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2011 Michigan State Spartans football team

The 2011 Michigan State Spartans football team competed on behalf of Michigan State University in the Legends Division of the Big Ten Conference during the 2011 NCAA Division I FBS football season. Head coach Mark Dantonio was in his fifth season with the Spartans. Michigan State played their home games at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing, Michigan. They finished the season 11–3, 7–1 in Big Ten play to be champions of the Legends Division. They represented the division in the inaugural Big Ten Championship Game where they lost to Leaders Division representative Wisconsin 39–42. They were invited to the Outback Bowl where they defeated Georgia 33–30 in three overtimes. Significantly, the Spartans were able to give 19 of their 20 true freshman redshirt years.

2011 Michigan State Spartans football
Michigan State Spartans script.svg
Big Ten Legends Division champion
Outback Bowl champion
Outback Bowl, W 33–30 3OT vs. Georgia
ConferenceBig Ten Conference
DivisionLegends Division
CoachesNo. 10
APNo. 11
2011 record11–3 (7–1 Big Ten)
Head coachMark Dantonio (5th season)
Offensive coordinatorDan Roushar (1st season)
Defensive coordinatorPat Narduzzi (5th season)
CaptainKirk Cousins
Joel Foreman
Trenton Robinson
Home stadiumSpartan Stadium (c. 75,005 natural grass)
← 2010
2012 →
2011 Big Ten football standings
Conf     Overall
Team   W   L         W   L  
Legends Division
No. 11 Michigan State x   7 1         11 3  
No. 12 Michigan %   6 2         11 2  
No. 24 Nebraska   5 3         9 4  
Iowa   4 4         7 6  
Northwestern   3 5         6 7  
Minnesota   2 6         3 9  
Leaders Division
No. 10 Wisconsin xy$   6 2         11 3  
Penn State x   6 2         9 4  
Purdue   4 4         7 6  
Ohio State   3 5         6 7  
Illinois   2 6         7 6  
Indiana   0 8         1 11  
Championship: Wisconsin 42, Michigan State 39
  • $ – BCS representative as conference champion
  • % – BCS at-large representative
  • x – Division champion/co-champions
  • y – Championship game participant
Rankings from AP Poll


Previous seasonEdit




Game summariesEdit

Youngstown StateEdit


1 2Total
{{{Visitor}}} {{{V1}}} {{{V2}}} 0
{{{Host}}} {{{H1}}} {{{H2}}} 0
    Title=Youngstown State at Michigan State Visitor=Youngstown State V2=6 |V3=0 |V4=0 Host=Michigan State H2=14 |H3=7 |H4=7 Date=September 2 Location=Spartan Stadium, East Lansing, MI StartTime=7:38 PM TimeZone=EDT ElapsedTime=3:11 Attendance=75,910 Weather=82°F, Wind: 3 MPH SW, Partly Cloudy Referee=Alex Kamp TVAnnouncers=
    Tom Hart (Play-by-Play)
    Derek Rackley (Analyst)
    Lisa Byington (Sideline)


    Overall record Last meeting Result
    First meeting
    Michigan State vs. Youngstown State

    Florida AtlanticEdit

    Florida Atlantic at Michigan State
    1 234Total
    Florida Atlantic 0 000 0
    Michigan State 14 13710 44
    Overall record Last meeting Result
    2–0 2010 MSU, 30–17

    The Spartans earned their first shutout since 2008, which was also against FAU in a 17–0 win.

    Notre DameEdit

    Michigan State at Notre Dame
    (Megaphone Trophy)
    1 234Total
    Michigan State 3 703 13
    Notre Dame 14 773 31
    Overall record Last meeting Result
    28–45–1 2010 MSU, 34–31

    Central MichiganEdit

    Central Michigan at Michigan State
    1 234Total
    Central Michigan 0 070 7
    Michigan State 7 2477 45
    Overall record Last meeting Result
    4–3 2009 CMU, 27-29

    Ohio StateEdit

    Michigan State at Ohio State
    1 234Total
    Michigan State 7 003 10
    Ohio State 0 007 7
    Overall record Last meeting Result
    12–27 2008 OSU, 45–7

    The Spartans were 16 seconds from their 2nd shutout of the year, but a touchdown pass put the Buckeyes on the board. Michigan State recovered the onside kick securing the victory, their first against Ohio State in 7 meetings.


    Michigan at Michigan State
    (Paul Bunyan Trophy)
    1 234Total
    Michigan 7 007 14
    Michigan State 7 0147 28
    Overall record Last meeting Result
    31–67–5 2010 MSU, 34–17

    Mark Dantonio and his Spartans earned their fourth straight victory over arch-rival Michigan. MSU's defense shut down quarterback Denard Robinson and sealed the victory on safety Isaiah Lewis' interception return for a touchdown. The Spartans wore unique Nike Pro Combat uniforms for the game.


    Wisconsin at Michigan State
    1 234Total
    Wisconsin 14 0314 31
    Michigan State 0 23014 37
    Overall record Last meeting Result
    28–21 2010 MSU, 34–24

    Michigan State found themselves down 14–0 early in the first quarter after two quick Wisconsin drives. Momentum turned at the beginning of the second quarter, when Russell Wilson committed an intentional grounding penalty in the endzone, resulting in a safety and two points for the Spartans. A subsequent touchdown made the score 14–9 UW. On Wisconsin's next possession, they marched down to the Michigan State 13-yard line, but their field goal attempt was blocked. MSU recovered and drove down the field to make it 16–14 MSU. With the second quarter clock running down, Wisconsin punted it away, but this too was blocked and recovered in the endzone for a Michigan State touchdown, making the halftime score 23–14 Spartans.
    With 8:40 to play in the 4th quarter, the Badgers found themselves down 31–17. A quick score made it 31–24. The teams traded possessions and Wisconsin got the ball back with 4:28 to play. The Badgers marched down the field once again and tied the game at 31–31 with 1:26 to play.
    Michigan State started the next drive at their own 22. After a first down QB Kirk Cousins was sacked for a ten-yard loss, and Wisconsin then called a timeout with 00:42 left. Following a twelve-yard pass to make a 3rd and 8 situation, it appeared Michigan State was willing to let the clock run out and take the game into overtime. However, Wisconsin called timeout again with 00:30 left. The Spartans completed passes of 11 and 9 yards on their next two plays to get to the Wisconsin 44-yard line and then called timeout with 00:10 to go. After an incomplete pass four seconds remained on the clock.
    Michigan State lined up in a shotgun formation. Kirk Cousins took the snap and rolled out to the right before launching a Hail Mary to the endzone. Waiting there was BJ Cunningham, but he was screened by Wisconsin player Jared Abbrederis who had jumped too early to try to deflect the ball. The ball made it to Cunningham but went off his facemask, bouncing into the hands of Keith Nichol who was at the one-yard line. As Nichol fought to cross the goal line, he was met by two Badgers attempting to keep him out. After the whistles blew, the officials marked the ball at the one foot line, sending the game to overtime as the clock had run out. Then a call came down from the review booth to look at the play again on replay. After review, the officials found "The runner did cross the line", and Spartan Stadium erupted in celebration.
    In the post game interview on the field, Dantonio was asked what the play call was, replying with "It's a Rocket play. You know, throw it in the endzone, let it be tipped around and see who comes up with it." It was the third game in two years to be labeled by a play name, with Rocket joining the 2010 games of Little Giants (Notre Dame fake field goal) and Mousetrap (Northwestern fake punt).


    Michigan State at Nebraska
    1 234Total
    Michigan State 0 300 3
    Nebraska 10 0140 24
    Overall record Last meeting Result
    0–5 2003 NU, 17–3


    Michigan State at Minnesota
    1 234Total
    Minnesota 14 370 24
    Michigan State 7 14010 31
    Overall record Last meeting Result
    26–17 2010 MSU, 31–8


    Michigan State at Iowa
    1 234Total
    Michigan State 14 1733 37
    Iowa 0 7140 21
    Overall record Last meeting Result
    18–22–2 2010 Iowa, 37–6

    The Spartans earned their first victory in Kinnick Stadium since 1989.


    Indiana at Michigan State
    (Old Brass Spittoon)
    1 234Total
    Indiana 0 300 3
    Michigan State 17 17147 55
    Overall record Last meeting Result
    40–15–2 2008 MSU, 42–29

    Win clinched at least share of Legends Division. The title became outright later in the day when Michigan defeated Nebraska.


    Michigan State at Northwestern
    1 234Total
    Michigan State 3 1477 31
    Northwestern 0 377 17
    Overall record Last meeting Result
    35–16 2010 MSU, 35–27

    Michigan State secured sole possession of the Legends Division championship with the victory.

    Wisconsin (Big Ten Championship Game)Edit

    Wisconsin vs Michigan State
    (Big Ten Championship Game)
    1 234Total
    Wisconsin 21 0714 42
    Michigan State 7 2273 39
    Overall record Last meeting Result
    29–21 October 22 MSU, 37–31

    Georgia (Outback Bowl)Edit

    Michigan State vs Georgia
    (Outback Bowl)
    1 234OT2OT3OTTotal
    Michigan State 0 01413033 33
    Georgia 2 14011030 30
    Overall record Last meeting Result
    0–2 2009 UGA, 12–24

    The Spartans played their first overtime game since Notre Dame in 2010, and their first triple overtime game since 2004. Prior to overtime, the Spartans had a ten-play, 85-yard drive that tied the game at 27 with nineteen seconds left and sent the game into overtime. In the first overtime, Kirk Cousins threw an interception to end MSU's possession, but Georgia kicker Blair Walsh missed a 42-yard field goal to allow the game to continue into a second extra period. The teams traded field goals in the second overtime, and Michigan State opened the third overtime with a 28-yard field goal by Dan Conroy. On the final play of the game, Walsh's 47-yard kick was blocked by Anthony Rashad White, giving the Spartans a 33–30 victory. It was Coach Dantonio's first bowl victory with Michigan State, and Michigan State's first bowl victory since the 2001 Silicon Valley Bowl.


    2011 Michigan State Spartans football team roster
    Players Coaches
    Pos. # Name Class
    C 66 Jack Allen Fr
    FB 42 Todd Anderson Sr
    QB 12 Peter Badovinac Jr
    RB 4 Edwin Baker Jr
    RB 24 Le'Veon Bell So
    FB 45 Jeff Bobek Jr
    OT 70 Skyler Burkland   Fr
    WR 11 Juwan Caesar Fr
    RB 22 Larry Caper Jr
    TE 85 Garrett Celek Sr
    OL 76 Donavon Clark Fr
    OT 73 Henry Conway So
    QB 18 Connor Cook Fr
    QB 8 Kirk Cousins Sr
    WR 3 B. J. Cunningham Sr
    OT 65 Michael Dennis   Fr
    OG 71 John Deyo Jr
    OT 51 Fou Fonoti Jr
    OG 67 Joel Foreman Sr
    WR 13 Bennie Fowler So
    OT 59 Dan France So
    TE 92 Andrew Gleichert   Fr
    RB 20 Nick Hill   Fr
    TE 84 Derek Hoebing So
    OG 74 Zach Hueter Jr
    C 63 Travis Jackson   Fr
    OL 69 Shawn Kamm   Fr
    C 72 Nate Klatt So
    OL 54 Connor Kruse   Fr
    WR 23 Takudzwa Kubvoruno Fr
    TE 83 Paul Lang Fr
    TE 88 Brian Linthicum Sr
    OG 53 Kyle Lints Fr
    WR 82 Keshawn Martin Sr
    QB 10 Andrew Maxwell So
    OG 62 Chris McDonald Jr
    OT 75 Jared McGaha Sr
    WR 25 Keith Mumphery   Fr
    WR 7 Keith Nichol Sr
    WR 17 Kyle Nichol So
    FB 38 Niko Palazeti   Fr
    FB 37 Trevon Pendleton Fr
    OG 73 Arthur Ray Jr. Sr
    WR 16 Chris D. Rucker Sr
    C 68 Ethan Ruhland Jr
    FB 47 Adam Setterbo Sr
    TE 80 Dion Sims So
    WR 21 Andre Sims Jr. Fr
    WR 81 Brad Sonntag Sr
    TE 48 Drew Stevens Jr
    C/OG 64 Blake Treadwell Jr
    QB 19 A.J. Troup Fr
    QB 16 Tommy Vento Fr
    Pos. # Name Class
    CB 5 Johnny Adams Jr
    LB 28 Denicos Allen So
    LB 40 Max Bullough So
    DE 94 Taylor Calero   Fr
    DE 89 Shilique Calhoun Fr
    DL 87 Brandon Clemons Fr
    CB 36 Arjen Colquhoun Fr
    DT 65 Doug Curtis Jr
    LB 54 Nestor Padilla Fr
    CB 31 Darqueze Dennard So
    CB 12 Dana Dixon So
    DE 52 Denzel Drone So
    S 27 Kurtis Drummond   Fr
    DB 29 Spencer Elliott Fr
    LB 41 Kyler Elsworth So
    S 19 Danny Folino So
    DE 55 Corey Freeman Jr
    LB 47 Jeremy Gainer So
    LB 50 Steve Gardiner Jr
    LB 2 William Gholston So
    LB 42 Ty Hamilton   Fr
    LB 49 TyQuan Hammock So
    LB 45 Darien Harris Fr
    DE 92 Joel Heath Fr
    CB 6 Mylan Hicks   Fr
    DE 91 Tyler Hoover Jr
    NT 61 Antonio Jeremiah Jr
    S 23 Jairus Jones So
    LB 34 Taiwan Jones Fr
    DL 81 James Kittredge So
    DE 93 Damon Knox Fr
    DB 35 Chris Laneaux Fr
    CB 33 Jeremy Langford   Fr
    S 9 Isaiah Lewis So
    CB 14 Tony Lippett   Fr
    LB 10 Chris Norman Jr
    DL 69 Blake Pacheco Sr
    NT 96 Kevin Pickelman Sr
    DT 56 Matt Ramondo Fr
    NT 60 Micajah Reynolds So
    LB 48 Pat Rhomberg Fr
    S 39 Trenton Robinson Sr
    LB 54 Nestor Padilla   Fr
    NT 58 Jordan Sanders   Fr
    DT 97 Mark Scarpinato Fr
    DT 57 Jonathan Strayhorn Sr
    LB 8 Lawrence Thomas Fr
    CB 15 Trae Waynes Fr
    NT 98 Anthony Rashad White Jr
    CB 32 Mitchell White Jr
    S 26 R.J. Williamson Fr
    DT 99 Jerel Worthy Jr
    Special teams
    Pos. # Name Class
    K 4 Dan Conroy Jr
    LS 58 Matt Giampapa Fr
    LS 51 Steve Moore So
    K 17 Kevin Muma So
    P 3 Mike Sadler   Fr
    P 20 Kyle Selden Sr
    Head coach
    Coordinators/assistant coaches
    • Pat NarduzziDefensive Coordinator
    • Dan RousharOffensive Coordinator
    • Harlon BarnettSecondary
    • Ted Gill – Defensive Line
    • Brad Salem – Running Backs/Recruiting Coordinator
    • Terrence Samuel – Wide Receivers
    • Mark Staten – Offensive Line
    • Mike Tressel – Linebackers/Special Teams
    • Dave Warner – Quarterbacks

    • (C) Team captain
    • (S) Suspended
    • (I) Ineligible
    •   Injured
    •   Redshirt



    Ranking movements
    Legend: ██ Increase in ranking. ██ Decrease in ranking.
    NR = Not ranked. RV = Received votes. ( ) = First place votes.
    Poll Pre 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 Final 
    AP 17 17 15 RV RV RV 23 15 9 15 13 12 11 11 12 11 
    Coaches 17 16 15 23 25 20 19 13 10 16 13 12 10 9 13 10 
    Harris Not released 22 15 11 17 13 12 11 11 13 Not released 
    BCS Not released 16 11 17 17 15 14 13 17 Not released