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Team looks to improve during bye week, place-kicker earns special teams honor

October 2, 2002

After five consecutive home games to start the season, the MSU football team will enjoy a bye this weekend.

The Spartans (3-2 overall, 1-0 Big Ten) opened Big Ten play with a 39-24 victory over Northwestern on Saturday at Spartan Stadium. The win ended a two-game losing streak.

Head coach Bobby Williams said this is a great time for a weekend off. The Spartans’ next game is at 12:05 p.m. Oct. 12 at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City against the Hawkeyes (4-1, 1-0).

“The most important thing that we hope to get from this bye week is to get the players rested and ready to go,” he said. “It will give us more time to prepare. The downside of having a bye week is that you don’t have the continuity of playing week after week, and we’ll lose that being off this weekend.

“But we’ve had success - last year coming off a bye week and the year before that.”

Williams said the Spartans will continue to work on the running game and spreading the ball around in the passing game.

With Honors

Sophomore place-kicker Dave Rayner shared Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week honors with Iowa’s place-kicker Nate Kaeding. Rayner was 4-of-4 on field goals. He made kicks of 21, 30, 37 and a career-long 53 yards.

Senior tailback Dawan Moss is the Spartan Offensive Player of the Week.

Moss rushed for a career-high 191 yards and a touchdown in the game against Northwestern.

Senior strong safety Thomas Wright took home the honor for the defensive unit. He registered eight tackles and an interception against the Wildcats.

Injuries

Freshman linebacker Seth Mitchell, who hasn’t played this year because of an injury, is expected to play against Iowa on Oct. 12.

“His knee is getting stronger each week,” Williams said. “We’re going to look at him this week and get him in position to play.”

Freshman quarterback Aaron Alexander, who has been sidelined with a broken fifth metatarsal in his foot, is still a few weeks away from seeing action.

“This is supposed to be the week that he increases activity with his foot,” Williams said. “He probably will not be ready for Iowa.”

Got tickets?

There are about 300 tickets available for the Homecoming game against Minnesota at 12:10 p.m. Oct. 19.

There also are about 200 tickets available for the Wisconsin contest Oct. 26. No time has been announced. The single-game tickets are $38 and available through the Athletic Ticket Office in Jenison Field House.

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