ornstein made his only game appearance as a true freshman in 1994 vs. Navy and completed two-of-five passes for 21 yards, including a 15-yard TD toss to Leon Wallace in the final minute. He was listed third on the Irish depth chart in '94 behind Ron Powlus and Tom Krug.
  • Michigan State's veteran play-by-play announcer George Blaha graduated from Notre Dame in 1966 with a degree in economics. Blaha is in his 20th season as the radio "Voice of the Spartans."
  • Since 1949, the winner of the Michigan State-Notre Dame game has been presented the Megaphone Trophy, sponsored jointly by the Detroit alumni clubs of both schools. The megaphone is printed half blue, with a gold ND monogram, and half white, with a green MSC. All previous game scores are listed on the trophy. Michigan State and Notre Dame played 36 consecutive seasons from 1959-94 until the recent two-year interruption of the series.

HOOSIER HOMECOMING - Michigan State's 70-man travel roster features two players from Indiana, including starting center Jason Strayhorn (Indianapolis/North Central High School) and walk-on defensive back John Marynowski (Fort Wayne/Homestead).

THE LAST TIME OUT - Todd Schultz completed 18-of-22 passes for 206 yards and a career-best three touchdowns to lead Michigan State to a 51-21 victory over Memphis. Michigan State scored touchdowns on six of its eight first-half possessions to build a 42-0 lead. Schultz threw TD passes of 2 yards to Brad Rainko, 4 to Octavis Long and 53 to Gari Scott. Sedrick Irvin scored on runs of 7 and 2 yards and Leroy McFadden added a 1-yard TD dive. The Spartan defense allowed only one first down and 13 total yards in the first half. Long had a career-high seven receptions for 87 yards. McFadden picked up 95 yards on 14 carries and scored his second TD from 8 yards out in the fourth quarter. Michigan State outgained Memphis 464-277 total yards.

INJURY REPORT - OUT: TE Chris Baker (cartilage left knee; sidelined five to seven weeks); CB Ron Weston (ACL right knee; out for the season). QUESTIONABLE: LB Mike Austin (cartilage left knee vs. Western Michigan; DNP vs. Memphis; sidelined one to two weeks after undergoing arthroscopic surgery Sept. 10); SS Dan Hackenbracht (hyperextended left knee vs. Memphis).

SPARTANS OF THE WEEK - The Michigan State coaching staff selected the following players as Spartans of the Week for their performances Sept. 13 vs. Memphis:

Offense: SE Octavis Long (career-high seven catches for 87 yards, including a 4-yard TD pass from Todd Schultz)
Defense: OLB Ike Reese (10 tackles including two for losses and a sack)
Special Teams: Ralph Truitt (2 solo tackles)

SPARTANS PREFER ARTIFICIAL TURF - Michigan State is 0-8-1 in its last nine games played on natural grass. The Spartans' last victory on natural grass came at Purdue, 27-24, on Nov. 13, 1993. By contrast, Michigan State is 18-12 (.600) in its last 30 games on artificial turf.

YOUTH IS SERVED - With a 42-0 halftime lead, Michigan State head coach Nick Saban substituted freely in the second half of the 1997 season opener vs. Western Michigan. Nineteen first-year players saw action against the Broncos, including 10 true freshmen, six red-shirt freshman, two sophomores and a junior. Here's a complete breakdown of players who made their collegiate debuts Sept. 6 vs. Western Michigan:

True Freshmen (10): CB Richard Brown, DT Willie Comerford, DB John Marynowski, DE Nick Meyers, CB Richard Newsome, DE Jace Sayler, WR Demont Smith, DE Artie Steinmetz, WR DeMario Suggs, LB T.J. Turner.
Red-Shirt Freshmen (6): OT Matt Bonito, C Brian Grant, OG Shaun Mason, WR Lavaile Richardson, OG Mike Schutz, OT Dave Sucura.
Sophomores (2): TB Leroy McFadden, DE Robaire Smith.
Junior (1): QB Ralph Truitt.

GROUND GAME PRODUCES WINS - During Nick Saban's tenure, Michigan State has rushed the ball 50 times or more on eight occasions with the Spartans sporting a 7-1 record in those games. In the 1997 season opener vs. Western Michigan, the Spartans gained 150 yards rushing on 52 attempts. Here's a look at Michigan State's eight games with 50-plus rushes since 1995:

Date            Opponent            Att.-Yds.   Result
Sept. 16, 1995  @Louisville         56-216      W 30-7
Oct. 14, 1995   @Illinois           55-239      W 27-21
Sept. 28, 1996  Eastern Michigan    57-249      W 47-0
Oct. 5, 1996    @Iowa               52-236      L 30-37
Oct. 12, 1996   Illinois            52-205      W 42-14
Oct. 19, 1996   @Minnesota          56-243      W 27-9
Nov. 9, 1996    Indiana             64-257      W 38-15
Sept. 6, 1997   Western Michigan    52-150      W 42-10

SPARTANS TOUGH AGAINST THE RUN - Michigan State has held seven out of its last 13 regular-season opponents under 100 yards rushing. In the 1997 season opener vs. Western Michigan, the Spartans allowed 29 yards rushing on 21 attempts. It marked the fourth time during Nick Saban's tenure that Michigan State surrendered fewer than 50 yards on the ground. Here's a look at MSU's top efforts against the run since 1995:

Date            Opponent            Att.-Yds.   Result
Sept. 16, 1995  @Louisville         37-50       W 30-7
Sept. 28, 1996  Eastern Michigan    39-25       W 47-0
Oct. 12, 1996   Illinois            32-49       W 42-14
Sept. 6, 1997   Western Michigan    21-29       W 42-10

"RED ZONE" UPDATE - Michigan State has scored on all 10 of its possessions that have penetrated the opponent's 20-yard line in 1997. The Spartans' scoring drives have produced nine touchdowns and a field goal. Here's a look at MSU's and its opponent's trips inside the "Red Zone" in '97:

Michigan State          "Red Zone" Results
Western Michigan        3-3 (3 TDs)
Memphis                 7-7 (6 TDs, FG)
Totals                  10-10 (1.000)
Opponent                "Red Zone" Results
Western Michigan        2-3 (TD, interception, FG)
Memphis                 1-3 (lost on downs, TD, interception)
Totals                  3-6 (.500)

POINTS OFF TURNOVERS - Michigan State currently leads the NCAA in turnover margin at +6.0 per game. The Spartans have parlayed 10 takeaways into 35 points in 1997. Last year, Michigan State finished last in the Big Ten in turnover margin at -0.83 per game (18 takeaways, 28 giveaways).

Michigan State      Takeaways                       Points
Western Michigan    7 (4 interceptions, 3 fumbles)  21 (3 TDs)
Memphis             3 (1 interception, 2 fumbles)   14 (2 TDs)
Totals              10 (5 interceptions, 5 fumbles) 35
Opponent            Takeaways                       Points
Western Michigan    1 (1 interception)              0
Memphis             1 (1 fumble)                    7
Totals              2 (1 interception, 1 fumble)    7

HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE - Michigan State extended its home winning streak to six games with a 51-21 victory over Memphis Sept. 13.

How much is Michigan State's home field advantage worth? Nearly 26 points if the last eight home games are any indication. Michigan State has outscored its opponents 322-117 in its last eight games in Spartan Stadium. Here's how the Spartans have fared in the last eight home contests:

Date            Opponent            Result
Aug. 31, 1996   Purdue              W 52-14
Sept. 21, 1996  Louisville          L 20-30
Sept. 28, 1996  Eastern Michigan    W 47-0
Oct. 12, 1996   Illinois            W 42-14
Oct. 26, 1996   Wisconsin           W 30-13
Nov. 9, 1996    Indiana             W 38-15
Sept. 6, 1997   Western Michigan    W 42-10
Sept. 13, 1997  Memphis             W 51-21
                Total Points        322-117
                Scoring Avg.        40.3-14.6

BIG TEN/NCAA STAT LEADERS - Here's a glance at how Michigan State ranks among the Big Ten and NCAA stat leaders in 1997:

Category                Stat Avg.   Big Ten     NCAA    
Rushing Offense             189.5       5th     33rd
Passing Offense             197.5       8th     63rd
Total Offense               387.0       7th     43rd
Scoring Offense             46.5        2nd     5th
Rushing Defense             41.5        1st     5th
Pass Efficiency Defense     93.2        4th     16th
Total Defense               271.5       5th     25th
Scoring Defense             15.5        6th     31st
Turnover Margin             +4.5        1st     1st
Net Punting                 24.3        11th    112th
Punt Returns                10.0        3rd     t-39th
Kickoff Returns             17.2        t-9th   t-85th

1997 CAPTAINS ELECTED - Senior offensive guard Scott Shaw and senior outside linebacker Ike Reese were elected team captains by their peers Aug. 29. Reese becomes only the fourth two-time captain in Michigan State football history and the first since 1982-83. Other two-time captains include linebacker Carl Banks (1982-83), quarterback John Leister (1981-82) and linebacker George Cooper (1980-81). The only three-time captain in Spartan history is center Robert McCurry (1946-48).

Senior offensive tackle Flozell Adams has been appointed game captain for Notre Dame by head coach Nick Saban.

MAGIC NUMBER 24 - Since 1990, Michigan State is 35-8-1 (.807) when it scores at least 24 points. During that eight-year period, the Spartans have compiled an overall record of only 41-40-2 (.506).

TRACKING THE SPARTANS IN THE POLLS - Here's a glance at how Michigan State has fared in the weekly Associated Press and USA Today/ESPN Coaches Polls in 1997:

                USA Today/
Date        AP      ESPN
Preseason   25      NR
Aug. 31     25      NR
Sept. 7     21      23
Sept. 14    17      18

SPARTAN BACKS RUN BEHIND "HOTEL" ADAMS - Outland Trophy candidate Flozell Adams is in his third season as a starter on Michigan State's offensive line. Nicknamed "The Hotel," the 6-foot-7, 330-pound Adams has been named first-team preseason All-American by nearly every magazine, including The Sporting News, Football News, Lindy's College Football Annual, Bob Griese's College Football Preview and Playboy. He has been ranked as the nation's No. 1 offensive tackle by The Sporting News, Lindy's and Bob Griese's.

Adams has been described as a "road-grader" by MSU head coach Nick Saban. Spartan running backs have reached the 100-yard mark 14 times in his 25 career starts. Last year, Adams anchored an offensive line which helped produce a 1,000-yard rusher in freshman Sedrick Irvin (1,067).

IRVIN CONSIDERED FOR DOAK WALKER AWARD - Sedrick Irvin, who rushed for a Michigan State freshman-record 1,067 yards in 1996, is one of 52 candidates nominated for the Doak Walker Award, presented annually since 1990 by the GTE-SMU Athletic Forum to the nation's top running back. Irvin is one of only six sophomores featured on the preseason list of candidates, including Wisconsin's Ron Dayne, Minnesota's Thomas Hamner, Houston's Ketric Sanford, Georgia Tech's Charles Wiley and West Virginia's Amos Zereoue.

Last year, Irvin produced the ninth-best single-season rushing total in school history. He had five 100-yard games in '96 and averaged 106.0 yards rushing in Big Ten games. Irvin finished third in the Big Ten and eighth nationally in scoring with a Spartan freshman-record 18 touchdowns (108 points).

Eight semifinalists for the Doak Walker Award will be announced Nov. 26 and three finalists Dec. 3. The winner will be named Dec. 11.

REESE FEATURED ON BUTKUS AWARD WATCH LIST - Four-year starter Ike Reese is one of 52 candidates, including six from the Big Ten Conference, featured on the watch list compiled for the Butkus Award, presented annually since 1985 by the Downtown Athletic Club of Orlando, Fla., to the nation's outstanding collegiate linebacker.

Reese has reached double figures in tackles 13 times and already ranks among the Spartans' all-time leaders with 298 career tackles (No. 9). He needs only 32 tackles in 1997 to crack MSU's top five. Last year, Reese led the Spartans in tackles with 115 (75 solos, 40 assists), including four for losses (27 yards) and two sacks (23). He reached double digits in tackles six times in '96, including a career-high 17 stops vs. Nebraska.

The Butkus Award watch list will by trimmed to 10 semifinalists by Oct. 16 and three finalists by Nov. 13. The award will be presented Dec. 13.

SCHULTZ NOMINATED FOR JOHNNY UNITAS AWARD - Todd Schultz, who heads into his second season as Michigan State's starting quarterback, is one of 17 seniors nominated for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, presented annually since 1987 by the Kentucky Chapter of the National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame to the nation's top signal caller. Schultz joins Iowa's Matt Sherman and Minnesota's Corey Sauter on the list of candidates.

Last year, Schultz completed 130-209 passes (.622) for 1,693 yards, seven touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He ranked among the Big Ten leaders in passing efficiency (fourth at 131.7 rating) and total offense (fourth at 180.1 yards per game). Schultz already ranks among MSU's career passing leaders in attempts (10th at 334), completions (seventh at 209), completion percentage (second at .626) and yards (10th at 2,568).

Five finalists for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award will be selected Oct. 29 and the winner announced Nov. 26.

PRESEASON RANKINGS - Michigan State ranked No. 25 in the Associated Press preseason poll, released Aug. 9. The Spartans were one of six Big Ten teams featured in the AP ratings, including preseason No. 1 Penn State, No. 9 Ohio State, No. 14. Michigan, No. 21 Iowa and No. 24 Wisconsin. It marked Michigan State's first appearance in the AP preseason poll since 1991.

Editors of at least three magazines also elected to include Michigan State in their preseason polls, including Sports Illustrated (No. 16), The Sporting News (No. 18) and Bob Griese's College Football Preview (No. 20).

"It's flattering to our program to be considered a preseason Top 25 team," Saban said. "People who cover our team on a regular basis know how far we have come in the last three years.

"Preseason polls create a great deal of interest for football programs and a remarkable number of tickets can be sold based upon a preseason ranking. Preseason polls deal with potential while post-season finishes deal with reality. As a coach, I'd much rather deal in reality than with potential."

SPARTAN FANS BUY RECORD NUMBER OF SEASON TICKETS - Michigan State head football coach Nick Saban's motto for the 1997 season is "Reach Higher" and thanks to 17 returning starters, Spartan fans share the same enthusiasm as reflected by the record number of season tickets sold. For the first time in school history, Michigan State has sold more than 60,000 season tickets. The first two games have already attracted sellout crowds. In addition, three upcoming home games are already complete sellouts, Oct. 4 Homecoming game vs. Minnesota, Oct. 25 vs. Michigan and Nov. 1 vs. Ohio State.

Season-ticket sales increased by more than 11,000 from 48,968 in 1996 to 60,244. Sales were up in three different season-ticket categories, including public, student and family. The previous record for season tickets sold was 57,019 in 1988 following Michigan State's '87 Big Ten championship and Rose Bowl victory over Southern Cal, 20-17.

1997 OPPONENTS UPDATE -
Date vs.        MSU Opponent            Last Game Result            Next Game
Sept. 6         Western Michigan (2-1)  @Northern Illinois (21-13)  vs. Toledo
Sept. 13        Memphis (1-2)           @Michigan State (L 21-51)   vs. Minnesota
Sept. 20        @Notre Dame (1-1)       @Purdue (L 17-28)           vs. Michigan State  
Oct. 4          Minnesota (1-1)         vs. Iowa State (W 53-29)    @Memphis
Oct. 11         @Indiana (1-1)          vs. Ball State (W 33-6)     vs. Kentucky
Oct. 18         @Northwestern (2-1)     vs. Duke (W 24-20)          vs. Rice
Oct. 25         Michigan (1-0)          vs. Colorado (W 27-3)       vs. Baylor
Nov. 1          Ohio State (2-0)        vs. Bowling Green (W 44-13) vs. Arizona
Nov. 8          @Purdue (1-1)           vs. Notre Dame (W 28-17)    vs. Ball State
Nov. 22         @Illinois (0-2)         @Louisville (L 14-26)       vs. Washington State
Nov. 29         Penn State (2-0)        vs. Temple (W 52-10)        @Louisville

Michigan State's 1997 opponents have a combined record of 14-8 (.636). Note: Record doesn't include games played against MSU.

PLAYING IN SPARTAN STADIUM - Over the past 74 seasons, Michigan State has compiled a 267-111-13 mark (.699) in Spartan Stadium. The Spartans have gone undefeated at home 15 times since the stadium opened in 1923. In addition, Michigan State has suffered only one home loss in 26 seasons, including last year's 5-1 record. Only six times in the 73-year history of the stadium has Michigan State experienced a losing record at home.

SCOREBOARD OPERATOR GETS A WORKOUT -- Michigan State averaged 29.8 points per game in 1996 -- its best season scoring average since 1978 (37.4 ppg). The Spartans produced 44 touchdowns last year, eight more TDs than the team managed in '95. Here's a look at MSU's scoring production over the last 20 seasons:

Year    TDs PTS Avg.            Year    TDs PTS Avg.
1996    44  358 29.8            1986    36  285 25.9
1995    36  287 23.9            1985    35  258 21.5
1994    34  280 25.5            1984    24  193 16.1
1993    35  277 23.1            1983    19  162 14.7
1992    29  238 21.6            1982    23  202 18.3
1991    18  162 14.7            1981    31  263 23.9
1990    39  312 26.0            1980    27  221 20.1
1989    47  356 29.7            1979    29  240 21.8
1988    29  269 22.4            1978    56  411 37.4
1987    30  261 21.8            1977    30  260 23.6

IRVIN POSTS IMPRESSIVE FROSH NUMBERS -- Sedrick Irvin set Michigan State freshman single-season records for rushing yards (1,067) and touchdowns (18). Irvin had five 100-yard rushing games, including a season-high 158 yards vs. Indiana (33 attempts). He ranked fourth among the NCAA's top freshman rushers (yards per game). Here's a look at the top freshman ground gainers in Division I-A last season (bowl games included):

NCAA
Rank    Player, Team                G   Att.    Yds.    Avg.    TD  YPG
4.      Ron Dayne, Wisconsin        13  325     2109    6.5     21  162.2
22.     Demond Parker, Oklahoma     11  180     1184    6.6     10  107.6
35.     Amos Zereoue, West Virginia 11  222     1035    4.7      9   94.1
39.     Sedrick Irvin, Michigan St. 12  237     1067    4.5     16   88.9
56.     Thomas Hamner, Minnesota    11  195      883    4.5      3   80.3

SPARTAN TRENDS UNDER SABAN -- Here's how Michigan State has fared during Nick Saban's tenure (1995-97):

Games played in Spartan Stadium: 10-4
Games played on the road/neutral site: 4-7-1
When leading at halftime: 13-5
When trailing at halftime: 1-5-1
When scoring first: 11-3-1
When opponent scores first: 3-8
When leading after first quarter: 11-1-1
When trailing after first quarter: 2-5
When tied after first quarter: 1-5
When leading after three quarters: 13-0-1
When trailing after three quarters: 1-9
When tied after three quarters: 0-2
When gaining more first downs than opponent: 11-3
When gaining fewer first downs than opponent: 3-6-1
When gaining same number of first downs as opponent: 0-2
When gaining 200+ yards rushing: 10-2-1
When opponent gains 200+ yards rushing: 2-5-1
When outrushing opponent: 12-4-1
When being outrushed by opponent: 2-7
When gaining 200+ yards passing: 8-8-1
When opponent gains 200+ yards passing: 4-7-1
When gaining more total yards than opponent: 13-4
When gaining fewer total yards than opponent: 1-7-1
When leading in time of possession: 11-7-1
When trailing in time of possession: 3-4

Michigan State Depth Chart

SE      20  Octavis Long (5-10, 178, Sr.)
        7   Lavaile Richardson (6-2, 180, R-Fr.)
LT      76  Flozell Adams (6-7, 330, Sr.)
        70  Dave Sucura (6-5, 283, R-Fr.)
LG      73  Scott Shaw (6-4, 297, Sr.)
        60  Mike Schutz (6-6, 310, R-Fr.)
C       79  Jason Strayhorn (6-2, 288, Jr.)
        64  Casey Jensen (6-7, 285, So.)
RG      71  Shaun Mason (6-5, 285, R-Fr.)
        64  Casey Jensen (6-7, 285, So.)
RT      65  Dave Mudge (6-7, 295, Sr.)
        72  Matt Bonito (6-7, 265, R-Fr.)
TE      83  Josh Keur (6-5, 270, Sr.)
        88  Kyle Rance (6-6, 240, So.)
QB      9   Todd Schultz (6-4, 212, Sr.)
        16  Bill Burke (6-5, 210, So.) or
        11  Gus Ornstein (6-5, 218, Jr.)
FB      45  Garett Gould (6-2, 238, Jr.)
        41  Travis Reece (6-3, 245, Sr.)
TB      33  Sedrick Irvin (6-0, 217, So.)
        26  Marc Renaud (5-10, 190, Sr.)
        18  Leroy McFadden (6-3, 235, So.)
FL      86  Gari Scott (6-1, 185, So.)
        4   Damien Hiram (6-5, 210, Sr.)
DE      99  Dimitrius Underwood (6-7, 252, Jr.)
        97  Nick Meyers (6-4, 255, Fr.) or
        80  Jace Sayler (6-5, 270, Fr.)
DT      66  Desmond Thomas (6-2, 285, Jr.)
        62  Robert Newkirk (6-3, 285, So.)
DT      92  Pete Govens (6-4, 285, So.)
        95  Davarrio Carter (6-2, 285, So.) 
DE      91  Robaire Smith (6-5, 250, So.)
        94  Artie Steinmetz (6-5, 275, Fr.)
SAM     53  Courtney Ledyard (6-3, 245, Jr.)
        56  Dwayne Hawkins (6-3, 230, Jr.) or
        35  T.J. Turner (6-4, 240, Fr.)
MIKE        25  Mike Austin (6-3, 234, So.) or
        37  Tyrone Garland (5-11, 225, Sr.)
WILL        44  Ike Reese (6-3, 222, Sr.)
        56  Dwayne Hawkins (6-3, 230, Jr.) or
        38  Sean Banks (6-2, 215, So.)
LCB     3   Amp Campbell (6-0, 185, Jr.)
        32  Richard Newsome (5-11, 182, Fr.)
SS      39  Aric Morris (5-11, 205, So.)
        31  Shawn Wright (6-2, 215, So.)
FS      6   Sorie Kanu (5-11, 195, Jr.)
        29  Lemar Marshall (6-2, 205, Jr.)
RCB     10  Ray Hill (6-0, 185, Sr.)
        24  Richard Brown (6-0, 197, Fr.)
PK      14  Chris Gardner (5-9, 195, Sr.)
        1   Paul Edinger (5-10, 183, So.)
P       1   Paul Edinger (5-10, 183, So.)
        14  Chris Gardner (5-9, 195, Sr.)
SSN     52  Mike Neal (6-1, 258, So.)
        73  Scott Shaw (6-4, 297, Sr.)
LSN     52  Mike Neal (6-1, 258, So.)
        88  Kyle Rance (6-6, 240, So.)
H       16  Bill Burke (6-5, 210, So.)
        4   Damien Hiram (6-5, 210, Sr.)
PR      33  Sedrick Irvin (6-0, 217, So.)
        86  Gari Scott (6-1, 185, So.)
KR      26  Marc Renaud (5-10, 190, Sr.)
        86  Gari Scott (6-1, 185, So.)

Notre Dame Depth Chart

SE      6   Malcolm Johnson (6-5, 210, Sr..)
        31  Darcey Levy (6-2, 190, Fr.)
QT      54  Luke Pettigout (6-6, 293, Sr.)
        68  Matt Brennan (6-7, 298, So.)
QG      71  Jerry Wisne (6-7, 304, Jr.)
        72  Leon Hires (6-4, 292, So.)
C       57  Rick Kaczenski (6-4, 265, Sr.)
        64  John Merandi (6-3, 285, So.)
SG      79  Mike Rosenthal (6-7, 310, Jr.)
        74  Rob Mowl (6-5, 293, So.)
ST      73  Mike Doughty (6-7, 302, Sr.)
        89  Tim Ridder (6-7, 300, Jr.)
TE      86  Dan O'Leary (6-5, 252, So.)
        84  Mike Denvir (6-4, 250, Sr.)
FL      88  Bobby Brown (6-3, 189, Jr.)
        9   Raki Nelson (5-11, 175, So.)
QB      3   Ron Powlus (6-3, 220, Sr.)
        7   Jarious Jackson (6-0, 218, Jr.)
FB      45  Joey Goodspeed (6-0, 228, So.)
        33  Jamie Spencer (6-1, 247, Jr.)
        28  Ken Barry (6-0, 217, Sr.)
TB      23  Autry Denson (5-10, 190, Jr.)
        32  Clement Stokes (6-0, 198, Sr.)
        25  Tony Driver (6-2, 201, Fr.)
LE      51  Melvin Dansby (6-4, 276, Sr.)
        77  Brad Williams (6-5, 270, So.)
NG      90  Lance Legree (6-1, 268, So.)
        85  Antwon Jones (6-3, 269, Jr.)
RE      95  Corey Bennett (6-1, 260, Sr.)
        56  Kurt Belisle (6-2, 256, Sr.)
OLB     4   Kory Minor (6-1, 234, Jr.)
        39  Anthony Denman (6-1, 197, Fr.)
OLB     53  Lamont Bryant (6-3, 250, Jr.)
        41  Joe Ferrer (6-2, 228, So.) or
        47  Bill Mitoulas (6-1, 222, Sr.)
ILB     13  Jimmy Friday (6-2, 232, Jr.)
        44  Grant Irons (6-5, 224, Fr.)
ILB     34  Ronnie Nicks (6-1, 226, So.)
        8   Anthony Brannan (5-11, 198, So.)
        42  Antwoine Wellington (6-0, 243, So.)
LCB     14  Ivory Covington (5-10, 169, Sr.)
        10  Deveron Harper (5-11, 179, So.)
FS      30  Jarvis Edison (6-4, 221, Sr.)
        1   Deke Cooper (6-3, 207, So.)
SS      2   Benny Guilbeaux (6-2, 202, Jr.)
        5   A'Jani Sanders (5-11, 185, Jr.)
RCB     15  Allen Rossum (5-8, 180, Sr.)
        24  Ty Goode (5-11, 182, Sr.)
PK      19  Jim Sanson (5-9, 185, So.)
        12  Scott Cengia (5-10, 184, Sr.)
P       17  Hunter Smith (6-2, 211, Jr.)
        36  Chris Wachtel (5-11, 205, Sr.)
SN      78  Jon Spickelmier (6-3, 256, Sr.)
        86  Dan O'Leary (6-5, 252, So.)
H       17  Hunter Smith (6-2, 211, Jr.)
        7   Jarious Jackson (6-0, 218, Jr.)
PR      15  Allen Rossum (5-8, 180, Sr.)
        23  Autry Denson (5-10, 190, Jr.)
        18  Joey Getherall (5-7, 169, Fr.)
KR      15  Allen Rossum (5-8, 180, Sr.)
        23  Autry Denson (5-10, 190, Jr.)

SHOP NOW

at the official
Online Store