Michigan State Football 2013 Bowl Capsule


Michigan State Spartans
Big Ten

 

Michigan State has had an incredible season.  In Mark Dantonio‚Äôs seventh season in East Lansing, he had the Spartans undefeated through the conference schedule.  Granted, they had a weaker slate than some of their conference counterparts but Michigan State still took care of their business.  They have looked really good doing it.  They are among the best defensive teams in the country.  Dantonio had some quarterback controversy early this season, Connor Cook has been magnificent, but Andrew Maxwell has played in big spots as well.  No matter what, the Spartans are on an incredible run.

2013 Record: 12-1, 8-0
Coach:  Mark Dantonio
Coach Bowl Record: 3-4

Big Wins: 11/16 at Nebraska (41-28), 12/7 vs. Ohio State (34-24)
Bad Losses: 9/21 at Notre Dame (13-17)

Strengths:
The defense of this team has been unflappable this season.  They lead the conference in multiple categories and they rank top five in passing yards allowed, rushing defense, and scoring defense.  They lead the entire country in total defense.  That is extremely impressive considering the likes of teams like Alabama and Florida State.  At just 64.8 yards per game, they lead the nation in fewest rushing yards allowed.  They can control the game and the tempo by stuffing runners at the line.  They are highly efficient in the turnover area.  They have more than doubled their takeaways-to-giveaways ratio which sets them up for more offensive opportunities.  The Spartan offense maintains possession more than 33 minutes per game, which is the 6th best mark in the nation.  They can wear defenses down and execute their game plan on offense very effectively.  Protecting whoever is playing quarterback has come easy this year.  The line gives up only a sack per game.  Without much pressure, the quarterbacks have not felt the need to rush passes and throw interceptions.  They have only thrown five collectively.

Weaknesses:
The offense has not had to do too much since their defense keeps them in games, but that side of the ball could stand to improve a bit.  The passing game averages less than 200 yards per game.  The Big Ten is not necessarily a pass-happy conference, but the Spartans are second to last in that category.  They have not taken many deep shots and do not have any serious weapons on the outside that would scare a defense.  They are in the middle-of-the-pack in terms of putting points on the board.  The Notre Dame game skewed their numbers a little, but there are plenty of teams that would be able to outscore 30 points per game if it came down to a shootout situation.  The last thing Michigan State would want to do is air it out to try and win.  They have to rely on their defense and a decent running game to win their way.  Their special teams are mediocre as well in terms of return yardage and setting up field position.  Their defense has masked some of those inefficiencies.

Statistical Leaders:
Rushing: Jeremy Langford, RB, 1,338 yards
Passing: Connor Cook, QB, 2,423 yards
Receiving: Bennie Fowler, WR, 525 yards
Tackles: Denicos Allen, LB, 91
Sacks: Shilique Calhoun, DE, 7.5
Interceptions: Darqueze Dennard, CB, 4; Kurtis Drummond, S, 4

2013 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 186.2 (47th in nation, 7th in conference)
Passing Offense: 194.0 (95, 11)
Total Offense: 380.2 (84, 10)
Scoring Offense: 29.4 (63, 7)
Rushing Defense: 64.8 (1, 1)
Pass Defense: 172.9 (9, 1)
Total Defense: 237.7 (1, 1)
Scoring Defense: 11.8 (4, 1)
Turnover Margin: 1.3 (5, 1)
Sacks: 2.42 (38, 3)
Sacks Allowed: 1.00 (12, 1)

Recent Bowl Appearances:
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 11/30

 

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