Thursday, February 22, 2024

Sports | Football

FOOTBALL

Smoker suspended indefinitely

Junior quarterback Jeff Smoker was indefinitely suspended Thursday for violating unspecified team rules and will not play in MSU’s nationally televised game Saturday against Wisconsin. “I can’t really go into any detail as far as what the extent of the problem was,” MSU head coach Bobby Williams said.

FOOTBALL

First-teams battle it out during practice

After two straight losses and countless questions regarding a lack of toughness, MSU head coach Bobby Williams decided this week was the time to mix things up in practice.So for the first time all season, the Spartans’ first-team offense squared off against the first-team defense on the practice field.“We get real excited when we get to go against the first-team offense,” sophomore linebacker Ronald Stanley said.

FOOTBALL

SPORTS UPDATE: Gridders losing ways continue

The Spartans’ gridiron woes continued Saturday. MSU (3-4 overall, 1-2 Big Ten) was plagued by crucial penalties and allowed Minnesota (7-1, 3-1) 543 yards of total offense and 390 rushing yards in the 28-7 loss. It was the Spartans’ third defeat in their last four games and second straight in conference play. “We’re not a good football team right now,” MSU head coach Bobby Williams said.

FOOTBALL

Football marks 50 years in Big Ten

John Hannah was president, Ralph Young was athletics director and Michigan State was still a college. The year was 1953 and the Spartans were beginning their first season of Big Ten football. “I remember when we got into it,” said Frank “Muddy” Waters, a 1950 graduate and football head coach from 1980-82. “I was a student at the time. “It was a very exciting time.

FOOTBALL

Spartans look forward to second half of season

The season for the MSU football team has not developed the way anyone could have imagined. The Spartans (3-3 overall, 1-1 Big Ten) have dropped three of their last four games - two of which have been blowout losses. “We’re not anywhere near where we should be or where I expected this team to be,” head coach Bobby Williams said at a Tuesday press conference.

FOOTBALL

Spartan offense sputters, turnovers fuel Iowa win

Iowa City, Iowa - Under rolling gray skies, the Spartans couldn’t weather the Iowa storm on a dreary Saturday in Hawkeye country. Five turnovers coupled with MSU’s worst offensive performance - 249 total yards - the Spartans (3-3 overall, 1-1 Big Ten) extended their losing streak at Kinnick Stadium to 14 years with a 44-16 loss to a talented Iowa squad (6-1, 3-0). “It’s really very, very hard to play over the number of turnovers we had and give up big plays like we did,” MSU head coach Bobby Williams said. And unless the Spartans begin to execute like the team expected to come out of the preseason, the forecast for the rest of the season is dismal, as MSU still has to play top-ranked programs Michigan and Penn State. “Obviously, they have an up field battle,” ESPN analyst Bob Davie said.

FOOTBALL

Hype heading into season not being backed up

Say it ain’t so, say it ain’t so. Just six games into a much anticipated season, many are wondering how good is the MSU football team - or how bad? The facts say the Spartans (3-3 overall, 1-1 Big Ten) are average.

FOOTBALL

Leaders lull

Iowa City, Iowa - Saturday’s 44-16 beating at the hands of Iowa provided more than just embarrassment for the Spartans (3-3 overall, 1-1 Big Ten), it also opened the door for a possible quarterback controversy. The door was unlocked roughly three minutes into the third quarter when MSU head coach Bobby Williams sent sophomore quarterback Damon Dowdell into the game. On the Spartans’ previous possession, junior quarterback Jeff Smoker fumbled after a 3-yard scramble.

FOOTBALL

Defense looks to stop run

With the bye week in their rear-view mirror the Spartans have their sights set on the Iowa Hawkeyes.And with the Big Ten’s leading rusher, Fred Russell, lining up in Iowa’s backfield, MSU’s run defense will again be put to the test.“I think with these two weeks we have a good opportunity to prepare for Iowa,” junior linebacker Mike Labinjo said.

FOOTBALL

Return secures victory

The biggest play of Saturday’s game came from the most unlikely of places, the Spartans’ special teams.With a little more than a minute to play in the third quarter and MSU leading by a score of 20-17, junior wide receiver Ziehl Kavanaght broke the game open with a 88-yard punt return for a touchdown.“When Ziehl ran that ball back the game was close,” junior quarterback Jeff Smoker said.

FOOTBALL

Rogers aids win, breaks records

MSU got back on the winning track Saturday with its 39-24 win against Northwestern. But once again, it was junior wide receiver Charles Rogers who stole the show. The 6-foot-4, 205-pounder only pulled down three receptions for 53 yards - by far his worst outing of the season - but his 21-yard touchdown with 6:10 to play in the first half made history. The tally marked Rogers’ 14th-straight game with a touchdown, breaking the Big Ten record he shared with Michigan’s Desmond Howard (1990-91). It also marked his 13th-straight regular-season game with a touchdown, breaking the NCAA record he shared with Marshall’s Randy Moss (1997), Pacific’s Aaron Turner (1990-91) and Howard. “Just to be among these guys is a great accomplishment for me,” Rogers said.

FOOTBALL

Cats take the bait

Statistically, junior wide receiver Charles Rogers had his least productive game of the season. But his presence created openings for teammates in both the running and passing attacks in the Spartans’ 39-24 victory over the Wildcats on Saturday at Spartan Stadium. Head coach Bobby Williams said studying film revealed there would be chances for other players to make plays against Northwestern (2-3 overall, 0-1 Big Ten). “We looked at the last two ball games and people have been really overplaying Charles,” he said.

FOOTBALL

SPORTS UPDATE: Rogers breaks NCAA touchdown record

Spartan junior wide receiver Charles Rogers set the NCAA and Big Ten records with 13 consecutive regular-season games with a touchdown catch today as MSU (3-2 overall, 1-0 Big Ten) toppled Northwestern (2-3, 0-1), 39-24.The 6-4, 205-pounder caught a 21-yard pass from junior quarterback Jeff Smoker with 6:10 left in the second quarter to break the record previously shared by Marshall’s Randy Moss, Michigan’s Desmond Howard and Pacific’s Aaron Turner.On the day, Rogers was held to a mere three catches for 53 yards, ending his MSU-record streak of eight 100-yard games.For more information about this report, see Monday’s edition of The State News.