2014 Michigan State Spartans football team

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2014 Michigan State Spartans football
Michigan State Spartans script.svg
Cotton Bowl Classic champion
ConferenceBig Ten Conference
DivisionEast Division
CoachesNo. 5
APNo. 5 (tie)
2014 record11–2 (7–1 Big Ten)
Head coach
Co-offensive coordinatorDave Warner (2nd season)
Co-offensive coordinatorJim Bollman (2nd season)
Offensive schemePro-style
Defensive coordinatorPat Narduzzi (8th season)
Base defense4–3
CaptainShilique Calhoun
Kurtis Drummond
Travis Jackson
Home stadiumSpartan Stadium
(Capacity: 75,005)
← 2013
2015 →
2014 Big Ten Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team   W   L     W   L  
East Division
No. 1 Ohio State x$#^   8 0     14 1  
No. T–5 Michigan State   7 1     11 2  
Maryland   4 4     7 6  
Rutgers   3 5     8 5  
Michigan   3 5     5 7  
Penn State   2 6     7 6  
Indiana   1 7     4 8  
West Division
No. 13 Wisconsin x   7 1     11 3  
Minnesota   5 3     8 5  
Nebraska   5 3     9 4  
Iowa   4 4     7 6  
Illinois   3 5     6 7  
Northwestern   3 5     5 7  
Purdue   1 7     3 9  
Championship: Ohio State 59, Wisconsin 0
  • # – College Football Playoff champion
  • ^ – College Football Playoff participant
  • $ – Conference champion
  • x – Division champion/co-champions
Rankings from AP Poll

The 2014 Michigan State Spartans football team represented Michigan State University in the East Division of the Big Ten Conference during the 2014 NCAA Division I FBS football season. Michigan State played their home games at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing, Michigan and were led by eighth-year head coach Mark Dantonio. The season marked a new division organization and the Spartans were members of the East Division.[1][2]

The Spartans finished the season 11–2, 7–1 in Big Ten play to finish in second place in the East Division behind Ohio State who went on win the Inaugural College Football Playoff. Michigan State faced Baylor in the 2015 Cotton Bowl, which was part of the new New Year's Six Bowls, where they overcame a 20-point deficit in the fourth quarter to defeat Baylor 42–41.[3][4]

Previous season[edit]

The Spartans finished the 2013 season 13–1, 8–0 and undefeated in Big Ten play. By winning the Legends Division, they earned a trip to the Big Ten Championship Game, their second appearance in the championship game. Facing No. 2-ranked Ohio State, they defeated the Buckeyes 34–24, knocking Ohio State out of the running for the BCS National Championship Game.[5] The Spartans received an invitation to the Rose Bowl, their first trip to the Rose Bowl since 1988. There they defeated No. 5-ranked Stanford for the school's first Rose Bowl win since 1988.[6]


2014 NFL Draft[edit]

One member of the 2013 Spartan football team was selected in the 2014 NFL Draft[7]

Round Pick# Team Player Position
1 24 Cincinnati Bengals Darqueze Dennard Corner Back

In addition, eight other former Spartans were taken as undrafted free agents:[8]

Team Player Position
Carolina Panthers Denicos Allen Linebacker
Cincinnati Bengals Isaiah Lewis Safety
Cincinnati Bengals Dan France Offensive Line
Denver Broncos Bennie Fowler Wide Receiver
Houston Texans Max Bullough Linebacker
Indianapolis Colts Tyler Hoover Defensive End
New Orleans Saints Micajah Reynolds Defensive Tackle
San Francisco 49ers Fou Fonoti Offensive Tackle

Michigan State remained one of only six teams to have had a player selected in each draft since the AFL/NFL merger.

Transfers out[edit]

Ezra Robinson[9]
Noah Jones[10]

Recruiting class[edit]

US college sports recruiting information for high school athletes
Name Hometown High school / college Height Weight Commit date
Byron Bullough
Traverse City, Michigan St. Francis 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m) 200 lb (91 kg) Aug 9, 2012 
Recruiting star ratings: Scout:4/5 stars   Rivals:3/5 stars   247Sports:3/5 stars    ESPN:4/5 stars
Deon Drake
Detroit, Michigan Cass Tech 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m) 210 lb (95 kg) Sep 23, 2012 
Recruiting star ratings: Scout:3/5 stars   Rivals:3/5 stars   247Sports:4/5 stars    ESPN:3/5 stars
Chase Gianacakos
St. Charles, Illinois St. Charles 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) 280 lb (130 kg) Apr 1, 2013 
Recruiting star ratings: Scout:3/5 stars   Rivals:3/5 stars   247Sports:3/5 stars    ESPN:3/5 stars
Brian Allen
Hinsdale, Illinois Hinsdale Central 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m) 287 lb (130 kg) Apr 20, 2013 
Recruiting star ratings: Scout:3/5 stars   Rivals:4/5 stars   247Sports:4/5 stars    ESPN:4/5 stars
Enoch Smith, Jr.
Chicago, Illinois Mount Carmel 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m) 270 lb (120 kg) Apr 20, 2013 
Recruiting star ratings: Scout:3/5 stars   Rivals:4/5 stars   247Sports:3/5 stars    ESPN:4/5 stars
Matt Sokol
Rochester Hills, Michigan Adams High 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) 225 lb (102 kg) May 13, 2013 
Recruiting star ratings: Scout:3/5 stars   Rivals:3/5 stars   247Sports:3/5 stars    ESPN:3/5 stars
Chris Frey
Upper Arlington, Ohio Upper Arlington High 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m) 215 lb (98 kg) May 15, 2013 
Recruiting star ratings: Scout:3/5 stars   Rivals:3/5 stars   247Sports:4/5 stars    ESPN:3/5 stars
Vayante Copeland
Dayton, Ohio Thurgood Marshall 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m) 185 lb (84 kg) Jun 16, 2013 
Recruiting star ratings: Scout:4/5 stars   Rivals:3/5 stars   247Sports:3/5 stars    ESPN:3/5 stars
Jalen Watts-Jackson
Orchard Lake, Michigan St. Mary's Prep 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m) 175 lb (79 kg) Jun 19, 2013 
Recruiting star ratings: Scout:3/5 stars   Rivals:3/5 stars   247Sports:3/5 stars    ESPN:3/5 stars
David Beedle
Clarkston, Michigan Clarkston High 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) 285 lb (129 kg) Jun 21, 2013 
Recruiting star ratings: Scout:3/5 stars   Rivals:3/5 stars   247Sports:3/5 stars    ESPN:3/5 stars
Gerald Owens
Westville, New Jersey West Deptford High 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m) 248 lb (112 kg) Jun 21, 2013 
Recruiting star ratings: Scout:3/5 stars   Rivals:3/5 stars   247Sports:4/5 stars    ESPN:4/5 stars
Matt Morissey
Lincolnshire, Illinois Aldai E. Stevenson 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) 182 lb (83 kg) Jul 15, 2013 
Recruiting star ratings: Scout:3/5 stars   Rivals:3/5 stars   247Sports:3/5 stars    ESPN:3/5 stars
Robert Bowers
Columbus, Ohio Walnut Ridge 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) 210 lb (95 kg) Aug 3, 2013 
Recruiting star ratings: Scout:3/5 stars   Rivals:3/5 stars   247Sports:3/5 stars    ESPN:3/5 stars
Nick Padla
Berrien Springs, Michigan Berrien Springs High 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) 269 lb (122 kg) Sep 7, 2013 
Recruiting star ratings: Scout:3/5 stars   Rivals:3/5 stars   247Sports:3/5 stars    ESPN:3/5 stars
Jake Hartbarger
Whitehouse, Ohio Anthony Wayne 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) 195 lb (88 kg) Sep 25, 2013 
Recruiting star ratings: Scout:3/5 stars   Rivals:2/5 stars   247Sports:3/5 stars    ESPN:3/5 stars
Madre London
Fort Lauderdale, Florida St. Thomas Aquinas 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m) 205 lb (93 kg) Nov 4, 2013 
Recruiting star ratings: Scout:3/5 stars   Rivals:4/5 stars   247Sports:3/5 stars    ESPN:3/5 stars
Montez Sweat
Stone Mountain, Georgia Stephenson High 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) 225 lb (102 kg) Dec 5, 2013 
Recruiting star ratings: Scout:3/5 stars   Rivals:2/5 stars   247Sports:3/5 stars    ESPN:3/5 stars
Montae Nicholson
Monroeville, Pennsylvania Gateway 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) 200 lb (91 kg) Dec 19, 2013 
Recruiting star ratings: Scout:4/5 stars   Rivals:4/5 stars   247Sports:4/5 stars    ESPN:4/5 stars
Craig Evans
Sun Prairie, Wisconsin Sun Prairie High 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) 305 lb (138 kg) Feb 3, 2014 
Recruiting star ratings: Scout:4/5 stars   Rivals:4/5 stars   247Sports:4/5 stars    ESPN:4/5 stars
Miguel Machado
Pasadena, California Pasadena C.C. 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) 290 lb (130 kg) Feb 5, 2014 
Recruiting star ratings: Scout:3/5 stars   Rivals:3/5 stars   247Sports:3/5 stars    ESPN:3/5 stars
T.J. Harrell
Tampa, Florida Tampa Catholic 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m) 207 lb (94 kg) Feb 5, 2014 
Recruiting star ratings: Scout:3/5 stars   Rivals:4/5 stars   247Sports:3/5 stars    ESPN:3/5 stars
Malik McDowell
Southfield, Michigan Southfield High 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) 292 lb (132 kg) Feb 5, 2014 
Recruiting star ratings: Scout:5/5 stars   Rivals:5/5 stars   247Sports:5/5 stars    ESPN:4/5 stars
Overall recruiting rankings: Scout: 19   Rivals: 22  247Sports: 25  ESPN: 29
  • Note: In many cases, Scout, Rivals, 247Sports, and ESPN may conflict in their listings of height and weight.
  • In these cases, the average was taken. ESPN grades are on a 100-point scale.


  • "2014 Team Ranking". Rivals.com. Retrieved October 16, 2014.



August 297:30 p.m.No. 6 (FCS) Jacksonville State*No. 8BTNW 45–775,127
September 66:30 p.m.at No. 3 Oregon*No. 7FOXL 27–4659,456
September 2012:00 p.m.Eastern Michigan*No. 11
  • Spartan Stadium
  • East Lansing, MI
BTNW 73–1473,846
September 2712:00 p.m.Wyoming*daggerNo. 9
  • Spartan Stadium
  • East Lansing, MI
ESPN2W 56–1474,227
October 48:00 p.m.No. 19 NebraskaNo. 10
  • Spartan Stadium
  • East Lansing, MI
ABCW 27–2275,923
October 113:30 p.m.at PurdueNo. 8ABC/ESPN2W 45–3140,217
October 183:30 p.m.at IndianaNo. 8ESPNW 56–1744,403
October 253:30 p.m.MichiganNo. 8
ABCW 35–1176,331
November 88:00 p.m.No. 14 Ohio StateNo. 8
ABCL 37–4976,409
November 158:00 p.m.at MarylandNo. 12BTNW 37–1551,802
November 2212:00 p.m.RutgersNo. 11
  • Spartan Stadium
  • East Lansing, MI
BTNW 45–370,902
November 293:30 p.m.at Penn StateNo. 10ABC/ESPN2W 34–1099,902
January 1, 201512:30 p.m.vs. No. 5 Baylor*No. 8ESPNW 42–4171,464
  • *Non-conference game
  • daggerHomecoming
  • Rankings from AP / CFP Polls released prior to game
  • All times are in Eastern time

Game summaries[edit]

Jacksonville State[edit]

Jacksonville State at Michigan State
1 234Total
Jacksonville State 0 070 7
No. 8 Michigan State 21 1770 45
  • Sources:

The Spartans opened the 2014 season under the lights at Spartan Stadium against FCS opponent Jacksonville State.

The Spartans scored on their first drive, as Tony Lippett caught a 64-yard touchdown pass from a scrambling Connor Cook. During the play, Jacksonville State safety Folo Johnson hit Cook directly on the knee, and Cook was slow to get up, causing an injury scare. However, Cook would return the next drive and throw to a wide open Tony Lippett for a 71-yard touchdown bomb. Through the first 2 possessions, Tony Lippett had 3 receptions for a total of 146 yards, and 2 TDs. Several possessions later, AJ Troup made a spectacular catch in the bottom left-hand corner of the end-zone on a 17-yard pass from Connor Cook to put Michigan State up 21–0 going into the 2nd quarter.

Nick Hill scored on a 17-yard run during the first drive of the 2nd quarter, putting Michigan State ahead 28–0. After getting a stop the next Jacksonville State possession, the Spartans scored again the following drive, this time on another Nick Hill scamper, this time from 8 yards out, effectively putting the nail in the coffin before halftime, 35–0. Michael Geiger would add a 35-yard field goal as the clock expired, putting State ahead 38–0 at the half.

Aside from a Tyler O'Connor 3-yard rushing touchdown and a 9-yard Max Shortell touchdown pass to Markis Merrill (the only points for JSU), there was little to no offense in the second half. Michigan State won the ball game 45–7.

The Spartan defense was dominant all game, only allowing 1 touchdown, recording 4 sacks, and 3 interceptions (Kurtis Drummond, Darian Hicks, and Nick Thompson respectively). The defense also held Jacksonville State to just 22 yards rushing. Tony Lippett finished the game with 4 catches for 167 yards and 2 touchdowns; no Michigan State receiver recorded a 100-yard receiving game the entire previous season. Connor Cook was nearly perfect, completing 12 out of 13 passes for 285 yards and 3 touchdowns (all of which came in the 1st quarter).


Michigan State at Oregon
1 234Total
No. 7 Michigan State 0 2430 27
No. 3 Oregon 8 101414 46
  • Sources:

Following their 45–7 victory over Jacksonville State, the Spartans would travel to Eugene to face the Oregon Ducks. The last meeting between the 2 teams took place in 1999, when the Spartans defeated the Ducks 27–20 en route to a 10-win season.

The first quarter was a defensive struggle until a Connor Cook pass was intercepted by Ducks defensive back Erick Dargan, who returned the ball 36 yards to the Michigan State 39 yard line. The Oregon offense, led by Heisman Trophy front runner Marcus Mariota, was quick to capitalize, scoring on a 1-yard Thomas Tyner run. The Ducks converted for 2 points to go ahead 8–0. Michigan State would be unable to answer, and Oregon would have the ball to start the 2nd quarter.

Oregon would add to their lead with a Matt Wogan 28-yard field goal, putting them ahead 11–0. The Spartans would respond with a touchdown on their following drive, as Connor Cook and Jeremy Langford methodically led the offense down the field. Cook was 3/4 on the drive for 45 yards and Langford ran the ball 4 times for 31 yards, capping the drive off with a 16-yard run, putting the score at 11–7, Oregon. Oregon would answer immediately, taking only 2 plays to score. Marcus Mariota threw to a wide open Devon Allen for a 70-yard touchdown pass, strengthening their lead to 18–7. Michael Geiger would make a 34-yard field goal to pull State within 8, 18–10. The following Oregon possession ended with Lawrence Thomas and Marcus Rush recording back to back sacks. Michigan State would score on the following possession on a 7-yard pass from Connor Cook to Tony Lippett, to bring the score to 18–17 Oregon. The MSU defense would stand tall on the following Oregon possession, forcing a punt and giving the offense an opportunity to take the lead going into halftime. Connor Cook would lead the offense on a 6 play, 66 yard drive which ended when Cook threw to an open Josiah Price in the back of the end-zone, giving Michigan State a 24–18 lead at the half.

After a Michael Geiger 42-yard field goal in the 3rd quarter, giving them a 27–18 lead, Michigan State would fail to score the remainder of the game; Oregon would score 28 unanswered points. Michigan State had an opportunity to get back into the game late in Oregon territory, but a Connor Cook pass was deflected and intercepted by All-American candidate Ifo Ekpre-Olomu. Tony Lippett finished the game with a career-high 11 receptions for 133 yards and a touchdown. The Spartans would lose 46–27, their worst loss since losing to Notre Dame 31–13 during the 2011 season. It was also the most points the Michigan State defense had surrendered since losing 49–7 to Alabama in the 2011 Capital One Bowl.

Eastern Michigan[edit]

Eastern Michigan at Michigan State
1 234Total
Eastern Michigan 0 077 14
No. 11 Michigan State 28 211014 73
  • Sources:

Following a bye week, the Spartans played at home for the first time in nearly a month against in-state MAC opponent Eastern Michigan. The previous meeting between the 2 schools was during the 2012 season. Michigan State won 23–7, despite trailing at halftime.

The Spartan defense forced a punt on the opening drive, and Macgarrett Kings gave the Spartan offense good field position after a 43-yard punt return. Several plays later, Connor Cook scored on a 4-yard rushing touchdown to give MSU a 7–0 lead. After another Eastern 3 and out, Michigan State scored again the following possession as Jeremy Langford made a defender miss on his way to the end-zone for a 21-yard touchdown run. Eastern Michigan then fumbled the ball in their own territory and on the very first play for Michigan State, Connor Cook threw to a wide open Tony Lippett for a 21-yard touchdown. The score was 21–0 MSU only 5 minutes into the game. The defense forced Eastern to punt again, and once again, the offense took advantage, as Connor Cook hit Tony Lippett on the run for an 8-yard touchdown pass, giving Michigan State a 28–0 1st quarter lead.

The opening drive of the 2nd quarter was capped off with a 33-yard strike from Tyler O'Connor to AJ Troup, strengthening Michigan State's lead to 35–0. The Spartan defense would not allow Eastern Michigan to move the ball, forcing yet another 3 and out. However, Eastern was finally able to stop the Spartan offense the following drive, after giving up touchdowns on 5 consecutive possessions. Unfortunately, Eagles return man Tyler Allen muffed the ensuing punt, and Michigan State recovered the ball at the Eastern Michigan 7 yard line. Several plays later, Delton Williams would score 1 yard out, putting the Spartans up 42–0. After trading possessions, Eastern Michigan had the ball at their own 15 yard line, when RJ Williamson picked off EMU QB Rob Bolden, with a return of 6 yards. R.J. Shelton would score the following play to increase the Spartan lead to 49. MSU led 49–0 at the half. Michigan State also led Eastern in total yards 320 to 1 at the half.

Michigan State received the ball to start the 2nd half and scored on 9 play, 61 yard drive that ended with a Nick Hill 4 yard touchdown run, giving the Spartans a 56–0 lead. Eastern would finally score their first points the following possession after a Rob Bolden pass to Tyler Allen that went for 43 yards, cutting the State lead to 49. Michigan State would be forced to punt the ball, but turnovers continued to plague Eastern Michigan, as they muffed yet another punt, which was again recovered by the Spartans. Michael Geiger would make a 30-yard field goal to increase the lead to 59–7. Tyler O'Connor would throw an interception from his own end-zone, giving Eastern great field position to start the 4th.

Following the Tyler O'Connor interception, Rob Bolden would find Tyreese Russell for a 9-yard touchdown pass to put the score at 59–14 MSU. After forcing a Michigan State punt, Eastern Michigan would continue to shoot itself in the foot, as they fumbled the ball in their own territory again. The Spartans took advantage and Delton Williams scored his 2nd touchdown of the day from 7 yards out. He would follow that with his 3rd touchdown the next possession, taking it to the end-zone on an 80-yard run. Michigan State would win by the final score of 73–14

This was the first time since 1989 when Michigan State defeated Northwestern 76–14, that Michigan State scored over 70 points in a game. Delton Williams finished with 10 carries for 103 yards and 3 touchdowns, and the Spartans went deep into the depth chart, using 5 different QBs. Eastern Michigan finished the game with 6 turnovers, which included 5 fumbles and 1 interception. They have yet to defeat the Spartans through 10 meetings.


Wyoming at Michigan State
1 234Total
Wyoming 7 700 14
No. 9 Michigan State 21 2177 56
  • Sources:

Succeeding their 59-point victory over Eastern Michigan, the Spartans took on the Wyoming Cowboys of the Mountain West Conference. The previous meeting between the two programs was during the 1977 season.

Wyoming won the coin toss and deferred until the second half. The Spartan offense drove deep into the red-zone, being forced to go for it on fourth down. Connor Cook scored on a 1-yard rush, giving Michigan State a 7–0 lead. The MSU defense would force a punt, and the offense would go back to work, going 69 yards in 10 plays, capping the drive off with a 19-yard touchdown reception by Tony Lippett. Wyoming would answer with a 57-yard touchdown by scat back Shaun Wick, putting the score at 14–7 MSU. Michigan State would not take long to respond, needing only 3 plays to score off of a 33-yard rushing touchdown by Keith Mumphery. Wyoming would fumble on the following possession and MSU would have the ball in Wyoming territory and 21–7 lead going into the 2nd quarter.

The Spartan offense scored quickly on a 19-yard pass from Connor Cook to Josiah Price, with Michigan State's lead blossoming to 28–7. Wyoming drove the field to the MSU 25-yard line, where they were forced to kick a field goal from 42 yards. The field goal attempt was blocked by Shilique Calhoun. Darian Hicks recovered the ball and returned it to the Wyoming 35-yard line. Several plays later, Tyler O'Connor found Keith Mumphery on a 6-yard touchdown pass, strengthening the MSU lead to 35–7. Kurtis Drummond picked off Wyoming QB Colby Kirkegaard and returned the ball to the Wyoming 25-yard line. Delton Williams scored on a 4-yard run several plays later; 42–7 Michigan State. Wyoming responded with a Colby Kirkegaard-J.D. Krill 4-yard touchdown connection. The score was 42–14 Michigan State at the half.

Wyoming fumbled the football on the very first play of the second half, giving the Michigan State offense great field position; however, the offense failed to score, turning the ball over on downs. The 3rd quarter would be a struggle for both offenses, with the only score coming on a Jeremy Langford 29 yard touchdown run. Michigan State would add to its lead in the 4th, as a Tyler O'Connor scramble for 12 yards would put them ahead 56–14, which would end up being the final score. Ten different ball carriers notched at least one carry to rack up 338 rushing yards for the Spartans, and Keith Mumphery became the first Spartan receiver since Keshawn Martin in 2011 to record both a rushing touchdown and a receiving touchdown in the same game. With this victory came the end of the non-conference schedule for Michigan State, as they would be opening conference play the next week, taking on Nebraska.


Nebraska at Michigan State
1 234Total
No. 19 Nebraska 0 0319 22
No. 10 Michigan State 7 10100 27
  • Sources:

Michigan State would open their conference schedule against former Legends Division rival Nebraska. The Spartans picked up their first victory ever over the Cornhuskers the previous season, in a 41–28 victory in which Nebraska turned over the ball 5 times. Turnovers would again be a factor in this game due to the wet and cold weather conditions.

Michigan State won the coin toss and chose to receive the ball. On the 2nd play of the first possession, a Connor Cook pass was deflected at the line of scrimmage and intercepted by Randy Gregory, an All-Conference lineman for the Huskers. The Nebraska offense would have great field position at the MSU 30. The Michigan State defense would come up big after a critical mistake on offense for the Spartans, putting Nebraska out of field goal range and forcing them to punt. Michigan State would be forced to punt themselves the next possession; Nebraska would also be forced to punt following that after Ed Davis sacked Husker QB Tommy Armstrong on 3rd down. The Spartans would finally open the scoring on the following possession, as Tony Lippett made a 55-yard finger-tip catch and run touchdown reception, giving Michigan State a 7–0 lead. Neither offense would be able to effectively move the ball the rest of the quarter.

Following a Nebraska punt from their own 7 yard line and a 19-yard return by Macgarrett Kings, the Spartan offense would have solid field position. MSU would strike on the very first play, as Jeremy Langford ran for a 31-yard touchdown to give them a 14–0 lead. The rest of the 2nd quarter would be marred by turnovers: Nebraska would be forced to punt; however, the following MSU possession, Jeremy Langford would fumble the ball in MSU territory giving the Huskers great position again. Much like after the Cook interception in the 1st quarter, the Spartan defense would not allow Nebraska to score, forcing a 3 and out. However, the windy conditions would have an effect on the punt return, as Macgarrett Kings misjudged where the ball would land and muffed the catch, which was recovered by Nebraska at the MSU 24 yard line. Nebraska proceeded to drive all the way to the MSU 8 yard line, only for Ameer Abdullah to fumble the ball. Shilique Calhoun would make the recovery and return it to the MSU 45 yard line. Michigan State would add a Michael Geiger 28-yard field goal to give them a 17–0 lead at halftime.

A few possessions into the 3rd quarter, Marcus Rush would force a fumble and the offense would take over at the Nebraska 15 yard line, where they would be forced to settle for a field goal, strengthening the Michigan State lead to 20. Nebraska would finally score on their next possession, after a Drew Brown 40-yard field goal would make the game 20–3 MSU. The Spartans would answer that with a Tony Lippett 32 yard rush touchdown on a double reverse, giving them a 27–3 lead. Michigan State would have a 24 lead heading into the 4th quarter.

Nebraska would score on their first possession of the 4th quarter on a 2-yard Ameer Abdullah touchdown run. The Huskers chose to go for 2 points but failed to convert. The score was 27–9 MSU. The Spartan offense cooled off considerably in the 4th, having to punt on their next 2 possessions. Nebraska would score again following a pass interference call against Trae Waynes on another short, 1 yard Ameer Abdullah run, cutting the Spartan lead to 11; 27–16 MSU. The following Michigan State possession, the Spartans were forced to punt, which Nebraska would take advantage of off a 62-yard De'Mornay Pierson-El touchdown return to put Nebraska within 5 points, 27–22. Michigan State would recover the onside kick attempt, but Michael Geiger would miss a 36-yard field goal attempt. Nebraska would have one last chance to complete a major upset and comeback. Following an incomplete pass, Tommy Armstrong would find Alonzo Moore for a huge 43 yard gain, putting them in MSU territory at the 37 yard line. However, Trae Waynes would make a huge play, getting his 2nd interception of the night and ensuring a 27–22 Michigan State victory.

With the victory, Michigan State recorded its 10th straight conference win, and its second straight victory over Nebraska after losing the previous 7 meetings. The Spartans and Cornhuskers combined for 7 turnovers total ( 2 fumbles and 1 interception for MSU; 2 fumbles and 2 interceptions for Nebraska). Tony Lippett had his 7th straight game with a touchdown catch, dating back to the Big Ten Championship Game. The Spartan defense recorded 5 sacks and despite allowing 2 touchdown runs, held the potent Nebraska rushing attack led by Heisman hopeful running back Ameer Abdullah to just 47 yards on 37 carries; Abdullah had recorded over 100 yards (all-purpose) in 6 straight games coming into this game.


Michigan State at Purdue
1 234Total
No. 8 Michigan State 14 10147 45
Purdue 3 14014 31
  • Sources:

Michigan State traveled to West Lafayette for the first time since 2009. The Spartans came into the game having won the previous five meetings against the Boilermakers. Michigan State received the ball to open the game and quickly capitalized with a 75-yard scoring drive capped with 39 yard TD pass from Connor Cook to Tony Lippett. Purdue responded with a 58-yard drive which resulted in a 36-yard Paul Griggs field goal. MSU's ensuing drive resulted in another TD for the Spartans. Nick Hill ran for a two touchdown giving MSU a 14–3 lead. Purdue couldn't get anything going and quickly punted the ball back State, who finished the quarter with the ball.

The second quarter began with the continuation of the Spartan drive. MSU finished the drive with a two-yard touchdown pass from Connor Cook to Josiah Price, giving them a 21–3 lead. Purdue was able to respond on the next drive when Keyante Green ran for a big 36 yard gain, placing the ball at the MSU 16 yard line. Two plays later Purdue would get a touchdown on a 13-yard pass from Austin Appleby to Danny Anthrop. MSU's next drive started off with a 30-yard run by Delton Williams, giving State the ball inside Purdue territory. The drive would ultimately reach the Boilermaker 25 yard line before stalling and ending with a 23-yard Michael Geiger field goal. Purdue responded again by driving down the field for another touchdown, a 9-yard pass from Applebee to B.J. Knauf. MSU attempted to finish the half by adding additional points, but a 44-yard Geiger field goal was missed. The half ended with MSU leading 24–17.

The second half began with Purdue receiving the opening kick. Their first drive ended with a punt after a three and out. MSU's offense again moved the ball down the field and again scored a TD after Aaron Burbridge caught a tough pass in the back of the end zone, advancing the lead to 31–17. Another Purdue three and out gave MSU the ball at the Purdue 47. On the first play of the drive, Nick Hill ran 37 yards to the 10 yard line. Two plays later Hill would run for a four-yard touchdown, giving State a 38–17 lead. The next two combined drives resulted in punts by each team, resulting with Purdue in possession of the ball trailing 38–17 going into the fourth.

The fourth quarter began with Purdue desperately trying to get back into the ball game. After a successful fourth down conversion on 4th and 11, Austin Applebee fumbled the ball after a missed handoff. MSU defense end Shilique Calhoun recovered the ball on the Spartan 49 yard line. State looked poised for another scoring opportunity after they were able to move the ball to the Purdue 21, but a Cook interception (Frankie Williams) ended the drive. With a breath of new life Purdue quickly scored on a 52-yard run by Akeem Hunt, closing the score to 38–24. A quick three resulted in an apparent MSU punt attempt with a little of 7:30 to play. Instead of punting, DT Lawrence attempted a run on a fake punt attempt. The attempt gained only one yard of the needed six, giving Purdue the ball at the MSU 30 yard line. Three plays later Purdue scored another TD on an Akeem Hunts three yard run, bringing the deficit to seven with 6:19 remaining. MSU found moderate success on the next drive, getting out to the Purdue 47 before stalling. Mike Sadler was able to pin Purdue at their five-yard after a 42-yard punt. After converting a fourth down, Purdue found themselves with a third and eight. Shilique Calhoun was able to get pressure on Appleby which forced him to throw an errant pass to the flat, which was intercepted by linebacker Darien Harris for a 15-yard pick six. MSU led with 1:22 remaining 45–31. Purdue attempted on last scoring drive, but the MSU defense forced a four and out which essentially ended the game.

The win made it six wins in a row against Purdue. Connor Cook finished the game 19/37 in passing for 238 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. Jeremy Langford rushed for 104 yards, his fourth game in a row over 100 yards. Tony Lippett led MSU receivers with seven receptions for 138 yards and a touchdown.


Michigan State at Indiana
(Old Brass Spittoon)
1 234Total
No. 8 Michigan State 7 21721 56
Indiana 3 1400 17
  • Sources:

The Spartans returned to the state of Indiana for the second week in a row after previously beating Purdue. MSU was looking to win their sixth in a row over the Hoosiers and their third in a row at Memorial Stadium. Indiana entered the game starting their third-string quarterback Zander Diamont, a true freshman that was thrust into action after the two quarterbacks ahead of him on the depth chart were injured the previous week at Iowa. The Hoosiers won the toss and elected to receive the ball, which resulted in a quick three and out. Michigan State's offense struck quickly with a seven play drive that was capped with a 32-yard touchdown run by Jeremy Langford. Another three and out by Indiana gave the ball back to the Spartans, but an eight play drive was wasted by a missed 42-yard field goal by Michael Geiger. Indiana's offense finally got rolling with a 65-yard run by running back Tevin Coleman. After the run, the MSU defense locked down and held the Hoosiers to a 27-yard field goal by Griffin Oakes.

The second quarter began with MSU in possession of the football at their 30-yard line. The drive ended with a ten-yard TD pass from Connor Cook to Josiah Price. Indiana quickly responded with a 75-yard Shane Wynn touchdown run on the first play of the ensuing possession, closing the score to 14–10 in favor of the Spartans. After several stalled drives by each teams and an intercepted Connor Cook pass by Tegray Scales, the Hoosiers took the lead after a Zander Diamont nine yard TD run. On the ensuing drive, Connor Cook hit Josiah Price for a 67-yard gain to the Indiana eight yard line. On the next play Jeremy Langford ran it in for his second touchdown of the game, giving MSU the lead back at 21–17. After another Indiana three and out, the Spartans marched down the field and scored another TD after Cook hit Macgarrett Kings Jr. on a 14-yard pass. Two run plays by the Hoosiers ended the first half with MSU leading 28–17.

The third quarter started with MSU receiving the ball, which resulted in a three and out. After another stalled Hoosier drive, the Spartans took the ball over. Facing third and nine, Connor Cook scrambled to avoid Hoosier defenders and lobbed a 41-yard over the shoulder pass to Tony Lippett. Six plays later, a four-yard pass from Cook to R.J. Shelton extended the lead to 35–17. Neither team scored during the rest of the quarter, but MSU was in the midst of a drive into IU territory when the quarter ended.

The fourth quarter began with MSU scoring their sixth TD of the day on a 12-yard TD run by Langford. Another failed drive by IU gave the ball back to MSU, who again punched it into the end zone on a 22-yard run by Delton Williams. Indiana's next drive brought the game to a halt when starting left tackle Jason Spriggs injured his upper neck. Spriggs was removed from the field by medical personnel and taken for medical tests by ambulance. After play resumed, Indiana again punted the ball MSU. MSU added the last score of the day on the third play of the drive, a 76-yard TD run by Nick Hill. Indiana would fumble the ball on the first play of the next drive, which was recovered by MSU's Demetrius Cooper. The Spartan's ended the game with two kneel downs, completing their sweep of the Hoosier state in 2014.

The win made it six in a row against the Hoosiers and increased Mark Dantonio's record against Indiana based Big Ten teams to 12–0.


Michigan at Michigan State
(Paul Bunyan Trophy)
1 234Total
Michigan 0 308 11
No. 8 Michigan State 7 7147 35
  • Sources:

The 107th edition of the Michigan State – Michigan rivalry was televised in front of a national ABC audience for the second straight year. The Spartans came in on a five-game winning streak while the Wolverines limped in having lost three of their last four games. The Wolverines were looking for a measure of revenge after being completely overwhelmed the previous year in a 29–6 thrashing. In an apparent attempt to motivate each other, several Michigan players (led by linebacker Joe Bolden) gathered on the field during the national anthem and thrust a tent stake into the Spartan Stadium turf. Michigan would win the coin toss and defer until the second half.

Michigan State received the kickoff and started at their 25-yard line. On the second play of the game, Connor Cook hit Tony Lippett for a 24-yard gain to the 49 yard line. Three plays later Cook connected with Keith Mumphery for an additional 28 yards to the Michigan 21. On second down, Cook kept the ball and ran down to the 17 yard line where he trucked Michigan safety Delano Hill. Hill responded by hitting Cook after play and received an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. With the ball on the two, Jeremy Langford powered it in for the first touchdown of the game. After short, failed drives by both teams, Mike Sadler punted away and gave Michigan the ball near midfield. A targeting penalty by MSU reserve linebacker Chris Frey (which resulted in his ejection) gave Michigan the ball at the MSU 29. The penalty ended up not hurting the Spartans as Michigan senior quarterback Devin Gardner promptly fumbled the ball, giving it back to State. MSU would drive down to the Michigan five yard line but a loss on a Langford run and a sack on Cook resulted in a 36-yard field goal attempt by Michael Geiger, which he missed. The quarter ended with Michigan in possession of the ball with a third and 15 from at their own 11.

The second quarter began with the Wolverines converting a third and long when Gardner hit Amara Darboh for a 24-yard gain. The Wolverines were able to eventually reach midfield before they were forced to punt. MSU's next drive was able to reach the Michigan 34 yard line where a failed fourth down conversion attempt ended the drive. After a UM three and a fumble by MSU tight end Josiah Price, the Wolverines found well into MSU territory. The Spartan defense rose up and stuffed the Wolverines for no gain and forced a 48-yard field goal by Matt Wile. With a 7–3 lead and 3:30 left in the half, the Spartans took over at their own 27 yard line. On the first play of the drive Jeremy Langford ripped off a 24-yard run. A few plays later Cook connected with AJ Troup for a 13-yard pass to the UM 25. Cook next hit Langford for 18 yards to the seven on a screen play. The ensuing play saw Langford run for an apparent touchdown, which was ruled down at the one after the officials reviewed the play. Three plays later Langford would finish the drive with his second TD of the day, which essentially ended the first half with MSU up 14–3.

Michigan received the ball to begin the second half. After stalled drives by both Michigan an MSU, the Wolverines found themselves with the ball at their own 22. On second and nine, Gardner threw an interception to MSU safety RJ Williamson who returned it for a touchdown and pushed the lead to 21–3. Another short Michigan drive forced by the MSU defense resulted in MSU's offense in possession at their30 yard line. Before the drive began ABC showed a flashback to the infamous Mike Hart/Mark Dantonio exchange from 2007, which set the stage for the ensuing play. On the first play of the drive, Connor Cook hit Tony Lippett on a perfectly thrown back shoulder catch that resulted in a 70-yard MSU touchdown. Michigan's next drive saw Michigan move to ball to its deepest point all game. After failing to convert on third down at the MSU 10, Michigan attempted to convert on fourth down. Devin Gardner attempted to reach the line of game but was stopped short by RJ Williamson and Lawrence Thomas. MSU maintained position for the remainder of the quarter and took their 28–3 lead into the fourth.

After failing to convert a third down on their first play of the fourth quarter, Mike Sadler punted the ball to the Wolverines. After failed drives by both sides, the Spartans began a possession with 9:01 remaining. After several successful runs, the Spartans had the ball at their own 36 and were looking to run as much clock as possible. On first down, a failed handoff between Cook and Langford resulted in a fumble that was recovered by Michigan's Frank Clark. With 5:24 remaining, Michigan had the ball at the MSU 33 and looked to score their first touchdown of the game. After converting a third and ten with a 24-yard gain to Devin Funchess, the Wolverines had a first and goal at the nine. On third and goal, the Wolverines finally scored on a one-yard run by De’Veon Smith. The touchdown was the Wolverine's first against the Spartans since the fourth quarter of the 2011 matchup. The Wolverines were able to convert a two-point conversion making the score 28–11 with 3:40 remaining. The Spartans were able to stop an onside kick attempt and took over at the Michigan 48 yard line. The Spartan's last drive of the game was a punishing 48 yard march down the field with seven straight Langford runs. His last run capped the drive off and finished scoring for the game, giving the Spartans a 35–11 victory.

The victory gave MSU their sixth win in seven meetings against the Wolverines and their fourth straight at Spartan Stadium. Head coach Mark Dantonio addressed the stake incident in his postgame press conference by stating “we drove a stake in them.”

Ohio State[edit]

Ohio State at Michigan State
1 234Total
No. 13 Ohio State 7 21714 49
No. 7 Michigan State 14 7313 37
  • Sources:


Michigan State at Maryland
1 234Total
No. 12 Michigan State 6 10714 37
Maryland 0 708 15
  • Date: November 15th
  • Location:
    Byrd Stadium
    College Park, MD
  • Game start: 8:10 PM
  • Elapsed time: 3:40
  • Game attendance: 51,802
  • Game weather: 32°F, Wind: None, Fair
  • Referee: Shawn Smith
  • TV announcers (BTN):
    Kevin Kugler (Play-by-Play)
    Glen Mason (Analyst)
    Lisa Byington (Sideline)
  • Sources:

Coming off of a tough loss to Ohio State, the Spartans traveled to play the Maryland Terrapins for the first time as Big Ten Conference opponents. The game was MSU's first true road night game since the 2009 season when they traveled to Minneapolis to face the Minnesota Golden Gophers. In front of a full house (which contained a large Spartan contingent), the Spartans looked to extend their Big Ten road winning streak to nine games.

MSU received the ball to open the game, but only reached mid-field before punting. MSU's defense, looking to atone for a poor performance against the Buckeyes, quickly got the ball back when Kurtis Drummond intercepted a C.J. Brown pass and took the ball to the UMD 28. State was able to reach the five yard line, where they were forced to settle for a 22-yard Michael Geiger field goal. State's defense forced a three and out on the next position, giving the offense the ball back on their own 11. The next drive was aided by a 50-yard Connor Cook pass to Macgarrett Kings Jr., which moved the ball to the UMD 37 yard line. State eventually drove to the 17 before settling for a 34-yard Geiger FG. Another Maryland three and out ensued, giving the Spartans the ball for the rest of the first quarter.

MSU began the second quarter by again driving deep into Terrapin territory where they again settled for a Geiger FG (35 yards), which gave them a 9–0 lead. Maryland's offense was given a hug boost to open the next drive after William Likely returned the kickoff 52 yards to the MSU 41. After converting a fourth and six, C.J. Brown was able to connect with Daniel Adams for a 20-yard touchdown pass. MSU's offense appeared to have been stopped by the Terps, but a muffed punt by Likely resulted in new life for State's offense. That second chance was squandered when Geiger missed a 47-yard FG attempt, keeping the score 9–7. Another three and out by the Terps gave the ball back to MSU. MSU took advantage, picking up 62 yards on a Cook pass to Keith Mumphrey. After a false start on the ensuing play, Jeremy Langford ran for an eight-yard TD and a 16–7 lead. Maryland ended the half with the ball at midfield.

The Terps received the ball to open the third, but quickly gave the ball back to State after another three and out. Neither offense was able to get much going throughout the third quarter. The only scoring occurred when a C.J Brown pass was intercepted and returned for a touchdown by MSU safety R.J. Williamson, giving State a 23–7 lead. Yet another three and out gave MSU the ball back, maintaining possession until the end of the quarter.

The first two offensive of the fourth quarter saw little ball movement. MSU was able to add to their lead on their second possession of the quarter when Jeremy Langford broke free for a 25-yard touchdown run. The Terps responded by completing a 77-yard scoring drive with a Brown TD pass to Juwann Winfree and a successful two point conversion on a Brown to Derrick Hayward pass. With the score at 30–15, Maryland attempted an onside kick. MSU was able to recover the onside kick attempt and effectively ended the game when Nick Hill broke free for a 33-yard touchdown run.


Rutgers at Michigan State
1 234Total
Rutgers 0 030 3
No. 10 Michigan State 14 21010 45
  • Sources:

Michigan State hosted the Rutgers Scarlet Knights for the time as conference opponents and for the first time at Spartan Stadium since 2003. MSU celebrated senior day on a cold, icy day in mid-Michigan. The game started off with Rutgers receiving the opening kick, which resulted in a three and out for the knights. MSU's ensuing possession came to an end after three plays when Connor Cook fumbled the ball at the Rutgers 21 yard line. Rutgers was unable to capitalize, turning the ball back over to the Spartans when Kurtis Drummond intercepted Gary Nova's third down pass. MSU's offense got themselves going with a nine play, 66 yard drive that was capped by a 30-yard TD pass from Cook to Tony Lippett. Another three and out by the Knights forced a punting situation which resulted in a shank by punter Joseph Roth (10 yard punt), giving State the ball on the Rutgers 33 yard line. Three plays later, running back Jeremy Langford ran for an 18-yard touchdown. Rutgers finished the first quarter with the ball and successfully driving to the MSU 30.

The Scarlet Knights were unable to successfully finish off their best drive of the game after kicker Kyle Federico missed a 46-yard field goal attempt. State's offense once again marched down the field and scored another TD when Jeremy Langford broke free for a 38-yard score. MSU got the ball back after another three and out by Rutgers and again scored a TD when Nick Hill ran in on a one-yard run, giving the Spartans a 28–0 lead. The Knights next drive was cut short when linebacker Riley Bullough intercepted Gary Nova at the RU 48 yard line. The offense once again reached the end zone when Cook connected with R.J. Shelton on a seven-yard pass. Rutgers held the ball for the final 28 seconds of the half, which ended with MSU leading 35–0.

The third quarter began with MSU receiving the kickoff. MSU was able to drive to the RU 24 yard line where it appeared they would settle for a Michael Geiger field goal attempt. Instead, holder Mike Sadler flipped the ball to Geiger who ran it down to the one yard line. The bold fake attempt was for naught due to a Nick Hill fumble on the next play. After stalled drives by each offense, the Knights were finally able to get on the board when Federico hit a 44-yard attempt.

The final quarter began with MSU in possession of the ball. State was able to drive to the RU six yard line, where Geiger connected on a 23-yard FG attempt. Another three and out by the RU offense gave MSU the ball back at their own 34. State punched it in for the last score of the game when Nick Hill broke free for a 16-yard TD run, capping a 45–3 victory for the Spartans.

Penn State[edit]

Michigan State at Penn State
(Land Grant Trophy)
1 234Total
No. 10 Michigan State 13 0147 34
Penn State 0 370 10
  • Sources:

Michigan State squared off against Penn State for the first time since the conclusion of the 2010 season, a 28–22 victory that gave MSU a share of the 2010 Big Ten Championship. Michigan State was looking to secure their 10th win of the season and second in a row over the Nittany Lions. Penn State came into the game with a 6–5 overall record and a 2–5 Big Ten record.

The Spartans received the ball to begin the game with RJ Shelton taking back the opening kick 90 yards for a touchdown. Penn State responded by driving down to the MSU 34 yard line, where the drive stalled. Senior kicker Sam Ficken attempted a 51-yard field goal, which fell well short. On MSU's first offensive possession, the Spartans were able to drive to Penn State's 19 yard line where Michael Geiger hit a 36-yard field goal. After holding PSU, the Spartan offense once again drove deep into Penn State territory and again settled for a Geiger field goal (39 yards).

The second quarter saw little offense as the ball remained in MSU territory for most of the quarter. The only scoring came from a Penn State drive halfway through when Ficken was able to convert a 41-yard field goal attempt. MSU's ensuing drive showed some promise with the Spartans across mid field at the PSU 47 yard line. After a few penalties, MSU was facing a third and 20 from their own 43. On third down Connor Cook threw an interception to defensive tackle Anthony Zettel, who returned it to the MSU 36 yard line with 43 seconds remaining in the half. Christian Hackenburg was able to drive the Lions down to the MSU 23, but a second down pass into the end zone was intercepted by Trae Waynes. On the next play, a kneel down by Cook ended the quarter with MSU leading 13–3.

The third quarter began with Penn State driving to mid field before being forced to punt. On the ensuing drive, Cook connected with Keith Mumphery and Macgaret Kings Jr. on back to back plays of 25 and 31 yards giving MSU first and goal at the five. Three plays later Jeremy Langford punched it in for the first offensive touchdown of the day, giving MSU a 20–3 lead. Penn State's next drive was quickly ended when Marcus Rush sacked and forced a fumble on Hackenberg, giving MSU the ball at the Penn State 18 yard line. Five plays later Connor Cook hit Tony Lippett for a ten-yard touchdown, resulting in a 27–3 lead with less than five minutes left in the third. Penn State's offense finally got on track, aided by Akeel Lynch's 26 yard run, and drove the length of the field for a Lynch three yard touchdown. The quarter ended with MSU in possession of the ball and a 27–10 lead.

The beginning of the fourth quarter saw MSU with a drive down to the PSU 27 yard line. After failing to convert a third and long, Michael Geiger attempted and missed a 44-yard field goal wide left. After failed possessions by both teams, Penn State found themselves with a fourth and 20 at their own 20 yard line. After a failed fourth down conversion, MSU regained possession already in the red zone. On the fourth straight run by Jeremy Langford, the Spartans added another TD (Langford's second) and increased their lead to 34–10 and finished scoring for the day.

The win guaranteed the fourth ten win season in the last five for the Spartans and their second straight win over the Nittany Lions (both at Beaver Stadium). Michigan State finished with a 10–2 overall record, 7–1 in the Big ten, and would ultimately get invited to the Cotton Bowl Classic in Arlington, TX on January 1. Penn State fell to 6–6 overall, 2–6 Big Ten, and would be invited to the Pinstripe Bowl.

Baylor (Cotton Bowl Classic)[edit]

Michigan State vs Baylor
(Cotton Bowl Classic)
1 234Total
• No. 7 Michigan State 14 0721 42
No. 4 Baylor 14 10170 41
  • Sources:

Michigan State was selected to play in the 79th Cotton Bowl Classic against the Big 12 Co-Champion Baylor Bears (11–1, 8–1 Big 12) in the first iteration of the College Football Playoff New Year's Six bowl games. Michigan State was making its first Cotton Bowl appearance while Baylor was making their third. The Spartans were only the second Big Ten team to participate in the Cotton Bowl with Ohio State being the first in the 1987 Cotton Bowl Classic (Nebraska and Penn State both played in the Cotton Bowl prior to joining the Big Ten). Michigan State won the coin toss and elected to receive the opening kickoff.

On Michigan State's first possession, Jeremy Langford broke open a career long 65 yard run down to the Baylor one yard line. Three plays later, Langford would finish the drive with a two-yard touchdown run. Baylor would quickly respond on the next drive. After driving the ball to midfield, quarterback Bryce Petty hit KD Cannon for a 49-yard touchdown to tie the game at seven. On the ensuing kickoff return MSU's RJ Shelton was able to reach the MSU 40 yard line, giving MSU great field position. Taking advantage, Connor Cook quickly hit Tony Lippett for a 24-yard gain. A few plays later RJ Shelton scored a touchdown on an 11-yard sweep, giving the Spartans a 14–7 lead. After stalled drives by both teams, Baylor tied the game on a 53-yard pass by wide receiver Jay Lee to Corey Coleman with 2:32 remaining in the quarter.

To begin the second quarter, MSU drove the ball down to the Baylor 28 yard line. On third down Connor Cook attempted to option the ball to RJ Shelton, but the pass fell behind Williams and resulted in a loss of five yards. After a timeout, MSU lined up for a 50-yard field goal. Instead of kicking the ball, holder Mike Sadler flung the ball to kicker Michael Geiger attempted to run for the first down. Baylor quickly responded and stopped him short. With the ball, Baylor drove down the Spartan goal line and scored on a Bryce Petty QB sneak. Baylor led 21–14 with 8:13 remaining in the 1st half. After MSU's drive stalled at midfield Baylor drove the field and tacked on three points with a 25-yard field goal by Chris Callahan, which ended the scoring in the first half.

Baylor received the ball to begin the second half and quickly took advantage. On the second play, KD Cannon split the MSU secondary or a 74-yard touchdown reception (Cannon's second TD of the day) from Petty and increased Baylor's lead to 31–14. After a MSU three and out Baylor drove down and got in position for a 46-yard field goal by Callahan, giving the Bears a 34–14 lead with 11:23 remaining in the third. On the next drive, MSU drove to Baylor 45 yard line where they faced a 3rd and 4. On a key play of the second half, Cook hit Shelton on a shallow crossing pattern for a 19-yard gain. The following play saw Lippett gain 19 yards on a double reverse giving the Spartan's first and goal from the eight yard line. Three plays later the Spartan's punched it in on a two-yard Langford run, closing the score to 34–21. Baylor's next drive began with Shilique Calhoun sacking and forcing a Petty fumble, which was recovered by the Bears. On second down, Petty hit KD Cannon for another big gain to the MSU 44 yard line. Five plays later Petty hit wide open backup offensive guard LaQuan McGowan for an 18-yard TD, which set off a wild celebration amongst the Baylor sideline and their fans throughout AT&T Stadium. The score gave Baylor a 41–21 lead with 4:03 left in the quarter. On their next drive the Spartans were able to drive down to the Baylor 26, but the drive ended when Cook threw a pass into double coverage and was ultimately intercepted by Alfred Pullom. Baylor responded by moving the ball deep into MSU territory, but a penalty and an Ed Davis sack to close the quarter resulted in a third a 28 from the MSU 43 yard line. Baylor led the game 41–21 at the end of the third quarter.

After failing to convert on third down, Chris Callahan set up for a 46-yard field goal attempt that would bounce off the right upright. MSU took over at their own 29 yard line. On the first play of the drive, Cook connected with Keith Mumphery for a 50-yard gain. Four plays later, Cook passed to Josiah Price in the corner of the end zone for an eight-yard touchdown. The score made it 41–28 with 12:09 remaining. On the ensuing kick-off, MSU kicker Kevin Cronin executed a successful onside kick (recovered by Jermaine Edmonson). With the ball and momentum, Cook connected down the Baylor sideline with Aaron Burbridge for a 39-yard gain to the Bear's 14 yard line. The ensuing play gave Baylor all of the momentum back as Connor Cook threw an interception to linebacker Taylor Young, who returned the ball all the way to the end zone for an apparent touchdown. Instead, a block in the back during the return brought the ball back to the Baylor 43 yard line. Six plays later Baylor would give the ball back to Michigan State after failing to convert on fourth down from the MSU 39. With 9:15 remaining in the game, MSU began their drive in an attempt to make the game closer. MSU managed to move the ball down to the Bear 11 yard line where Cook scrambled for an apparent touchdown. After instant replay overturned the score, Jeremy Langford ran it in to bring the score to 41–35 with 4:55 remaining in the game. Instead of attempting an onside kick, Michigan State elected to kick the ball deep and put the game in the hands of their defense. Baylor was able to move the ball downfield to the MSU 33 yard line and appeared in control of the game when a slant pass to Corey Coleman reached inside the five yard line. However, Coleman was flagged for an offensive facemask which brought the ball back to the 22 yard line. A false start, a short pass to the sideline for one yard, a rush for loss, and a short four yard gain to the flat resulted in a fourth down from the 27 yard line. With the clock under 1:15, Baylor attempted a 44-yard field goal. During the kick MSU senior defensive end Marcus Rush was able to get a hand on the ball, which resulted in the ball popping up and into RJ Williamson's hands. Williamson began to return the ball for MSU and was aided by a block on Chris Callahan by Tony Lippett. Williamson returned the ball to the Baylor 45 yard line where he was run out of bounds with 1:06 remaining. With new life the MSU offense lined up and quickly completed a 17-yard pass to Mumphery. After failing to complete a pass during the following three plays, MSU faced fourth and ten. With the game on the line, Connor Cook was able to complete a 16-yard pass to Lippett. With first and goal, 33 seconds remaining and no timeouts, MSU had four chances to get a touchdown. After two poor throws from Cook, the Spartans faced third and goal with 22 seconds left. On third down, Cook hit Keith Mumphery for the go ahead touchdown with 17 seconds left. Baylor got the ball back with only a field goal needed for the win. On first down from their own 25 yard line, Petty was sacked by defensive tackle Lawrence Thomas for a six-yard loss. After a quick timeout and with only 13 seconds left on a second and long Petty was sacked again, this time by Marcus Rush and Riley Bullough, forcing Baylor to call a second timeout. Facing third and 23 from their own 12 yard line with only seven seconds left, Petty attempted to hit a quick slant over the middle. His pass was intercepted by a diving Riley Bullough, who essentially ended the game with only two seconds remaining. The MSU offense returned to the field for one kneel down. Bowl chairman Dan Novakov awarded MSU head coach Mark Dantonio the Field Scovell Trophy in a post game ceremony.

The win resulted in Michigan State's school record fourth straight bowl win and second straight New Year's Day bowl win. Michigan State finished the season ranked No. 5 in both polls (tied with Florida State in the AP poll) while Baylor finished No. 7 in the AP and No. 8 in the Coaches. It was the first time since the 1965 and 1966 seasons that the Spartans had finished consecutive seasons ranked in the top five. The Spartans sent off beloved defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi, who had taken the Pittsburgh Panthers football head coaching job on December 23, with a memorable victory.


Ranking movements
Legend: ██ Increase in ranking. ██ Decrease in ranking.
NR = Not ranked. RV = Received votes. т = Tied with team above or below. ( ) = First place votes.
Poll Pre 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 Final 
AP 8 7 13 11 9 10 8 8 8 8 7 12 10 10 7 7 5 т 
Coaches 8 6 13 11 9 10 8 6 5 5 6 12 9 8 7 7 5 
CFP Not released 8 8 12 11 10 8 8 Not released


2014 Michigan State Spartans football team roster
Players Coaches
Pos. # Name Class
WR 13 Robert Aiello Redshirt.svg Fr
OL 65 Brian Allen Fr
C 66 Jack Allen Redshirt.svg Jr
QB 22 Paul Andrie Redshirt.svg So
WR 5 DeAnthony Arnett Redshirt.svg Jr
WR 87 Tres Barksdale Redshirt.svg So
OL 61 James Bodanis Redshirt.svg Sr
OG 57 Adam Brown Redshirt.svg Jr
WR 16 Aaron Burbridge Jr
TE 80 Dylan Chmura Redshirt.svg Fr
OL 76 Donavon Clark Redshirt.svg Jr
OL 64 Brandon Clemons Redshirt.svg Jr
OT 74 Jack Conklin Redshirt.svg So
TE 97 Nathan Conrad Fr
QB 18 Connor Cook Redshirt.svg Jr
OL 73 Dennis Finley Redshirt.svg Fr
OL 71 Chase Gianacakos Fr
TE 84 Andrew Gleichert Redshirt.svg Sr
OG 67 Zach Higgins Redshirt.svg So
RB 20 Nick Hill Redshirt.svg Sr
RB 24 Gerald Holmes So
C 63 Travis Jackson (C) Redshirt.svg Sr
WR 89 John Jakubik Redshirt.svg Sr
C 79 Kodi Kieler Redshirt.svg So
WR 17 Trey Kilgore Redshirt.svg Fr
WR 85 Macgarrett Kings Jr
OG 54 Connor Kruse Redshirt.svg Sr
QB 11 Colar Kuhns Fr
TE 83 Paul Lang Redshirt.svg Jr
RB 33 Jeremy Langford Redshirt.svg Sr
WR 14 Tony Lippett Redshirt.svg Sr
RB 28 Madre London Fr
FB 40 Collin Lucas Fr
TE 11 Jamal Lyles Redshirt.svg So
OL 55 Miguel Machado Jr
WR 86 Matt Macksood Redshirt.svg So
WR 88 Monty Madaris Redshirt.svg So
WR 34 Brock Makaric Redshirt.svg Fr
OG 75 Benny McGowan Redshirt.svg So
WR 25 Keith Mumphery Redshirt.svg Sr
QB 7 Tyler O’Connor Redshirt.svg So
RB 41 Gerald Owens Fr
OL 77 Nick Padla Fr
FB 37 Trevon Pendleton Redshirt.svg Jr
TE 82 Josiah Price Redshirt.svg So
FB 47 Matt Rea Redshirt.svg Sr
C 58 Devyn Salmon Redshirt.svg Fr
OL 68 Jeremy Schram Fr
OL 60 Casey Schreiner Fr
WR 12 R.J. Shelton So
WR 21 Andre Sims Redshirt.svg Jr
TE 81 Matt Sokol Fr
WR 15 Brandon Sowards Fr
QB 6 Damion Terry Redshirt.svg Fr
WR 19 A. J. Troup Redshirt.svg Jr
QB 16 Tommy Vento Redshirt.svg Jr
RB 22 Delton Williams So
RB 36 Phillip-Michael Williams Jr
WR 26 Austin Wolfe Redshirt.svg Fr
Pos. # Name Class
DL 51 Dillon Alexander Fr
DT 59 David Beedle Fr
LB 38 Byron Bullough Fr
LB 30 Riley Bullough So
DE 89 Shilique Calhoun (C) Redshirt.svg Jr
DL 64 Brandon Clemons Redshirt.svg Jr
DB 36 Arjen Colquhoun Redshirt.svg Jr
DE 98 Demetrius Cooper Redshirt.svg Fr
CB 13 Vayante Copeland Fr
S 7 Demetrious Cox Redshirt.svg So
LB 43 Ed Davis Redshirt.svg Jr
LB 53 Peter DePorre Fr
S 27 Kurtis Drummond (C) Redshirt.svg Sr
CB 39 Jermaine Edmondson Redshirt.svg So
DT 72 Craig Evans Fr
DL 96 David Fennell Redshirt.svg So
LB 23 Chris Frey Fr
LB 31 T. J. Harrell Fr
LB 50 Sean Harrington Redshirt.svg Fr
LB 45 Darien Harris Redshirt.svg Jr
DE 92 Joel Heath Redshirt.svg Jr
CB 2 Darian Hicks So
S 6 Mylan Hicks Redshirt.svg Sr
DE 85 Evan Jones Redshirt.svg Fr
LB 49 Shane Jones Redshirt.svg Fr
LB 34 Taiwan Jones Sr
DL 99 James Kittredge Redshirt.svg Sr
DL 93 Damon Knox Redshirt.svg Jr
S 14 Chris Laneaux Redshirt.svg Jr
DB 32 Zac Leimbach Redshirt.svg So
DL 4 Malik McDowell Fr
DB 29 Mark Meyers Redshirt.svg So
DB 10 Matt Morrissey Fr
DB 9 Montae Nicholson Fr
DB 35 Jalyn Powell Redshirt.svg Fr
LB 33 Jon Reschke Redshirt.svg Fr
LB 48 Pat Rhomberg Redshirt.svg Jr
DE 44 Marcus Rush Redshirt.svg Sr
DL 56 Enoch Smith Fr
DE 94 Montez Sweet Fr
DL 8 Lawrence Thomas Redshirt.svg Jr
CB 32 Nick Thompkins Redshirt.svg So
LB 18 Michael Topolinski Redshirt.svg Jr
DE 62 Tyler Topolinski Redshirt.svg Fr
DB 20 Jalen Watts-Jackson Fr
CB 15 Trae Waynes Redshirt.svg Jr
CB 21 Justin Williams Redshirt.svg Fr
S 26 R. J. Williamson Redshirt.svg Jr
Special teams
Pos. # Name Class
K 24 Kevin Cronin
LS 56 Leland Ewing Redshirt.svg Sr
K 4 Michael Geiger So
P 25 Jake Hartbarger Fr
LS 52 Taybor Pepper Jr
P 3 Mike Sadler Redshirt.svg Sr
Head coach
Coordinators/assistant coaches
  • Pat NarduzziAssistant Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator
  • Jim BollmanCo-Offensive Coordinator/Tight Ends
  • Dave Warner – Co-Offensive Coordinator/Running Backs
  • Harlon BarnettSecondary
  • Ron BurtonDefensive Line
  • Brad Salem – Quarterbacks/Recruiting Coordinator
  • Terrence Samuel – Wide Receivers
  • Mark Staten – Offensive Line
  • Mike TresselLinebackers/Special Teams

  • (C) Team captain
  • (S) Suspended
  • (I) Ineligible
  • Injured Injured
  • Redshirt Redshirt

Last update: August 20, 2013



Note: Comp/Att = Completions/Attempts; Pct. = Completion Percentage; Pass Rat. = Passer Rating

Player Comp/Att Pct. Yards TD INT Pass Rat.
Connor Cook 212/365 58.1 3214 24 8 149.4
Tyler O'Connor 12/16 75.0 151 2 1 183.0
Damion Terry 12/19 63.2 88 0 0 102.1
Totals 236/400 59.0 3453 26 9 148.5
Player Att Yards Avg Long TD
Jeremy Langford 276 1522 5.5 65 22
Nick Hill 107 622 5.8 76 9
Delton Williams 54 316 5.9 80 5
R.J. Shelton 21 148 7.0 30 2
Keith Mumphery 6 85 14.2 33 1
Connor Cook 51 80 1.6 13 2
Macgarrett Kings Jr. 12 71 5.9 23 0
Damion Terry 12 62 5.2 15 0
Tony Lippett 2 51 25.5 32 1
Gerald Holmes 15 44 2.9 8 0
Aaron Burbridge 8 39 4.9 15 0
Michael Geiger 2 29 14.5 23 0
Tyler O'Connor 6 22 3.7 12 2
Philip-Michael Williams 4 5 1.3 5 0
Connor Kruse 1 1 1.0 1 0
Lawrence Thomas 1 1 1.0 1 0
Totals 594 3057 5.1 80 44
Player Rec Yards Avg Long TD
Tony Lippett 65 1198 18.4 71 11
Keith Mumphery 26 495 19.0 62 3
Macgarrett Kings Jr. 29 404 13.9 50 1
Josiah Price 26 374 14.4 67 6
Aaron Burbridge 29 358 12.3 39 1
R.J. Shelton 16 173 10.8 24 2
AJ Troup 7 113 16.1 33 2
Jamal Lyles 5 74 14.8 21 0
Jeremy Langford 11 62 5.6 18 0
Monty Madaris 5 56 11.2 24 0
Nick Hill 4 48 12.0 16 0
Delton Williams 3 32 10.7 17 0
Andre Sims Jr. 3 26 8.7 20 0
Tres Barksdale 2 16 8.0 9 0
Andrew Gleichert 1 12 12.0 12 0
DeAnthony Arnett 2 11 5.5 6 0
Trevon Pendleton 1 2 2.0 2 0
Totals 236 3453 14.6 71 26

Note: XPM = Extra Point Made; XPA = Extra Point Attempt; XP% = Extra Point Percentage; FGM = Field Goal Made; FGA = Field Goal Attempt; FG% = Field Goal Percentage; LNG = Longest make

Player XPM XPA XP% FGM FGA FG% 1–19 20–29 30–39 40–49 50+ LNG Pts
Michael Geiger 72 72 100 14 22 63.6 0/0 4/4 7/10 3/8 0/0 42 114
Kevin Muma 1 1 100 0 0 0 0/0 0/0 0/0 0/0 0/0 0 1
Totals 73 73 100 14 22 63.6 0/0 4/4 7/10 3/8 0/0 42 115
Player Punts Yards Avg Inside 20 Long
Mike Sadler 52 2143 41.2 15 66
Punt Returns
Player Returns Yards Avg Long TD
Macgarrett Kings 20 122 6.1 43 0
RJ Williamson 1 2 2.0 2 0
Andre Sims 1 3 3.0 3 0
Totals 22 127 5.8 43 0
Kick Returns
Player Returns Yards Avg Long TD
R.J. Shelton 31 793 25.6 90 1
Riley Bullough 2 23 11.5 13 0
Nick Hill 2 30 15.0 17 0
Trevon Pendleton 1 19 19.0 19 0
Totals 36 865 24.0 90 1


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  2. ^ "Big Ten announces East, West divisions, nine-game schedule". CBSSports.com. Retrieved September 18, 2017.
  3. ^ "Michigan State vs. Baylor – Game Recap – January 1, 2015 – ESPN". ESPN.com. Retrieved September 18, 2017.
  4. ^ "Cotton Bowl 2015: Michigan State Rallies in Fourth to Beat Baylor". The New York Times. Associated Press. 2015. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved September 18, 2017.
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  9. ^ Rexrode, Joe (July 11, 2014). "CB Contender Ezra Robinson Transferring from Michigan State". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved July 29, 2014.
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