NCAA FB

Sat, Sep 10, 2011 - 12:00 PM ET
Game Preview
 

FAU-Michigan St. Preview

Share This Story

   
 

Coming off a share of its first Big Ten title in 20 years, Michigan State opened 2011 with a victory under the lights. Coach Mark Dantonio, though, did not have many glowing comments about his team's performance.

The 17th-ranked Spartans look to improve upon that subpar effort Saturday in East Lansing where they'll face a Florida Atlantic team hoping for a better result than in last year's "home" game versus Michigan State.

Playing just the 10th night game in the 88-year history of Spartan Stadium, Michigan State opened its season last Friday with a 28-6 victory over Youngstown State. The Spartans, who won a school-record 11 games in 2010 while tying Wisconsin and Ohio State atop the conference, committed seven first-half penalties and looked shaky against an FCS program coming off a 3-8 season.

"I think everyone has got to take a look at themselves, coaches, players, everybody and go back and get ready to play the next one against Florida Atlantic," Dantonio said. "I think it can certainly serve to motivate us by asking the question, 'Who are we? Who are we as a football team?' Hopefully that wasn't us out there."

While Dantonio is looking for his young defense (three seniors) to start creating an identity, the Spartans' offense has plenty of experience with quarterback Kirk Cousins and receiver B.J. Cunningham. The two seniors connected nine times for 130 yards - both career highs for Cunningham - and a touchdown.

Cunningham tied Matt Trannon's school record with 148 receptions.

"When I'd get to the sideline, people would tell me how many I had," said Cunningham, whose 1,910 receiving yards are 35 shy of Mark Ingram and Derrick Mason for ninth in school history. "A lot of great receivers have come through here. It's a blessing to be a part of that group."

Junior Edwin Baker could end up among the Spartans' all-time best running backs. A first-team All-Big Ten selection last year after rushing for 1,201 yards, Baker carried 15 times for 91 yards in the season opener.

He rushed for a career-best 183, including an 80-yard TD, in a 30-17 victory over Florida Atlantic last Sept. 11. Cunningham caught Cousins' only touchdown pass in the win.

That contest was originally scheduled to be at the Owls' new stadium in Boca Raton, Fla., but that facility won't open until next month. Instead, the teams played 90 miles from the East Lansing campus at Ford Field with Florida Atlantic wearing its home jerseys.

Coach Howard Schnellenberger's team won't be wearing those for a while, as it starts with five straight road games. The Owls, who next face defending national champion Auburn on Sept. 24, open their new stadium Oct. 15 against Western Kentucky.

Schnellenberger, who announced last month he will retire following the season, will likely return to the sidelines after coaching last Saturday's 41-3 loss at then-No. 22 Florida from the press box following recent hip surgery.

"As I watched the game unfold, it became obvious either we weren't prepared mentally for the game or we didn't expect them to be as good as they were," he said. "But more important than that is I can't determine how hard they played and I can't determine how talented or lack of talent we have because we made an error on almost every play that we had on the offensive side and defensive side."

The Owls, who had 137 yards of offense, will have to do a better job running the ball after carrying 30 times for 30 yards against the Gators.

Junior quarterback Graham Wilbert completed 14 of 26 for 107 yards in his first game as the starter. He went 1 of 2 for 41 yards last season against Michigan State in his Owls debut.

The Spartans are undefeated in two games against Florida Atlantic, winning 17-0 in East Lansing in the teams' first matchup Sept. 13, 2008.

Tagged: Florida Atlantic, Michigan, Michigan State, Florida, B.J. Cunningham

Related Stories

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by

College Football Pick'em on FOX


NCAA FB Videos

Sumlin annoyed by media's Manziel questions Posted: Jul 16, 2014
Kevin Sumlin responds to questions about life after Johnny Football by toying wi...

AJ Pasquale's journey back to UCLA Posted: Jun 17, 2014
UCLA football ops intern AJ Pasquale describes his own personal journey after th...

Winston issued adult civil citation Posted: Apr 30, 2014
Get the latest news surrounding Jameis Winston's recent shoplifting fiasco.

Get Inside the Locker Room with Scout.com

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    Nike Florida Gators Gridiron 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - Royal Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Florida_Gators/browse/featuredproduct/759777/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_759000/ff_759777_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Florida Gators Gridiron 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - Royal Blue
    Nike Michigan State Spartans Football 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - White http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Michigan_State_Spartans/browse/featuredproduct/760171/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_760000/ff_760171_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Michigan State Spartans Football 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - White
    Nike USC Trojans Fight On My School T-Shirt - Cardinal http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_USC_Trojans/browse/featuredproduct/761373/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_761000/ff_761373_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike USC Trojans Fight On My School T-Shirt - Cardinal
    Nike Alabama Crimson Tide Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Crimson http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Alabama_Crimson_Tide/browse/featuredproduct/829709/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_829000/ff_829709_xl.jpg&w=100 64.95 Nike Alabama Crimson Tide Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Crimso..
    Nike LSU Tigers Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Purple http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_LSU_Tigers/browse/featuredproduct/829740/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_829000/ff_829740_xl.jpg&w=100 49.99 Nike LSU Tigers Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Purple
    Nike Oklahoma Sooners Legacy 91 Dri-FIT Adjustable Coaches Cap - Crimson http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Oklahoma_Sooners/browse/featuredproduct/830935/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_830000/ff_830935_xl.jpg&w=100 21.95 Nike Oklahoma Sooners Legacy 91 Dri-FIT Adjustable Coaches Cap - Crimson
    adidas Notre Dame Fighting Irish Hot Sideline Jacket - Navy Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Notre_Dame_Fighting_Irish/browse/featuredproduct/861243/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_861000/ff_861243_xl.jpg&w=100 69.95 adidas Notre Dame Fighting Irish Hot Sideline Jacket - Navy Blue
    adidas Nebraska Cornhuskers Sideline Hot Quarter Zip Jacket - Scarlet http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Nebraska_Cornhuskers/browse/featuredproduct/861247/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_861000/ff_861247_xl.jpg&w=100 69.95 adidas Nebraska Cornhuskers Sideline Hot Quarter Zip Jacket - Scarlet
    Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Players Locker Room Snapback Hat - Charcoal/Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Alabama_Crimson_Tide/browse/featuredproduct/1087345/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1087000/ff_1087345_xl.jpg&w=100 29.95 Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Players Locker Room Snapba..
    Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Locker Room T-Shirt - Ash http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Alabama_Crimson_Tide/browse/featuredproduct/1093431/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1093000/ff_1093431_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Locker Room T-Shirt - Ash