College Football

more stats

 
          ***** NCAA Football Preview - Michigan State Spartans *****
 
 By Mike Castiglione, Associate College Football Editor
 
 Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
 
 2012 SEASON IN REVIEW: Coming off a Legends Division title the previous
 season, the Spartans went on to earn a school-record sixth straight bowl
 invite in 2012 with a 7-6 finish. Five of those losses came by four points or
 less, including two in the final seconds and one in double-overtime.
 
 "2012 was the year of the inches that we didn't come up with," head coach Mark
 Dantonio said at Big Ten Media Day. We sort of feel like our football team has
 a little bit of an edge to (it) right now."
 
 Michigan State did manage to win five of its six true road games, with a 12-10
 loss at rival Michigan on Oct. 20 the lone exception. The Spartans also
 finished out the season on a positive note, topping TCU in the Buffalo Wild
 Wings Bowl, 17-16.
 
 2013 ANALYSIS:
 
 OFFENSE: Last year, the Michigan State offense leaned heavily on all-
 conference running back Le'Veon Bell, who was drafted in the second round of
 this past April's NFL draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers. Redshirt freshman
 Riley Bullough (6-2, 230), a converted linebacker, tops the 2013 preseason
 depth chart. Also splitting first-team reps in camp has been junior Nick Hill
 (5-8, 198), the "lightning" to Bullough's "thunder."
 
 After sitting behind quarterback Kirk Cousins in 2010 and 2011, Andrew Maxwell
 stepped into a starting role last season as a junior. However, he completed
 only 52.5 percent of his passes with 13 touchdowns and nine interceptions, as
 MSU finished the year ranked 108th in scoring offense (20.0 ppg). Sophomore
 Connor Cook emerged in the spring, but Dantonio put to rest any speculation of
 a quarterback controversy during his media day comments.
 
 "Right now Andrew is our number one quarterback," Dantonio said. "He's got a
 great deal of experience and a lot of confidence right now. With that said,
 Connor Cook has played as everybody knows, and I think that's a big positive
 for us."
 
 While Maxwell figures to have the reins loosened a bit in his second year,
 finding a way to improve upon a woeful 44-percent red zone percentage is
 paramount if the team hopes to put some more points on the board.
 
 Five offensive lineman with starting experience return, as do top wideouts
 Keith Mumphery (42 receptions, 515 yards, TD) and Bennie Fowler (41 rec, 524
 yds, 4 TDs).
 
 DEFENSE: Seven starters return to a defensive unit that ranked fourth in the
 nation in total defense (274.4 ypg) and ninth in scoring (16.3 ppg allowed).
 The defense was particularly dominant coming out of halftime, as it allowed a
 total of only 27 third-quarter points in 13 games. The coaching staff foresees
 more good things to come in 2013.
 
 "We have competition on this football team," Dantonio said. "We've got a lot
 of guys back with experience, too many to talk about, really. The defensive
 side of the ball is loaded with seven starts, back with a lot of players ready
 to make their mark."
 
 Senior Max Bullough enters his third season as the team's starting middle
 linebacker after racking up a team-high 111 tackles (12.5 TFL) last year.
 He'll be flanked on the outside by Denicos Allen (79 tackles, 10.0 TFL) and
 either Taiwan Jones (6-3, 250) or the ultra-athletic Jairus Jones (6-1, 213).
 
 Also back in the fold are starting safeties Isaiah Lewis (80 tackles, 2 INT, 6
 PBU) and Kurtis Drummond (53 tackles, 2 INT, 4 INT).
 
 Up front, replacing all-conference defensive end William Gholston will be no
 easy task, but junior Marcus Rush has started every game so far of his college
 career and is coming off a promising season (7.5 TFL).
 
 SPECIAL TEAMS: The Spartans are breaking in a new kicker in redshirt freshman
 Kevin Cronin. Three-year starter Dan Conroy has moved on after a rather shaky
 season that saw him convert 23-of-32 field goals (71.9 percent) in 2012. At
 punter, Mike Sadler returns after averaging a healthy 43.3 yards on 79 punts.
 Sadler had a long of 70 yards and pinned a whopping 31 kicks inside the
 opponent's 20.
 
 OUTLOOK: Ultimately, the Spartans must find a way to close out some of those
 tight games they wound up losing last season if they hope to contend for a
 Legends Division crown after a 3-5 finish in conference play. Coach Dantonio
 does not see any reason that cannot happen. In fact, he said this year's
 mantra for his team is "Chase it."
 
 "It will always be our hope to chase the dream and go to the Rose Bowl, to
 become a champion at the highest level, to get into the championship format,"
 he said. "And while we were close last year, we lost some games to some great
 football teams by very narrow margins."
 
 No Bell in the backfield means this is now Maxwell's team, at least on the
 offensive side of the ball. Maxwell has weapons around him, but is there
 enough balance? The defense, if healthy, figures to once again be among the
 nation's best with Bullough leading the charge.
 
 
 
 
 08/20 10:49:51 ET

Other Stories

  • ACC: Syracuse at NC State

    Saturday at 12:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • SEC: Florida at Kentucky

    Saturday at 2:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • Pac 12: Stanford at Arizona

    Saturday at 4:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • Big Ten: Wisconsin at Minnesota

    Tomorrow at 7:00 pm on 99.9 The Fan

  • NBA: Dallas at Portland

    Tomorrow at 9:30 pm on 99.9 The Fan

  • NHL: Hurricanes vs. Minnesota

    Friday at 8:00 pm on 99.9 The Fan

Scoreboard
Local
Final
BRK 91
CHA 115
 
2nd
DUKE 94
WAKE 51
 
Final
LOS 4
CWS 6
 
Final
CLE 4
CIN 2
 
Final
TEX 2
KAN 13
 
Final
SFG 2
OAK 9
 
Final
SEA 4
SDP 3
 
Final
MIL 8
WMIL 0
 
Final
COL 3
ARI 6
 
Final
MIN 3
UMIN 1
 
Final
IND 105
NYK 82
 
Final
ORL 100
PHO 105
 
Final
BRK 91
CHA 115
 
4th
TOR 108
CLE 117
 
Final
BOS 85
UTA 84
 
4th
MIN 68
DEN 81
 
3rd
NOP 73
DET 68
 
3rd
MIA 72
LAL 71
 
4th
HOU 82
MEM 89
 
3rd
OKC 82
PHI 90
 
3rd
SAN 54
SAC 38
 
10:30pm Tonight
GSW
MIL
10:30pm Tonight
LAC
POR
Final
UNCA 80
LIB 70
 
Final
PSU 67
OSU 77
 
Final
USB 62
BING 57
 
Final
FORD 66
DUQ 81
 
Final
GMAS 51
GWU 67
 
Final
UNH 54
HART 52
 
Final
STJOE 55
LAS 50
 
Final
Terriers 79
LIU 70
 
Final
GTDNS 83
MAINE 66
 
Final
LOU 59
ND 71
 
Final
SHU 66
PROV 79
 
Final
BRY 91
SHU 85
 
Final
MORE 79
SEMIZ 74
 
Final
MNTER 58
RFLSH 73
 
Final
LSU 63
TENN 78
 
Final
SFLA 74
UCF 45
 
Final
VERM 66
UMBC 39
 
Final
RMU 91
WAGN 68
 
Final
UMASS 53
RICH 56
 
2nd
TULA 59
HOU 57
 
Final
YALE 71
HOW 62
 
2nd
PITT 61
MIAMI 64
 
2nd
TXPA 48
NMST 66
 
2nd
MSU 53
PURD 44
 
2nd
STLU 48
BONA 62
 
2nd
DUKE 94
WAKE 51
 
1st
TULSA 20
CIN 27
 
Half
VANDY 32
MSST 36
 
Half
OKST 34
TCU 30
 
1st
UCLA 46
USC 35
 
Half
WYO 40
UTST 30
 
1st
MARQ 21
STJ 24
 
1st
EILL 21
SIUE 19
 
10:00pm Tonight
FRES
AFA
10:00pm Tonight
SJST
BSU
10:00pm Tonight
NEV
COLST
10:00pm Tonight
ILL
NEB
11:00pm Tonight
ORST
OREG
11:00pm Tonight
UNLV
SDST
11:59pm Tonight
HAW
UCSB
 
3rd
WIN 1
OTT 3
 
2nd Intermission
DET 1
NYR 1
 
10:00pm Tonight
ANA
MON
10:00pm Tonight
COL
PIT