Know the Foe: Michigan State

   Spartan Stadium  
   
   
   
   
    
 Series History
 Games  48
 Record  MSU leads, 27-21
 At Madison  Tied, 13-13
 At East Lansing
 MSU leads, 14-7
 First Meeting
 Oct. 25, 1913
 Last Meeting
 Sept. 26, 2009
 Bielema vs. MSU
 2-1
 Dantonio vs. UW
 1-2

 Last 5 Meetings
 Sept. 26, 2009
H UW 38, MSU 30
 Nov. 1, 2008 A MSU 25, UW 24
 Sept. 29, 2007 H UW 37, MSU 34
 Nov. 14, 2004 A MSU 49, UW 14
 Nov. 15, 2003 H UW 56, MSU 21

 Michigan State at a Glance
 Location  East Lansing, Mich.
 Enrollment  47.100
 Nickname  Spartans
 Conference  Big Ten
 First Year of  Football  1896
 All-Time Record  620-425-44 (.590)

 Team at a Glance
 2009 Record (Conf.)  6-7 (4-4, 6th Big Ten)
 2009 Postseason  Valero Alamo Bowl
 Starters Ret./Lost  15/10
 Letterwinners Ret./Lost  40/28

 Coaching Staff
 Head Coach
 Mark Dantonio
 Alma Mater  South Carolina, 1979
 Record at MSU
 26-17 (4th season)
 Career Record (Yrs.)
 44-34 (7th season)
 Offensive Coordinator  Don Treadwell
 Defensive Coordinator  Pat Narduzzi

 Head Coach Mark Dantonio

Mark Dantonio

Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio has been in all the national headlines in recent weeks as he works his way back from a heart attack he suffered after the Spartans' thrilling 34-31 overtime victory over Notre Dame.

Dantonio missed last week's game against Northern Colorado, but is expected to coach the game against the Badgers from the press box.

Dantonio is in his fourth season at the helm of Michigan State, boasting a 25-17 career record at the school. In his seven years as a head coach, he holds a 44-34 record and has taken his teams to bowl games in all but one year.

 

The No. 11 Wisconsin football team (4-0) opens Big Ten Conference play by taking on No. 24 Michigan State (4-0) at Spartan Stadium. The home team has claimed each of the last five meetings in the series, with the Spartans rallying for a 25-24 win in East Lansing in 2008 and the Badgers claiming a 38-30 victory last season in Madison.

 Scouting the Offense

Base Offense: Multiple
Starters Returning/Lost:
7/4

• Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema acknowledged during his Monday news conference that there are some stark similarities between Wisconsin's offense and that of Michigan State. Both feature smart quarterbacks, a good stable of running backs, and experienced wide receivers. The Spartans currently rank sixth in passing offense (233.2 yards/game), fourth in rushing offense (231.5), fourth in total offense (464.8) and fourth in scoring (36.8 points).

• After a quarterback battle last fall, Kirk Cousins is firmly entrenched under center in 2010. He has put up good numbers this year too, completing 67 percent of his passes for 863 yards. In addition, he has thrown six touchdowns to just two interceptions.

• He has an experienced receiving corps to which he can spread the ball around. Juniors B.J. Cunningham and Keshawn Martin are tied for the team lead with 14 receptions each, while senior Mark Dell is right behind them with 10 catches. All have gained at least 172 yards through the air, with Cunningham in the lead with 190 yards. Cunningham also leads the team with two touchdown receptions, but five other players have all caught one touchdown pass.

• Last season, Michigan State ran for nearly 1,800 yards and featured seven different players with at least 125 yards rushing. However, none of those seven cracked the 500-yard mark, showing MSU's lack of a go-to back. In 2010, a pair of young backs has allowed the Spartans to have a more balanced offense.

• Sophomore Edwin Baker already has 449 yards rushing and five touchdowns, while freshman Le'Veon Bell has 396 yards and seven scores. Each player has shown big-play potential as Baker is gaining 7.9 yards per carry and had an 80-yard rush against Florida Atlantic, while Bell is averaging 8.2 yards per carry and has a 75-yarder against Western Michigan to his name.

 Spartans to Watch
Kirk Cousins  #8 | Kirk Cousins
 Quarterback
 Junior | 6-3 | 202
Le'veon Bell  #24 | Le'Veon Bell
 Running Back
 Freshman | 6-2 | 230
2009: 60.4 C%, 2,680 Yds, 19 TD
2010: 67.0 C%, 863 Yds, 6 TD
2009: --
2010: 48 Rush, 396 Yds, 7 TD

 

 Scouting the Defense

Base Defense: Multiple
Starters Returning/Lost:
6/5

• Any talk about Michigan State's defense has to start with the man in the middle, No. 53 Greg Jones. The senior middle linebacker is a consensus All-American, the reigning Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and the preseason Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year. He has led the Spartans in tackles in all three of his seasons, and leads the team again this year with 33 stops in four games. In addition, he's added two tackles for loss, one sack, two interceptions, three passes defended and three forced fumbles.

• In addition to Jones, MSU has seen strong play from a number of other defenders. Six players currently have at least 20 tackles, with cornerback Chris L. Rucker joining Jones with at least 30. Defensive end Colin Neely leads the squad with four TFL and 1.5 sacks, while Rucker has three TFL and three passes defended. In the secondary, safeties Marcus Hyde and Trenton Robinson are tied for the team lead with five passes defended.

• As a whole, the defense is third in the Big Ten in rush defense (85.2), sixth in total defense (337.8), seventh in scoring defense (17.2 points/game) and ninth in pass defense (252.5). In addition, the Spartans have forced 11 turnovers on the year.

 Spartans to Watch
Greg Jones  #53 | Greg Jones
 Linebacker
 Senior | 6-1 | 240
Eric Gordon  #43 | Eric Gordon
 Linebacker
 Senior | 6-0 | 232
2009: 154 Tkl, 9 Sk, 14 TFL
2010: 33 Tkl, 2 INT, 3 FF
2009: 92 Tkl, 7.5 TFL, 3.5 Sk
2010: 28 Tkl, 1.5 TFL, Sk
ON WISCONSIN
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