2011 Michigan State Spartans football team

2011 Michigan State Spartans football
Big Ten Legends Division champion
Outback Bowl champion
Outback Bowl, W 33–30 3OT vs. Georgia
Conference Big Ten Conference
Division Legends Division
Coaches No. 10
AP No. 11
2011 record 11–3 (7–1 Big Ten)
Head coach Mark Dantonio (5th year)
Offensive coordinator Dan Roushar (1st year)
Defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi (5th year)
Captain Kirk Cousins
Joel Foreman
Trenton Robinson
Home stadium Spartan Stadium (c. 75,005 natural grass)
2011 Big Ten football standings
Conf     Overall
Team   W   L         W   L  
Legends Division
#11 Michigan State x   7 1         11 3  
#12 Michigan %   6 2         11 2  
#24 Nebraska   5 3         9 4  
Iowa   4 4         7 6  
Northwestern   3 5         6 7  
Minnesota   2 6         3 9  
Leaders Division
#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
As of January 10, 2012; Rankings from AP Poll

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.

Previous season



Date Time Opponent# Rank# Site TV Result Attendance
September 2 7:30 PM Youngstown State* No. 17 Spartan StadiumEast Lansing, Michigan BTN W 28–6   75,910[2]
September 10 12:00 PM Florida Atlantic* No. 17 Spartan Stadium • East Lansing, Michigan ESPN2 W 44–0   70,249[3]
September 17 3:30 PM at Notre Dame* No. 15 Notre Dame StadiumSouth Bend, Indiana (Megaphone Trophy) NBC L 13–31   80,795[4]
September 24 12:00 PM Central Michigan* Spartan Stadium • East Lansing, Michigan ESPNU W 45–7   72,119[5]
October 1 3:30 PM at Ohio State Ohio StadiumColumbus, Ohio ABC W 10–7   105,306[6]
October 15 12:00 PM No. 11 Michigan No. 23 Spartan Stadium • East Lansing, Michigan (Paul Bunyan Trophy) ESPN W 28–14   77,515[7]
October 22 8:00 PM No. 4 Wisconsindagger No. 15 Spartan Stadium • East Lansing, Michigan ESPN W 37–31   76,405[8]
October 29 12:00 PM at No. 13 Nebraska No. 9 Memorial StadiumLincoln, Nebraska ESPN L 3–24   85,641[9]
November 5 12:00 PM Minnesota No. 15 Spartan Stadium • East Lansing, Michigan BTN W 31–24   72,219[10]
November 12 12:00 PM at Iowa No. 13 Kinnick StadiumIowa City, Iowa ESPN2 W 37–21   70,585[11]
November 19 12:00 PM Indiana No. 12 Spartan Stadium • East Lansing, Michigan (Old Brass Spittoon) BTN W 55–3   74,128[12]
November 26 12:00 PM at Northwestern No. 11 Ryan FieldEvanston, Illinois BTN W 31–17   32,172[13]
December 3 8:00 PM vs. No. 15 Wisconsin No. 11 Lucas Oil StadiumIndianapolis, Indiana (Big Ten Championship Game) Fox L 39–42   64,152[14]
January 2 1:00 PM vs. No. 18 Georgia* No. 12 Raymond James StadiumTampa, Florida (Outback Bowl) ABC W 33–30 3OT  49,429[15]
*Non-conference game. daggerHomecoming. #Rankings from AP Poll released prior to game. All times are in Eastern Time.

Game notes

Youngstown State


Youngstown State at Michigan State
1 234Total
Youngstown State 0 600 6
Michigan State 0 1477 28
Overall record Last meeting Result
First meeting
Michigan State vs. Youngstown State

Florida Atlantic

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 Dame

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 Michigan

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 State

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
  • Source:
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
  • Date: November 26
  • Location:
    Ryan Field
    Evanston, IL
  • Game start: 12:01 PM EST
  • Elapsed time: 3:02
  • Game attendance: 32,172
  • Game weather: 54°F, Wind: 13 MPH SSW, Light Rain
  • Referee: Dan Capron
  • TV announcers (BTN):
    Eric Collins (Play-by-Play)
    Chris Martin (Analyst)
    Dionne Miller (Sideline)
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)

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)

Michigan State vs Georgia
(Outback Bowl)
1 234OT2OT3OTTotal
Michigan State 0 01413033 33
Georgia 2 14011030 30
  • Source:
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 Allen, JackJack Allen Fr
FB 42 Anderson, ToddTodd Anderson Sr
QB 12 Badovinac, PeterPeter Badovinac Jr
RB 4 Baker, EdwinEdwin Baker Jr
RB 24 Bell, Le'VeonLe'Veon Bell So
FB 45 Bobek, JeffJeff Bobek Jr
OT 70 Burkland, SkylerSkyler Burkland  Fr
WR 11 Caesar, JuwanJuwan Caesar Fr
RB 22 Caper, LarryLarry Caper Jr
TE 85 Celek, GarrettGarrett Celek Sr
OL 76 Clark, DonavonDonavon Clark Fr
OT 73 Conway, HenryHenry Conway So
QB 18 Cook, ConnorConnor Cook Fr
QB 8 Cousins, KirkKirk Cousins Sr
WR 3 Cunningham, B. J.B. J. Cunningham Sr
OT 65 Dennis, MichaelMichael Dennis  Fr
OG 71 Deyo, JohnJohn Deyo Jr
OT 51 Fonoti, FouFou Fonoti Jr
OG 67 Foreman, JoelJoel Foreman Sr
WR 13 Fowler, BennieBennie Fowler So
OT 59 France, DanDan France So
TE 92 Gleichert, AndrewAndrew Gleichert  Fr
RB 20 Hill, NickNick Hill  Fr
TE 84 Hoebing, DerekDerek Hoebing So
OG 74 Hueter, ZachZach Hueter Jr
C 63 Jackson, TravisTravis Jackson  Fr
OL 69 Kamm, ShawnShawn Kamm  Fr
C 72 Klatt, NateNate Klatt So
OL 54 Kruse, ConnorConnor Kruse  Fr
WR 23 Kubvoruno, TakudzwaTakudzwa Kubvoruno Fr
TE 83 Lang, PaulPaul Lang Fr
TE 88 Linthicum, BrianBrian Linthicum Sr
OG 53 Lints, KyleKyle Lints Fr
WR 82 Martin, KeshawnKeshawn Martin Sr
QB 10 Maxwell, AndrewAndrew Maxwell So
OG 62 McDonald, ChrisChris McDonald Jr
OT 75 McGaha, JaredJared McGaha Sr
WR 25 Mumphery, KeithKeith Mumphery  Fr
WR 7 Nichol, KeithKeith Nichol Sr
WR 17 Nichol, KyleKyle Nichol So
FB 38 Palazeti, NikoNiko Palazeti  Fr
FB 37 Pendleton, TrevonTrevon Pendleton Fr
OG 73 Ray Jr., ArthurArthur Ray Jr. Sr
WR 16 Rucker, Chris D.Chris D. Rucker Sr
C 68 Ruhland, EthanEthan Ruhland Jr
FB 47 Setterbo, AdamAdam Setterbo Sr
TE 80 Sims, DionDion Sims So
WR 21 Sims Jr., AndreAndre Sims Jr. Fr
WR 81 Sonntag, BradBrad Sonntag Sr
TE 48 Stevens, DrewDrew Stevens Jr
C/OG 64 Treadwell, BlakeBlake Treadwell Jr
QB 19 Troup, A.J.A.J. Troup Fr
QB 16 Vento, TommyTommy Vento Fr
Pos. # Name Class
CB 5 Adams, JohnnyJohnny Adams Jr
LB 28 Allen, DenicosDenicos Allen So
LB 40 Bullough, MaxMax Bullough So
DE 94 Calero, TaylorTaylor Calero  Fr
DE 89 Calhoun, ShiliqueShilique Calhoun Fr
DL 87 Clemons, BrandonBrandon Clemons Fr
CB 36 Colquhoun, ArjenArjen Colquhoun Fr
DT 65 Curtis, DougDoug Curtis Jr
LB 43 Davis, EdEd Davis Fr
CB 31 Dennard, DarquezeDarqueze Dennard So
CB 12 Dixon, DanaDana Dixon So
DE 52 Drone, DenzelDenzel Drone So
S 27 Drummond, KurtisKurtis Drummond  Fr
DB 29 Elliott, SpencerSpencer Elliott Fr
LB 41 Elsworth, KylerKyler Elsworth So
S 19 Folino, DannyDanny Folino So
DE 55 Freeman, CoreyCorey Freeman Jr
LB 47 Gainer, JeremyJeremy Gainer So
LB 50 Gardiner, SteveSteve Gardiner Jr
LB 2 Gholston, WilliamWilliam Gholston So
LB 42 Hamilton, TyTy Hamilton  Fr
LB 49 Hammock, TyQuanTyQuan Hammock So
LB 45 Harris, DarienDarien Harris Fr
DE 92 Heath, JoelJoel Heath Fr
CB 6 Hicks, MylanMylan Hicks  Fr
DE 91 Hoover, TylerTyler Hoover Jr
NT 61 Jeremiah, AntonioAntonio Jeremiah Jr
S 23 Jones, JairusJairus Jones So
LB 34 Jones, TaiwanTaiwan Jones Fr
DL 81 Kittredge, JamesJames Kittredge So
DE 93 Knox, DamonDamon Knox Fr
DB 35 Laneaux, ChrisChris Laneaux Fr
CB 33 Langford, JeremyJeremy Langford  Fr
S 9 Lewis, IsaiahIsaiah Lewis So
CB 14 Lippett, TonyTony Lippett  Fr
LB 10 Norman, ChrisChris Norman Jr
DL 69 Pacheco, BlakeBlake Pacheco Sr
NT 96 Pickelman, KevinKevin Pickelman Sr
DT 56 Ramondo, MattMatt Ramondo Fr
NT 60 Reynolds, MicajahMicajah Reynolds So
LB 48 Rhomberg, PatPat Rhomberg Fr
S 39 Robinson, TrentonTrenton Robinson Sr
LB 44 Rush, MarcusMarcus Rush  Fr
NT 58 Sanders, JordanJordan Sanders  Fr
DT 97 Scarpinato, MarkMark Scarpinato Fr
DT 57 Strayhorn, JonathanJonathan Strayhorn Sr
LB 8 Thomas, LawrenceLawrence Thomas Fr
CB 15 Waynes, TraeTrae Waynes Fr
NT 98 White, Anthony RashadAnthony Rashad White Jr
CB 32 White, MitchellMitchell White Jr
S 26 Williamson, R.J.R.J. Williamson Fr
DT 99 Worthy, JerelJerel Worthy Jr
Special teams
Pos. # Name Class
K 4 Conroy, DanDan Conroy Jr
LS 58 Giampapa, MattMatt Giampapa Fr
LS 51 Moore, SteveSteve Moore So
K 17 Muma, KevinKevin Muma So
P 3 Sadler, MikeMike Sadler  Fr
P 20 Selden, KyleKyle 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


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