Michigan State Football 2012 Bowl Capsule

Michigan State Spartans
Big Ten


There were high expectations for Michigan State heading into the 2012 season. However, the Spartans failed to live up to those expectations and were, for all practical purposes, knocked out of the Legends Division race by the middle of October. This is a team that won a couple big games, most notably over Boise State and Wisconsin, but the stagnant offense never got moving with any consistency.

2012 Record: 6-6, 3-5
Coach: Mark Dantonio
Coach Bowl Record: 2-4

Big Wins: 8/31 Boise State (17-13), 10/27 at Wisconsin (16-13)
Bad Losses: 10/13 Iowa (16-19), 11/17 Northwestern (20-23)

The offense relies almost entirely on running back Le’Veon Bell. He is a true workhorse, carrying the ball 350 times in 12 games. For the most part Bell has been productive, rushing for 1,648 yards and 11 scores. Michigan State ranked eighth in the nation in both rush defense and pass defense. They allowed a mere 16.33 points per game. Max Bullough, Denicos Allen and Chris Norman are a solid group of linebackers who can make a lot of plays. Bullough alone totaled 102 tackles. The secondary boosts two of the best cornerbacks in the Big Ten with Johnny Adams and Darqueze Dennard. They both have tallied three interceptions and seven pass break-ups this season. Isaiah Lewis and Kurtis Drummond will provide plenty of help to the corners from the safety spots.

However, the defense is not nearly as good in the pass rush as most expected. In 2011 the Spartans tallied 45 sacks. This year they are at 16, ranking 11th in the conference and 101st in the nation. It tells a lot about the quality of the defense when they can give up so few yards without getting to the quarterback. But at least players like Marcus Rush and William Gholston can get some pressure in the opposing backfield even if they do not bring down the quarterback. But the bigger problem is in the passing game. Quarterback Andrew Maxwell has never found his rhythm during his first year as the starter. Maxwell has a good arm, but accuracy is a big issue. Dropped balls have not helped either. Tight end Dion Sims is a great target, but receivers like Bennie Fowler, Keith Mumphery and Tony Lippett have dropped way too many passes. If MSU is not controlling the clock and playing a tight, low-scoring game, they probably do not have the offensive firepower to win.

Statistical Leaders:
Rushing: Le’Veon Bell, RB, 1,648 yards
Passing: Andrew Maxwell, QB, 2,578 yards
Receiving: Bennie Fowler, WR, 524 yards
Tackles: Max Bullough, LB, 102
Sacks: William Gholston, DE, 3.5
Interceptions: Darqueze Dennard, CB, 3; Johnny Adams, CB, 3

2012 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense:  151.58 (72nd in nation, 7th in conference)
Passing Offense:  218.75 (79, 4)
Total Offense:  370.33 (90, 9)
Scoring Offense:  20.25 (107, 10)
Rushing Defense:  99.58 (8, 1)
Pass Defense:  173.67 (8, 3)
Total Defense:  273.25 (4, 1)
Scoring Defense:  16.33 (10, 1)
Turnover Margin:  .00 (60, 7)
Sacks: 1.33 (101, 11)
Sacks Allowed:  1.58 (44, 5)

Recent Bowl Appearances:
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 11/24


Bowl Central


MSU Shop