1976 Michigan State Spartans football team
|1976 Michigan State Spartans football|
|Conference||Big Ten Conference|
|1976 record||4–6–1 (3–5 Big Ten)|
|Head coach||Darryl Rogers (1st season)|
|Captain||Rich Baes, Tom Hannon|
Spartan Stadium |
|1976 Big Ten football standings|
|No. 3 Michigan +||7||–||1||–||0||10||–||2||–||0|
|No. 6 Ohio State +||7||–||1||–||0||9||–||2||–||1|
Rankings from AP Poll
The 1976 Michigan State Spartans football team is an American football team that represented Michigan State University in the 1976 Big Ten Conference football season. In their first season under head coach Darryl Rogers, the Spartans compiled a 4–6–1 overall record (3–5 against Big Ten opponents) and finished in a three-way tie for seventh place in the Big Ten Conference.
Seven Spartans were selected by either the Associated Press (AP) or the United Press International (UPI) for the 1976 All-Big Ten Conference football teams: tight end Mike Cobb (AP-1, UPI-1); defensive back Tom Hannon (AP-1, UPI-1); flanker Kirk Gibson (AP-2, UPI-2); center Al Pitts (AP-2, UPI-2); defensive tackle Larry Bethea (AP-2, UPI-2); offensive tackle Tony Bruggenthies (AP-2); and defensive end Otto Smith (UPI-2).
|September 11||at No. 4 Ohio State||Ohio Stadium • Columbus, OH||L 21–49|
|September 18||Wyoming*||Spartan Stadium • East Lansing, MI||W 21–10|
|September 25||at NC State*||Carter Stadium • Raleigh, NC||T 31–31|
|October 2||No. 18 Notre Dame*||Spartan Stadium • East Lansing, MI (Megaphone Trophy)||L 6–24|
|October 9||at No. 1 Michigan||Michigan Stadium • Ann Arbor, MI (Paul Bunyan Trophy)||L 10–42||104,211|
|October 16||Minnesota||Spartan Stadium • East Lansing, MI||L 10–14|
|October 23||at Illinois||Memorial Stadium • Champaign, IL||W 31–23|
|October 30||Purdue||Spartan Stadium • East Lansing, MI||W 45–13|
|November 6||Indiana||Spartan Stadium • East Lansing, MI (Old Brass Spittoon)||W 23–0|
|November 13||at Northwestern||Dyche Stadium • Evanston, IL||L 21–42|
|November 20||Iowa||Spartan Stadium • East Lansing, MI||L 17–30|
|*Non-conference game. #Rankings from AP Poll.|
On October 9, 1976, Michigan State played its cross-state rival Michigan in the annual battle for the Paul Bunyan Trophy. The Wolverines had won six straight games with the last victory for the Spartans dating back to 1969. Michigan extended the streak to seven games with a 42-10 victory at Michigan Stadium. Michigan's 42 points was the most it had scored against Michigan State since 1947.
Fullback Rob Lytle rushed for 180 yards on 10 carries, including a 45-yard gain on a fake punt and a 75-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. After the game, Bo Schembechler said of Lytle, "If that guy isn't an All-American, I don't know who is." Lytle added, "All backs like to break away on a long one like that. It was the longest run I've had at Michigan. In fact, I think this was my biggest day ever." Harlan Huckleby rushed for 126 yards and three touchdowns on 23 carries. Russell Davis added 91 yards on 13 carries. In all, the Wolverines rushed for 442 yards on 62 carries against the Spartans. Quarterback Rick Leach completed five of seven passes for 93 yards and rushed for 36 yards on 11 carries. Wolfman Jerry Zuver scored Michigan's final touchdown on a 60-yard interception return in the fourth quarter.
In the AP Poll released on the Monday after the game, Michigan retained its #1 ranking with 57 out of 60 first-place votes and 1,194 points out of a possible 1,200 points. Pittsburgh was ranked #2 with the remaining three first-place votes.
- "Michigan State Yearly Results (1975-1979)". College Football Data Warehouse. David DeLassus. Retrieved July 13, 2015.
- "2015 Michigan State Football Media Guide" (PDF). Michigan State University. p. 146. Retrieved July 4, 2016.
- "Michigan, Ohio State Pace All-Big Ten Team". Toledo Blade (AP story). December 3, 1976. p. 27.
- "Illini place two on All-Big 10". The Pantagraph. November 24, 1976. p. A11.
- "Michigan Football Statistic Archive Query Page". MGoBlue.com. University of Michigan. Archived from the original on November 12, 2007. Retrieved December 2, 2012.(To retrieve team statistics, enter the applicable year in the "Enter Year" box under the heading "Games & Totals by Season." Press "Display Season." At the next prompt, click the box for "Michigan State" and then click icon for "Display Chosen Game Stats".)
- "Michigan Romps Over Mich. State". The New York Times. October 10, 1976.
- "Michigan runs away from Spartans, 42-10". Register-Guard, Eugene, Oregon. October 10, 1976. p. 8C.
- "Terps Fifth As Michigan Remains No. 1". The News and Courier (AP story). October 12, 1976. p. 1-C.