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.
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.
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.
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.
By now, you have probably heard all the hype about the biggest game of the season. Michigan State will have to travel across the country to Eugene, Ore. to prove themselves against an elite, non-conference opponent early in the season.
But wait, there is actually a game before that?
So what is Jacksonville State all about?
Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio addressed the media in his first weekly press conference of the season late Tuesday morning. The topic of conversation was Friday’s game against Jacksonville State, as well as the new facilities at Spartan Stadium.
It was the first press conference in the new media center located in the north end zone expansion.
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.
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”.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Football has officially arrived. The first preseason practice took place Saturday and today was the MSU Football Media Day. Fino and Spartan Red Zone host and reporter Dan Tyler and Bradley Allen were in attendance. Dan Tyler joins the show to offer his perspective on the Spartans during Media Day.
With the massive news Thursday that David Price was coming to Detroit, the panel finally gets a chance to discuss the move for the Tigers. The panel welcomes Tiger Talk host, Tony Garcia, to gain his perspective on the move and the future of the Tigers.
After a big night game at home against Nebraska, the Spartans spend back-to-back Saturdays in the Hoosier State facing Purdue and Indiana. These will be Michigan State’s first games on the road in the Big Ten.
The Competition Read More…
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.
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.
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.
The 2013 Jim Thorpe Award winning cornerback, Darqueze Dennard, hoped to be a top-10 pick in the draft this year. And in one of the best NFL Drafts for defensive backs, Dennard fell to the 24th pick, being selected by the Cincinnati Bengals.
Dennard officially signed a four-year contract with Cincinnati last Thursday. The deal will net Dennard $8 million.
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.