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Posted on: 10-16-2010

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      Michigan State's 95th Homecoming was a
defensive affair with MSU's D out-classing a
game effort by their Illinois counterparts.
      MSU beat the Illini 26-6 to start the season
7-0 for the first time since the Spartan National
Championship squad of 1966.
      The defenders of Sparta forced four turnovers
leading to half of State's points, did not allow
Illinois to penetrate the end zone and pitched a
shutout after halftime enabling the Michigan State
offense to score 23 unanswered points.
           The Fighting Illini defensive line manhandled
MSU QBack Kirk Cousins and muted Michigan State's potent rushing attack (just
4 net yards) in the opening half. However, some subtle halftime adjustments to
the O-line blocking schemes allowed Cousins time to find his receivers and
opened up MSU's ground game a bit too.
      After two Spartan penalties for 25-yards on the same 3rd-&-8 incomplete
pass play at the MSU 43 vaulted Illinois into the red zone, the MSU defense
stiffened and forced the Fighting Illini to settle for a 21-yard Derek Dimke
field goal and a 3-0 lead midway through the 1st-Qtr.        
      The Illinois defense continued to beat up a limping Cousins, so after yet
another stalled drive State tied the game 3-all midway through the 2nd-Qtr
on a 37-yard Dan Conroy field goal.
      When looked like the game would still be tied at halftime, Illinois' Nate Bussey
recovered a fumble on Keshawn Martin's fair catch attempt of a punt at the
State 15-yard line with 37-sec on the clock. Dimke kept the Illini perfect red
zone record intact on a 33-yard boot with 4-sec remaining for a 6-3 intermission
score. In 18 trips inside the opposition 20 this season Illinois was 18-for-18 with
nine touchdowns and nine field goals.   
      Michigan State's second interception of Illinois QBack Nathan Scheelhaase came
on a 3rd-&-7 play by Johnny "On The Spot" Adams, who returned the pick to the
enemy 16. State lost a yard on the next three plays, so Conroy kicked a 34-yard
field goal from the right hash to re-tie the game 2:46 into the 3rd-Qtr. With that
kick Conroy set a new MSU record for consecutive field goals at the start of the
season by going 11-of-11, snapping the 10-for-10 mark set by Paul Edinger in 1999.
(Conroy would get two more to go 13-for-13 this season and 14-for-14 in his collegiate
      The Spartan defense then forced Illinois to go 3-&-out and State went ahead for
the first time with a 4-play/77-yard touchdown drive. Given time to throw, Cousins
hit a wide-open B.J. Cunningham in stride on a deep pattern for a 48-yard TD pass
and a 13-6 margin with 8:26 remaining in the third frame.   
      A third Illini turnover gave Conroy a third field goal and a 16-6 MSU advantage
with 1:57 left in the 3rd-Qtr. A stripped ball at the end of an A.J. Jenkins 39-yard
reception was both forced and covered by State's Darqueze Dennard (in the
freshman's first start as a replacement for suspended Chris L. Rucker) and upheld by
video review at the MSU 17. When State's intended target Mark Dell slipped and fell in
the end zone on a 3rd-&-9 at the Illinois 15, Conroy kicked a 32-yard FG.   
      Rather than gamble on a 4th-&-1 on State's next possession, Conroy's 18-yard field
goal made it MSU 19, Illinois 6 just 3:27 into the 4th-Qtr.
      State then salted the game away following a third INT by Trenton Robinson at the
Spartan 33, returned 14-yards to MSU's 47. Larry Caper rambled around the right side
for a 15-yard touchdown rush to cap an 8-play/53-yard drive for the 26-6 final with
2:35 remaining.
      Scheelhaase was shaken up and sent to the sidelines during the final drive of the
game by Illinois. Fittingly, MSU DL Johnathan Strayhorn sacked Illini back-up Q-B Miles
Osei for an 8-yard loss back to MSU's 24 on the game's last play to end Illinois' perfect
red zone season efficiency.   
      While 6-of-12 for 73-yards passing in the 1st-H, Cousins finished 13-of-24 for 201-yards
one TD and one sack, but no turnovers. Cunningham and Dell each had three receptions,
Cunningham for 83-yards and Dell for 55.
      Scheelhaase was 15-of-27 for 141-yards with 3-INT and a pair of sacks. His longest
completion to Jenkins ended up a turnover on the strip/fumble. Osei never did get a pass
away and was sacked twice.
      Illinois RB Mikel Leshoure carried 23 times for 83 net yards, almost as much as the
93-yards MSU had as a team. However, Leshoure was limited to only 34 net yards
after intermission.
      Caper had 37 net rushing yards, Edwin Baker 23, Keshawn Martin 18 and Le'Veon Bell
& Keith Nichol 13-yards each on the ground for the Spartans.
      State's first interception was by Marcus Hyde.
      LBacker Greg Jones topped MSU in tackles with 14.
      All but the last of the kickoffs by MSU's Kevin Muma were unreturnable, sailing either
into or through the end zone.
      Still recovering from his post-Notre Dame game heart attack and surgery, Michigan
State head coach Mark Dantonio was given a standing ovation when he returned from
the upstairs coaches box to the sidelines during the final moments of the contest.   
      Michigan State is now 7-0 overall (for the 6th time in its history) including 3-0 in the
Big Ten and beat Illinois (3-3, 1-2) for the 11th time in the last 12 meetings.
      An evening upset loss by #1 nationally ranked Ohio State at Wisconsin put Michigan
State alone atop the Big Ten football standings, a half game ahead of both Iowa and


MSU H-COACH MARK DANTONIO:    "Our football team came out the second half and played
extremely well, I felt. Turnovers were the difference, really, and special teams...I felt the
first half the momentum was in their favor. It was 19-11 possession time. Even though we
sort of had given them those six points, with a couple of big penalties and the muffed punt,
they still had the momentum. We had to be able to snatch that back and I thought we did
that in the second half immediately with the three and out."

MSU QB KIRK COUSINS:    "That was a very good football team we were playing, and we've
been very good in the second half all year...Coach Dantonio just said [at halftime] we
have to keep fighting. He said what we've done so far in the first half has more been
us not getting the job done than them beating us. We knew we needed to just keep
chipping away, keep fighting and that we were going to be all right in the second half,
because it wasn't stuff that they doing to beat us; it was stuff we were beating
ourselves with."

MSU WR B.J. CUNNINGHAM:    "The defensive really stepped up big today, they did a really
good job especially with the turnovers and fighting for the ball. They really had our back
today and helped us to execute in the second half...Both the defenders bit on the corner
route [on his TD], like last week when we threw the corner to Mark [Dell] and they both bit
and I was open on the post for a touchdown. It was really exciting and a big momentum
changer. It brought the offense up, and we were hyped and ready to go - from then on we
were just rolling."

MSU LB GREG JONES:    "The secondary was doing a great job early and never really lost their
confidence and we're starting to see it now. I tell them every game that if the ball is in the
air I think it should be ours. Not disrespecting the other team, but I think that's the mentality
they have to have and I think they show it every game...It was tough in the first half but we
stuck together and talked about our mistakes and we made it happen."

MSU CB JOHNNY ADAMS:    "We are communicating more [in the secondary] and we have
just taken it upon ourselves to just go out there and get better every day...Darqueze
[Dennard]   is a great player, we knew he was going to go out there and have a good time,
have fun and make plays."

MSU PK DAN CONROY:    "Really having two years under Brett Swenson, just the mental
aspect..Just to stay focused and stay composed. Today it was weird, I was the most
relaxed I've ever been, almost to the point where I was getting a little too relaxed. I had
to double-check myself and stay focused."

MSU DE TYLER HOOVER:    "Coach always says be humble and hungry - that's how we played today."

ILLINI H-COACH RON ZOOK:    "[MSU is] the best team we've played to date. They're solid. We
told you it was going to be a physical football game, which it was."

ILLINI QB NATHAN SCHEELHAASE:    ""I thought [we] were probably playing the best in the
Big Ten and maybe in the country, and that rang true today. We put ourselves in a position
where we were able to compete with them and able to do some things. We just didn't capitalize
at the right time."

ILLINI RB MIKEL LESHOURE:    "Those guys are a good team...They were fired up and wanting
to stay undefeated."

ILLINI DT COREY LIUGET:    "It seemed like they started sliding [pass] protection more to the
field than the boundary [in the second half]. So it definitely made a difference for them in the
second half."




      After trailing 7-0 early, Iowa scored 28 consecutive points and then went on to
beat Michigan 38-28 Saturday to ruin the Wolverines' Homecoming.
      Even a trio of 4th-Qtr UofM touchdowns weren't enough to complete a comeback.
    Michigan simply made too many mistakes with four turnovers and eight penalties, most
of yellow flags avoidable dead ball fouls.
      UM's late effort was directed by back-up QBack Tate Forcier, last year's starter,
because this season's Wolverine sensation Denard Robinson was knocked out of the contest
early in the 3rd-Qtr when his right/throwing shoulder was banged by a helmet during a tackle
and a lingering injury was aggravated.
      Hawkeyes QBack Ricky Stanzi threw three touchdown passes of 14, 31 and 19-yards, all
to WR Derrell Johnson-Koulianos. Iowa RB Adam Robinson had a pair of TD runs of 4 & 11-yards.
PK Michael Meyer booted Iowa's clinching 30-yard field goal with 2:53 remaining.
      Denard Robinson's 8-yard pass to Vincent Smith midway through the 1st-Qtr gave Michigan
the early 7-0 lead before Iowa went ahead 21-7 by halftime and 28-7 late in the 3rd-Qtr.
      Stephen Hopkins' 2-yard rush got the Wolverines within 28-14 just 1:50 into the 4th-Qtr.
After Iowa's third touchdown pass made it 35-14, Forcier threw a 45-yard touchdown strike
to Junior Hemingway and then Forcier's 3-yard keeper run made it 35-28 with 6:55 to play.
However, after Meyer's field goal, Forcier was intercepted by Iowa's Troy Johnson at the UM 43
with 2:47 left to crush any final Wolverine hopes.
      Denard-Robinson was 13-of-18 for 96-yards and a score in the air and had 18 carries for
105-yards on the ground until he got hurt. Forcier went 17-of-26 for 239-yards and a TD.
Robinson was intercepted once and Forcier twice.
        Hemingway and Darryl Stonum each had nine UM receptions, Hemingway for 134-yards
and a TD and Stonum for 97-yards.      
      Johnson-Koulianos, who caught only two TDs last year, had his first collegiate 3-TD game
and now had seven touchdown grabs this year. Johnson-Koulianos had only one other catch
beyond his trio of touchdowns, the four grabs totaling 70-yards.
      Adam Robinson had a pair of touchdowns and at least 100 rushing yards (143 on a workmanlike
31 carries) for the third time in Iowa's six games this season.
      Stanzi was 17-of-24 for 248-yards in the air with 3-TD and no INTs.
      Iowa earned its first win at The Big House since 2002 as the Hawkeyes improved to 5-1 overall
including 2-0 in conference play. Michigan is now 5-2 and 1-2 after its 5-0 start.
      Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez fell to 2-8 in his Wolverine career vs AP Top 25 teams
(Iowa was ranked #15).   

UM H-COACH RICH RODRIGUEZ:    "I've said all along that we aren't good enough to make
mistakes and beat anyone. Plus, we were our own worst enemies in the first half with
penalties...The attitude of the kids is good. The effort is good, but the execution has
to be better...The penalties were “ridiculous...The turnovers, inexcusable."

UM QB TATE FORCIER:    "We kept fighting. This isn’t last year’s team. It’s just not. It’s
a special team."

UM WR DARRYL STONUM:    "It’s the Big Ten, so we’re facing a little more complex defenses
[than during non-conference play]...Wrong reads, guys being in the wrong place at the
wrong time. We need to get that small stuff cleared up."

UM LOT TAYLOR LEWAN:    "“My two offsides? That’s fixable. That personal foul I got? That’s
fixable. If we do that, if we change the little things, we’re going to be a very good team."

IOWA H-COACH KIRK FERENTZ:    " I thought our guys did a good job of protecting the
football, first and foremost. I thought we came up with a couple [key] takeaways, and
certainly the last one was huge for us. That was a great play by Troy Johnson."

IOWA QB RICKY STANZI:    "This is a great, great win for our program. Any win is big, but this
is one of the greatest places to win a game in college football."



      Wayne State lost for the first time at home this season, dropping a 40-35 Saturday
shootout to Ashland.
      Three consecutive Eagles touchdowns between the mid-3rd and mid-4th-Qtr carried
Ashland from a 28-20 defecit to a 40-28 lead. D.J. McCoy had a 1-yard run, Christian
Livingston a 51-yard catch and Joe Horn a 7-yard reception for the three key visitors
      A 60-yard WSU touchdown pass from Mickey Mohner to Troy Burrell with 2:42 remaining
wasn't enough for the Warriors.
      Ashland QBack Taylor Housewright was 21-of-30 for 272-yards, 3-TDs and 1-INT and he
also ran seven times for 49-yards and a touchdown. Livingston had five grabs for 124-yards.
McCoy carried 35 times for 120-yards.
      Wayne's Mohner was 30-of-45 for 355-yards, five touchdowns and one interception.
Burrell had 12 receptions for 187-yards and three TDs.
      Wayne State is now 5-2 overall including 4-2 in GLIAC action. Ashland is 4-3 and 3-3
following their third consecutive victory.

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