Michigan State Football 2014 Bowl Capsule

Michigan State Spartans
Big Ten


The 2014 season was a case of Michigan State being good but not quite good enough. An early season loss at Oregon threw the Spartans under the national radar. Things came down to the November 8th showdown against Ohio State for the Big Ten East title and trip to the conference championship. The Buckeyes won, Michigan State never lost again, but it just wasn’t enough. For Sparty and Coach Mark Dantonio, double-digit wins and a big bowl games are becoming the norm. In this new playoff era though, it leaves them on the outside of the elite.

2014 Record: 10-2, 7-1
Coach: Mark Dantonio
Coach Bowl Record: 4-4

Big Wins: 10/4 Nebraska (27-22), 11/15 at Maryland (37-15)
Bad Losses: 9/6 at Oregon (27-46), 11/8 Ohio State (37-49)

Michigan State was led once again by its defense. Other than its two losses, allowing fewer than 20 points was the norm. With a pass rush led by seniors Shilique Calhoun, Marcus Rush and Taiwan Jones, MSU continued its yearly trend of having a truly special defense almost across the board. While there was no Darqueze Dennard in the backfield, Kurtis Drummond in 2014 actually outperformed what Dennard was able to do a season ago in terms of both interceptions and passes defended. Ironically though, while last year’s 13-1 team had just an average offense, this year’s squad was a little bit better on that side of the ball. Connor Cook and Jeremy Langford picked right up where they left off, while Tony Lippett emerged into a weapon at wide receiver that wasn’t there the year prior. The Spartans were able to control the clock and control possessions better than just about anybody in the country.

Overall, there were few areas where MSU struggled. It could have been better in the red zone on both sides of the ball. The punting games also left something to be desired as Michigan State didn’t generate much in its own return yardage or punt distance. The lack of field position advantages generated from the punt game was overshadowed by other factors, but it’s a part of winning football that the Spartans didn’t do. And that’s just the thing. This team was very close to being exceptional if not for a few slipups. Penalties were the death sentence in the loss to Ohio State where Sparty committed 11 for 105 yards. Against Oregon, it was a second-half collapse as they got outscored 28-3 after halftime. Based on the ledger, this team was statistically better and more balanced than last year’s, but the results didn’t follow suit.

Statistical Leaders:
Rushing: Jeremy Langford, RB, 1,360 yards
Passing: Connor Cook, QB, 2,900 yards
Receiving: Tony Lippett, WR, 1,124 yards
Tackles: Kurtis Drummond, S, 65
Sacks: Marcus Rush, DE, 7.0
Interceptions: Kurtis Drummond, S, 4

2014 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 234.9 (21st in nation, 5th in conference)
Passing Offense: 261.6 (39, 1)
Total Offense: 496.5 (14, 2)
Scoring Offense: 43.1 (7, 2)
Rushing Defense: 97.5 (5, 2)
Pass Defense: 196.0 (25, 6)
Total Defense: 293.5 (7, 3)
Scoring Defense: 19.9 (14, 3)
Turnover Margin: 1.67 (1, 1)
Sacks: 3.08 (11, 1)
Sacks Allowed: 0.83 (4, 2)

Recent Bowl Appearances:
2013    Rose Bowl    Stanford (24-20)
2012    Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl    TCU (17-16)
2011    Outback Bowl    Georgia (33-30)
2010    Capital One Bowl    Alabama (7-49)
2009    Alamo Bowl    Texas Tech (31-41)
2008    Capital One Bowl    Georgia (12-24)
2007    Champs Sports Bowl    Boston College (21-24)

*all team stats through 12/1


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