Big 10

No. 21 Spartans Head Back on the Road to Face Minnesota

October 12, 2017

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Oct. 12, 2017

FIRST-AND-10 –
• Michigan State heads back on the road for a second straight week as the Spartans take on Minnesota Saturday, Oct. 14 in Minneapolis at 8 p.m. The game will be broadcast on BTN and BTN2Go. With its 14-10 win at No. 7 Michigan last Saturday night, the Spartans improved to 4-1 overall (2-0 Big Ten) and moved into the national rankings for the first time this season, coming in at No. 21 in The Associated Press Poll and No. 22 in the Amway Coaches Poll. It marked MSU’s eighth win over Michigan in the last 10 meetings. The Gophers fell at Purdue, 31-17, and are 3-2 on the season (0-2 Big Ten).

• Saturday’s game marks the 47th meeting between Michigan State and Minnesota and the first since 2013. The Spartans lead the all-time series, 29-17, including a 12-11 record in games played in Minneapolis. MSU defeated the Gophers in the 2013 regular-season finale in East Lansing, 14-3, to cap a perfect 8-0 conference season. Overall, Michigan State has won 23 of the last 29 meetings, including four straight. MSU head coach Mark Dantonio is 4-1 against Minnesota, with a 1-1 record at TCF Bank Stadium.

• In its last trip to Minneapolis, Michigan State topped Minnesota, 26-10, in the 2012 regular-season finale to clinch a bowl bid for the sixth consecutive season. Le’Veon Bell rushed 35 times for 266 yards and one touchdown while the Spartan defense held the Gophers to just 4 yards rushing.

• MSU is 27-14 (.659) in Big Ten road games under Dantonio, including a 21-8 record (.724) since 2010. Dantonio has won at least one road game at every Big Ten stadium.

• Through the first three games of the season, MSU forced just two turnovers and was minus-six in turnover margin (-2.00 per game). The last two games, MSU is plus-seven in turnovers, forcing seven turnovers on defense (two vs. Iowa, five vs. Michigan) without committing one on offense. MSU is now on the plus side of the turnover battle (+1; 0.20 per game), which ranks seventh in the Big Ten and 50th in the FBS.

• MSU ranks among the Big Ten leaders in several defensive categories, including pass efficiency defense (first with 89.72 rating), passing defense (second at 161.4 ypg), third-down percentage defense (second at .274), first downs defense (second with 69), total defense (second at 258.6 ypg), rushing defense (third at 97.2 ypg) and scoring defense (fifth at 16.4 ppg) The Spartans also rank among the FBS leaders in pass efficiency defense (second), total defense (fourth), first downs defense (fifth), rushing defense (12th), scoring defense (13th), passing defense (13th) and third-down defense (13th).

• Sophomore linebacker Joe Bachie was named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week after helping lead the Spartan defense to an impressive performance in the 14-10 win at No. 7 Michigan. Bachie recorded double-digits in tackles for the third time of the season, tying a team high with 10 stops against the Wolverines, and had an 11-yard sack in the second quarter. He also forced a fumble, recorded his first career interception, and broke up a pass on the final play of the game. Bachie leads the team and ranks tied for second in Big Ten with 44 tackles (8.8 avg.). He also ranks second on the Spartans with five tackles for loss (21 yards) and two sacks (14 yards).

• Sophomore safety David Dowell was named the Rose Bowl Game Big Ten Player of the Week for his career performance at No. 7 Michigan. Dowell became the first Spartan to record two interceptions in one game since Trae Wayes in 2014 vs. Nebraska. Dowell picked off his first pass in the third quarter and returned it 17 yards, then recorded his second interception in the fourth quarter and returned it 18 yards. He also recovered a fumble in the second quarter. The 6-1, 191-pound native of North Ridgeville, Ohio, also had a career-high seven tackles as he started his second consecutive game at safety.

• Sophomore quarterback Brian Lewerke leads the Spartans not only in total offense (1,366 yards; 273.2 ypg) and passing (1,057 yards; 211.4 ypg), but also in rushing (309 yards; 61.8 ypg) and rushing touchdowns (3). Lewerke has led the Spartans in rushing four times (69 yards vs. Bowling Green; career-high 81 vs. Western Michigan; 42 vs. Iowa; 61 vs. Michigan) and had 56 yards vs. Notre Dame. Lewerke ranks among the Big Ten leaders in total offense (third at 273.2 ypg), passing (sixth at 211.4 ypg), passing efficiency (seventh with 135.2 rating) and rushing (12th at 61.8 ypg). He also ranks first among Big Ten quarterbacks in rushing (Ohio State’s J.T. Barrett second at 51.8 ypg). Against Notre Dame, Lewerke’s career-high 396 yards of total offense (340 passing, 56 rushing) was the fourth-highest single-game total in the school record book. He also set career highs for passing yards (340; tied for 18th most in MSU single-game history), completions (31, tied for fifth in MSU single-game history) and passing attempts (51, seventh in MSU single-game history) vs. the Irish.

• Now in his 11th season as head coach of the Spartans, Mark Dantonio owns a 94-43 (.686) record. Dantonio has won the most Big Ten Championships (three) and bowl games (four) of any Spartan head coach and also ranks first with nine bowl appearances. He is the only active Big Ten coach to win multiple Big Ten Championships (2010, 2013, 2015), claim a victory in the Rose Bowl (2014), and coach in the College Football Playoff (2015). The second-winningest coach in school history with 94 victories, trailing only Hall of Famer Duffy Daugherty (109), Dantonio also ranks first in program history in conference winning percentage (.663, 55-28 record, minimum 10 games), second in Big Ten wins (55), home wins (56) and AP Top 25 victories (18), tied for second in AP Top 25 finishes (six), and fifth in overall winning percentage (.686).

COACHES –
Michigan State: Mark Dantonio
MSU Record: 94-43 (11th year)
Overall Record: 112-60 (14th year)
Record vs. Minnesota: 4-1

Minnesota: P.J. Fleck
Minnesota Record: 3-2 (first year)
Overall Record: 33-24 (fifth year)
Record vs. MSU: 0-2 (at WMU)

STAT LEADERS –
Michigan State:
Rushing – Brian Lewerke (53 carries for 309 yards, 5.8 avg, 3 TDs)
Passing – Brian Lewerke (95-of-155, .613, 1,057 yards, 9 TDs, 2 INTs)
Receiving – Felton Davis III (22 catches for 265 yards, 12.0 avg., 4 TDs)
Tackles – Joe Bachie (44 tackles, 18 solo, 26 assists, 5 TFLs, 2 sacks, 1 FF, 1 FR, 1 INT, 1 PBU)

Minnesota:
Rushing – Rodney Smith (108 carries for 398 yards, 3.7 avg, 2 TDs)
Passing – Conor Rhoda (54-of-97 for 786 yards, 5 TDs, 4 INTs)
Receiving – Tyler Johnson (17 catches for 366 yards, 21.5 avg, 3 TDs)
Tackles – Jonathan Celestin (41 tackles, 4.5 TFLs, 1 sacks, 2 PBUs)

A QUICK GLANCE AT MINNESOTA (3-2, 0-2 BIG TEN) –
• The Golden Gophers are 3-2 overall and 0-2 in Big Ten action after a 31-17 loss at Purdue last Saturday. In a game that was delayed for nearly an hour-and-a-half, Minnesota took a 17-16 lead with 2:26 to play, but Purdue scored a TD and two-point conversion for a 24-17 advantage with 1:17 left. The Gophers countered with a drive and reached the Purdue 27, but on fourth down, a Boilermaker pick-six return for a TD sealed the Purdue win.

• Minnesota has lost its last two games after opening the season 3-0. The Gophers kicked off the P.J. Fleck era with a 17-7 victory at home over Buffalo on Aug. 31. Minnesota then won at Oregon State, 48-14, on Sept. 9 before concluding nonconference action with a 34-3 win over Middle Tennessee on Sept. 16. In its Big Ten opener, Minnesota lost to Maryland, 31-24, on Sept. 30 in Minneapolis before last Saturday’s loss at Purdue.

• P.J. Fleck is in his first season at the helm of the Gophers’ program, coming to Minnesota after four seasons at head coach at Western Michigan, where he led the Broncos to a 12-0 regular-season record last season and a berth in the Cotton Bowl after winning the Mid-American Conference title. Fleck has a 33-24 overall record in his fifth season as a collegiate head coach.

• In the loss to Purdue, Minnesota had 328 yards of total offense, posting 227 rushing yards and 101 passing yards, while Purdue totaled 439 yards of total offense with 307 passing and 132 rushing.

• Senior quarterback Conor Rhoda was 11-of-25 passing for 101 yards with two TDs and one interception at Purdue. Junior running back Shannon Brooks posted 116 yards rushing on 18 carries, while junior running back Rodney Smith added 88 yards on 21 carries. Senior tight end Brandon Lingen and Smith had four catches apiece, with Lingen totaling 29 yards, including a 2-yard TD catch from Rhoda. Sophomore wide receiver Tyler Johnson had the Gophers’ other TD catch, a 3-yard snare for a score in the first quarter.

• Sophomore linebacker Thomas Barber led the Minnesota defense with 10 tackles, including 1.5 tackles for loss with half a sack, adding a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. Classmate and fellow linebacker Kamal Martin added seven stops and one interception, while another sophomore linebacker, Carter Coughlin had five tackles, including 2.5 tackles for loss with 1.5 sacks.

• Minnesota is sixth in the Big Ten and 16th in the FBS in scoring defense (17.2 ppg.), while ranking eighth in the conference in scoring offense (28.0 ppg). The Gopher defense is fourth in rushing defense (114.2 ypg) and sixth in passing defense (200.2 ypg) to rank sixth in total defense (314.4 ypg). Minnesota is fourth in the league in rushing offense (190.0 ypg) and 12th in passing offense (169.8 ypg) to rank 10th in total offense (359.8 ypg). The Gophers are second in the conference and 25th in the country in passing yards per completion (13.9).

• The Gophers lead the Big Ten and rank eighth in FBS in fewest penalties with 21, as well as ranking second in the league and 13th in the nation in fewest penalties per game (4.2) to also lead the conference and rank 12th in the country in fewest penalty yards (203).

• For the season, Rhoda is 54-of-97 (55.7 pct.) for 786 yards (157.2 ypg) with five TDs and four interceptions.

• Smith leads the Gophers’ rushing attack with 108 carries for 398 yards (79.6 ypg/3.7 ypc) with two TDs. Brooks adds 65 carries for 315 yards (78.8 ypg/4.8 ypc) with five TDs.

• Johnson has a team-leading 17 catches for 366 yards (73.2 ypg), ranking second in the Big Ten and 16th in FBS in yards per reception (21.5 ypc), with three TDs.

• Senior linebacker Jonathan Celestin spearheads the Gopher defense with 41 tackles, leading the league and ranking seventh in the nation with 33 solo stops. Celestin has 4.5 tackles for loss with one sack.

• Junior placekicker Emmit Carpenter is 7-of-10 on field goals, with a long of 49 yards, while splitting the uprights on 17-of-17 PATs.

MSU/MINNESOTA CONNECTIONS –
• MSU third-year defensive ends coach Mark Snyder worked with the defensive ends at Minnesota for four seasons (1997-2000) under former Gopher coach Glen Mason.

• MSU eighth-year quarterback coach Brad Salem’s father Joe compiled a 19-35-1 record (.355) in five seasons as head coach at Minnesota, from 1979-83.

• MSU 10th-year director of football operations Tim Allen spent 10 years at Minnesota (1997-2006) under Glen Mason where he served as assistant athletics director for football operations. During his tenure, the Golden Gophers made seven postseason bowl appearances, including five straight trips from 2002-06, and finished ranked among the nation’s AP Top 25 on two occasions (1999: No. 18; 2003: No. 20).

• Minnesota first-year offensive line coach/run game coordinator Ed Warinner coached linebackers/secondary at Michigan State as a graduate assistant for two seasons (1985-86) under George Perles.

MSU/MINNESOTA SERIES NOTES –
• Saturday’s game marks the 47th meeting between Michigan State and Minnesota and the first since 2013. The Spartans lead the all-time series, 29-17, including a 12-11 record in games played in Minneapolis. MSU defeated the Gophers in the 2013 regular-season finale in East Lansing, 14-3, to cap a perfect 8-0 conference season. Overall, Michigan State has won 23 of the last 29 meetings, including four straight.

• MSU head coach Mark Dantonio is 4-1 against Minnesota, with a 1-1 record at TCF Bank Stadium.

• In its last trip to Minneapolis, Michigan State topped Minnesota, 26-10, in the 2012 regular-season finale to clinch a bowl bid for the sixth consecutive season. Le’Veon Bell rushed 35 times for 266 yards and one touchdown while the Spartan defense held the Gophers to just 4 yards rushing.

• Dantonio coached against first-year Minnesota head coach P.J. Fleck twice when Fleck was in charge at Western Michigan (2013-16). Fleck’s first-ever game as a head coach came against Dantonio and Michigan State on Aug. 30, 2013, as MSU began its Big Ten and Rose Bowl Championship season with a 26-13 victory over the Broncos in Spartan Stadium. Fifth-ranked MSU traveled to Western Michigan to open the 2015 season and came away with a 37-24 victory.

THE LAST MEETING –
Nov. 30, 2013, in East Lansing, Mich. (AP): Jeremy Langford ran for 134 yards and a touchdown, and No. 11 Michigan State wrapped up an unbeaten regular season in Big Ten play with a 14-3 victory over Minnesota. The Spartans finished a perfect Big Ten regular season for only the third time. They also did it in 1965 and 1966, when they only had to play seven conference games. The Spartans’ top-ranked defense forced three turnovers and kept the Golden Gophers out of the end zone.

The Spartans took the lead right away on Langford’s 15-yard touchdown run in the first quarter, which capped a seven-play, 80-yard drive. Minnesota’s Philip Nelson attempted only seven passes in the first half, and two of them were picked off by Michigan State’s Trae Waynes, but the Spartans struggled to extend the lead. Chris Hawthorne’s 21-yard field goal made it 7-3, and the Spartans missed a chance to score at the end of the half when Connor Cook was intercepted at the Minnesota 24 by Derrick Wells in the final seconds. Michigan State went 75 yards in eight plays to start the third quarter and led 14-3 after Cook’s 12-yard scoring pass to Josiah Price.

POST-GAME NOTES FROM THE MICHIGAN GAME –
• Michigan State defeated Michigan for the eighth time in the past 10 years, 14-10, last Saturday night in Michigan Stadium. It marked the first time MSU has defeated Michigan eight times in a 10-year span (previous best: 7-1-2). During the past 10 games, MSU has outscored Michigan by 95 points (261-166).

• Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio is 8-3 during his tenure against Michigan, including a 4-1 record in Michigan Stadium. Dantonio’s .727 winning percentage is the highest for any Spartan coach against the Wolverines (second: Duffy Daugherty, .579, 10-7-2 record from 1954-72). The Spartans have won back-to-game games in Ann Arbor twice under Dantonio (2008 and 2010; 2015 and 2017).

• Dantonio is 6-3 against ranked Michigan teams (wins against No. 22 in 2009; No. 18 in 2010; No. 11 in 2011; No. 23 in 2013; No. 12 in 2015; No. 7 in 2017).

• Dantonio owns eight victories over AP Top 10 teams in his tenure at Michigan State (No. 4 Wisconsin in 2011; No. 2 Ohio State in 2013 Big Ten Championship Game; No. 5 Stanford in 2014 Rose Bowl; No. 4 Baylor in 2015 Cotton Bowl; No. 7 Oregon in 2015; No. 2 Ohio State in 2015; No. 4 Iowa in 2015 Big Ten Championship Game; No. 7 Michigan in 2017). It also marked Dantonio’s 18th victory over an AP Top 25 team.

• Michigan State has now defeated Michigan 11 times when UM is ranked in the AP Top 10, including seven in Michigan Stadium.

• Although Michigan leads the overall series, 69-36-5, since 1950, Michigan holds just a six-game edge, 36-30-2.

• Michigan State reclaimed the Paul Bunyan Trophy, which has been presented to the winning team in this series since 1953. Since 1953, UM leads the overall series, 36-27-2.

OFFENSE
• The team with the most productive ground attack has won 43 of the last 48 games in the MSU-UM series. Michigan State outrushed Michigan, 158-102. Since Mark Dantonio’s arrival to MSU in 2007, the Spartans have outrushed the Wolverines by 935 yards (1,923-988).

• Michigan entered the game ranked No. 1 in the nation in sacks with 4.50 per game, but didn’t record a sack against the Spartans.

Brian Lewerke recorded a rushing touchdown and passing touchdown for the second time in a game this season (Western Michigan). He scored on a 14-yard run in the first quarter to give MSU a 7-3 lead, and found Madre London on a 16-yard TD pass to put the Spartans on top, 14-3, in the second quarter . . . Lewerke led the Spartans in rushing for the third time this season, compiling 61 yards on 15 carries (4.1 avg.) . . . he finished with 155 yards of total offense (61 rushing, 94 passing).

• For the second straight game, Lewerke had a big first down rushing the ball on a late third-down play. With MSU facing third-and-3 from its own 46 and 2:13 on the clock, Lewerke fumbled the ball in the backfield, picked it up on a bounce, and rushed 4 yards for the first down.

Madre London had 59 yards on 10 carries, including a game-long 50-yarder in the second quarter.

DEFENSE
• Michigan State forced five Michigan turnovers (two fumbles, three interceptions), the most by a Spartan team since 2015 (forced five against Maryland on Nov. 14, 2015).

• The Spartans collected four sacks and six tackles for loss.

Joe Bachie tied a team high with 10 tackles, including an 11-yard sack . . . he also recorded his first career interception, broke up a pass, and forced a fumble.

• Sophomore safety David Dowell had a career game, collecting two interceptions (35 return yards), a fumble recovery, and a career-high seven tackles.

• Sophomore Kenny Willekes posted career highs in sacks (two for 8 yards) and tackles for loss (three for 11 yards) . . . he also had nine tackles overall.

SPECIAL TEAMS
Jake Hartbarger punted a career-high 11 times for 430 yards (39.1 avg.) . . . he only allowed six punt return yards all game.

Byron Bullough, Cole Chewins AND Shane Jones NAMED GAME CAPTAINS AGAINST MINNESOTA –
• Junior linebacker Byron Bullough, sophomore offensive tackle Cole Chewins and fifth-year senior linebacker Shane Jones will be the Eagles to rotate as game captains at Minnesota on Saturday. In order for all of the Eagles to serve as game captains twice, team captain Chris Frey didn’t walk out to midfield for the Western Michigan game, and Brian Allen will not walk out to midfield for the Minnesota game.

PAT SHURMUR NAMED HONORARY CAPTAIN FOR MINNESOTA GAME –
• Former Spartan captain Pat Shurmur, who is currently the offensive coordinator for the Minnesota Vikings, will serve as the honorary captain for Saturday’s game against Minnesota. Shurmur is in his 19th season coaching in the NFL and his first as the offensive coordinator for the Vikings after handling the job for the final nine games of 2016 on an interim basis. During his NFL coaching career, Shurmur has been a part of teams that have qualified for the playoffs eight times, won six division crowns and played in Super Bowl XXXIX vs. New England to cap the 2004 season (with Philadelphia). Among his 19 seasons in the NFL, he spent two seasons as the head coach of the Cleveland Browns (2011-12) and has also been an offensive coordinator with the St. Louis Rams (2009-10) and Eagles (2009-10).

• Shurmur was a four-year letterwinner (1983, 85-87) for the Spartans as an offensive lineman. He served as a captain on Michigan State’s Big Ten and Rose Bowl Championship team during the 1987 season and earned first-team All-Big Ten honors by the media as a center. He also garnered honorable mention All-Big Ten accolades as a junior in 1986. Shurmur started 30 consecutive games at center to close out his Spartan career.

• Shurmur immediately began coaching following his impressive collegiate playing career, serving as a graduate assistant for two unders (1988-89) at Michigan State under former head coach George Perles. Shurmur was promoted to a full-time assistant at MSU and remained on staff for eight years (1990-97), coaching tight ends, offensive line and special teams. He was on the same staff as Mark Dantonio for three seasons (1995-97) under Nick Saban before moving on to Stanford in 1998 as offensive line coach. Following a one-year stint at Stanford, Shurmur got his first NFL coaching job with the Eagles in 1999 and has been in the NFL coaching ever since.

YOUTH MOVEMENT –
• Michigan State features one of the youngest teams in the nation with 76 underclassmen on its 2017 roster (36 true freshmen, 16 redshirt freshmen, 24 sophomores), to go along with 24 juniors and 13 seniors.

• Fourteen of MSU’s 22 projected starters either on offense or defense are underclassmen (11 sophomores, one redshirt freshman, two true freshmen), and 35 underclassmen are listed on the depth chart (14 sophomores, seven redshirt freshman, 14 true freshmen).

• Michigan State has already played 13 true freshmen (TE Matt Dotson, RB Connor Heyward, OG Kevin Jarvis, S Dominique Long, WR Laress Nelson, DE Jacub Panasiuk, S Tre Person, OG Jordan Reid, WR Hunter Rison, CB Josiah Scott, LB Antjuan Simmons, WR Andre Welch, WR Cody White), the most ever in one season under Dantonio (previous high: nine in 2016).

Brian Lewerke PROVING TO BE A DUAL-THREAT QUARTERBACK –
• Sophomore quarterback Brian Lewerke leads the Spartans not only in total offense (1,366 yards; 273.2 ypg) and passing (1,057 yards; 211.4 ypg), but also in rushing (309 yards; 61.8 ypg) and rushing touchdowns (3). Lewerke has led the Spartans in rushing four times (69 yards vs. Bowling Green; career-high 81 vs. Western Michigan; 42 vs. Iowa; 61 vs. Michigan) and had 56 yards vs. Notre Dame.

• Lewerke ranks among the Big Ten leaders in total offense (third at 273.2 ypg), passing (sixth at 211.4 ypg), passing efficiency (seventh with 135.2 rating) and rushing (12th at 61.8 ypg). He also ranks first among Big Ten quarterbacks in rushing (Ohio State’s J.T. Barrett second at 51.8 ypg). Lewerke was named one of the top 10 players in the Big Ten at midseason (No. 10) by CollegeFootballNews.com.

• Against Notre Dame, Lewerke’s career-high 396 yards of total offense (340 passing, 56 rushing) was the fourth-highest single-game total in the school record book. He also set career highs for passing yards (340; tied for 18th most in MSU single-game history), completions (31, tied for fifth in MSU single-game history) and passing attempts (51, seventh in MSU single-game history).

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

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

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

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

• The 6-3, 212-pound Lewerke is 95-of-155 passing (.613) for 1,057 yards, nine touchdowns and two interception in five games this season. He has played in nine career games (seven starts; 4-3 record).

• Lewerke played in four games and started twice (Northwestern, Maryland) as a redshirt freshman in 2016 before suffering a season-ending injury (broken tibia) in the fourth quarter of the Michigan game on Oct. 28. He bounced back quickly from the injury and fully participated in all of spring practice.

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

• In nine career games, Lewerke has completed 59 percent of his passes (126-for-212) for 11 touchdowns and three interceptions. He has 458 rushing yards on 74 carries (50.9 ypg.; 6.2 avg.).

Brian Allen NAMED SEMIFINALIST FOR NFF SCHOLAR-ATHLETE CLASS –
• Senior offensive lineman Brian Allen has been named a semifinalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy, which is widely known as the “Academic Heisman.” Allen is also a semifinalist for the National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete Class.

• A two-time Academic All-Big Ten selection, Allen is an economics major with a 3.24 GPA. He was voted a captain by his teammates entering his senior season and has started a team-best 20 consecutive games. For his career, Allen has played in 43 career games, including a team-high 30 starts (16 at left guard, nine at center, five at right guard). He has been named second-team All-Big Ten the past two seasons and is on watch lists for the Outland Trophy (nation’s most outstanding interior lineman) and Rimington Trophy (nation’s most outstanding center).

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

Felton Davis III LEADS YOUNG RECEIVING CORPS –
• Junior wide receiver Felton Davis III is the veteran of a receiving corps that features one junior, two sophomores, one redshirt freshmen and three true freshmen in its regular rotation.

• Davis was named the Big Ten Co-Offensive Player of the Week on Oct. 2 after recording career highs in catches (9) and receiving yards (114) in the Sept. 30 win over Iowa. Davis also tied his career high with two touchdown catches. In the first half alone, Davis had seven receptions for 88 yards. On the first play from scrimmage, Davis had a 31-yard reception to set up his first TD catch later in the drive, a 22-yard scoring strike from Brian Lewerke. Davis also had a 6-yard TD reception later in the first quarter.

• The 6-4, 195-pound native of Richmond, Virginia, leads the Spartans in receptions (22), receiving yards (265) and touchdown catches (4), all of which are already career highs. Seventeen of his 22 receptions (77 percent) have been for either a first down or a touchdown, highlighted by seven of his nine catches against Iowa.

• In 24 career games, Davis is MSU’s active leader in receptions (36), receiving yards (465) and TD catches (5).

DARRELL STEWART EMERGING AS PLAYMAKER FOR SPARTANS –
• Sophomore wide receiver Darrell Stewart leads the Spartans in all-purpose yards (498; 99.6 ypg.), which ranks 10th in the Big Ten. Stewart also ranks first on the team in kick return yards (152), second in receptions (20) and receiving yards (212), and fifth in rushing (114).

• Stewart has proven to be a playmaker the first five games, leading the Spartans with 10 explosive plays (20 yards or more). He has six kick returns, two rushes and two receptions for more than 20 yards this season.

• Stewart had a career-high six catches for 85 yards in the season opener vs. Bowling Green, then rushed for a career-high 70 yards on three carries against Western Michigan.

• The 6-2, 210-pound Stewart led the Spartans in all-purpose yards for the third consecutive game (122) against Notre Dame. He tied his career high with six receptions for 41 yards, including a 4-yard TD in the first quarter, and also compiled a career-high 79 kick return yards along with 2 rushing yards.

• The Houston, Texas, native was one of 10 Spartans to help volunteer with the Hurricane Harvey relief efforts during the bye weekend (Sept. 15-17) in Houston.

SPARTAN DEFENSE OFF TO FAST START IN 2017 –
• MSU ranks among the Big Ten leaders in several defensive categories, including pass efficiency defense (first with 89.72 rating), passing defense (second at 161.4 ypg), third-down percentage defense (second at .274), first downs defense (second with 69), total defense (second at 258.6 ypg), rushing defense (third at 97.2 ypg) and scoring defense (fifth at 16.4 ppg)

• The Spartans also rank among the FBS leaders in pass efficiency defense (second), total defense (fourth), first downs defense (fifth), rushing defense (12th), scoring defense (13th), passing defense (13th) and third-down defense (13th).

• Michigan State’s defense has only allowed six touchdowns this season, with four of those coming against Notre Dame. In MSU’s first two Big Ten games, the defense has only allowed two touchdowns (one vs. Iowa, one vs. Michigan). MSU has allowed 10 touchdowns overall (one kickoff return for a touchdown, one interception return for a touchdown, two fumble returns for a touchdown). Although MSU’s scoring defense is officially 16.4 points per game, the defense itself is only allowing 10.8 points per game.

THREE-AND-OUT –
• In five games this season, the Spartans have forced their opponents to go three-and-out on 21 of 60 possessions (.350 percent; 4.2 per game). [Three-and-out: either holding opponent without a first down within its first three plays on a new series or forcing a turnover in the first three plays.]

Joe Bachie NAMED BIG TEN DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK –
• Sophomore Joe Bachie has started all five games at middle linebacker for the Spartans and leads the team in tackles (44; 8.8 avg.), which ranks tied for second in the Big Ten. In addition, he ranks second on hte team in tackles for loss (5 for 21 yards) and sacks (2 for 14 yards). He also leads the team in production points with 140.

• Bachie was named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week after helping lead the Spartan defense to an impressive performance in the 14-10 win at No. 7 Michigan last Saturday in Ann Arbor. He recorded double-digits in tackles for the third time of the season, tying a team high with 10 stops against the Wolverines, and had an 11-yard sack in the second quarter. He compiled a career-high 40 production points.

• He forced a fumble on Michigan’s second offensive series in the first quarter, giving MSU excellent field position at the Michigan 46-yard line. The Spartans capitalized with a six-play, 46-yard touchdown drive, capped by a 14-yard TD run by Brian Lewerke, giving the Spartans a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.

• Bachie was at it again in the second half, as he recorded his first career interception on the second play of the fourth quarter. He was also credited with a pass break-up on the game’s final play as Michigan attempted a Hail Mary pass in the end zone. The Spartans held Michigan to 10 points, the lowest total in the Jim Harbaugh era at UM, and just 102 yards rushing.

• Bachie had 38 production points vs. Iowa on Sept. 30 in which he led MSU in tackles (9) and tackles for loss (3.5) to go along with a 3-yard sack and fumble recovery in the red zone.

• The 6-2, 233-pound Bachie has led the Spartans in tackles four times this season, including a career-high 11 tackles against Western Michigan and 10 in the season opener vs. Bowling Green.

• Bachie sat out the first six games of the season last year, but had his redshirt removed at Maryland on Oct. 22 and played the final six contests in 2016.

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

SPARTANS INCREASING THE PRESSURE ON THE QUARTERBACK IN 2017 –
• A year after recording just 11 sacks, fewest in the Big Ten, the Spartans have already surpassed that total through five games in 2017 with 13.

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

TURNOVER MARGIN THE KEY INGREDIENT FOR SPARTAN SUCCESS –
• Through the first three games of the season, MSU forced just two turnovers and was minus-six in turnover margin (-2.00 per game). The last two games, MSU is plus-seven in turnovers, forcing seven turnovers on defense (two vs. Iowa, five vs. Michigan) without committing one on offense. MSU is now on the plus side of the turnover battle (+1; 0.20 per game), which ranks seventh in the Big Ten and 50th in the FBS.

• Michigan State’s record-setting three-year stretch in which it won 36 games from 2013-15 was fueled by creating turnovers and limiting mistakes. The Spartans ranked in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision Top 10 and led the Big Ten in turnover margin for three consecutive seasons from 2013-15; however, MSU ranked No. 101 in the FBS and No. 10 in the Big Ten in turnover margin (-0.42) in 2016 (13 turnovers gained; 18 turnovers lost).

• MSU was No. 4 in the FBS in 2015 with a +1.00 turnover margin. The Spartans forced 28 turnovers (15 interceptions, 13 fumbles) and turned the ball over just 14 times all season (eight interceptions, six fumbles). In addition, MSU scored 108 points off of its opponents’ turnovers, while the opposition only scored 20 points on Spartan miscues (+88).

• The Spartans ranked No. 2 in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision in turnover margin (+1.46 per game) in 2014. MSU was +19 in the turnover department and forced 34 turnovers (16 fumbles, 18 interceptions), which ranked No. 1 in the Big Ten and third most in the FBS. Conversely, the Spartans turned the ball over just 15 times (six fumbles, nine interceptions), fewest in the Big Ten.

• Michigan State ranked first in the Big Ten and tied for 10th in the FBS in turnover margin (+13, 0.93 per game) in 2013. The Spartans forced the most turnovers in the Big Ten (28) and also turned the ball over the least amount of times (15) in the conference.

• Michigan State has forced at least one turnover in 109 of 137 games under head coach Mark Dantonio (80 percent of the games since 2007).

• Michigan State is 59-12 (.831) when forcing at least two turnovers in a game under head coach Mark Dantonio.

DAVID DOWELL NAMED ROSE BOWL GAME BIG TEN PLAYER OF THE WEEK –
• Sophomore safety David Dowell was named the Rose Bowl Game Big Ten Player of the Week for his career performance at No. 7 Michigan. Dowell became the first Spartan to record two interceptions in one game since Trae Wayes in 2014 vs. Nebraska. Dowell picked off his first pass in the third quarter and returned it 17 yards, then recorded his second interception in the fourth quarter and returned it 18 yards. He also recovered a fumble in the second quarter. The 6-1, 191-pound native of North Ridgeville, Ohio, also had a career-high seven tackles as he started his second consecutive game at safety.

DANTONIO RANKS SECOND IN WINS AT MICHIGAN STATE –
• Now in his 11th season as head coach of the Spartans, Mark Dantonio owns a 94-43 (.686) record. Dantonio has won the most Big Ten Championships (three) and bowl games (four) of any Spartan head coach and also ranks first with nine bowl appearances. He is the only active Big Ten coach to win multiple Big Ten Championships (2010, 2013, 2015), claim a victory in the Rose Bowl (2014), and coach in the College Football Playoff (2015). The second-winningest coach in school history with 94 victories, trailing only Hall of Famer Duffy Daugherty (109), Dantonio also ranks first in program history in conference winning percentage (.663, 55-28 record, minimum 10 games), second in Big Ten wins (55), home wins (56) and AP Top 25 victories (18), tied for second in AP Top 25 finishes (six), and fifth in overall winning percentage (.686).

• Dantonio won his 71st game at MSU on Oct. 25, 2014, against Michigan to move into second place all-time in victories in school history (record: Duffy Daugherty, 109). Dantonio won his 100th career game as a head coach on Oct. 17, 2015, at Michigan Stadium as the Spartans rallied to defeat the Wolverines, 27-23, on a 38-yard fumble return as time expired. His career record stands at 112-60 (.651) in his 14th season.

• Dantonio’s .663 winning percentage (55-28) in Big Ten games ranks first in MSU history (minimum 10 Big Ten games). He ranks second in school history in conference wins (Duffy Daugherty, 72).

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

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

PROGRAM NOTES –
• Michigan State is in the midst of its second-winningest decade in school history. The Spartans are 72-26 (.735) since 2010 and during that span, MSU has claimed three Big Ten Championships (2010, 2013, 2015) and three Big Ten Division titles (2011, 2013, 2015). In addition, the Spartans recorded a school-record four consecutive bowl victories (2012 Outback against No. 18 Georgia, 2012 Buffalo Wild Wings against TCU, 2014 Rose Bowl Game against No. 5 Stanford, 2015 Cotton Bowl Classic against No. 4 Baylor), which also tied a Big Ten record. MSU was the only school to finish in the top-six of the national polls from 2013-15 (No. 3 in 2013, No. 5 in 2014, No. 6 in 2015).

• The 72 wins this decade are tied for second most in the Big Ten and tied for 11th most in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision, while the 43 wins since 2013 are third in the Big Ten and tied for eighth most in the FBS. The 36 wins from 2013-15 marked the winningest three-year stretch in the history of the program. MSU’s highest winning percentage by decade is currently the 1950s (.766, 70-21-1 record).

• The Spartans have had sustained success in the Big Ten Conference under Dantonio. MSU has won two of the past four Big Ten Championships (2013, 2015) and three overall this decade, also claiming a championship in 2010. The Spartans own victories in 28 of their last 38 games against Big Ten opponents (including the Big Ten Championship Game), dating back to the 2012 regular-season finale, including 19 wins by double-figures.

PLAYING THEIR BEST UNDER THE SPOTLIGHT –
• The Spartans have consistently produced wins against highly ranked teams under Dantonio. MSU is 8-5 in its last 13 games against teams ranked in The Associated Press Top 10, including a 7-5 record since 2013 (beat No. 2 Ohio State and No. 5 Stanford in 2013; lost to No. 3 Oregon and beat No. 4 Baylor in 2014; beat No. 7 Oregon, No. 2 Ohio State and No. 4 Iowa, and lost to No. 2 Alabama in 2015; lost to No. 2 Michigan; No. 2 Ohio State in 2016 and No. 8 Penn State in 2016; beat No. 7 Michigan in 2017).

• Michigan State defeated nine bowl teams in 2015, including four wins over AP Top 25 teams (No. 7 Oregon on Sept. 12, No. 12 Michigan on Oct. 17, No. 2 Ohio State on Nov. 21, No. 4 Iowa on Dec. 5). It marked the first time in school history the Spartans beat three AP Top-10 teams (No. 7 Oregon, No. 2 Ohio State, No. 4 Iowa) in the same season. In the final AP rankings, MSU defeated four Top 25 teams (No. 4 Ohio State, No. 9 Iowa, No. 12 Michigan, No. 19 Oregon).

• The win over No. 2 Ohio State in Columbus on Nov. 21, 2015, snapped the defending National Champion Buckeyes’ 23-game winning streak, and the last-second victory against No. 12 Michigan on Oct. 17, 2015, marked MSU’s seventh win in eight years over the Wolverines.

• Michigan State has won 11 of its last 18 games played against ranked opponents, including seven out of the last 12 (wins: No. 4 Baylor in 2014; No. 7 Oregon, No. 12 Michigan, No. 2 Ohio State, No. 4 Iowa in 2015; No. 18 Notre Dame in 2016; No. 7 Michigan in 2017; losses: No. 2 Alabama in 2015; No. 11 Wisconsin, No. 2 Michigan, No. 2 Ohio State and No. 8 Penn State in 2016).

• Under Mark Dantonio, the Spartans are 18-25 in 43 games played against teams ranked in The Associated Press Top 25; however, MSU is 11-8 against ranked teams since 2013. The 18 wins over AP Top 25 teams rank second among head coaches in MSU history (Duffy Daugherty with 25 from 1954-72). Dantonio is 8-9 against AP Top 10 teams at MSU (8-5 since 2011).

SPARTANS BACK IN THE NATIONAL POLLS –
• Michigan State entered the national polls for the first time this season on Oct. 8 following its 14-10 win at Michigan. The Spartans debuted at No. 21 in The Associated Press Poll and No. 22 in the Amway Coaches Poll.

• It marks the first time MSU has been ranked since Sept. 25, 2016, when the Spartans were ranked No. 17 in the AP Poll and No. 16 in the Coaches Poll. At that time, MSU had been ranked for a school-record 46 consecutive weeks, spanning back to Oct. 27, 2013. For 33 of those 46 weeks, MSU had been ranked in the Top 10.

• Michigan State is 54-15 (.783) as a ranked team in the AP Poll under Dantonio. As a ranked team, Michigan State has only lost to an unranked opponent three times under Dantonio (36-3; at Notre Dame, 2011; at Nebraska, 2015; at Indiana, 2016).

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