2006 Michigan State Spartans football team

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2006 Michigan State Spartans football
Conference Big Ten Conference
2006 record 4–8 (1–7 Big Ten)
Head coach John L. Smith
Home stadium Spartan Stadium (c. 75,005 natural grass)
Seasons
« 2005 2007 »
2006 Big Ten football standings
Conf     Overall
Team   W   L         W   L  
#2/2 Ohio State   8 0         12 1  
#7/5 Wisconsin   7 1         12 1  
#8/9 Michigan   7 1         11 2  
#24/25 Penn State   0* 3         0* 4  
Purdue   5 3         8 6  
Minnesota   3 5         6 7  
Indiana   3 5         5 7  
Iowa   2 6         6 7  
Northwestern   2 6         4 8  
Michigan State   1 7         4 8  
Illinois   1 7         2 10  
† – BCS representative as conference champion
‡ – BCS at-large representative

The 2006 Michigan State Spartans football team represented Michigan State University in National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) college football during the 2006 season. Michigan State competed as a member of the Big Ten Conference, and played their home games at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing, Michigan. The Spartans were led by fourth-year head coach John L. Smith. Smith had compiled a combined 18–18 record in his previous seasons at Michigan State,[1] and he was fired after the 2006 season in which the team finished 4–8.[2] The Spartans did, however, set the record for the greatest comeback from a deficit in college football history.[3]

Season recap[edit]

Michigan State teams during Smith's tenure were "known for their late season collapses".[2] The Spartans started the 2006 season with a 3–0 record with victories over Idaho, Eastern Michigan, and Pittsburgh. The following week, Michigan State led Notre Dame, 37–21, in the third quarter, but surrendered 19 points to lose the game.[2] The Spartans then lost all but one game on the remainder of their schedule.[4]

On October 21, Michigan State traveled to Evanston, Illinois to face Northwestern. By the third quarter, Northwestern had extended its lead to a commanding 38–3.[3] Michigan State gained momentum in the fourth quarter when Devin Thomas blocked a Northwestern punt, which was then returned for a touchdown by Ashton Henderson. Northwestern was forced to punt twice more and Michigan State capitalized on each possession with a touchdown, which tied the game, 38–38.[3] Placekicker Brett Swenson made good the game-winning field goal with 0:13 remaining to play, and Michigan State won the greatest comeback in college football history.[3]

After the record-setting victory, it appeared that Smith's job was temporarily secured,[3] but the administration fired him shortly after a loss to Indiana the following week.[5] The Spartans ended the season with four consecutive losses to finish with a 4–8 overall record and 1–7 against Big Ten opponents.[4] In November, Mark Dantonio was hired as the replacement head coach.[6]

Schedule[edit]

Date Time Opponent# Rank# Site TV Result Attendance
September 2 12:00 PM Idaho* Spartan StadiumEast Lansing, MI ESPN+ W 27–17   70,711
September 9 3:30 PM Eastern Michigan* Spartan Stadium • East Lansing, MI ESPN+ W 52–20   69,856
September 16 12:00 PM at Pittsburgh* Heinz FieldPittsburgh, PA ABC W 38–23   47,956
September 23 8:00 PM #12 Notre Dame* Spartan Stadium • East Lansing, MI (Megaphone Trophy) ABC L 40–37   80,193
September 30 12:00 PM Illinoisdagger Spartan Stadium • East Lansing, MI ESPN+ L 23–20   71,268
October 7 4:30 PM at #6 Michigan Michigan StadiumAnn Arbor, MI (Paul Bunyan Trophy) ESPN L 31–13   111,349
October 14 3:30 PM #1 Ohio State Spartan Stadium • East Lansing, MI ABC L 38–7   73,498
October 21 12:00 PM at Northwestern Ryan FieldEvanston, IL (Greatest comeback in college football history) ESPN+ W 41–38   29,387
October 28 12:00 PM at Indiana Memorial StadiumBloomington, IN (Old Brass Spittoon) ESPN+ L 46–21   36,444
November 4 3:30 PM Purdue Spartan Stadium • East Lansing, MI ESPNU L 17–15   65,398
November 11 12:00 PM Minnesota Spartan Stadium • East Lansing, MI ESPNU L 31–18   64,807
November 18 12:00 PM at Penn State Beaver StadiumUniversity Park, PA (Land Grant Trophy) ESPN2 L 17–13   108,607
*Non-conference game. daggerHomecoming. #Rankings from Coaches' Poll released prior to game. All times are in Eastern Time.

Game summaries[edit]

Northwestern[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
• Michigan St 3 0 14 24 41
Northwestern 7 17 14 0 38
  • Date: October 21
  • Location: Ryan Field, Evanston, IL
  • Game start: 12:00 p.m. EST
  • Game attendance: 29,387
  • Television network: ESPN+

[7]


2007 NFL Draft[edit]

The following players were selected in the 2007 NFL Draft.

Player Round Pick Position NFL Team
Drew Stanton 2 43 Quarterback Detroit Lions
Clifton Ryan 5 154 Defensive Tackle St. Louis Rams
Brandon Fields 7 225 Punter Miami Dolphins

References[edit]

  1. ^ John L. Smith Records by Year, College Football Data Warehouse, Retrieved July 24, 2009. Archived July 26, 2009.
  2. ^ a b c Phil Steele's 2009 College Football Preview, volume 15, p. 66, Summer 2009.
  3. ^ a b c d e Spartans stun Cats for biggest comeback in I-A history, ESPN, October 21, 2006.
  4. ^ a b Michigan State 2006 Schedule/Results, ESPN, retrieved July 24, 2009.
  5. ^ Michigan State coach John L. Smith out after season, ESPN, November 1, 2006.
  6. ^ Michigan State hires Dantonio to coach football team, USA Today, November 27, 2006.
  7. ^ ESPN. Retrieved 2014-Sep-29.