Big Ten football

Spartans Make Statement against Gamecocks

It has been nearly eight months since Kyler Elsworth made the stop on fourth-and-one. Since Andrew Maxwell, after losing the starting quarterback position, came out to take the final kneel down for Michigan State in the Rose Bowl.

Friday night, the Spartans finally got to play again.

“First off, I thought we made a statement,” head coach Mark Dantonio said to the press after Michigan State’s 45-7 win over Jacksonville State.

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Spartans Win First Game of the Season 45-7

The long anticipated season opener kicked off, for the third straight year, on a Friday night. The Gamecocks of Jacksonville State arrived at Spartan Stadium with their band, and small cohort of supporters.

After an offensive surge in the first half, MSU was off to a slow start in the second half. Tyler O’Connor took the field for the opening drive of the third quarter, which lead to a punt.

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Spartans Lead Gamecocks 38-0 at Halftime

Connor Cook completed his first nine passes for 257 yards and 3 TDs for MSU in the first half of the season opener, as the Spartans marched to a 38-0 lead at the half.

Tony Lippett exploded for two touchdown s huge touchdown receptions from Cook, one for 64 yards and the other for 71. Nick Hill added two touchdown runs of his own.

What first was a shaky start for the Spartan defense turned into a big scare for the Spartan offense. After kicking the ball off to start the game, the Gamecocks nearly caught the MSU secondary sleeping.

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Way-Too-Early Predictions: Penn State (Nov. 29)

Happy Valley will be the last stop for the Spartans, and it may be the most important stop. Michigan State football will reignite their rivalry with Penn State to wrap up the 2014 season.

The last time the Nittany Lions and the Spartans faced off in 2010, Michigan State won, clinching their first Big Ten championship in nearly two decades.

Head coach Mark Dantonio will hope to clinch a Big Ten East Division championship with a win in State College, Pa. during rivalry week.

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Way-Too-Early Predictions: Maryland & Rutgers (Nov. 15 & Nov. 22)

The Big Ten as we once knew it is no more.

After the addition of Nebraska in 2011, Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany was excited to introduce two divisions of the conference, the Legends and the Leaders, as well as a conference championship game at the end of the season between the teams with the best records out of each division.

Now the Big Ten is heading east with the divisions now being dubbed simply “East” and “West”.

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Way-Too-Early Predictions: Ohio State (Nov. 8)

The Buckeyes had won 24 consecutive games under head coach Urban Meyer. They were the clear favorites to win the Big Ten Championship and head to Pasadena to play Florida State in the National Championship. However, the Spartans had other plans.

The Spartans upset Ohio State, and went on to win a Rose Bowl Championship, while the Buckeyes went on to lose to Clemson in the Orange Bowl.

Starting quarterback Braxton Miller was just recently sidelined for the season with a shoulder injury, so it is likely that redshirt freshman T.J. Barrett will try to seek revenge on Miller’s behalf at Spartan Stadium.

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Way-Too-Early Predictions: Michigan (Oct. 25)

This is supposed to be the year where Michigan turns their program around. With the exception of 2012, the Spartans have done well in handling their in-state rival over the past half-decade. The Wolverines have not scored a touchdown against the Spartans since 2011. In 2012, Michigan was able to narrowly defeat the Spartans in Ann Arbor 12-10, surviving off four field goals.

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Position Group Breakdown: Offensive Line

With the Spartans’ first game against Jacksonville State looming less than three weeks away, Impact Sports takes a preseason look at the 2014 offensive line unit.

In case you missed it, here are the breakdowns of the safety, cornerback, linebacker and defensive line units.

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Spartan Red Zone – #17 – 8/15/14

Host Dan Tyler welcomes Impact Sports’ football beat writer and host of Secret Society, Bradley Allen, to the studio for the latest episode of Spartan Red Zone.

Tyler and Allen discuss both the Big Ten and Michigan State media day as well as the lofty expectations for the upcoming season.

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Over 15,000 Fans with High Hopes Gather for Meet the Spartans

For the 12th time, Spartan Stadium opened its doors to fans for a meet and greet with Michigan State’s football team. Fans got an opportunity to tour the facilities, enjoy food and, if they wanted to wait in the long lines, meet the players.

Coaches and players signed autographs and took pictures with thousands of fans for just over two and half hours.

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Spartan Red Zone – #16 – 7/26/14

Hosts Dan Tyler and Andre Sims welcome junior cornerback Trae Waynes to the studio for the latest episode of Spartan Red Zone.

Waynes discusses offseason workouts and preparation, the new members of the “No Fly Zone,” as well as filling in for Darqueze Dennard.

Give the episode a listen to hear about those topics and more.

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Way-Too-Early Predictions: Nebraska (Oct. 4)

The Spartans will open Big Ten play with a night game at home against Nebraska. In 2013, MSU went on an unprecedented 9-0 in conference play. The 2014 season will prove difficult, if not impossible for Michigan State to remain undefeated in the Big Ten — having to open up against Nebraska, play Michigan and Ohio State in back-to-back games, and traveling to Maryland and Penn State.

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Position Group Breakdown: Defensive Line

Over the last month, Impact Sports has given a preseason look at the Spartans’ safety, cornerback and linebacker units.

Now the attention turns to the defensive line, which is a group that is expected to be amongst the best in the nation.

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Way-Too-Early Predictions: Eastern Michigan (Sept. 20) and Wyoming (Sept. 27)

The Spartans face off against Eastern Michigan after a bye week and will then take on Wyoming during homecoming week. These games will wrap up the non-conference season for MSU, as Mark Dantonio hopes to earn two victories while the team builds up momentum heading into the Big Ten season.

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Mike Sadler Named Preseason First-Team All-American

Mike Sadler was one of the best punters in the nation last season, pinning a nation-leading 24 punts within the opponent’s 10-yard-line. Despite his impressive numbers and knack for converting fake punts in clutch situations, he was not named a finalist for the Ray Guy Award last season, given each year to the nation’s top punter.

Going into 2014, however, Athlon Sports projects that Sadler is a front runner for the Award, naming him as their preseason First-Team All-American.

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Way-Too-Early Prediction: Oregon (Sept. 6)

In what is arguably the biggest non-conference game in Michigan State football history, the Spartans will travel across the country to face Oregon in a game between two top 10 teams that has playoff implications.

A victory in a game of this magnitude and national exposure could solidify MSU as an elite football program. The Spartans open as a 13-point underdog.

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Way-Too-Early Predictions: Jacksonville State (Aug. 29)

Michigan State is coming into the 2014 season as the defending Big Ten Champions with a 10-game winning streak. They have not lost at home since November 2012. With a win in the 100th Rose Bowl and a preseason ranking in the top 10, the ceiling for MSU football is a National Championship, but where is the floor?

If the Spartans lose their first game, it will be the biggest disaster a Big Ten team has experienced in non-conference play since No. 5 Michigan lost to unranked Appalachian State in 2007.

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Position Group Breakdown: Cornerbacks

Last week, Impact Sports released the first of an eight-part series, previewing Michigan State’s safety unit for the 2014 football season.

This week, the focus is on the other part of the “No Fly Zone,” the cornerbacks. Last season, this unit, along with the safeties, helped give the Spartans the third-best pass defense in the nation, allowing just over 165 yards per game.

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Spartan Red Zone – #15 – 6/8/14

Hosts Dan Tyler and Andre Sims talk everything — from the new College Football Playoff beginning this season to potential recruiting conspiracies and more.

How does the new playoff format affect a team’s mindsets this season? Are recruiting sites, like Rivals.com, changing player rankings depending on what school they commit to? Who are the top 10 players in the Big Ten this season?

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Breaking down the Class of 2014: Defensive Linemen

Michigan State turned their recruiting class of 2014 into one of the best with several big-name signees on the defensive line, and it was not an easy task to sign a few of them.

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