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'U' No. 13 in 1st BCS rankings

October 21, 2003
Spartans junior kicker Dave Rayner kicks a ball held by sophomore wide reciever Aaron Alexander on Aug. 30 at Spartan Stadium. The 49-yard field goal was good, helping MSU beat Western University 26-21. After making three field goals against Minnesota, Rayner was named Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week. —

With a bye week approaching and almost all of the MSU football team on the road recruiting, the Spartans received a national vote of confidence Monday when they were ranked No. 13 in the first Bowl Championship Series poll.

The Spartans had a computer ranking average of 12.5 and their schedule is ranked 61st in the country. With games against BCS No. 6 Ohio State, Michigan and Wisconsin coming up, that schedule ranking should improve soon.

MSU is ranked directly behind LSU, coached by former MSU coach Nick Saban. Northern Illinois is ranked No. 10 in the poll, while Purdue is ranked No. 8 and Iowa is No. 15.

Michigan game time set

The in-state battle between MSU and Michigan will kick off at noon on Nov. 1 and be televised on ABC. This comes after speculation that the game would occur at night. The game was at 3:30 p.m. the last time the teams played at Spartan Stadium in 2001 when MSUwon.

Michigan will host Purdue this weekend, which might be an advantage for Michigan.

"I think they'll be in that mode of a single back offense or the two tight end look or the spread offense they run, so I think it will definitely help them," MSU offensive coordinator Dave Baldwin said.

Rayning punts and field goals

For the fifth consecutive week, an MSU football player was honored by the Big Ten, after having much success punting and making all three field goals he attempted. Rayner made fields goals of 46, 50 and 52 yards and has now made 11 consecutive attempts.

The school record is 13 by Paul Edinger in 1998. The kicker also attempted two punts, with both landing inside the 20-yard line, landing on the 3 and the 8.

Alone in the lead

With a 4-0 conference record, the Spartans are alone atop of the conference for the first time since they won the Big Ten with a 7-0-1 record in 1987.

"For some reason, everybody's bought into what coach (John L.) Smith and the staff keep preaching to us about one down and one game," sixth-year senior offensive guard Paul Harker said after Saturday's win.

Behind MSU in the standings is Purdue at 3-0. The three one-loss teams are U-M (3-1), Wisconsin (3-1) and Ohio State (2-1).

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