Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Big Ten Championship Game: Iowa Hawkeyes (12-0, B1G West 8-0) vs. Michigan State Spartans (11-1, B1G East 7-1)

Iowa City, IA -- #4/3 Iowa was 8-0 in Big Ten play and won the Big Ten West Division for the first time in program history. The Hawkeyes play Big Ten East Division co-champion #5/5 Michigan State (7-1), who is making its third appearance in the title game. The winner earns the Amos Alonzo Stagg Championship Trophy for the 2015 Big Ten Championship.

CFBPlayoffThe Big Ten Championship game is in Indianapolis on Saturday at Lucas Oil Stadium. Kickoff is 7:17 p.m. (CST). The game will be televised nationally on FOX. Iowa will be the home team and wear its black jerseys.

The Big Ten Championship Game has the look of a quarterfinal game, a play-in for the 2015 College Football Playoffs. The four teams in the College Football Playoffs, along with the participants in the other New Year's Six bowl games, will be announced at 11 a.m. CST on Sunday, Dec. 6th.

The Hawkeyes remain #4 in the latest College Football Playoff poll, ahead of the #5 Spartans.

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Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz is the dean of the Big Ten, making his first appearance in a Big Ten Championship Game, in his 17th season as head coach in Iowa City. Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio is in his ninth season as head coach in East Lansing. Ferentz leads head to head against Dantonio at 4-3.

Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz and Michigan State Mark Dantonio before the 2013
game, in Iowa City. Michigan State beat Iowa 26-14 to ruin Iowa's Homecoming.

Date Result Site of Iowa's Ferentz vs. MSU's Dantonio
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  • Oct. 27, 2007 Iowa 34, Michigan State 27 (2 OT) in Iowa City 
  • Oct. 4, 2008 Michigan State 16, Iowa 13 in East Lansing 
  • Oct. 24, 2009 No. 7 Iowa 15, Michigan State 13 in East Lansing 
  • Oct. 30, 2010 No. 18 Iowa 37, No. 5 Michigan State 6 in Iowa City 
  • Nov. 12, 2011 No. 13 Michigan State 37, Iowa 21 in Iowa City 
  • Oct. 13, 2012 Iowa 19, Michigan State 16 (2 OT) in East Lansing 
  • Oct. 5, 2013 Michigan State 26, Iowa 14 in Iowa City
The Spartans and Hawkeyes have played each other four previous times when both teams were ranked in the AP Top 25. Saturday’s game marks the first time both teams will be ranked in the AP Top 10 when facing each other. 

Iowa Football
Iowa is undefeated in 2015 and ranked #4 in the College Football
Playoff Poll ahead of #5 Michigan State. It is the first title game
for the Hawkeyes, compared to the Spartans third trip, since 2011.

Date Result Site, as Iowa is 4-0 in games where both teams are ranked in the MSU series
  • Sept. 25, 1954 No. 12 Iowa 14, No. 7 Michigan State 10 in Iowa City 
  • Oct. 8, 1960 No. 3 Iowa 27, No. 13 Michigan State 15 in East Lansing 
  • Oct. 4, 1986 No. 11 Iowa 24, No. 17 Michigan State 21 in East Lansing 
  • Oct. 30, 2010 No. 18 Iowa 37, No. 5 Michigan State 6 in Iowa City
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Ferentz is 7-6 vs. Michigan State, as a head coach at Iowa, and 5-3-1, while an offensive line coach from 1981 to 1989, under Hayden Fry, while at Iowa, so overall 18-9-1 against the Spartans.

Michigan State QB #18 Connor Cook, now a senior and 33-4 as a starter, made
his first Big Ten start at Iowa in 2013. Iowa DE #95 Drew Ott will serve as
a captain, but he will not be available, due to a season ending knee injury.

In 2013, the Spartans were coming off a 7-6 season, when Dantonio lead the Spartans to 8-0 in the Big Ten, then defeated Ohio State 34-24 in the Big Ten Championship Game. The Spartans followed up the Big Ten title with a 24-20 win in the Rose Bowl over Stanford to finish 13-1, in the final season of the BCS. In 2011, the Spartans fell short in the Big Ten Championship Game, with a 42-39 loss to Wisconsin.

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Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz was voted Coach of the Year in the Big Ten in 2015.

This season, Ferentz has Iowa coming off a 7-6 season and 8-0 in the Big Ten, so will the Hawkeyes prevail, as Michigan State did two years ago in the Big Ten Championship Game?

The Michigan State strength is in the defensive line in 2015, while the Hawkeyes
have rebounded, with strong play in the offensive line.

In the 2013 game vs. Michigan State, Iowa held its opponent scoreless in the first quarter for the fifth straight game. Iowa outscored Michigan State 14-10 in the second quarter, but were shutout in the second half, as Michigan State won the turnover battle +1.

Michigan State senior C #66 Jack Allen is an all-Big Ten performer, since
his freshman season, when he was recognized as a freshman all-American.

Iowa returns five starters from the 2013 game, with four on offense. Michigan State returns five starters from the 2013 game, as well, with four on offense too. While Connor Cook made his first Big Ten start in 2013 against Iowa, Iowa center Austin Blythe started his first B1G road game against Michigan State, in Iowa's 19-16 2 OT win in 2012.

Michigan State senior LT #74 Jack Allen is another all-Big Ten performer for
the Spartans in 2015, after being recognized as a freshman all-American. 

Iowa didn't gain a first down rushing the football in 2013 against Michigan State in the 26-14 loss, in Iowa City. The Hawkeyes with three running backs who each have ran for at least 195 yards in a game this season will obviously seek to change that in the 2015 game. In the 2012 win, Iowa's Mark Weisman ran for 116 yards against Michigan State. He was held to nine yards rushing in the 2013 game, as Iowa was held to 23 yards rushing.

STAT LEADERS – Michigan State (after 12 games): 

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Michigan State senior QB #18 Connor Cook named Big Ten's top QB for 2015.
  • Rushing – LJ Scott (118 carries for 618 yards, 5.2 avg., 10 TDs) 
  • Passing – Connor Cook (194 of 337 for 2,730 yards, 24 TDs, 4 INTs) 
  • Receiving – Aaron Burbridge (75 catches for 1,158 yards, 15.4 avg., 7 TDs) 
  • Tackles – Riley Bullough (90 tackles, 40 solos, 50 assists, 6.5 TFL, 4 sacks, 2 INTs) 
Iowa (after 12 games): 

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Iowa senior RB #33 Jordan Canzeri is having a breakout fifth season for the
Hawkeyes, finishing third at 108 yards per game in Big Ten games.
  • Rushing – Jordan Canzeri (176 carries for 964 yards, 5.5 avg., 12 TDs) 
  • Passing – C.J. Beathard (184 of 303 for 2,354 yards, 14 TDs, 3 INTs) 
  • Receiving – Matt VandeBerg (59 catches for 625 yards, 10.6 avg., 3 TDs) 
  • Tackles – Josey Jewell (111 tackles, 54 solos, 57 assists, 7.5 TFL, 3.0 sacks) 
Current Spartans vs. IOWA – Career Stat Leaders 

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Michigan State Mark Dantonio is in his ninth season in East Lansing.
  • Rushing – Delton Williams (1 game: 9 carries for 32 yards, 3.6 avg.) 
  • Passing – Connor Cook (1 game: 25-of-44 passing for 277 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT) 
  • Receiving – Macgarrett Kings Jr. (1 game: 5 catches for 94 yards, 18.8 avg., 1 TD) 
  • Tackles – Shilique Calhoun (1 game: 3 tackles, 0.5 TFL, 4 QB hurries) 
Iowa junior CB Desmond King was named top defensive back in the Big Ten
for 2015. King had a strong performance in 2013 against Michigan State.
Current Hawkeyes vs. MSU - Career Stat Leaders
  • Rushing - Jordan Canzeri played in 2013 game, but no carries
  • Passing - None, C.J. Beathard didn't play; starter Jake Rudock transferred to Michigan
  • Receiving - Tevaun Smith (1 game: 6 catches for 59 yards, 36 yards long)
  • Tackles - Desmond King (1 game: 11 tackles, 7 solo, 4 assist, 1 QB hurry)

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Michigan State vs. Iowa 
Scoring 33.4 (4/44) 33.7 (3/41) 
First Downs 264 (3/43) 253 (5/55) 
Total Offense 399.4 (5/68) 404.3 (4/63) 
Rushing Yards 159.6 (8/79) 203.7 (3/32) 
Passing Yards 239.8 (4/48) 200.6 (11/92) 
Time of Possession 33:01 (3/12) 32:13 (4/25) 
Third Down Conversions .506 (1/7) .442 (3/29) 
Points Allowed 21.1 (6/22) 18.7 (5/15) 
Total Offense Allowed 349.2 (7/27) 331.7 (6/21) 
Rushing Yards Allowed 118.2 (5/16) 110.0 (2/6)

Photo published for 5 Tuesday topics with C.J. Beathard (including his health)
Iowa junior QB #16 C.J. Beathard lead the Hawkeyes to a 12-0 record, as a
first-year starter. He is 13-0 overall as a starting QB for the Hawkeyes.

Hawkeyes on Offense:
  • Iowa has a balanced offense. Its 4,851 total yards are divided by 2,444 yards rushing, and 2,407 yards passing. 
  • Iowa has 35 rushing touchdowns, tying Ohio State for first in the Big Ten and seventh nationally. 
  • The Hawkeyes scored 30-plus points in five straight Big Ten games for the first time in school history. 
  • Iowa has six touchdown drives over 90 yards, 18 touchdown drives over 75 yards, and seven touchdown drives of two plays or fewer. 
  • Limiting turnovers (3 interceptions, 8 fumbles). The three pass interceptions are a school record for fewest in a single-season besting Iowa's four in 2002. 

    Photo published for judsarr
    In 2015, Iowa sophomore MLB #43 Josey Jewell lead a vastly improved Hawkeyes'
    linebacker corp and was recognized by the Big Ten as a 2nd team all-Big Ten LB.

Hawkeyes on Defense: 
  • Iowa has allowed nine rushing touchdowns; tying Michigan for No. 1 in the conference and seventh nationally.
  • Iowa leads the Big Ten in interceptions (17), takeaways (25), and turnover margin (+14). 
  • Limiting big plays: Iowa has allowed 12 scrimmage plays of 30-plus yards. 
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Hawkeyes on Special Teams:
  • Senior PK Marshall Koehn's 57-yard game-winning field goal vs. Pitt is the second longest in school history and the second longest in FBS this season. 
  • In 2014, Iowa averaged 5.1 yards per punt return, last in the Big Ten. In 2015, the Hawkeyes average 13.1 yards per punt return, third best in the conference. 
  • Junior CB and RS Desmond King ranks second in the Big Ten in kickoff returns (25.6 yards) and punt returns (13.3).
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Iowa senior PK #1 Marshall Koehn celebrating his 57 yard FG vs. Pittsburgh.

Michigan State Iowa 
Basic Offense Multiple Multiple 
Basic Defense Multiple 4-3 4-3 

Offensive Starters Returning 7 5 
Defensive Starters Returning 7 7 
Specialists Returning 3 2 


Michigan State Iowa 
Offensive Line & Tight End 6-4, 303 6-4, 286 
Offensive Backs & Wide Receivers 6-1, 217 6-2, 212 
Defensive Line 6-5, 281 6-3, 272 Linebackers 6-1, 226 6-2, 230 
Defensive Backs 6-1, 199 6-0, 200 


Michigan State Offense: 7 seniors, 2 juniors, 2 sophomores 
Michigan State Defense: 5 seniors, 3 juniors, 3 sophomores 
Iowa Offense: 4 seniors, 5 juniors, 2 sophomores 
Iowa Defense: 3 seniors, 3 juniors, 4 sophomores, 1 freshman

Michigan State has been recognized
11 times by the Big Ten this season with weekly awards. 
2015 Spartan Big Ten Players of the Week Game:

Michigan State senior WR #16 Aaron Burbridge is the Spartans top WR in 2015.

Defense: LB Riley Bullough (14 tackles) vs. Oregon 
Freshman: RB LJ Scott (11 carries, 76 yards, 2 TD, 38-yard TD run) vs. Oregon 
Offense: WR Aaron Burbridge (8 rec. for 156 yards and 3 TDs) vs. Air Force 
Defense: DE Shilique Calhoun (6 tackles, 3 TFLs, 2 sacks, 1 block) vs. CMU 
Freshman: RB LJ Scott (18 carries, 146 yards, 2 TD) vs. Purdue 
Defense: LB Shilique Calhoun (5 tackles, 3.5 TFLs, 2 sacks) vs. Michigan 
Special Teams: S Jalen Watts-Jackson (38-yard fumble recovery for TD) vs. Michigan 
Offense: QB Connor Cook (30-of-52 passing for 398 yards and 4 TDs) vs. Indiana 
Defense: NT Malik McDowell (career high eight tackles and 4.5 TFLs) vs. Maryland 
Defense: LB Jon Reschke (6 tackles; help limit OSU to 132 total yards) vs. Ohio State 
Special Teams: PK Michael Geiger (game-winning 41-yard fi eld goal) vs. Ohio State

Michigan State senior DE #89 Shiliquie Calhoun is a three-time all- Big Ten
defensive performer and leads the Spartans from his DE position again.

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