After two straight wins at home, the Michigan State football team will travel to Champaign, Illinois this weekend where they will face conference foe, the Illinois Illini. The 6-1 Spartans, 3-0 in conference play, are looking to extend their winning streak to four in a row while staying atop the Big Ten standings. The Illini have yet to win a conference game and sit with an overall record of 3-3. The last time the two schools met was in 2010 at Spartan Stadium, which resulted in a 26-6 victory for MSU.
Yet again, after seven games, the Spartan defense still sits atop the FBS rankings. They are still number one in total defense (228.0 yards per game), rushing defense (59.1 ypg.), pass efficiency defense (88.41 rating) and first downs defense (13.4 pg.). The Spartans also rank among the national leaders in opponent third-down conversions (third at 27 percent; 30-for-110), scoring defense (fourth at 13.6 ppg.) and passing defense (fourth at 168.9 ypg).
Leading the defense is second year captain, Max Bullough, who just earned the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week for his performance in the Purdue game last week. He recorded a season high of ten tackles, two of which resulted in a loss including a sack turned forced fumble which was recovered and returned by Denicos Allen for 45 yards to score.
The Spartan D’s number one target this week will be Josh Ferguson of the Illini. He leads the team in both rushing with 335 yards and two TDs, and receiving with 346 yards and three TDs. He is averaging six yards per carry on the ground, the 15 per catch in the air. Illini Quarterback has solid numbers as well with 1546 yards through the air, completing 115 for 175, with 12 touchdowns and four picks.
After a rocky start in the season, the Spartan offense is coming into their own. As each game goes by, quarterback Connor Cook cements himself as a solid starter behind center. He has thrown 1030 yards on 103 completions, for nine TDs and only two interceptions.
Jeremy Langford leads the rushing attack, along with Delton Williams and Nick Hill. Together they have combined to rush over 900 yards for the season with eight rushing touchdowns. Langford leads the trio with 551 yards and seven touchdowns.
The game will kickoff at Memorial Stadium at 3:30 pm Eastern Time. The match will air live on ABC or ESPN2.
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