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Tuesday, October 21, 2014 | Last updated: 12:39am

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MSU Football Blog

Football beat writers predict blowout wins for MSU football over Indiana

By Geoff Preston, Robert Bondy          Last updated: 10/18/14 2:30pm         

Bondy’s Bets

After back-to-back weeks of near-disasters for MSU, today will serve as an opportunity for the Spartans to get back on track. And don’t expect otherwise against a banged up Hoosier team.

Indiana enters the game reeling after losing its starting quarterback, junior Nate Sudfeld, and now will have to turn to a couple of freshman under center. The Hoosiers will rely on either freshman Chris Covington or freshman Zander Diamont to lead the offense, and it really won’t matter which one plays.

The two have combined for 12 career pass attempts — completing only three — and will enter a storm known as the Spartan defense that surely will be looking to quiet doubters after last week’s disappointing performance. MSU will keep Indiana under 200 yards in the passing game and force NCAA leading rusher junior running back Tevin Coleman to do it all by himself.

I don’t think Coleman will be able to carry the entire offense and that is a positive for Sparty. Combine the banged up Hoosier offense with an abysmal defense and you get a receipt for a blow-out victory. 

MSU-41 Indiana-10

Preston’s Picks

Mark Dantonio said it isn’t a trend, but whether he thinks it’s a trend or not, one alarming trait of this year's  MSU football team is letting teams back into games that have no business competing with them. Indiana screams that it is a similar game for MSU.

All signs point to a blowout. Starting quarterback Nate Sudfeld is out, second string quarterback Chris Covington has a torn ACL, according to a report from the Indianapolis Star. That means third string freshman Zander Diamont will be starting for Indiana. Yikes.

That being said, I think this is the kind of game we have seen MSU keep close this season. While I don’t think Indiana has the firepower to be a real threat to MSU, I do think they will put up more points than a lot of people predicted. I have MSU winning this game 38-20, and needing to pull away at the end to make the lead more comfortable. 

MSU-38 Indiana-20

Indiana will start third string quarterback against MSU on Saturday, according to report

By Geoff Preston          Last updated: 10/15/14 9:22pm         

Indiana was already down to their second string quarterback, it appears that they now will try their luck with a third string quarterback against No. 8 MSU's (5-1 overall, 2-0 Big Ten) defense.

The Indianapolis Star is reporting that backup Chris Covington won't play, details were not made known as to why not. Covington is a true freshman from Chicago and came in for relief after starter Nate Sudfeld injured his shoulder.

The quarterback who will play against MSU's defense is a true freshman from Los Angeles named Zander Diamont who was supposed to be redshirted this year.

MSU football lands No. 1 Michigan linebacker recruit for 2015 class

By Robert Bondy          Last updated: 10/13/14 9:48pm         

MSU got good news on the recruiting front on Monday when head coach Mark Dantonio announced linebacker recruit Tyriq Thompson has signed a Big Ten tender to enroll early in the spring.

Thompson will graduate from Martin Luther King High School in January, making him eligible to enroll at MSU as early as the spring. With the early enrollment, Thompson will be able to participate in spring practice in 2015.

According to ESPN, Thompson gave a verbal commit to MSU on Aug. 6 and ranks as the state of Michigan’s best linebacker recruit. He also ranks in Scout.com as one of the top 200 players in the class of 2015.

“We’re very excited that Tyriq has decided to join the Spartan football family,” Dantonio said in a statement. “He’s one of the premier linebackers in the country and comes from an outstanding program at Martin Luther King High School.

Tyriq is extremely explosive, has the ability to run, has a great get-off, and is an outstanding blitzer with the ability to tackle in space. He was a primary focus of our recruiting efforts because he’s a complete football player who fits well in our system. He’s an incredibly intelligent player who can probably play any of our three positions at linebacker.”

MSU currently has 13 verbal commits for the class of 2015, ranking No. 36 in the country according to Rivals.com.

Tony Lippett named to Biletnikoff Award watch list

By Robert Bondy          Last updated: 10/07/14 11:37am         

Senior wide receiver Tony Lippett has been a dominant force so far this season. Now he’s finally getting some recognition for his play.

Lippett was one of nine players that were added to the Biletnikoff Award watch list for college football’s most outstanding wide receiver.

This past week against Nebraska, Lippett recorded his third 100-yard game to move into the top spot in receiving yards in the Big Ten with 525. He’s also recorded a touchdown in each game — one receiving and one rushing against Nebraska — for eight total touchdowns.

Lippett is one of three Big Ten players to be added to the list, with Illinois freshman wide receiver Mike Dudek and Rutgers junior wide receiver Leonte Carroo also representing the conference on the updated list.

Ten semifinalists for the Biletnikoff Award will be announced on Nov. 17. From there, three finalists will be announced on Nov. 24 and the winner will be announced on Dec. 11 during The Home Depot College Football Awards Show.

NCAA restores Penn State's postseason eligibility

By Robert Bondy          Last updated: 09/08/14 11:55pm         

Big news came out of the college football world on Monday when the NCAA restored Penn State’s ability to participate in postseason bowl games and receive all 85 of its football scholarships by next season.

Penn State has been on probation since 2012 when the NCAA issued a four year bowl ban and loss of 20 scholarships each year because of former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky’s actions.

With the latest announcement from the NCAA, Penn State is eligible to immediately compete for a bowl game, and more importantly for MSU fans, the Big Ten Championship.

The Big Ten issued a statement on Monday that reads “The Big Ten Conference, through its Council of Presidents and Chancellors (COPC), has agreed today to restore Penn State’s eligibility for the Big Ten Football Championship Game. The agreement follows the announcement today, by the NCAA, to further modify sanctions set forth in the Consent Decree entered into with Penn State on July 23, 2012, including the elimination of Penn State’s postseason football ban, effective immediately, and the restoration of its full complement of football scholarships beginning with the 2015-16 academic year. As a result of the announcement, based strongly on recommendations by Independent Athletics Integrity Monitor Senator George Mitchell, Penn State will be eligible to compete in both the Big Ten Football Championship Game and a bowl game, beginning with the current season.”

Penn State is currently 2-0 overall and is in the same division as MSU in the Big Ten. The Nittany Lions now become potentially MSU’s biggest threat to win the East Division, and steal what many considered MSU’s spot in the Big Ten Championship Game.

Big Ten Roundup — Week one

By Robert Bondy          Last updated: 09/01/14 4:50pm         

College football finally returned this past weekend with all 14 Big Ten teams participating in non-conference action, including the new kids on the block — Maryland and Rutgers.

Here are the scores from around the Big Ten from the opening weekend:

No. 8 MSU-45 vs. Jacksonville State-7

Minnesota-42 vs. Eastern Illinois-20

Rutgers-41 vs. Washington State-38 (Game played at neutral site in Seattle, WA)

Penn State-26 vs. UCF-24 (Game played at neutral site in Dublin, Ireland)

Illinois-28 vs. Youngstown State-17

Indiana-28 vs. Indiana State-10

Iowa-31 vs. Northern Iowa-23

Michigan-52 vs. Appalachian State-14

No. 5 Ohio State-34 vs. Navy-17 (Game played at neutral site in Baltimore, MD)

Purdue-43 vs. Western Michigan-34

No. 22 Nebraska-55 vs. Florida Atlantic-7

Northwestern-24 vs. California-31

Maryland-52 vs. James Madison-7

No. 14 Wisconsin-24 vs. No. 13 LSU-28 (Game played at neutral site in Houston)

The Big Ten was consistent this opening week with an overall record of 12-2. The opening few weeks normally serve as an opportunity for the league to either help or hurt its image and overall the Big Ten looked solid. A win over LSU for Wisconsin would have been big, but Rutgers and Penn State winning tough matchups was a good sign.

MSU football Head Coach Mark Dantonio was pleased with the league’s play in week one, stating “the Big Ten represented itself across the board yesterday.”

This upcoming week will go a long way in helping the league’s image, with marquee match-ups against No. 3 Oregon, No. 17 Notre Dame and Virginia Tech. 

MSU ranked NCAA team with fourth-most NFL talent

By Omari Sankofa II          Last updated: 08/10/14 2:39pm         

Within the past few years, it's become apparent just how adept MSU is at developing internal talent. And the national media is beginning to take notice. 

On Friday, MSU was ranked the NCAA team with the fourth-highest amount of NFL talent by NFL.com. Only the Alabama Crimson Tide, Florida State Seminoles and Oregon Ducks placed higher in the ranking. 

The list included junior defensive end Shilique Calhoun, junior cornerback Trae Waynes, senior running back Jeremy Langford, senior safety Kurtis Drummond and junior quarterback Connor Cook as players who could make their mark in the NFL. 

"Dantonio has routinely churned out solid pros since his arrival, and he has a nice set of underclassmen already garnering significant attention from NFL scouts," the story, written by NFL media anaylst Bucky Brooks, said. "If Shilique Calhoun and Connor Cook build upon their solid 2013 campaigns, they could be the next blue-chip selections to make the move from East Lansing to the pros."

Freshman defensive end Malik McDowell received the "Newcomer in the Spotlight" nod. McDowell, a top recruit coming out of high school, has impressed head coach Mark Dantonio and the rest of the coaching staff in camp.

"The Spartans quietly put out quality defensive linemen that carve out successful stints in the pro ranks," the story reads. "McDowell certainly has the physical tools and athleticism to become a key contributor down the road."

MSU football releases 2014 preseason depth chart

By Omari Sankofa II          Last updated: 07/28/14 12:20pm         

There are few surprises on the MSU football preseason depth chart, released today via the official MSU football Twitter handle. 

A few items of note — junior RJ Williamson is listed as the No. 1 strong safety, with redshirt freshman Jalyn Powell under him. 

Sophomore Darian Hicks is the No. 1 field corner opposite of junior Trae Waynes, who is listed as the No. 1 "bc." Senior Kurtis Drummond is the No. 1 free safety. Demetrious Cox is the No. 2 free safety under Drummond. 

Junior Lawrence Thomas is the No. 2 defensive end under senior Marcus Rush.

Senior Jeremy Langford will resume his spot as the No. 1 running back with senior Nick Hill backing him up. Junior Connor Cook is the lead quarterback, with sophomore Tyler O'Connor and redshirt freshman Damion Terry filling the No. 2 and No. 3 spots

Shilique Calhoun named to 2014 preseason Big Ten 'Players to Watch' list

By Omari Sankofa II          Last updated: 07/28/14 9:51am         

The Big Ten announced Monday morning junior defensive end Shilique Calhoun has been named to the Big Ten football preseason Players to Watch List. 

The annual list consists of 10 players, five from each division, who are picked by a media panel. 

Calhoun is coming off of a breakout season that saw him named 2013 Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year. The 6-foot-4, 257 pound defensive end posted 14 tackles, 7.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and three touchdowns last season and recently emerged as the favorite for the 2014 Defensive Player of the Year award, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer last week. 

Ohio State senior quarterback Braxton Miller made the list for the third consecutive year. Rounding out the East Division are Michigan junior wide receiver Devin Funchess, Maryland junior wide receiver Stefon Diggs, and Penn State sophomore wide receiver Christian Hackenberg. 

The West Division representatives include Nebraska senior running back Ameer Abdullah, Nebraska junior defensive end Randy Gregory, Wisconsin redshirt junior running back Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin redshirt senior running back Rob Havenstein and Iowa senior offensive lineman Brandon Scherff.

MSU to square off against Arizona State in 2018, '19

By Derek Gartee          Last updated: 05/13/14 5:43pm         

MSU is expanding its out-of-conference play when it faces down Arizona State University in a "home-and-home" matchup beginning in 2018.

On Sept. 8, four years from now, the MSU football team will face off against Arizona State in a two-game series. The first game will be on Sept. 8, 2018 at Arizona State, with the Spartans' home game scheduled for Sept. 14, 2019.

"The Arizona State series provides MSU Alums in the West and Southwest with an opportunity to see the Spartans compete against one of the Pac-12's top football programs," MSU Athletic Director Mark Hollis said in a statement.

In the past, MSU and Arizona State have only faced off in two other games — both during a two-game series in 1985.

In those games, MSU and Arizona State each won a single match at their home field leaving the all-time record tied at 1-1.