Saturday, October 31, 2009


Michigan State was COMPLETELY SCREWED in the worst officiating game in modern football history. In a pair of back to back plays, a fumble recovery by Michigan State was overturned by the replay officials, and a resulting TD by Minnesota after the receiver hit the ground and the ball popped back up and returned for a score -- is just beyond belief. Even the Gopher fans couldn't believe it.

Sure Michigan State's goalline offense needs work and left 8 points on the board, and its defensive secondary was burned early for 14 quick points... but the replay referees should be ASHAMED of themselves. They should be sanctioned and reprimanded.

What I don't understand is how the officials could OVERTURN the fumble. It just makes no sense. It is clear as day. What were they thinking or seeing? That really was the game-changer, and the officials should be fired for it. It was awful, worse than the call of Jeremy Ware on the hit vs Iowa last week. This is as bad as it gets, and it should lead to a call for review of the whole "review" process -- it is now out of control, reviewing everything and they are getting half the calls WRONG.

I've had it. Eliminate reviews; I've had it all year long. Most of the replay officials are wrong. Today, this is a disaster. Mark Dantonio should call out the replay officials, take a fine and in the off-season lead a charge to eliminate the process. It doesn't work.

MSU loses to Big Ten replay officials, 42-34. At least we didn't lose to Illinois by 25.

Michigan State vs Minnesota: Live Chat

First off, as the ES predicted (posted in the ES' Big Ten review earlier this week): scUM got whipped by lowly, previously Big Ten winless and cellar dwellar, the Illini Zooks. HA HA. Yellow Bellies SUCK. What do you think? Post below or fill out the poll at right.

See the ES preview below, but he predicts MSU 31, Minnesota 13. A real butt kicking by the Big Green tonite.

Here you can live chat with your comments on MSU at Minnesota tonite:

Thursday, October 29, 2009

ES Game Day Preview: Michigan State 31, Minnesota 13

Michigan State (4-4/3-2, #43 Sagarin, sked strength #29) at Minnesota (4-4/2-3, #59 Sagarin, sked strength #18)
Saturday, October 31, 2009. 8 pm EST.
TV: Big Ten Network
Weather: 44 degrees, partly sunny
Latest Line: MSU -5 1/2.

Tickets available.

Injuries: Michigan State - RB Andre Anderson (gone), out; RB Caulton Ray (gone), out; S Roderick Jenrette (foot), out; RB Glenn Winston (knee), out; LB Drew Stevens (knee), doubtful; S Trenton Robinson (ankle), probable; DE Trevor Anderson (ankle), probable; QB Keith Nichol (elbow), probable. Minnesota - WR Eric Decker (knee), out.

More Predictions & Previews: ESPN/Adam Rittenberg (MSU 21-13); CFN/Scout (MSU 24-14); CBS Sports/Harmon Forecast (MSU 26-24); SpartyMSU (MSU 35-17).

ES Prediction: Michigan State has a little bit more on defense, and a lot more on offense than does Minnesota. Minny has a better punter; Sparty has a better kicker. Minnesota is fading, and fading fast. Minnesota's defense has been decent, particularly its linebacking corps. Sparty's defense seems to have found itself and is playing as good as it has in the past decade. Minny will miss wideout Eric Decker; if the Spartans can seal the deal offensively by converting in the red zone, they'll walk away with this one. Yes, Sparty will be pissed off and should make things difficult for the Gophers on Saturday. Give the game ball to Greg Jones, who will harass Gopher QBs Marqueis Gray/Adam Weber all day long. The Spartan defensive interior will shut down Minnesota's anemic run game, making it completely one-dimensional... Michigan State's secondary is coming off its finest game and three game set in 10 years or more. And without Eric Decker to catch the ball, Minny plays right into the Spartans' hands.

Statistically in the Big Ten:
  • MSU rush off (#7, 130 ypg, 3.8 ypc) vs. MIN rush def (#8, 178 ypg, 4.1 ypc). Advantage MSU.
  • MSU pass off (#1, 274 ypg, 8.3 ypr) vs. MIN pass def (#9, 223 ypg, 7.3 ypr). Advantage MSU.
  • MIN rush off (#11, 106 ypg, 3.5 ypc) vs. MSU rush def (#3, 104 ypg, 3.1 ypc). Advantage MSU
  • MIN pass off (#8, 187 ypg, 6.7 ypr) vs. MSU pass def (#7, 224 ypg, 6.6 ypr). Advantage EVEN.
Here's another WOWer of a stat: MSU has 170 first downs; Minnesota, just 119. Do we need more? It may be tight early, but MSU will lead by half and walk away with this one. Watch Sparty be a determined, hungry bunch after last week. Halftime: MSU 14, Minnesota 7. Final Score: MSU 31, Minnesota 13.

Michigan State ranked #2 in men's basketball poll

Michigan State men's hoops team starts off the season where it left off. Ranked at #2 in the nation, in both the AP and ESPN/USA Today coaches polls.

Here is the AP Poll:

1. Kansas (55) 0-0 1,612
2. Michigan State (5) 0-0 1,515
3. Texas (1) 0-0 1,397
4. Kentucky (3) 0-0 1,372
5. Villanova 0-0 1,347
6. North Carolina (1) 0-0 1,320
7. Purdue 0-0 1,284
8. West Virginia 0-0 1,115
9. Duke 0-0 1,064
10. Tennessee 0-0 897
11. Butler 0-0 864
12. Connecticut 0-0 844
13. California 0-0 800
14. Washington 0-0 776
15. Michigan 0-0 578
16. Ohio State 0-0 465
17. Oklahoma 0-0 410
18. Mississippi State 0-0 393
19. Louisville 0-0 335
20. Georgetown 0-0 326
21. Dayton 0-0 318
22. Georgia Tech 0-0 301
23. Illinois 0-0 282
24. Clemson 0-0 217
25. Minnesota 0-0 172
Others Receiving Votes
Maryland 171, Siena 112, Notre Dame 107, Florida State 92, Vanderbilt 90, Syracuse 83, Oklahoma State 65, UCLA 63, Florida 53, Wake Forest 50, Xavier 42, Gonzaga 37, South Carolina 28, Kansas State 24, Brigham Young 21, Northern Iowa 16, Tulsa 16, Mississippi 15, Texas A&M 10, Missouri 8, Boston College 6, Pittsburgh 4, Western Kentucky 2, Utah State 2, Virginia Commonwealth 2, Old Dominion 1, Holy Cross 1.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Caulton Ray, Andre Anderson (not Jimmerson) Disappear

Michigan State running back Caulton Ray has disappeared from the official Spartan football roster. According to reports by ESPN and LSJ, both he and AJ Jimmerson have been disciplined and off the active roster. The release quoted on the LSJ website sates that Jimmerson has been removed from the "active" roster, but as of 10:20 pm on Wednesday, he was still listed on the website. Ray is g-o-n-e, gone.

SORRY, the ES didn't pay attention and it is Andre Anderson who is gone, not AJ Jimmerson. Hey, both guys names start with an "A", right? Sorry, AJ. And, yes the ES erred in saying disciplinary (although if you don't show up to practice, disciplinary action would lead to your removal from the team)...

Well, with the coming of true frosh Edwin Baker and Larry Caper as future studs, the playing time for Ray and Jimmerson as running backs was limited. But, what about that edjication? Sigh. I guess its all about the pigskin and not about the parchment.

Big Ten Rankings: Week 9.

Time to grade out the Big Ten as it stands today, and looking ahead.

#1. Iowa. 8-0/5-0. Solidly the Ugly Birds are in the driver's seat. After winning in East Lansing, they've survived the heavies, save Ohio State in two weeks. BUY.
#2. JoePa. 7-1/3-1. Solidly in number two. They still play Ohio State and at Michigan State; but they've dominated everyone on their schedule, except for the loss to Iowa. BUY.
#3. Ohio State. 6-2/4-1. The Buckeyes still travel to JoePa and scUM, and host Iowa. They'll win at least one (scUM) of the three, but methinks all three are asking too much. HOLD.
#4. Wisconsin. 5-2/2-2. Purdue, Indiana, scUM, NW. The Badgers finish the season playing the bottom feeders. It would be tough to believe Wisky do worse than 9-2/6-2 at this point. BUY.
#5. Michigan State. 4-4/3-2. Michigan State played toe-to-toe with the Hawkeyes, who had help from the half-blind Big Ten refereeing crew. MSU is just one play away from 5-3/4-1, and three plays away from 7-1/4-1. A trio of Minny, WMU, and Purdue before JoePa puts Sparty in a solid BUY mode. MSU should finish 7-5 or 8-4 (you predict at poll on the right column).

#6. Northwestern. 5-3/2-2. Significant drop off in competition begins here, with a team Sparty crushed at home. 'Cats play JoePa, Iowa, Wisky, and Illinois. Time to SELL.
#7. Purdon't. 3-5/2-2. The Boilers have awoken. Future losses to Wisky and Sparty will knock them out of hope for a miracle. SELL.
#8. scUM. 5-3/1-3. Yes, now these are your real Wolverines. And, the schedule is none easier with Illini, Purdue, Wisky, and Ohio State on the docket. They will do no better than win 2 of the 4; definite losses vs Ohio State and Wisky. Don't be surprised to see a 6-6 or 5-7 Yellow Belly season when it's all over. SELL.
#9. Indiana. 4-4/1-3. Iowa, Wisky, JoePa, Purdon't. They'll be lucky to win one. SELL.
#10. Minnesoter... is dropping like a rock, and their all-world receiver is gone for the year. Games against MSU, Illinois, and Iowa are iffy. And don't look now Gopher fans, South Dakota State is 6-1. ES predicts Minny to go winless down the stretch and finish 2-6/4-8. You can't SELL fast enough. Their season is over.
#11. Illinois. 1-6/0-5. The Illini are atrocious, Zook gets to stay on for a year. But schedule is now in their favor, as they play scUM, Minny, and NW. ES sez Illini shock scUM this week, and beat Minny or NW. Then, they will lose to Fresno State and Cincy. Still, for the Zooks, that is a BUY.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Spartan Defense Blossoms, Learning Lessons Are Over. Dantonio Press Conference

ES had dinner with former MSU President John DiBiaggio the other night - he was at the Iowa game and he and I agreed on one thing: that was an excellent football game on Saturday, but "we should've won, dammit!"

First let the ES lay the criticism: Why DC Pat Narduzzi has to feel like he needs to scrap what is working for him all game long and go to a prevent defense on the last drive of the game is puzzling. Why Narduzzi couldn't keep after Iowa earlier in the drive is questionable (it didn't work) and unfortunate -- because the Spartans had bottled him up all game long. MSU jettisoned its game plan with the lead. Tisk, tisk. On the last series with 15 second left and from the 12 yard line and in, the Spartans sent eight defenders at Stanzi for four straight plays, and it worked for three of them, but unfortunately not the last play. The change in strategy was maddening, and yet another lesson learned.

But, enough negatives. Michigan State has a DAMN FINE football team. They're better than last year's team, although it is tough to tell at 4-4. It is a better team. Michigan State is three plays away from being 7-1 and in the Top 10 itself. It played even, or better, than Iowa, Notre Dame, and CMU. All three losses on the last play of the game.

I loved how Mark Dantonio handled the media after the game. He seems focused and determined. Best presser he has had since being a coach. Today's is scheduled for 11:30 am (watch live)

The defense is VASTLY improving, game by game. The Michigan State defense we saw on Saturday was dominant, and it was the best defensive performance in a decade by the Spartans. It was a slugfest, a bear-knuckles-brawl. We laid two Hawkeys out on a stretcher. They left with a W, but battered and bloodied. The defensive secondary played its best game since the glory days of George Perles -- you'd have thought Harlan Barnett dropped his earphones and climbed back onto the field. Excellent secondary play all game long. The pressure was in Stanzi's face all game long.

Jerel Worthy (photo above -- 4 tackles, 2 for loss) played his finest game as a Spartan. He dominated Iowa's interior and the Hawkeye's did not have an answer. Greg Jones was DOMINANT (12 tackles), once again all over the field. He should be a First Team All America. He is easily the best linebacker wearing Green and White since No Mercy Percy Snow.

Michigan State's offense left too many points on the field, again. But, this against an undefeated, #5/#6 team in the nation. Down to one final play. Yes it hurt, but now Michigan State MUST WIN OUT the remainder of its games. A victory at home over JoePa would seal the deal and get the Spartans closer to a "signature win" under Dantonio than its had to date. It would be nice to get a warm bowl game, play a hardy opponent, and get that W to put the Spartans firmly on the map.

These Spartans are focused and playing hard. They just need to finish. My guess is they will for the remainder of the season, and be rewarded with warm weather. It's time to take the next step. Learning lessons are over. We've learned them all. Now it is time to win.

Spartan Nation, what is your profession? WHOOOP, WHOOOP, WHOOOP!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Michigan St favored by 5.5 at Minnesota

Your Michigan State Spartans are early 5.5-point favorites at Minnesota next week. Iowa is favored by 17.5 at home vs Indiana; Wisconsin is a 6.5-point home favorite over Purdue; scUM is favored by 8.5 at Illinois; and, Joe Pa is favored by 14 at Northwestern. Oh, and save the best for last: Ohio State favored by 40 over New Mexico State.

The national polls are out. Here's the AP Poll:

AP Top 25
1 Florida (30) 7-0 1463
2 Alabama (23) 8-0 1448
3 Texas (7) 7-0 1407
4 USC 6-1 1217
5 Cincinnati 7-0 1211
6 Boise State 7-0 1177
7 Iowa 8-0 1148
8 TCU 7-0 1132
9 LSU 6-1 1040
10 Oregon 6-1 933
11 Georgia Tech 7-1 923
12 Penn State 7-1 843
13 Oklahoma State 6-1 768
14 Virginia Tech 5-2 734
15 Houston 6-1 601
16 Pittsburgh 7-1 551
17 Ohio State 6-2 508
18 Miami (FL) 5-2 501
19 Utah 6-1 400
20 West Virginia 6-1 323
21 South Carolina 6-2 270
22 Oklahoma 4-3 210
23 Arizona 5-2 164
24 Mississippi 5-2 142
25 Notre Dame 5-2 135

Dropped from rankings: Brigham Young 16, Texas Tech 21, Kansas 24
Others receiving votes: Brigham Young 80, CENTRL MICHIGAN 76, California 24, Texas Tech 18, Wisconsin 16, Navy 13, Kansas 12, Clemson 11, Rutgers 1

Iowa + referees 15, Michigan State 13

Wow, that hurt. What a heartbreaker. An amazing environment, as loud as Spartan Stadium has been in years. Best game, bar none, played at Spartan Stadium in the last decade. An epic battle. It's a shame we had to lose. Iowa will go home with the 15-13 W, but Michigan State made them pay with bone-crunching hits all game long. The Spartans should be proud of their effort; it is too bad they couldn't make the last play.

The Big Ten referees should be shot. Embarassing, embarassing performance, particularly the 15-yard personal foul call on Jeremy Ware called 2 MINUTES after laying out the Iowa receiver on a CLEAN HIT. That Field Judge, Terry Anderson, is an idiot and is an embarassment to the Big Ten. Terry Anderson should be removed from calling Big Ten games for the remainder of the year. The head referee, Bill LeMonnier, should be ashamed for leading the worst crew in the nation.

More later, but here are comments from Mark Dantonio. His comments say it all:

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Weather Forecast: Dry, Windy, and Cold

Courtesy Andy Provenzano/WILX: rain will move out by 5 pm. But it will be windy and cold. Bring your goddam parka, long johns, and a windbreaker. Won't be a blizzard, but will be wind-chill cold weather... BRRRRR. WHAT A GREAT NIGHT FOR FOOTBALL! As I tell my kids: "it will be colder than a ticket taker's smile at the Ivar Theatre on a Saturday Night, heh heh."

Thursday, October 22, 2009

ES Game Day Preview: MSU 23, Iowa 20

Iowa (7-0/4-0, #5 Sagarin, sked strength #20) at Michigan State (4-3/3-1, #44 Sagarin, sked strength #32)
Saturday, October 24, 2009. 7 pm EST.
TV: Big Ten Network
Weather: 44 degrees, 30% chance of rain
Latest Line: Pick 'em; some have Iowa - 1; some have MSU -1 1/2.

Tickets available

Injuries: Michigan State - S Roderick Jenrette (foot), out; RB Glenn Winston (knee), out; S Trenton Robinson (ankle), questionable; DE Trevor Anderson (ankle), probable; QB Keith Nichol (elbow), probable. Iowa - WR Marvin McNutt (thumb) probable; RB Brandon Wegher (leg), probable; RB Jeff Brinson (foot), out;

More Predictions & Previews: USA Today (MSU 23-21); In the Bleachers (Iowa 17-13); AC Sports (MSU 17-13); CBS Sports video preview (Iowa); Eastern Iowa News (Iowa 23-21); Cappers Picks; Sporting News

ES Prediction: Michigan State's trenches will really be tested this week. Iowa's running game lacks explosiveness and will go up against a rigid Spartan run defense; they had just 65 yards at Wisconsin last week, are averaging just 120 per game and 8 rushing TDs all year. The advantage here goes to Michigan State; they should be able to force Iowa and their efficient QB Ricky Stanzi to throw the ball, something they've excelled at all year. Their TE, Tony Moeaki, is awesome and the Spartans need to watch him closely. To what extent will MSU force Iowa into a one-dimensional team and tee-off with pressure on Stanzi? If so, can MSU defensive backs stop the big play as they have the past three weeks? Will Stanzi make the Spartans' blitzing ways pay? Or can Jerel Worthy, Trevor Anderson, and Greg Jones rattle the Iowa QB into mistakes?

Iowa's defense is hard nosed but Spartan RBs have good talent - with the late addition of Ed Baker to Larry Caper, Michigan State should be able to mix in the run enough in the game to help move drives. Spartan youth needs to hold onto the ball vs an Iowa team that has caused 7 fumbles. The key is whether or not Kirk Cousins/Keith Nichol can minimize mistakes and get the ball in the end zone -- Michigan State's passing game has plenty of receivers and a healthy stable of TEs at its disposal. Iowa's pass defense is excellent, giving up just 167 yards per game through the air and causing 15 INTs (Tyler Sash 5 INTs; Brett Greenwood 3 INTs). Iowa is an opportunistic bunch. Who will have the greater advantage? This is a toss up, and a fascinating matchup.

Neither team has break-away kick or punt returners. Both punters are pretty good. The Hawkeye's PK, Daniel Murray, is 5-8 from 40 yards and beyond and 11-15 overall; advantage to Spartans' Brett Swenson here, who is as good as any in the nation.

This aims to be a tight matchup, as just about everyone is predicting. Under the lights, cold, and likely wet. Iowa has never won eight games in a row in one season. Michigan State is still aiming to keep its Big Ten title hopes alive, and its defense has awoke.

I like Spartan LBs, Greg Jones and Eric Gordon to make the big play in this late in the game, in overtime. Hell, if Michigan scored 28 points on the Hawks in Iowa City, why can't MSU? OK, maybe the Big Green won't... but they'll score more than Iowa. Besides, is that a Hawkeye, or a piece of Fried Chicken? What an ugly bird - Iowa deserves to lose just for having an stupid mascot. Final Score: MSU 23, Iowa 20.

More MSU - Iowa predictions

More predictions from national pundits have the game trending in favor of the Ugly Birds in a low scoring, defensive game. The weather - cold/rain - in addition to stout defense, works in favor of a low score.

More predictions: Adam Rittenberg/ESPN (Iowa 19-14), NBC Sports (Iowa 17-13), CBS Sports pundits (2 of 5 pick MSU), Harmon Forecast/CBS Sports (Iowa 23-14), CFN/ (Iowa 17-13).

How about a score like, MSU 12, Iowa 11?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Give it up for Jones & White; More MSU vs. Iowa previews

Adam Rittenberg of ESPN gives the Big Ten's mid-season defensive MVP award to Michigan State's Greg Jones, who leads the nation in tackles. And, if you saw his dominating, sideline-to-sideline and in-Kafka's-face performance vs Northwestern, you'd have to agree. He gives MSU's offensive team MVP award to Blair White, and sez MSU has already had "two seasons crammed into one through the first seven games."

Here are some more predictions and previews: Sports Network (Iowa 23-20); MSU - Iowa from ESPN; all the jokers at Rivals/Yahoo are picking Iowa over MSU; two of six pundits are picking MSU over at CFN/Scout;

Both ESPN and Rivals are projecting an Alamo Bowl matchup of MSU - Oklahoma/Nebraska. CBS Sports predicts a MSU - Clemson matchup in the Champs Sports Bowl. CBS Sports 120 ranks MSU at #41 overall... CMU is at #23 on their power rankings.

Here is a Michigan State-Iowa preview from the Big Ten Network:

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Michigan State v. Iowa previews

OK, so you're reading all the articles and YES, them Ugly Bird Hawkeyes are a 1-point favorite according to the MGM Mirage, Stations, and Leroy's Casinos in Vegas... but in the eyes of Caesars and the Hilton, its still an even spread. The national pundits are giving Iowa plenty of fodder to beat our ass, stating that they've got no respect. Thankfully, they aren't Spartan media, who respect the Hawkeyes just plenty. There is still some good HATE of Iowa to go around, let alone to buy. But, the ES figures it is tough to hate a team with nothing between it and 750 miles to the West (Denver), and 250 miles to the East (Chicago); rather, they're just boring but corn-fed tough.

Here's a preview from Fat Boy Hondo, Big Ten Network, and - the LSJ's Barry Kiel and Joe Rexrode with a nice preview of MSU-Iowa, with some bonus skinny of Spartan basketball:

Monday, October 19, 2009

Sagarin and the Spartans; Blair White gets POW

Let's take a look at the Big Ten under the loopy eyes of Jeff Sagarin last week and this week... Note, the Big Green has moved up to #42, a mere 37 spots below Iowa. Yet, 'tis an even spread, so certainly momentum, Dantonio, and "skinny" has lots to do with the current spread. SS = schedule strength.

Oct 19. / Oct 12.
#5. Iowa, SS = 20. / #9. Iowa, SS = 30
#19. Ohio State, SS = 35. / #8. Ohio State, SS = 37
#21. Joe Pa, SS = 106. / #28. Joe Pa, SS = 113
#32. Wisconsin, SS = 29. / #21. Wisconsin, SS = 31
#34. scUM, SS = 90. / #37. scUM, SS = 47
#42. MSU, SS = 32. / #44. Michigan State, SS = 26
#59. Minnesota, SS = 27. / #54. Minnesota, SS = 46
#76. Purdue, SS = 23. / #91. Purdue, SS = 23
#90. Indiana, SS = 79. / #86. Indiana, SS = 61
#100. Nwestern, SS = 125. / #95. Northwestern, SS = 139
#125. Illinois, SS = 34. / #112. Illinois, SS = 25


Here's a "no shit" no-brainer: Blair White won the Big Ten's offensive player of the week award:

"Blair White, Michigan State
SR, WR, Saginaw, Mich./Nouvel Catholic Central

White set career highs with 12 receptions and 186 receiving yards and matched a career best with two touchdowns to help Michigan State rally from a halftime deficit to a victory over Northwestern. The senior wideout averaged 15.5 yards per catch to record his third effort of 100 yards or more this season and the fifth 100-yard outing of his career. With the Spartans trailing 7-0 at the half, the hosts knotted the score on their first offensive possession of the third quarter, with quarterback Kirk Cousins hitting White on a 22-yard scoring strike. After a Northwestern punt, MSU struck again, with Cousins hitting White on a 47-yard touchdown toss to give the Spartans a lead they would not relinquish. White’s 12 catches equaled the fourth-best single-game total in school history while his 186 yards ranked 10th in program annals. The Michigan native earns his first career weekly award."

MSU up, up, up the leaderboard - sez pundits and statistics

Here is an early skinny from (?) on Michigan State v Iowa this week... as the Big Ten nation begins to shake with excitement for the weekend's prime-time tilt.

Undefeated Hawkeyes Face Another Difficult Big Ten Road Test. You can still snake some tickets to this sold-out affair, if you've got deep pockets.

Over at, Adam Rittenberg moves our Spartans up the conference leaderboard to 4th. Way, way, way back in week four (that's three weeks ago), the Big Green was settling for 9th. Then, we took out the Yellow Bellies.

Statistically speaking, MSU is settling down and is now solidly above average in total offense (#32), and very good in passing offense (#17), is above average in total defense (#44), and is very good in rush defense (#19). Interior play is significant with the Spartan D-line ranked #11 in sacks and its O-line ranked #13 in sacks allowed. Who would've thunk all of that three weeks ago?

Category Nat'l
Actual Nat'l
Actual Conf
Big Ten
Rushing Offense 71 136.43 Nevada 292.83 6 Michigan 235.00
Passing Offense 17 280.43 Houston 431.50 1 Michigan St. 280.43
Total Offense 32 416.86 Houston 560.33 3 Penn St. 432.71
Scoring Offense 48 29.29 Texas 42.00 3 Michigan 37.29
Rushing Defense 19 99.00 Texas 35.83 3 Penn St. 75.43
Pass Efficiency Defense 90 134.74 Alabama 83.82 8 Iowa 88.69
Total Defense 44 334.86 Alabama 226.57 5 Penn St. 238.86
Scoring Defense 42 21.57 Florida 8.67 4 Penn St. 8.71
Net Punting 26 37.57 Georgia 44.06 5 Michigan 41.88
Punt Returns 40 10.67 Georgia Tech 24.88 2 Minnesota 19.00
Kickoff Returns 28 24.48 Stanford 32.48 4 Ohio St. 25.96
Turnover Margin 95 -.57 Air Force 2.43 9 Iowa 1.57
Pass Defense 85 235.86 North Carolina 125.17 9 Penn St. 163.43
Passing Efficiency 24 146.28 Florida 167.25 1 Michigan St. 146.28
Sacks T-11 3.00 Southern California 4.33 1 Michigan St. 3.00
Tackles For Loss T-61 5.86 Cincinnati 10.17 7 Penn St. 8.43
Sacks Allowed 13 .86 Oklahoma St. .33 1 Michigan St. .86

Former MSU QB Nick Foles smokes Stanford in AZ victory

Anyone notice that former Michigan State QB Nick Foles lit up Stanford last week in a 43-38 victory for Arizona? Foles went 40-51 for 415 yards and 3 TDs. Foles (MSU bio) bolted for Arizona after Keith Nichol decided to return to the Spartans from Oklahoma.

Just thought it was interesting. FYI - Arizona handed CMU its only loss earlier this year. Now, CMU is getting national respect.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Michigan State - Iowa PICK'EM this week; it's a straight up dogfight

After yet another solid defensive performance by Michigan State, the Vegas bookies seem bullish on the Spartans with an even spread -- it's a pick 'em -- for this week's matchup against #7/#8 Iowa Hawkeyes... kickoff is slated for 7 pm this Saturday in East Lansing. ESPN's Adam Rittenberg is also much impressed with the Spartans and this week's matchup against the Hawkeyes.

Also in the Big Ten, Purdue has jumped to an 11-point home favorite over the soon-to-be-coachless Illinois Zooks; Northwestern is favored by 7 at home over Indiana; Ohio State is favored by 17 at home over Minny; Joe Pa is favored by 4 at scUM.

Michigan State is receiving some love from the coaching ranks, as it now has 5 "Also Considered" votes in the USA Today Poll. It's creeping back up with its 3 straight wins.

USA Today Poll - October 18, 2009

1Florida (49)6-01464
2Alabama (9)7-01398
3Texas (1)6-01386
5Boise State6-01153
9Miami (FL)5-1998
11Penn State6-1894
12Oklahoma State5-1795
13Georgia Tech6-1779
15Virginia Tech5-2672
16Brigham Young6-1577
17Ohio State5-2481
22West Virginia5-1188
23South Carolina5-2142
24Texas Tech5-2132

Dropped from rankings:
Nebraska 17, Oklahoma 18, South Florida 21, Missouri 24, Notre Dame 25

Others receiving votes: Oklahoma 113, South Florida 104, Nebraska 84, Central Michigan 34, Notre Dame 31, Boston College 26, Wisconsin 26, Arkansas 19, Michigan 13, Georgia 12, Missouri 11, Oregon State 10, Idaho 8, Auburn 8, California 7, Arizona 7, Michigan State 5, North Carolina 1, Rutgers 1

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Michigan State thumps Northwestern, 24-14

It took at stalwart second half from MSU, but the Michigan State Spartans' finally woke up on offense and took advantage of Northwestern mistakes to win, 24-14. MSU is now on a three-game winning streak in the Big Ten, and sits tied for second in the conference at 3-1/4-3.

The Spartans played well defensively all day, and only allowed 80 yards rushing by the 'Cats -- 44 by their QB, Franz Kafka (ha ha). The Spartan D hurried the Wildcat spread offense all day and forced Kafka to throw on the run repeatedly; MSU ended up with three sacks but handfuls of hurries. Junior LB Greg Jones had one of his best games as a Spartan and was all over the field, constantly pressuring Kafka, stuffing the run, and making plays in the secondary. Jones finished with 14 tackles, 2 QB sacks, a pair of hurries, and a pass breakup. Statisically, he was outdone by fellow LB Eric Gordon with 15 tackes and 2 tackles for loss.

On offense, Michigan State had its most sluggish first half of the year and trailed at the half, 7-0. But the Spartans woke up in the second half and had several long drives to lead the way. Kirk Cousins returned at QB this week for MSU (after taking last week vs Illinois off to rest his ankle) and allowed Keith Nichol's bruised elbow to heal. He was rusty in the first half, but woke up and connected with Blair White on 12 passes for 189 yards and 2 TDs -- and White showed off his gluey hands by catching everything in sight. Cousins finished 21-31 for 281 yards. Also on offense, Larry Caper led the way on the ground with 63 yards on 16 carries; but, more impressively on came Edwin Baker. Baker dropped his redshirt and fumbled early, only to look like a bruising back as the game wore on. Yes, Spartan fans, Baker is the real deal, as his running was inspirational, powerful, and awesome at times. He finished with 44 on 12 carries -- but you will see his carries increase as his performance and bruising style was inspiring.

Michigan State looked good defensively, again. On offense, it started slow but came on as the game wore on. An awful fumble by NW on a kick return led to another MSU score, but MSU also left 14 other points on the field with Baker's fumble and a NW goal line stand on the first drive. The Spartans played well and dominated for the most part. Now, at 3-1 and 4-3, the Big Green has a chance to ruin Iowa's storied, undefeated season. Welcome Mr. Hawkeye.

More later.... but, great job Big GREEN!

(Below: WR Blair White catches a pass from Cousin on a right out route for a first down in the 3rd quarter).

Team Totals NU MSU
Rushing 5 6
Passing 14 13
Penalty 3 0
Rushing Attempts 29 34
Average Per Rush 2.7 2.8
Rushing Touchdowns 0 1
Yards Gained Rushing 104 128
Yards Lost Rushing 25 34
Completions-Attempts-Int 34-47-0 21-31-0
Average Per Attempt 6.2 9.1
Average Per Completion 8.6 13.4
Passing Touchdowns 2 2
Total offense plays 76 65
Average Gain Per Play 4.9 5.8
Fumbles: Number-Lost 3-2 1-1
Penalties: Number-Yards 4-25 4-46
PUNTS-YARDS 6-195 6-243
Average Yards Per Punt 32.5 40.5
Net Yards Per Punt 27.8 35.5
Inside 20 1 1
50+ Yards 0 1
Touchbacks 1 1
Fair catch 1 1
KICKOFFS-YARDS 3-202 5-305
Average Yards Per Kickoff 67.3 61.0
Net Yards Per Kickoff 38.7 44.0
Touchbacks 1 0
Punt returns: Number-Yards-TD 2-10-0 1-8-0
Average Per Return 5.0 8.0
Kickoff returns: Number-Yds-TD 5-85-0 2-66-0
Average Per Return 17.0 33.0
Interceptions: Number-Yds-TD 0-0-0 0-0-0
Fumble Returns: Number-Yds-TD 0-0-0 0-0-0
Miscellaneous Yards 0 0
Possession Time 29:03 30:57
1st Quarter 8:51 6:09
2nd Quarter 7:09 7:51
3rd Quarter 5:12 9:48
4th Quarter 7:51 7:09
Third-Down Conversions 8 of 16 5 of 14
Fourth-Down Conversions 0 of 2 0 of 1
Red-Zone Scores-Chances 2-2 1-3
Sacks By: Number-Yards 0-0 3-15
PAT Kicks 2-2 3-3
Field Goals 0-0 1-1

Thursday, October 15, 2009

ES Game Day Preview: MSU 38, Northwestern 17

Northwestern (4-2/1-1, #95 Sagarin, sked strength #139) at Michigan State (3-3/2-1, #44 Sagarin, sked strength #26)
Saturday, October 17, 2009. 12 Noon.
Weather: 48 degrees, mostly sunny.
Latest Line: Michigan State favored by 13.

Tickets available

Injuries: Michigan State - S Roderick Jenrette (foot), out; RB Glenn Winston (knee), out; CB Kendall Davis-Clark (leg), questionable; WR Mark Dell (shoulder), probable; QB Kirk Cousins (ankle), probable; QB Keith Nichol (elbow), probable. Northwestern - RB Alex Daniel (ankle) out; S Brendan Smith (hand), out; OT Mike Boyle (back) out; LB Ben Johnson (leg) out; LB Bryce McNaul (leg) out; CB Justan Vaughn (leg) out; DT Jack DiNardo (shoulder) questionable; DE Corey Wootton (ankle), probable.

Previews: Lake The Posts (MSU 30, NW 24); College Football News (MSU 30, NW 23); StatSheet (MSU 30, NW 20);; Bleacher Report (MSU 21, NW 13); ESPN/Adam Rittenberg (MSU 29, NW 23)

Prediction: The ES isn't that impressed with NU. This game ain't like Northwestern upsets of old over Michigan State, because of the improved coaching of MSU and the terrible, terrible play by Northwestern against one of the weakest schedules in all D1-FBS. Sagarin ranks Nwesterns opponents played as #139 strongest in the country. Yes, my dead grandma could QB Northwestern and beaten Eastern Michigan, Miami-Ohio, AND SYRACUSE. What is the strength of schedule of other D1-FBS 2-loss teams in America? The ES took the time, scrolled through Sagarin's website, and compiled a list (below) of all the two-loss teams that competed in the FBS division.... and found that Northwestern was DEAD LAST of all 2-loss teams; matter of fact, their strength of schedule of #139 was lower than the number of teams competing in 1-FBS (120 teams).

2-loss Division 1-FBS teams and Schedule Strength: Arizona SS#5, Arizona State SS#101, Arkansas SS#17, Baylor SS#87, BC SS#57, California SS#12, Central Florida SS#127, Louisiana-Lafayette SS#79, Louisiana Monroe SS#117, Marshall SS#72, Middle Tennessee State SS#71, scUM SS#47, Minnesota SS#46, Mississippi SS#6, UNC SS #81, Northern Illinois SS#84, Ohio SS# 70, Oklahoma SS#55, Oregon State SS#44, SMU SS#64, Stanford SS#27, Temple SS#114, Texas A&M SS#105, Texas Tech SS#110, Troy SS#34, UCLA SS#16, Wake Forest SS#50.

So, what does that mean, with NW and a strength of schedule #139, losing to Sagarin's #97-ranked Syracuse, struggling against #155-ranked Miami-Ohio, squeaking by #164-ranked Eastern Michigan and #91-ranked Purdue, and losing on the road to #55-ranked Minnesota?

A FLAT-ASSED BUTT KICKING. The ES is not impressed, especially if you can't figure out the name of our starting quarterback, let alone the dynamics of our QB situation. Besides, Northwestern's colors in Division 1 are the closest of any school to PINK.

Halftime: MSU 21, Northwestern 10. Final score: MSU 38, NW: 17.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

MSU injury report vs Northwestern, men's basketball ranked consensus top 3

Early weather predictions show clear skies, but colder; 48 degrees and partly sunny for the noon kickoff vs Northwestern.

Injury report: Keith Nichol suffered a mild sprain of the elbow, but will play vs the Wildcats. Captain Kirk's ankle has healed and will start at QB for the Big Green. Two players done for the season: safety Roderick Jenrette (foot) and RB Glenn Winston (knee). WR Mark Dell (shoulder) is probable, but can he catch?

Early previews of Michigan State vs Northwestern -- Bleacher Report (MSU 21, NW 13); College Football News (4 of 5 pick MSU); ESPN/Adam Rittenberg (MSU 29, NW 23);

Big Ten Network revealed its power rankings, and hmmm... looks similar to the ES', with the Big Green at #5 in the conference.

Maybe it is too soon for basketball... but yer men's hoops national-runners up from a year ago, Michigan State, is ranked in the TOP 3 of nearly every single preseason publication, prognostication, or pundit.

Big Ten Bowls prefer TEXAS to Detroit

The Big Ten is shuffling the bottom half of its bowl lineup beginning in 2010 through 2013. Poor George Perles, his gubernatorial campaign just got a big blow as the Motor City Bowl was not included... and instead, up pops Texas and Dallas! Everything's BIG in Texas. ESPN's Adam Rittenberg has a take on the Big Ten Bowl shuffle, and that the Little Caesars Pizza Pizza (aka Motor City) Bowl tie in as the 8th selection may be announced later...

Future 2010-2013 Big Ten Bowl Lineup

1. Rose Bowl (Jan 1) (Big Ten vs Pac 10)
2. Capital One Bowl (Jan 1) (Big Ten vs SEC)
3. Outback Bowl (Jan 1) (Big Ten vs SEC)
4/5. Konica Minolta Gator Bowl (Jan 1) (Big Ten vs SEC)
4/5. Insight Bowl (Dec 31) (Big Ten vs Big 12)
6. Texas Bowl (late Dec) (Big Ten vs Big 12)
7. Dallas Football Classic (Jan 1) (Big Ten vs Conf USA)

2009-2010 Big Ten Bowl Lineup

1. Rose Bowl (Jan 1) (Big Ten vs Pac 10)
2. Capital One Bowl (Jan 1) (Big Ten vs SEC)
3. Outback Bowl (Jan 1) (Big Ten vs SEC)
4. Champs Sports Bowl (Dec 29) (ACC vs Big Ten)
5. Alamo Bowl (Jan 2) (Big Ten vs Big 12)
6. Insight Bowl (Dec 31) (Big Ten vs Big 12)
7. Motor City Bowl (Dec 26) (Big Ten vs MAC)

According to blogger Mike Hlas of the Cedar Rapids Gazette, swapping the Alamo Bowl for the Gator Bowl isn't exactly a step up...

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

No... it's Captain Kirk - not Brian!

Lake The Posts is still smoking the pipe.... "It's still unclear if MSU QB Keith Nichol will play as he's listed as day-to-day. His back-up is a split-time starter, Brian Cousins."

No, LTP, it is Kirk, Captain Kirk Cousins -- he is one of the Spartans' four captains, and he has excelled all year. He is the full-time starter, but sat out last game to rest an ankle sprain so he can KICK YER WILDCAT ARSE this week.

As for all yer hype and surprise on 13 1/2 point underdogs (it started out at 12 point 'dogs on Sunday), STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE, baby... you lost to SYRACUSE, lost to a Minny team that was crushed at home by an iffy Cal team, defeated hapless Purdue, winless Miami. And, you squeaked by an EMU team that lost by 48 to CMU (who MSU lost on the last play of the game).

It's not just Ws vs Ls. It's who you played. It's easy to beat up on the Sisters of the Poor.

Big Ten war of attrition

Early battles against the Sisters of the Poor don't stand the test of time when you start taking on the Ohio States, Iowas, and Michigan States... Yes, the season is a war of attrition, and order is being restored to the conference. Let's see where the Big Ten stands:

1. Ohio State. 5-1/3-0. The Buckeyes put Wisky back in their place and stand alone atop the Big Ten. They will stay here a while, with next three stints at lowly Purdue, home vs Minny and New Mexico State before they travel to Joe Pa. BUY.
2. Iowa. 5-0/2-0. The Hawkeyes pushed back scUM, and showed they have some bend-but-dont-break. How far will Wisky bend the Hawkeyes this week? HOLD.
3. JoePa. 5-1/4-1. Smoking Eastern Illinois doesn't tell us a lot; neither will hosting Minny this week, unless Minny pulls the upset. It won't, JoePa will roll. BUY.
4. Wisky. 5-1/2-1. The Badgers are brutally tough at home, and could pull the upset over a Hawkeye team that looked vulnerable against a weakish scUM squad. BUY.
5. Michigan State. 3-3/2-1. Sparty is on the rebound; this week, they play a softy in Northwestern that has been tough in recent years, but won't be this year. Spartans will open a can of whoop-ass on the Wildcats as the Spartans' play in the trenches and as its defense surges. Next week, they face stiff resistance hosting Iowa. BUY.
6. Minny. 4-2/2-1. The Gophers are a middle-of-the-pack team. Now they play the gritty part of their schedule (at Joe Pa, at Ohio State, vs MSU) and won't measure up, even with a new stadium. SELL.
7. scUM. 4-2/1-2. Bo is turning in his grave, as the Wolvies sink low low low to host #178 Delaware State; then they host JoePa. SELL.
8. Northwestern. 4-2/1-1. The 'Cats struggled mightily last week over winless Miami-Ohio; they've also beating woeful Purdue, sneaked past Eastern Michigan (throttled by CMU 56-8 last week), and lost to Syracuse. Now they will be crushed at Sparty. This team stinks -- the worst 4-2 team in the nation. SELL.
9. Indiana. 3-3/0-2. The Hoosiers were smoked at Virginia, 47-7; they lost to Ohio State and Michigan. They have hope, and should beat Illinois this week... maybe Northwestern next week, before a murderous row of Iowa, Wisky, and JoePa. BUY for now.
10. Purdon't. 1-5/0-2. At least the Boilers make it interesting for a while. They've scored at least 20 points in each of their six games, but they've lost five in a row - make that six, as they host the Buckeyes. SELL.
11. Illinois. 1-4/0-3. The Zooks really looked out of sync vs Sparty with their musical quarterback situation. They should have stuck with the Juice. If they have any hope, they need to win at Indy and Purdue the next two weeks. How bad are they? We will find out soon. HOLD.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Lake the Posts - N'western, huh?

Our friends over at Lake the Posts give some insight into the 'Cats play, and they certainly see the glass as half full... the ES critiques LTP's commentary, just roughly. Nwestern is looking at the last two games as a season-saver, with predictible predictions of grandeur. Ummmm - the 'Cats registered gritty wins over, well, Purdue and Miami-Ohio? After a loss to Syracuse? Sorry, you should look like World Beaters after that schedule ("special teams has done a 180 the last two games" and "our D line has gone from atrocious to respectable the past two games".) Wait 'til we smack you upside the head. Over the same period, the Sparties played... Wisky, scUM, and Illinois. No, Sparty ain't hurtin'. We're hurtin' to hurt YOU, 'Cats. There won't be no 2007 repeat, we're a 12-pt fave 'cause we're gonna stomp on yer 'TROAT. Yes, who you play DOES matter.

Statistically speaking.... MSU lines dominate

Order is being restored to the Big Ten and early prognostications, now that we're in the midway of college football season. The early favorites, Ohio State, Iowa, Penn State, Michigan State, Wisky are at the top half of the leaderboard. Michigan has shown its real, pink colors and has dropped to 1-2 around the cellar with Indiana, Illinois, and Purdue. If the favorites win in the Penn State-Minny stint (Joe Pa) and the MSU-NW stint (Big Green), order will be just about completely restored to pundits' preseason predictive levels.

So, what is the main reason for MSU's success in recent weeks? Surprisingly, it is the offensive and defensive lines of Michigan State. A question mark early in the year, the interior play has been able to out-muscle and out-hustle other teams to victory on both sides of the ball.

The offensive line, despite injuries, is the biggest surprise for the Spartans -- and it has opened enough holes for a running game averaging 143 yards per game (160 in Big Ten play), and over 190 yards in each of the last two contests. And, with six sacks allowed (5 in Big Ten play), it is leading the conference and 16th in the nation in protecting the quarterbacks, Keith Nichol and Kirk Cousins.

On defense, Michigan State's early pass defense hemorrhaging woes have seemingly dissipated the past two weeks. The Spartans put consistent pressure on scUM's Tate Forcier (2 sacks) and had a season high six sacks on Illinois quarterbacks. Forcier struggled for much of the game, and finished 17-32-1-233 largely from the final two drives of the game; McGee/Williams finished 9-28-1-140 and were running for their lives most of the day.

The lines on both sides also contribute to the Spartans dominating time of possession. Against scUM, Michigan State had offensive drives of 17, 11, 10, 8, 8, 6, 4, and just three 3-and-outs. Defensively, the Spartans held scUM to drives of 15, 12, 5, 5, 4, 4, and six 3-and-outs. That led to a dominating 78-60 total plays in MSU's favor, and a 39:46 TOP. Against the Illini, it was a similar result: on offense, MSU created possessions of 13, 11, 7, 7, 6, 6, 4, and five 3-and-outs. Defensively, the Spartans held the Zooks to 10, 9, 8, 5, 5, 4, and seven 3-and-outs. That's 70-60 total plays in MSU's favor and a dominating 36:07 TOP.

If you want to argue that it took MSU four games to "grow up" - when they entered the Big Ten season - you might have a good argument. Looking at the Big Ten-only stats and not the national stats, and you get a different picture of the Spartan team... one whose defense isn't as porous the last three games as it was the previous three:

Scoring Offense: MSU #5 (26.7 ppg); Pass Offense: MSU #3 (265.0 ypg); Rush Offense: MSU #4 (160.0 ypg); Total Offense: MSU #1 (425. ypg). Sacks against: MSU #4 (5); TOP: MSU #2 (32:48);

Scoring Defense: MSU #4 (24.0 ppg); Pass Defense: MSU #7 (202.0 ypg); Rush Defense: MSU #4 (117.7 ypg); Total Defense: MSU #4 (319.7 ypg); Sacks by: MSU #2 (10).

Next up: Northwestern, and the Spartan interior must be licking its chops again.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Michigan State favored by 12 over Northwestern

Fresh off the Spartans' ruining the Illini homecoming, 24-14, the Big Green returns to East Lansing for its own homecoming this week as a 12-point favorite over Northwestern. Ohio State is favored by 14 at Purdue; Iowa favored by 2 at Wisky; Joe Pa by 15 at home over Minny; Illinois by 2.5 at Indiana. FYI, Southern Cal is favored by 8 at Notre Dame. And, Michigan faces 1-3 Delaware State, ranked #187 by Jeff Sagarin. Speaking of Sagarin, here is his rankings of the Big Ten, including schedule strength:

#8. Ohio State, SS = 37
#9. Iowa, SS = 30
#21. Wisconsin, SS = 31
#28. Joe Pa, SS = 113
#37. scUM, SS = 47
#44. Michigan State, SS = 26
#54. Minnesota, SS = 46
#86. Indiana, SS = 61
#91. Purdue, SS = 23
#95. Northwestern, SS = 139
#112. Illinois, SS = 25

Here is your latest AP Poll for week 7, through October 11, 2009

1Florida (50)5-01490
2Alabama (10)6-01430
4Virginia Tech5-11283
5Boise State5-01199
7Ohio State5-11048
9Miami (FL)4-1970
14Penn State5-1597
16Oklahoma State4-1559
18Brigham Young5-1490
19Georgia Tech5-1453
21South Florida5-0330
22South Carolina5-1319
25Notre Dame4-175

Dropped from rankings:
Auburn 17, Mississippi 20, Missouri 24

Others receiving votes: Pittsburgh 58, Auburn 55, West Virginia 46, Mississippi 28, Wisconsin 27, Missouri 25, Arkansas 16, Central Michigan 6, Arizona 5, Michigan 5, Oregon State 2, Navy 1, Idaho 1, Stanford 1, Texas Tech 1

INJURY UPDATE: It's a bummer, but Glenn Winston is done for the year with a torn knee ligament (ACL). That's a big blow to MSU's kick return game; Winston was also the most physical of the MSU running backs this year.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Spartan injury update

Current word out of Spartan athletics: RB Glenn Winston with a knee sprain - MRI is pending; QB Keith Nichol with a bruised left elbow. RB Larry Caper is fine.

Confirmation of a BLOW OUT Spartan victory? Illinois fans booing relentlessly in the second half. You don't boo your team unless they're laying a turd.

Michigan State 24, Illinois 14. We Zookified 'em!

Ron Zook gambled by pulling Juice Williams at QB and replacing him with Eddie McGee. It didn't work, he lost and so did Illinois. They was Zookified by Michigan State.

McGee's last past was intercepted by Spartan safety Danny Fortener for a 33-yard TD to put MSU up 24-0. Game over. Zookification complete. The final scored, 24-14, included MSU leaving more points on the field from personal fouls and turnovers in the red zone. It really wasn't that close. Of more concern is the status of RB Glenn Winston, who ran well for Michigan State (14-65, 1 TD) before being injured in the second quarter. Much like playing scUM, the Spartans early on had LONG offensive drives leading to scores (and a 14-0 lead), and nullifying any potential for offensive momentum by Illinois; the defense did its part by holding the Illini to short drives. Next thing you know, Jed's a millionaire and the Big Green are cruizin' to victory.

Another great defensive effort by MSU, as they held UI to just 267 total yards. MSU defense is gaining strength, and confidence.

Now, MSU's stock is UP, at 3-3/2-1 in the conference. Next up: Nwestern.

Spartans Fighting Illini
First Downs 20 15
Passing 8 6
Rushing 10 9
Penalty 2 0
Third Down Efficiency 5-15 3-14
Fourth Down Efficiency 2-2 1-1
Total Plays 70 60
Average Gain Per Play 5.3 4.5
Rushes 45 32
Average Per Rush 4.2 4.0
Completions-Attempts 13-25 9-28
Yards Per Pass Play 7.2 5.0
Times Sacked 1 6
Yards Lost to Sacks 1 23
Had Intercepted 1 1
Average Punt 39.0 43.6
Penalty Yards 50 38
Fumbles Lost 1 0