No. 10/9 Michigan State Takes On Indiana for the Old Brass Spittoon Saturday in Bloomington

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  • MSU Game Notes
  • IU Game Notes

Game 7: No. 10/9 Michigan State (6-0, 3-0 Big Ten) at Indiana (2-3, 0-2 Big Ten)

Date: Saturday, Oct. 16
Kickoff: 12:03 p.m. EDT
Location: Bloomington, Ind.
Stadium: Memorial Stadium (52,656)
Surface: Field Turf
Tickets: iuhoosiers.com
Live Stats: msuspartans.com

TV: FS1
Mobile: FOX Sports app
Announcers: Aaron Goldsmith (play-by-play), Brock Huard (analyst)

Radio: Spartan Media Network | Affiliate Listings
Play-by-Play: George Blaha
Analyst: Jason Strayhorn
Sidelines: Bobby McAllister
Broadcast Host: Will Tieman
Website/Mobile: msuspartans.com/MSU Spartans app/Tune In radio
Flagship Stations: Lansing: WMMQ (94.9 FM)/WJIM (1240 AM); Detroit: WJR (760 AM); Grand Rapids: WBFX (101.3 FM)
Affiliates: 30 affiliates listed at msuspartans.com
Satellite: Sirius (Ch. 134), XM (Ch. 195), SiriusXM app (Ch. 957)
Pre-game Show: Begins at 10:30 a.m.

All-Time Series: MSU leads, 48-17-2
All-Time Series in Bloomington: MSU leads, 22-10-1
Last Meeting: IU 24, MSU 0 (2020)
Current Series Streak: 1 by Indiana

COACHES:
MSU Head Coach: Mel Tucker
MSU Record: 8-5 (second year)
Overall Record: 13-12 (third year)
Record vs. IU: 0-1

Indiana Head Coach: Tom Allen
IU Record: 26-25 (fifth year)
Overall Record: 26-25 (fifth year)
Record vs. MSU: 1-3

FIRST-AND-10 –
• Michigan State takes on Indiana for the Old Brass Spittoon on Saturday, Oct. 16 in Bloomington. Kickoff is slated for noon at Memorial Stadium. Aaron Goldsmith (play-by-play) and Brock Huard (analyst) will have the call on FS1.

• The Spartans defeated Rutgers last Saturday, 31-13, to improve to 6-0 on the season and 3-0 in Big Ten play. It marks the first time MSU has opened 6-0 since winning the Big Ten Championship and advancing to the College Football Playoff in 2015 and the ninth time overall in school history.

• The Spartans moved up to No. 9 in this week’s USA TODAY/AFCA Coaches Poll and No. 10 in The Associated Press Poll. Michigan State is in the top 10 of the national rankings for the first time since Sept. 18, 2016 (No. 8 in both polls).

• Indiana (2-3, 0-2 Big Ten) is coming off a bye week. The Hoosiers have faced a difficult schedule, falling to three top-10 teams (No. 2 Iowa, No. 3 Cincinnati, No. 7 Penn State) while earning nonconference victories over Idaho and Western Kentucky.

• Saturday’s game marks the 68th meeting between Michigan State and Indiana. The Spartans lead the all-time series against the Hoosiers, 48-17-2, including a 22-10-1 record in Bloomington.

• Since 1950, the winner of the Michigan State-Indiana game has been presented the Old Brass Spittoon. The brass spittoon came from one of Michigan’s earliest trading posts and is widely believed to be nearly 190 years old. Legend has it that the spittoon was around when both institutions were founded – Indiana in 1820 and MAC in 1855. Since 1950, Michigan State leads the series, 48-14-1.  

• Junior running back Kenneth Walker III, a transfer from Wake Forest, is having a dynamic start to the season. Walker leads the FBS in rushing (913 yards; 152.2 ypg) and is the only player in the nation to rank among the top 10 in rushing, rushing TDs (fourth with 9), total TDs (fifth with 10), all-purpose yards (sixth with 157.2 ypg), and yards per carry (10th with 7.1 avg.). According to Pro Football Focus, Walker leads the country in rushing yards after contact (670) and rushing carries for 10-plus yards (26). Walker’s 94-yard touchdown run in the third quarter at Rutgers was the longest offensive play from scrimmage in the 125-year history of Michigan State football. After six games, Walker ranks No. 1 among Heisman Trophy contenders by The Athletic, CBS Sports’ Dennis Dodd and ESPN’s Robert Griffin III.

• Michigan State achieved a rare statistical feat on Saturday at Rutgers. For only the fifth time in FBS history, a trio of players from the same team in the same game had 300 yards passing (Payton Thorne with 339 yards), 200 yards rushing (Kenneth Walker III with 233 yards) and 200 yards receiving (Jalen Nailor with 221 yards).

• Redshirt junior wide receiver Jalen Nailor was named the Big Ten Co-Offensive Player of the Week on Monday. Nailor tied a school record with three touchdown receptions and had five catches overall for 221 yards, the fourth-highest receiving total in school history, in MSU’s 31-13 win at Rutgers last Saturday. He caught TD passes of 63, 63 and 65 yards, all in the first half. According to the Big Ten Network, Nailor’s 44.2 yards per reception was the highest by a Big Ten player since 2000 (minimum five receptions), surpassing Charles Rogers’ 41.2 yards per reception vs. Wisconsin in 2001. Nailor had four catches for 208 yards in the first half alone. His 221 total receiving yards were the most ever by an opposing receiver in SHI Stadium history, bettering Larry Fitzgerald’s (Pittsburgh) 207 yards in 2003. Nailor is the fourth different player to earn Big Ten Player of the Week honors this season for the Spartans (RB Kenneth Walker III, Offensive Player of the Week vs. Northwestern; QB Payton Thorne, Co-Offensive Player of the Week vs. Miami; WR/PR/KR Jayden Reed, Special Teams Player of the Week vs. Nebraska).

• In his first season as the starting quarterback, redshirt sophomore Payton Thorne has completed 62 percent of his passes (98-of-157) for 1,575 yards, 14 touchdowns and just two interceptions. He ranks among the Big Ten and FBS leaders in passing efficiency (second and 11th with 173.6 rating), passing TDs (second and 11th with 14), passing (third and 26th with 262.5 ypg) and total offense (fourth and 29th with 276.8 ypg). Thorne also ranks third on the team in rushing with a net of 86 yards on 31 carries with two TDs, although he has gained a total of 152 yards on the ground. Thorne threw for a career-high 339 yards in the victory over Rutgers, including touchdown passes of 65, 63 and 63 yards to Jalen Nailor. Thorne has already thrown five TD passes for more than 60 yards this season (85 and 75 yards to Jayden Reed vs. Youngstown State in Week 2). The Naperville, Illinois, product was named the Big Ten Co-Offensive Player of the Week and the Manning Award National Quarterback of the Week for his performance in the win at No. 24 Miami in Week 3. He became just the second Spartan quarterback in school history, joining Connor Cook, to throw for four touchdowns in back-to-back games during MSU’s 38-17 victory against the Hurricanes at Hard Rock Stadium. Thorne also threw for a career-high four TDs in the Week 2 win over Youngstown State, and matched that effort against the Hurricanes by completing 18-of-31 passes for 261 yards and four more touchdowns. Cook threw for four TDs in consecutive games against Indiana and Nebraska in 2015.

STAT LEADERS–
Michigan State:
Rushing – Jr. Kenneth Walker III (129 carries for 913 yards, 7.1 avg., 9 TDs)
Passing – R-So. Payton Thorne (98-of-157, .624, 1,575 yards, 14 TDs, 2 INTs)
Receiving – R-Jr. Jayden Reed (23 catches for 492 yards, 21.3 avg., 5 TDs)
Tackles – Sr. S Xavier Henderson (52 tackles, 32 solo, 20 assists, 6 TFLs, 2 sacks, 1 INT, 1 PBU, 1 FF)

Indiana:
Rushing – G-Sr. Stephen Carr (102 carries for 386 yards, 3.8 avg., 3 TDs)
Passing – R-Jr. Michael Penix Jr. (87-of-162, .537, 939 yards, 4 TDs, 7 INTs)
Receiving – Sr.-5 Ty Fryfogle (26 receptions for 272 yards, 10.5 avg., 1 TD)
Tackles – G-Sr. DL Ryder Anderson (29 tackles, 18 solo, 11 assists, 6.5 TFLs, 3.0 sacks, 1 FF)

MSU/INDIANA SERIES NOTES –
• Saturday’s game marks the 68th meeting between Michigan State and Indiana. The Spartans lead the all-time series against the Hoosiers, 48-17-2, including a 22-10-1 record in Bloomington. Indiana won last year’s matchup in Spartan Stadium, 24-0.

• This marks MSU’s first trip to Bloomington since 2018. The 2020 game was switched from Bloomington to East Lansing to provide flexibility in scheduling due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

• Since 1950, the winner of the Michigan State-Indiana game has been presented the Old Brass Spittoon. The brass spittoon came from one of Michigan’s earliest trading posts and is widely believed to be nearly 190 years old. Legend has it that the spittoon was around when both institutions were founded – Indiana in 1820 and MAC in 1855. Since 1950, Michigan State leads the series, 48-14-1.  

A QUICK GLANCE AT INDIANA (2-3, 0-2 BIG TEN) –
• The Hoosiers are 2-3 overall and 0-2 in Big Ten play, coming off a bye week. IU is on an alternating loss-win pattern, with all three losses coming to Top-20 ranked teams. After opening with a loss at then-No. 18 Iowa (34-6) on Sept. 4, then a nonconference win over Idaho (56-14) on Sept. 11, before a loss to then-No. 8 Cincinnati (38-24) on Sept. 18, followed by a win at Western Kentucky (33-31) on Sept. 25, prior to a loss at then-No. 4 Penn State (24-0) on Oct. 2.

• Last time out, IU loss at Penn State on Oct. 2, 24-0. The host Nittany Lions held a 408-264 advantage in total offense yards. The Hoosiers had 195 yards passing, while being stymied on the ground by the Penn State defense, being held to just 69 rushing yards. PSU gained 199 passing, with three TDs through the air, and 209 rushing, with one score on the ground.
• Redshirt junior quarterback Michael Penix Jr. was 10-for-22 passing for 118 yards with one interception, while rushing twice for 8 yards, before leaving in the third quarter after a shoulder injury following a sack. Fellow redshirt junior quarterback Jack Tuttle replaced Penix and was 6-for-12 passing for 77 yards and was also intercepted once.

• Senior running back Stephen Carr had 15 rushes for 50 yards. Redshirt senior tight end Peyton Hendershot and senior wide receiver Ty Fryfogle snared five catches apiece, with Hendershot gaining 88 yards, while Fryfogle finished with 48 yards.

• Senior defensive lineman Ryder Anderson and senior linebacker Micah McFadden both posted eight total tackles to lead the Hoosier defense, with McFadden notching 1.5 tackle for loss and Anderson adding 1.0 TFL.

• For the season, IU is 10th in the B1G in scoring offense (23.8 ppg), while ranking 13th in scoring defense (28.2 ppg). Indiana is 11th in total offense (343.6 ypg), ranking 13th in rushing offense (122.2 ypg) and seventh in passing offense (221.4 ypg). The Hoosier defense is eighth in total defense (349.8 ypg), ranking ninth in both rushing defense (126.8 ypg) and passing defense (223.0 ypg).

• Penix is 87-of-162 passing for 939 yards, with four TDs and seven INTs, ranking eighth in the B1G in passing yards/game (187.8 ypg), ninth in total passing yards (939), 10th in passing TDs (4), and 12th in both passing percentage (.537) and efficiency rating (101.9). He has 17 rushing attempts for -6 yards, having been sacked eight times, but has two rushing TDs. Tuttle is 8-for-18 passing overall for 168 yards with one TD and one INT, adding four rushes for 8 yards.

• Hendershot and Fryfogle are 11th and 12th, respectively, in the Big Ten for receiving yards per game, with Hendershot averaging 54.8 ypg, totalling 21 catches for 274 yards (13.0 ypc) with one TD. Fryfogle averages 54.4 ypg on 26 receptions for 272 yards (10.5 ypc) with one TD.

• Carr is 10th in the Big Ten in rushing (77.2 ypg) with 102 carries for 386 yards (3.8 ypc) with three TDs.

• Anderson leads the IU defense in total tackles with 29, while McFadden is close behind with 27 stops. Anderson and McFadden are tied for seventh in the league with 6.5 tackles for loss, ranking tied for third in TFL/game (1.30).

• Junior placekicker Charles Campbell is tied for fifth in the conference in field goal percentage (.875), making 7-of-8, with a long of 49 yards. Campbell is also 12-of-12 on PATs.

• Freshman punter James Evans is eighth in the Big Ten with a 43.3 ypp average, with 26 punts, with a long of 58 yards, one of six of 50+ yards, with five inside the 20.

• Indiana head coach Tom Allen is in his fifth season as the Hoosiers’ head coach, logging a 26-25 record. Allen earned the 2020 AFCA National Coach of the Year award and was also named the Big Ten Coach of the Year.
• With the 31-13 victory at Rutgers, Michigan State improved to 6-0 . . . it marks the ninth time in school history Michigan State has started 6-0 (1913, 1951, 1952, 1965, 1966, 1999, 2010, 2015, 2021) . . . the Spartans are also 3-0 in Big Ten action for the first time since 2017.
 
• MSU is now 9-4 all-time against Rutgers, including a 7-1 mark in Big Ten action . . . the Spartans improved to 5-1 against the Scarlet Knights in Piscataway, including 4-0 in Big Ten play.

Kenneth Walker III at Rutgers

LAST TIME OUT: MSU 31, RUTGERS 13

OFFENSE
• Saturday was the first time in Michigan State program history to have individuals with a 300-yard passing game, 200-yard rushing game and 200-yard receiving in the same game . . . overall MSU is only the fifth team in FBS history to accomplish that feat. The other times it occurred are below:
 
    -San Diego State, Billy Blanton (328 passing), George Jones (208 rushing) and Will
    Blackwell  (210 receiving) vs. New Mexico, Nov. 4, 1995 (San Diego State won, 38-29)
 
    -Pittsburgh, John Thurman (332 passing), Kevan Barlow (209 rushing) and Antonio Bryant         (222 receiving) vs. Boston College, Oct. 21, 2000 (Pittsburgh won, 42-26)
 
    -Wisconsin, Jim Sorgi (380 passing), Dwayne Smith (207 rushing) and Lee Evans (258
    receiving) vs. Michigan State, Nov. 15, 2003 (Wisconsin won, 56-21)
 
    -Oklahoma State, Zac Robinson (320 passing), Kendall Hunter (210 rushing) and Dez
    Bryant (235 receiving) vs. Houston, Sept. 6, 2008 (Oklahoma St. won, 56 -37)
 
• Kenneth Walker III’s 94-yard TD run in the third quarter was the longest rush in school history, bettering a 90-yard by Lynn Chandnois vs. Arizona in 1949 . . . it was also the longest offensive play from scrimmage in school history, topping the 93-yard pass from Tony Banks to Nigea Carter vs. Indiana in 1994.
 
• Walker finished Saturday’s game with a career-high 29 carries for 233 yards, marking his second 200-yard outing of the season and second-most behind his 264 yards vs. Northwestern (9/3/21) . . . Saturday was Walker’s second straight 100-yard rushing outing and his fourth this season in the six games.
 
• Jalen Nailor’s 65-yard TD pass play and Walker’s 94-yard TD run give MSU’s four one-play drives this season, joining 1-play, 75-yards on Walker’s 75-yard run to open the Northwestern game (9/3), and a 75-yard pass from Payton Thorne to Jayden Reed to open the Youngstown State game (9/11) . . . MSU had three scoring drives of less than 1:00 vs. Rutgers, as the Spartans now have eight scoring drives this season of under 1:00, with at least one in every game except vs. Miami.
 
• Walker has at least one rushing TD in four of the six games and nine overall on the season . . . the 29 carries were a season high . . . Walker’s 94-yard run was his second-longest overall of his career, as he had a 96-yarder during his career at Wake Forest vs. Rice (9/6/19), which was also a school record.
 
• Walker’s 94-yard run was the longest rush in SHI Stadium history overall by any player home or visitor, bettering the previous record of 91 yards by Mohamed Sanu of Rutgers vs. Tulane in 2010.
 
• Redshirt junior wide receiver Jalen Nailor’s four catches for 208 yards in the first half topped the SHI Stadium single-game receiving record by a visiting player of 207 yards held by Larry Fitzgerald of Pittsburgh in 2003.
 
• Nailor’s career-high 221 receiving yards on five catches was the sixth 200-yard receiving game school history . . . Nailor’s career-best three receiving TDs tied a school record for the 11th time, most recently done by Cody White in 2019 also at Rutgers . . . the three TDs marked his second multi-TD outing this season, joining two vs. Miami (9/18/21) and his third career multi-TD game joining Penn State (2020).
 
• MSU had a season-high four scoring plays of 60-plus yards Saturday, with the pair of 63-yard TD passes, along with the 65-yard TD pass from Payton Thorne to Jalen Nailor in the first and second quarters, then Kenneth Walker III’s 94-yard rushing TD in the third quarter . . . the Spartans now have seven scoring plays of 50-plus yards this season, with five pass plays, joining a 75-yard scoring pass and an 85-yard pass from Thorne to Jayden Reed vs. Youngstown State (9/11/21), and two rushing scores, along with a 75-yard rush by Walker vs. Northwestern (9/3/21).

• Redshirt sophomore quarterback Payton Thorne threw for a career-high 339 yards on 16-of-27 passing for three TDs, marking the second game in a row that Thorne threw for a career-best, topping Week 5’s 327 yards vs. Western Kentucky . . . Thorne’s three passing TDs was his third game this season with three or more scores, behind his four TDs in back-to-back games vs. Youngstown State (9/11/21) and at Miami (9/18/21) . . . the 339 passing yards was Thorne’s second straight 300-yard passing outing and third career 300-yard passing game, joining 325 vs. Penn State last season.
 
• Michigan State has collected more than 500 yards of total offense in four of the six games this season, including 588 yards vs. Rutgers.

DEFENSE
• MSU’s defense has forced at least one turnover in each of the last five games with Saturday’s fumble recovery by Jacob Slade.
 
• The Spartan defense had 4.0 sacks Saturday, marking the fourth straight game with at least 3.0 sacks and fifth time in the six games . . . the 4.0 sacks ties for the second-most this season behind season-high 7.0 sacks vs. Nebraska (9/25) and matching 4.0 sacks vs. Northwestern (9/3).
 
• Sophomore safety Darius Snow posted a career-high nine tackles, marking second game in a row notching career-best tackles after his five stops last week vs. Western Kentucky.
 
• Fifth-year senior defensive end Jacub Panasiuk registered his third straight game with at least 0.5 sack and fifth straight game with at least 0.5 TFL with 0.5 sack on Saturday . . . Panasiuk now has 7.5 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks this season, as well as 28.5 career TFLs and 13.5 career sacks, holding at No. 20 on MSU’s career TFL list and sole possession of No. 13 spot on MSU’s career sacks list.
 
• Redshirt freshman defensive tackle Simeon Barrow posted 2.0 sacks and he now has 2.5 sacks this season . . . all have come in the last three games, with 0.5 sack vs. Nebraska (9/18/21).
 
• Redshirt sophomore defensive tackle Maverick Hansen has posted at least 1.0 tackle for loss in each of the three games and in four of the six games this season . . . Hansen also posted 1.0 sack for the second straight game . . . Hansen now has 4.5 tackles for loss and 2.0 sacks this season.
 
• Redshirt junior defensive tackle Jacob Slade recorded his first career fumble recovery with the 19-yard scoop and run in the fourth quarter.

SPECIAL TEAMS
• With his 35-yard field goal in the fourth quarter, senior placekicker Matt Coghlin broke MSU’s career field goals record with his 72nd career upright split, pulling away from tying Brett Swenson (2006-09) for the record . . . Coghlin was also 4-of-4 on PATs and is now 135-of-135, currently No. 5 on MSU’s career PAT list . . . with seven points on the four PATs and one field goal Saturday, Coghlin now has 357 career points, tying Michael Geiger (2013-16) for No. 2 on MSU’s career scoring list.

Payton Thorne

OFFENSIVE NOTES

TEAM
• The Spartans are third in the Big Ten and 22nd in the FBS in scoring offense (36.7 ppg) and third in the conference and 15th overall in total offense (486.8 ypg).

• MSU’s resurgent rushing attack ranks third in the Big Ten and 21st in the FBS, averaging 217.2 yards per game. The Spartans accumulated 326 rushing yards at Northwestern – the first time MSU put up more than 300 rushing yards in a game since 2014 (330 yards at Indiana) – and had 272 yards on the ground against Youngstown State and 193 at Miami. MSU is averaging 5.7 yards per carry, tied for ninth best in the FBS.

• Michigan State has scored seven touchdowns of 60-plus yards this season:
    • 75-yard rush by Kenneth Walker vs. Northwestern (first quarter)
    • 75-yard pass from Payton Thorne to Jayden Reed vs. Youngstown State (first quarter)
    • 85-yard pass from Thorne to Reed vs. Youngstown State (second quarter)
    • 63-yard pass from Thorne to Jalen Nailor vs. Rutgers (first quarter)
    • 63-yard pass from Thorne to Nailor vs. Rutgers (second quarter)
    • 65-yard pass from Thorne to Nailor vs. Rutgers (second quarter)
    • 94-yard rush by Walker vs. Rutgers (third quarter)

• Michigan State is tied for first in the FBS in 80-plus yard plays (2), 70-plus yard plays (4) and 60-plus yard plays (7). MSU is also fourth with nine plays of 50-plus yards.

• Michigan State scored a touchdown on its first play from scrimmage in the first two games of the season. Against Northwestern, junior transfer running back Kenneth Walker III raced 75 yards to the end zone on his first carry as a Spartan, while Payton Thorne found Jayden Reed on a 75-yard touchdown pass against Youngstown State. Dating back to 1944 when school single-game play-by-play records are available, Walker’s 75-yard TD marked the first time Michigan State has scored on its first play from scrimmage to start a season. Before the season opener, the last time MSU scored on its first play from scrimmage was on Sept. 25, 2010, against Northern Colorado, as Edwin Baker had a 5-yard run following an interception on UNC’s first possession that gave MSU first-and-goal from the 5.

• Michigan State achieved a rare statistical feat in Week 6 at Rutgers. For only the fifth time in FBS history, a trio of players from the same team in the same game had 300 yards passing (Payton Thorne with 339 yards), 200 yards rushing (Kenneth Walker III with 233 yards) and 200 yards receiving (Jalen Nailor with 221 yards).

• Four Michigan State Spartans have earned Big Ten Player of the Week honors this season:
    • RB Kenneth Walker III, Offensive Player of the Week vs. Northwestern
    • QB Payton Thorne, Co-Offensive Player of the Week vs. Miami
    • WR/PR/KR Jayden Reed, Special Teams Player of the Week vs. Nebraska
    • WR Jalen Nailor, Co-Offensive Player of the Week vs. Rutgers

QUARTERBACKS
• Redshirt sophomore quarterback Payton Thorne, who started in the 2020 season finale at Penn State, was named the team’s starting quarterback in Week 1 against Northwestern after competing with sixth-year graduate transfer Anthony Russo (Temple) during spring practice and preseason camp. Thorne owns a 6-1 record as a starting quarterback at MSU (6-0 in 2021).

• In his first season as the starting quarterback, Thorne has completed 62 percent of his passes (98-of-157) for 1,575 yards, 14 touchdowns and just two interceptions. He ranks among the Big Ten and FBS leaders in passing efficiency (second and 11th with 173.6 rating), passing TDs (second and 11th with 14), passing (third and 26th with 262.5 ypg) and total offense (fourth and 29th with 276.8 ypg). Thorne also ranks third on the team in rushing with a net of 86 yards on 31 carries with two TDs, although he has gained a total of 152 yards on the ground.

• Thorne threw for a career-high 339 yards in the victory over Rutgers, including touchdown passes of 65, 63 and 63 yards to Jalen Nailor. Thorne has already thrown five TD passes for more than 60 yards this season (85 and 75 yards to Jayden Reed vs. Youngstown State in Week 2).

• Thorne threw for 327 yards in the victory over Western Kentucky while completing 20-of-30 throws. He also had a 12-yard rushing touchdown.

• The product of Naperville, Illinois, was named the Big Ten Co-Offensive Player of the Week by the conference office on Sept. 20 and was also recognized as one of the Davey O’Brien Award’s Great 8 performances of Week 3. Thorne became just the second Spartan quarterback in school history, joining Connor Cook, to throw for four touchdowns in back-to-back games during MSU’s 38-17 victory at then-No. 24 Miami in Week 3 at Hard Rock Stadium. Thorne threw for a career-high four TDs in the Week 2 win over Youngstown State, and matched that effort against the Hurricanes by completing 18-of-31 passes for 261 yards and four more touchdowns. Cook threw for four TDs in consecutive games against Indiana and Nebraska in 2015.

• At Miami, Thorne first found Kenneth Walker III on a 7-yard screen pass for a score in the second quarter, then connected with Jalen Nailor on an 11-yard touchdown in the third quarter. Thorne’s third TD pass of the game came on a third-and-7 play early in the fourth as he hit Jayden Reed in the end zone for a 10-yard touchdown. Although Thorne ended up with a net of 4 rushing yards, he scrambled for a 22-yard gain on a third-and-6 play and also converted on fourth-and-1 with a quarterback sneak to propel a touchdown drive late in the fourth quarter to make it 31-17 in favor of MSU. Thorne finished the eight-play, 75-yard drive by finding Nailor in the end zone for a 39-yard pass, one play after getting the first down on the QB sneak.

• In the 42-14 win over Youngstown State in Week 2, Thorne completed 15-of-21 passes for 280 yards and a career-high four touchdowns. It marked the first time a Spartan quarterback threw for four TDs in a game since Brian Lewerke vs. Northwestern in 2017. Thorne also had 19 yards rushing on three carries (6.3 avg.), including a 10-yard TD run.

• In his second career start, Thorne threw for 185 yards on 15-of-25 passing with one TD at Northwestern in Week 1 to earn his first win as the Spartans’ starting QB. Thorne also rushed for 28 yards on five carries.

RUNNING BACKS
• Junior running back Kenneth Walker III, a transfer from Wake Forest, is having a dynamic start to the season. Walker leads the FBS in rushing (913 yards; 152.2 ypg) and is the only player in the nation to rank among the top 10 in rushing, rushing TDs (fourth with 9), total TDs (fifth with 10), all-purpose yards (sixth with 157.2 ypg), and yards per carry (10th with 7.1 avg.).

• According to Pro Football Focus, Walker leads the country in rushing yards after contact (670) and rushing carries for 10-plus yards (26). He’s also tied for first with 10-rushes of 20-plus yards.

• Walker’s 94-yard touchdown run in the third quarter at Rutgers was the longest rush in the 125-year history of Michigan State football, bettering a 90-yard by Lynn Chandnois vs. Arizona in 1949. It was also the longest offensive play from scrimmage in school history, topping the 93-yard pass from Tony Banks to Nigea Carter vs. Indiana in 1994. Walker’s 94-yard TD run is also tied for the longest rush in the FBS in 2021.

• Walker has four 100-yard rushing games this season, including two 200-yard games (264 vs. Northwestern on Sept. 3; 172 at Miami on Sept. 18; 126 vs. Western Kentucky on Sept. 25; 233 at Rutgers on Oct. 9). Walker is the only player in the Big Ten and one of two in the FBS with two 200-yard rushing games this season (Tyler Badie, Missouri).

• After six games, Walker ranks No. 1 among Heisman Trophy contenders by The Athletic, CBS Sports’ Dennis Dodd and ESPN’s Robert Griffin III.

• With 913 yards through six games, Walker is looking to becoming the third Spartan in school history to eclipse the 1,000-yard rushing milestone in the first seven games of the season (Lorenzo White, 1985; Javon Ringer, 2008).

• Walker had a record-setting debut as a Spartan, rushing for a career-high 264 yards – the seventh-highest total in school history – while scoring a career-high four touchdowns to lead the Spartans past Northwestern on Sept. 3.  It marked the most rushing yards by a Spartan in a debut wearing the Green and White and the second most by a player in the FBS this season. Walker became just the second Spartan to record more than 250 rushing yards and four touchdowns in the same game (Eric Allen, school-record 350 yards and four TDs vs. Purdue on Oct. 30, 1971).

• After seeing limited action in Week 2 vs. Youngstown State (seven carries for 57 yards, 1 TD, 8.1 avg.), Walker was back at it in the victory at Miami on Sept. 18, compiling 172 yards on the ground on 27 carries (6.4 avg.) while also catching three passes for 17 yards, including his first career TD reception on a 7-yard screen pass in the second quarter.

• Walker had his third 100-yard rushing game of the season with 126 yards on 24 carries in the victory over Western Kentucky in Week 5. He scored three touchdowns in the first half (5, 5 and 3 yards).

• Led by a school-record 94-yard touchdown run at Rutgers, Walker finished with a career-high 29 carries for 233 yards against the Scarlet Knights. It marked the ninth 100-yard rushing game in Walker’s collegiate career (two at Wake Forest in 2019; three at Wake Forest in 2020; four at Michigan State in 2021).

• Walker also set a school record at Wake Forest for the longest touchdown run with a 96-yarder vs. Rice as a true freshman in 2019.

• Walker is averaging 171.2 rushing yards per game against FBS opponents this season (264 vs. Northwestern; 172 vs. Miami; 61 vs. Nebraska; 126 vs. Western Kentucky; 233 vs. Rutgers).

• Sophomore Jordon Simmons, who led the team in rushing as a true freshman with 219 yards on 56 carries (3.9 avg.) in five games, ranks second on the team with 183 rushing yards on 37 carries (30.5 ypg; 4.9 avg.). Simmons recorded his first 100-yard rushing game with 121 yards on 16 carries in the win over Youngstown State in Week 2.

• Redshirt junior Elijah Collins, who led the team with 988 rushing yards as a redshirt freshman in 2019, had three carries for 32 yards and one catch for a 20-yard TD against Youngstown State in Week 2 before leaving the game with an injury. He has not seen game action the past three weeks.

• Redshirt junior Harold Joiner, a transfer from Auburn, has six carries for 26 yards (5.2 avg.).

Jayden Reed

WIDE RECEIVERS
• Michigan State features a receiving duo in redshirt junior Jayden Reed and redshirt junior Jalen Nailor that rank No. 1-2 in the Big Ten in yards per catch (Reed: 21.4 avg; Nailor: 21.3 avg.). Both Reed and Nailor share the team lead with 23 receptions, while Reed has 492 receiving yards to Nailor’s 490.

• Reed ranks among the FBS and Big Ten leaders in all-purpose yards (third in Big Ten and eighth in FBS, 152.8 ypg), yards per catch (first and ninth, 21. 4 avg.), total touchdowns (fourth and 19th with 8), TD catches (fifth and 21st with 5) and receiving yards (sixth and 40th with 82.0 ypg). He also is tied for the FBS lead with two punt returns for touchdowns (62 yards vs. Nebraska, 88 yards vs. Western Kentucky).

• Reed was recognized on the Paul Hornung Award Honor Roll for the third time of the season after collecting a career-high 285 all-purpose yards (127 receiving, 88 punt return, 63 kick return, 7 rushing), the seventh-most single-game total in school history, in the win over Western Kentucky on Oct. 2. Reed scored the first time he touched the ball against the Hilltoppers with an 88-yard punt return, marking his second consecutive punt return for a touchdown (62 yards vs. Nebraska in fourth quarter). He also had his second 100-yard receiving effort of the season with four catches for 127 yards vs. WKU, including a 46-yard TD in the first quarter.

• Reed was named the Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week on Sept. 27; he was also recognized on the Paul Hornung Award Honor Roll for the second time this season (Week 2 vs. Youngstown State). With MSU trailing 20-13 to Nebraska late in the fourth quarter, Reed returned a punt 62 yards for a touchdown to tie the game with 3:47 remaining, setting the stage for an overtime win over the Huskers. It marked MSU’s first punt return for a touchdown since Nov. 26, 2011 (Keshawn Martin 57 yards at Northwestern). Reed finished the game with 192 all-purpose yards (69 kick return, 62 punt return, 59 receiving, 2 rushing). His 41-yard kick return in the second quarter set up an MSU field goal. He also hauled in four passes for 59 yards, including a 35-yard TD catch from Thorne in the second quarter.

• Reed caught four passes for a career-high 181 yards against Youngstown State in Week 2; two of those catches came for 160 yards in the first half alone (75 yard TD on first play of the game; 85 yard TD in second quarter). Reed has seven 100-yard receiving games in his career (four at Western Michigan in 2018; one  at MSU in 2020; two at MSU in 2021). He also tallied 264 all-purpose yards (181 receiving, 32 kick return, 48 punt return) against YSU. Reed’s 181-yard receiving effort vs. YSU is the highest in the Big Ten in 2021.

• Redshirt junior Jalen Nailor has 23 catches for 490 yards and six TDs. He ranks tied for second in the Big Ten and 12th in the nation with his six TD grabs, and he also is second in the Big Ten and 11th nationally in yards per catch (21.3 avg.).

• Nailor was named the Big Ten Co-Offensive Player of the Week on Monday. Nailor tied a school record with three touchdown receptions and had five catches overall for 221 yards, the fourth-highest receiving total in school history, in MSU’s 31-13 win at Rutgers last Saturday. He caught TD passes of 63, 63 and 65 yards, all in the first half. According to the Big Ten Network, Nailor’s 44.2 yards per reception was the highest by a Big Ten player since 2000 (minimum five receptions), surpassing Charles Rogers’ 41.2 yards per reception vs. Wisconsin in 2001. Nailor had four catches for 208 yards in the first half alone. His 221 total receiving yards were the most ever by an opposing receiver in SHI Stadium history, bettering Larry Fitzgerald’s (Pittsburgh) 207 yards in 2003.

• Nailor had a career-high eight receptions for 128 yards vs. Western Kentucky in Week 5.

• Nailor had two TD catches at No. 24 Miami, including a 39-yard grab in the end zone in the fourth quarter.

• Nailor topped the 1,000 career yards mark in the Western Kentucky game, becoming the 46th player in MSU history to reach 1,000 career receiving yards. He has 72 catches for 1,249 yards in 25 collegiate games.

• Redshirt sophomore Tre Mosley ranks third on the team with 20 catches for 309 yards; he had a career-long 51-yard reception at Miami and a season-best six receptions for 70 yards vs. Nebraska.

TIGHT ENDS
• Redshirt senior Connor Heyward converted from running back to tight end during preseason camp, and has started the first six games at his new position. Heyward has 14 catches for 138 yards and has been a key blocker for the Spartans in their four victories.

• Former walk-on punter Tyler Hunt made the position switch to tight end in 2020 and has four catches for 36 yards in six games this season, including a starting assignment vs. Youngstown State.

OFFENSIVE LINE
• Michigan State’s offensive line had 152 career starts returning in 2021, which ranked third most in the FBS. MSU has nine players of multiple games of starting experience.

• Michigan State has used the same starting lineup in all five games, but regularly rotates nine offensive linemen in its rotation.

• Redshirt senior Kevin Jarvis leads the way with 33 career starts. He has started at left tackle (three games in 2019) and right tackle (seven games in 2020) during the past two seasons, but has started the first six games of 2021 at right guard, where he started 17 games in 2017-18.

• Jarrett Horst, a transfer from Arkansas State, has started the first six games at left tackle. A member of the Outland Trophy Watch List, Horst started 20 games in 2019-20 at left tackle at Arkansas State.

• Junior J.D. Duplain has 16 career starts at left guard, including all six games in 2021.

• Sixth-year graduate Matt Allen, who only played in one game in 2020 due to a foot injury, has started the first six games at center. He has started 23 overall games at center throughout his career.

• Sixth-year graduate AJ Arcuri started all seven games at left tackle in 2020, but made the move to right tackle this season with the addition of Horst, and has started at his new position all six games in 2021.

• Center Nick Samac, left guard Blake Bueter, right guard Matt Carrick and left tackle Luke Campbell also see regular time in the playing rotation and all have multiple games of starting experience.

DEFENSIVE NOTES

DEFENSIVE LINE
• Michigan State returns both starting defensive ends in 2021 in sixth-year graduate Drew Beesley and fifth-year graduate Jacub Panasiuk.

• Panasiuk has 36 career starts to his credit, most of any active Spartan, including all six games this season. He has recorded 4.5 sacks the past three games (two each vs. Nebraska and Western Kentucky; half sack vs. Rutgers) and ranks tied for fourth in the Big Ten in tackles for loss with 1.3 per game (7.5 TFLs for 38 yards). His team-best 4.5 sacks are tied for fourth most in the league (0.75 per game). He was named the Pro Football Focus National Defensive Player of the Week after collecting a career-high two sacks vs. Nebraska; he had seven stops overall against the Huskers.

• Panasiuk ranks among the school’s all-time leaders in sacks (13th with 13.5) and tackles for loss (tied for 20th with 28.5).

• Beesley left the Nebraska game in the second quarter due to an injury. He has 11 tackles, including 2.5 sacks, in three games of action in 2021.

• Sophomore Jeff Pietrowski, who earned his first career start in Week 2 vs. Youngstown State, has 19 tackles, including 3.5 sacks (14 yards) and 4.0 TFLs (17 yards). He has also recovered a fumble and forced a fumble this season.

• Michigan State has four players with starting experience on the defensive line, including redshirt junior Jacob Slade, redshirt junior Dashaun Mallory, redshirt sophomore Jalen Hunt and redshirt freshman Simeon Barrow. Slade had a career game against Nebraska with eight tackles and has 11 stops overall this season with one sack, two TFLs and a fumble recovery. Barrow has started all six games and leads all Spartan defensive lineman with 22 tackles (2.5 TFLs).

LINEBACKERS
• Quavaris Crouch, a junior transfer from Tennessee, started 10 games for the Volunteers last season and has started the first six games of 2021 for the Spartans. Crouch ranks fourth on the team with 39 tackles, including two sacks (10 yards), three QB hurries, one pass break-up, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.

• Redshirt freshman Cal Haladay earned his first career start in Week 1 and has kept his starting role ever since. Haladay is third on the team with 41 tackles.

SECONDARY
• Senior Xavier Henderson has started a team-best 26 consecutive games at safety for the Spartans. He leads the team and ranks sixth in the Big Ten in tackles with 52 (8.7 avg). Henderson recorded a career-high 17 tackles vs. Nebraska, the most by a Spartan since Montae Nicholson in 2016.

• Sophomore Angelo Grose, who started four games as a true freshman at nickelback in 2020, made the move to safety in spring practice and has started the first six games at his new position this year. Grose recorded his first career interception in the win at Miami and ranks second on the team with 47 tackles after collecting a career-high 16 vs. WKU. He also leads the team with five pass break-ups.

• At nickelback, redshirt junior Michael Dowell (26 tackles, 3 PBUs) started the first four games; sophomore Darius Snow (27 tackles, 2.5 TFLs) has started the past two games.

• Senior transfer Ronald Williams (Alabama) has started five of the first six games for the Spartans. He has 19 tackles, including two TFLs, one sack and one interception (vs. Miami).

• Junior transfer Chester Kimbrough (Florida) has started the last five games at corner for the Spartans. Kimbrough recorded his first career interception in overtime in the win over Nebraska. He has 19 tackles on the season.

SPECIAL TEAMS NOTES

KICKER
• Sixth-year graduate Matt Coghlin has been the team’s starting placekicker for the past five seasons, dating back to 2017. Coghlin became the school’s all-time leader in field goals with his 72nd career field goal in the win over Rutgers in Week 6, surpassing Brett Swenson (2006-09).

• Coghlin is also closing in on becoming MSU’s all-time leading scorer. Swenson holds that record with 377 career points; Coghlin is currently tied for second in school history with 357 points.

• Coghlin picked up All-Big Ten honors for the fourth time in his career in 2020 (2018, first team, media; 2017 and 2019-20, honorable mention) in addition to earning Academic All-Big Ten honors for the fourth year in a row.

• Coghlin was named the Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week for the third time in his career after going 3-of-4 on field goals in the win over No. 8 Northwestern on Nov. 28, 2020, including the game-winner from 48 yards out with 3:35 left in the game that put MSU on top, 23-20, in the eventual 29-20 victory.

• Coghlin connected on 3-of-4 field goals against Nebraska in Week 4, including the fifth game-winning field goal of his career with a 21-yarder in overtime. His four previous game-winners include a 34-yarder as time expired to beat No. 7 Penn State in 2017; a 21-yarder with five seconds left to defeat Indiana in 2019; a 33-yarder to beat Maryland in 2019; and a 48-yarder with 3:35 remaining to beat No. 8 Northwestern in 2020.

PUNTER
• Redshirt senior Bryce Baringer ranks first in the Big Ten and second in the FBS in punting (50.7 avg.). He’s also tied for second with 14 punts of 50-plus yards, including four punts of 60-plus yards. Baringer is seventh in the league with nine punts inside the 20.

• Baringer averaged 58.8 yards per punt (six punts for 353 yards) vs. Nebraska in Week 4, the second-highest single-game punting average in Big Ten history (minimum four punts). Baringer had a career-long of 67 yards, a new season-long for the second week in a row after a 65-yarder at Miami, and part of a career-best five punts over 50-yard for the night, including three of 60-plus yards. Only former Spartan All-American punter Mike Sadler had a higher single-game punting average in the history of the Big Ten (minimum four punts; 59.2 avg. vs. Indiana on Oct. 12, 2013; four punts for 237 yards). Prior to the game on Sept. 25, Michigan State and Nebraska honored the memories of Sadler and 2015 Big Ten Punter of the Year Sam Foltz as Mike’s mother, Karen, and sister, Katie, along with Sam’s parents Jill and Gerald Foltz, participated in the coin toss. Mike Sadler and Sam Foltz were both tragically killed in a car accident on July 23, 2016, while working a kicking camp near Waukesha, Wisconsin. It marked the first time Nebraska had played in East Lansing since the tragic accident.

• Baringer was a walk-on who joined the team in September 2018 and punted in four games. He was not on the 2019 roster, but rejoined the team as a walk-on in 2020 and earned the starting position in all seven games. Baringer earned a scholarship prior to the 2021 season.

RETURNS
• Redshirt junior Jayden Reed leads the team in kick returns (six for 184 yards, 33.2 avg.) and punt returns (six for 199 yards; 30.7 avg.). Although he doesn’t qualify yet due to a statistic minimum in the NCAA stats (1.2 returns per game), Reed would lead the nation in punt returns with his 33.2 average and is tied for the lead with two punt returns for TDs.

• Reed is No. 8 in the FBS in all-purpose yards (152.8 ypg).

• Reed is tied for the FBS lead with two punt returns for touchdowns, which already ties a school single-season record; he returned back-to-back punts for scores with a game-tying 62-yarder in the fourth quarter vs. Nebraska and an 88-yarder on his first attempt vs. Western Kentucky, tying the fourth-longest punt return in MSU history.

• Reed returned back-to-back punts for a TD (fourth quarter vs. Nebraska, 62 yards; first quarter vs. Western Kentucky, 88 yards) to become just the third player in school history to return two punts for a touchdown in the same season (Bill Simpson, 1972; James Ellis, 1951); both Simpson and Ellis also returned their punts for touchdowns in back-to-back games (Simpson: 48 yards vs. Illinois on Sept. 16, 1972; 74 yards vs. Georgia Tech on Sept. 23, 1972; Ellis: 57 yards vs. Penn State on Oct. 20, 1951; 55 yards vs. Pittsburgh on Oct. 27, 1951). Ellis also returned his on back-to-back attempts, although there were other punts downed and returned by other players (Leroy Bolden) between his TD returns, where Reed returned his on back-to-back punts.

• Reed’s 62-yard punt return for a TD vs. Nebraska in Week 4 was the first punt return for a score by a Spartan since Nov. 26, 2011, when Keshawn Martin returned a punt 57 yards for a TD at Northwestern.

• Reed is tied for first among active FBS players with three punt returns for touchdowns in his career. He also had a 93-yard punt return for a TD as a freshman at Western Michigan in 2018 against Delaware State. Reed was a Freshman All-American at WMU in 2018 after collecting 1,119 all-purpose yards (797 receiving, 215 punt return, 116 kick return, -7 rushing). 
 

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