Posted on: October 7, 2010 1:51 pm
Edited on: October 7, 2010 1:51 pm

MSU fan risking life to watch the Spartans

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Yesterday we told you about how tickets to this week's game between Michigan and Michigan State is the hottest ticket in all of college football right now.  The matchup between the two state rivals is so big that some people are willing to spend $1,000 just for the privilege of sitting in the stands and watching it in person.  Which is a pretty big commitment to make.

Though not as big as risking your life so you can see it.

Major Hester is a Spartans fan living in Detroit who was scheduled to have a pacemaker put in this week but he asked his doctor to postpone the procedure because he's afraid he might not make it through.  Which would mean he wouldn't be able to watch his Spartans take on the Wolverines.

“You never know,” Hester told the Detroit News . “It’s like going into combat. You may come home alive or you may come home dead."

Of course, considering watching the Spartans play football helped contribute to Hester's heart condition -- he says he first felt symptoms watching a game three years ago -- who knows if he'll survive what should be a close game?  I mean, he wouldn't be the first person the Spartans sent to the hospital with heart problems this season, would he?

To that Hester said, "Whatever happens, I just want to see the game."

I want to as well, but not as much as I want to see Sunday.

Hat tip: CFT

Posted on: October 7, 2010 9:45 am
Edited on: October 7, 2010 9:59 am

Rodriguez 'optimistic' Shaw will play Saturday

Posted by Chip Patterson

The Michigan State Spartans have plenty to worry about on the defensive side of the ball Saturday against Michigan in the Big House.  You could spend the entire week studying film of Denard Robinson, and still not be completely prepared for the all-purpose production machine that currently leads the nation in rushing.  His 382.6 total yards per game has single-handedly carried the Wolverines to their current 5-0 record, Top 25 ranking, and barring a complete meltdown in the second half of the season: their first bowl appearance in the Rich Rodriguez era.

Making matters worse for the Spartans, Michigan appears to be getting back another ground weapon for Saturday's game.  Michael Shaw has missed the conference opener against Indiana with a knee injury, but Rodriguez is "optimistic" that Shaw will be available against the Spartans.  Shaw has increased his workload in practice over the week, slowly making his way back to 100 percent.

Shaw is Michigan's third-leading rusher behind Robinson and sophomore Vincent Smith, but has shown his big-game potential once already this season.  In the Wolverines 42-37 victory over Massachusetts, Shaw had a career day with 126 yards rushing and three touchdowns.  When given an opportunity, he wastes no time getting downfield and has the potential to burn the Spartans if they are too keyed in on Robinson.

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Posted on: October 6, 2010 1:09 pm
Edited on: October 6, 2010 1:10 pm

Everyone wants to be in Ann Arbor this weekend

Posted by Tom Fornelli

The rivalry between Michigan and Michigan State has always been huge in both the state of Michigan and the Big Ten, but this year's game holds even more significance.  This year both teams enter the game 5-0 and winning this game could be the difference between playing in a January bowl game or the Texas Bowl.

Maybe even the Rose Bowl.

So this game has big implications for both teams, which is why it's not surprising to hear that it's the hottest ticket in town.  What is a little surprising, though, is that it's the hottest ticket in the entire country.

"This is actually the No. 1 college football game of the week based on gross sales on our site," Joellen Ferrer, Stubhub's spokesperson, said Tuesday. "It's also among the top five college football games throughout the entire season."

On the site's average, fans have paid $200 a ticket, with ranges from $50 to $600. Some fans are asking $1,400 for the better seats. Ticket face value is $65.

Taking a quick look at the game on Stubhub right now, the cheapest ticket you can find is one seat for $175, and that's located in the 88th row of section 29, which is in the northwest corner of the stadium.  The most expensive seats are $1,000, which means for $2,000 you and a friend can hang in the outdoor club of section 415 above the stadium around the 50-yard line.  Though if seats are more your thing, there are two tickets available in section 1 -- also on the 50-yard line -- in the 38th row.  Those two tickets will only cost you $999 apiece.

Or you can sit at home and watch it on television for free.  It's your choice.

Posted on: October 5, 2010 1:54 pm
Edited on: October 5, 2010 1:55 pm

Denard Robinson resting, will play against MSU

Posted by Chip Patterson

Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson has quite literally done it all this season, and can be credited as the biggest reason the Wolverines enter Saturday's showdown with Michigan State 5-0.  Head coach Rich Rodriguez finally developed the weapon he needed to run his option-based offense that worked so well at West Virginia.  Robinson, the early Heisman frontrunner, has accounted for 1913 of Michigan's 2822 total yards of offense on the season.  Robinson has been able to accomplish all of that while sitting out three quarters of Michigan's 65-21 rout of Bowling Green with a bruised left knee.

Robinson returned on Saturday against Indiana and racked up 494 total yards and five touchdowns, including the game winning touchdown.  Robinson did miss a few plays are tweaking the same knee he injured against Bowling Green, but returned to action and appeared to be fine.  After all the work Robinson has done, it is not surprising to see Rodriguez limiting Robinson in practice this week.
“Yeah, he'll be a little limited, just because he’s been running so much,” coach Rich Rodriguez said Monday. "You want him 100 percent on Saturday. Denard is one you have to jerk out of there because he wants to take so many reps. He’s walking around fine. Everything is fine.”
Robinson is currently the nation's leading rusher, and has already become the first player in FBS history to pass and rush for 200 yards in a game twice in a season.  When the Wolverines welcome MSU to the Big House on Saturday, they will need a 110% Denard to emerge victorious.  The match up between in-state rivals now has conference implications as well, with the Wolverines and Spartans being two of the four remaining undefeated teams in the Big Ten.  

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Posted on: October 4, 2010 2:49 pm
Edited on: October 4, 2010 2:52 pm

Mark Dantonio released from hospital

Posted by Tom Fornelli

The man that is so dedicated to his job he's willing to give himself a heart attack to win a football game, Mark Dantonio, has been released from the hospital.   Dantonio, who suffered a heart attack hours after a thrilling Michigan State win over Notre Dame -- which featured one of the braver play calls we'll see this season -- had to go back in to the hospital after a blood clot was found in his leg.

It was discovered during a routine post-surgery checkup with doctors.

Dantonio had been hoping to coach from the coach's box during the Spartans game against Wisconsin, but instead had to settle with texting defensive coaches from his hospital bed as Don Treadwell ran the show from the sidelines.

Now that he's been released from the hospital it's likely that Dantonio will return to his team in time for their showdown against Michigan in Ann Arbor this weekend.  There's no word on what capacity Dantonio will serve in, be it from the sidelines or above the field, but there's no questioning this is one of the biggest games in Michigan State's recent history.

The rivalry between the Spartans and Wolverines is big enough during any season, but this year the two teams are both 5-0 heading into their meeting.  A win for Michigan State this weekend could help set the Spartans on the path to a BCS bowl game.  After all, they don't have to face Ohio State this season, and aside from a trip to Iowa City at the end of October, there isn't much left in Michigan State's path.

In other words, a win this weekend could be so big for Michigan State that Dantonio might even be willing to have another heart attack to get it.

Posted on: October 3, 2010 1:14 am

Iowa's defense excels in 24-3 win over Penn State

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Iowa 6, Penn State 3. That's the score if Iowa's offense or special teams didn't contribute a single point today, and the defense was left to score for itself. Score it did, as an interception returned for a touchdown by cornerback Shaun Prater late in the fourth quarter perfectly punctuated a 24-3 victory for the Hawkeyes.

When asked if it was the defense's best performance of the season, senior safety Brett Greenwood seemed to think so. "Emotionally, we feel like it was. I know we gave up a few throws there that we need to correct, but right now, it might be."

The defense was led by Adrian Clayborn , who broke out of a slump -- or at least what would qualify as one for the All-American defensive end, anyway -- with 10 tackles, including three tackles for loss and a sack. Clayborn was at his most dominant in the fourth quarter, registering 2.5 TFLs and the sack on a forced intentional grounding by quarterback Rob Bolden .

"I had to get back to the basics. That's how [defensive line coach Rick Kaczenski ] told us to be, just play [ticked] off," Clayborn said. "You have to get after it; you can't be a nice guy on the field, and I think that's how we played as a defensive line."

That line made Bolden's evening the worst, though, on a 4th and goal from Iowa's 1-yard line. Bolden lined up in the shotgun and scrambled for the goal line, a run that was stretched out by end Broderick Binns and then snuffed out by tackle Christian Ballard inches from the goal line.

"I saw a little bit of green left, and I knew I had to make a play," Ballard said of his touchdown-saving tackle.

Senior quarterback Ricky Stanzi was a rock for his offense, completing 16 of 22 passes for 227 yards and a touchdown. Stanzi also scored on a sneak from a yard out to give Iowa a 17-point lead late in the first half. Stanzi attributed his efficient game to the game plan put in by offensive coordinator Ken O'Keefe .

"They're short passes, they're dump-downs, the checks are built in, and we're able to get the ball downfield if we want to," said Stanzi.

For the Hawkeyes, the win's nice, but so is what comes next: a bye week. Head coach Kirk Ferentz said he ran running back Adam Robinson 28 times and said "he could have gone 50" because of the bye week, and Robinson, who gained 95 yards on the ground Saturday, said he's never been sorer after a game.

The bye week will also help the Hawkeyes get their linebacker corps healthy; middle linebacker Jeff Tarpinian ceded his starting role to Troy Johnson , and both players left the game with minor injuries. From there, the Hawkeyes depended on true freshman James Morris , and Morris was tied for third on the team with seven tackles on the day.

"He was ready to go when called upon," Ferentz said of Morris. "First thing you hope he doesn't do is blow something, leave something just wide open, give them an easy big gain. It didn't seem like he did that, and that's a real credit to him."

What's more, the bye week gives Iowa an extra week for arguably their defense's biggest task of the season: find a way to shut down Michigan and Denard Robinson .

Posted on: October 2, 2010 7:23 pm
Edited on: October 2, 2010 8:39 pm

Denard does it again

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Denard Robinson is proving to be pretty adept at having monster games and leading game-winning drives.  After setting a Michigan school-record with 502 yards of total offense against Notre Dame last month, launching his name into the Heisman discussion, Robinson made sure he'll still be on top of everybody's list this week as well.

Robinson had another monster game against Indiana, throwing for 277 yards and rushing for another 218 , but it came down to another last minute drive.  After Indiana's Ben Chappell connected with Darius Willis for a 19-yard touchdown to tie the game 35-35 with 1:15 to play, Robinson came back out onto the field and did his thing.

There's never been any question about Robinson's legs and speed, but people wonder if he has the arm to be a big time college quarterback.  Maybe Robinson's 42-yard pass to Junior Hemingway to give Michigan a first and goal at the four with 21 seconds left will finally convince them he can throw.  Fittingly, Robinson would keep the ball to himself on the next snap and score the game-winning touchdown -- his fifth of the day.

There aren't enough superlatives to describe the Denard Robinson we've seen through the first five weeks of the college football season.  The kid is amazing and just a joy to watch.

Just give him the Heisman now.

Posted on: October 2, 2010 5:02 pm

Denard Robinson is still awesome

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Last week we were all robbed of what looked like it was going to be another epic Denard Robinson performance.  He'd already thrown for 60 yards and rushed for 129 more before having to leave the game with a knee injury halfway through the first quarter.

Today Denard is picking up where he left off.

Michigan is tied 21-21 with Indiana at halftime, but Robinson is going off once again for the Wolverines.  He's completed 7-of-9 passes for 152 and two touchdowns and picked up another 154 yards on the ground, including a 73-yard touchdown run early in the first quarter.  That means Robinson has 306 total yards in one half.

One half.

That puts him on a pace to finish with 612 yards and six touchdowns, which would surpass his amazing 502 yards of offense  -- a school-record -- against Notre Dame earlier this season.  The Wolverines may need every single one of those yards as well, because Robinson can't help Michigan's defense keep Indiana out of the end zone.
Category: NCAAF
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