Michigan State 2011

Michigan State 2010 Statistics

(Big Ten) The Spartans play on a grass field at Spartan Stadium (seats 75,005)

  • Mark Dantonio is in his 5th year as head coach at Michigan State. Last year following a thrilling victory against Notre Dame with

    Head Coach Mark Dantonio

    a fake field goal touchdown to win it in overtime, Dantonio suffered a heart attack.  He missed four games and his team went undefeated during that stretch.  In fact, their only loss in the regular season was a 37-6 loss against Iowa.  They finished 11-2 and had a share of the Big Ten title for the first time in 20 years.  Unfortunately, the last thing we all remember is that Alabama absolutely crushed them 49-7 in the Capital One bowl.

  • On top of coming off of that demoralizing bowl loss, they have to replace a total of 10 starters on offense and defense this year.
  • They play home games at Spartan Stadium, which is so loud that Stanley Kubrick used a recording of the crowd noise during the 1959 Notre Dame vs Michigan State game in his film Spartacus (1960).
  • The performance of this team isn’t exactly logical.  In 2008 they had 9 wins for the first time in 21 years and yet had the least amount of total offense and passing offense all decade.  Last year their numbers improved on offense and their win total declined to 6-7.  Then last year, their statistics actually declined in many categories, especially on offense.  They did improve on the two things they needed to improve on from 2009:  turnover margin and passing defense. But how this team added five wins from the previous season is statistically unclear (which is not unheard of).
  • This year they return their quarterback, Kirk Cousins, who had a terrific completion percentage at 67% and a good

    Quarterback Kirk Cousins

    20-10 touchdown to interception ratio.  They return all of their top running backs from 2010, including Edwin Baker and Le’Veon Bell.  They also return two of their top three receivers.  The offense would be in fantastic shape, but for the fact that they have to replace three starters on the offensive line.  Luckily Dan France moves over from the defensive line as does Blake TreadwellOL Arthur Ray Jr. beat leg cancer and finally got permission to practice with his teammates again.  “It was great, one of the best days of my life.”  Even though there are just two starters returning, there is experience here. It just may take some time for the offense to figure out the right combination and placement of players starting on the line.

  • The defensive line returns a lot of experience and should be an improved unit from last year, which will help in stopping their opponent’s running game and also getting to the quarterback. Sacks were down significantly last year.  The area that suffers the most is at linebacker, where they lose their top two, who were also the top two tacklers on the team.  The defensive backs also have to replace two players, which means that 4 of the top 5 tacklers from last year’s team are gone.
  • And then there’s the question of what position redshirt freshman Tony Lippett will play.  In the spring, he played both cornerback and receiver and the coordinators are fighting over him.
  • The schedule also gets more difficult this year with Ohio State back on the schedule as well as new Big Ten opponent Nebraska.  Many are predicting that the Spartans will play in the first Big Ten title game.  But I don’t think they will (see potential issues, Nebraska and Penn State)