Tuesday, July 23, 2024
Fantasy Guru - Baseball

CFB Week 1 Previews: Big 10 Conference

BIG TEN PREVIEWS

Thu., Sep. 1 @ 8:00 pm ET
Penn State Nittany Lions at Purdue Boilermakers

Penn State Nittany Lions
Notes

INSIDE THE GAME
PENN STATE OPENS 2022 CAMPAIGN AT PURDUE
• OPENING KICK: Penn State visits Purdue in Ross-Ade Stadium on Thursday night for a Big Ten matchup to begin the 2022 season. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. ET on FOX.

• BIG TEN SEASON OPENERS: On Thursday night, Penn State will compete in its fifth season opener against a Big Ten opponent. The first was against Minnesota, a 38-20 win, on September 4, 1993 in Beaver Stadium in Penn State’s first game as a Big Ten conference member. The following year, the Nittany Lions began the season with a 56-3 win at Minnesota. The 2020 shortened season started with a matchup at Indiana, a 36-35 overtime setback. The Nittany Lions came out on top, 16-10, against No. 12/15 Wisconsin last season in Madison.

• ROAD WARRIORS: Penn State will open Big Ten action on the road for the seventh-straight season and 12th time in the last 13 years. Since 2016, Penn State has begun conference play at Michigan (2016), at Iowa (2017), at Illinois (2018), at Maryland (2019), at Indiana (2020) and at Wisconsin (2021). In 30 seasons as a Big Ten member, Penn State has opened on the road 21 times in conference.

• SERIES HISTORY: The Nittany Lions hold a series lead of 15-3-1 against Purdue. The Nittany Lions will face the Boilermakers for the first time since 2019 and just the third time since 2013. The blue and white have won the last eight contests between the two schools, dating back to 2004. In the last matchup on Oct. 5, 2019, a fast start on offense, and a voracious pass rush that totaled 10 sacks, led Penn State to a
35-7 win over Purdue in Beaver Stadium. For the game, the Nittany Lions held the Boilers to 104 total yards and minus-19 rushing yards.

• STARTING OFF RIGHT: Penn State has won 17 of its last 20 season-opening contests and five of its last six. The Nittany Lions are 111-22-2 all-time in season openers.

• THE OPPOSITION: Purdue went 9-4 overall in 2021 with a 6-3 record in Big Ten action. The Boilermakers earned a pair of victories over top-three opponents last season, including at No. 2 Iowa on Oct. 16 (24-7) and at home against No. 3 Michigan State on Nov. 6 (40-29), while also closing the year strong with a 48-45 win over Tennessee in the TransPerfect Music City Bowl. Purdue was dominant in the passing game, ranking second nationally in completion percentage (70.8) and fifth in passing offense (355.4).

SERIES NOTES
HEAD COACH JEFF BROHM
• Jeff Brohm enters his sixth year at the helm of Purdue football, boasting a career record of 58-39, a .598 winning percentage, with nearly half of those wins coming at Purdue.

• Brohm came to the Boilermakers from Western Kentucky, where he compiled a 30-10 overall record and guided the Hilltoppers to
Conference USA Championships in 2015 and 2016.

• Previously, Brohm served as an assistant coach at Louisville (2003- 08), Florida Atlantic (2009), Illinois (2010-11), UAB (2012) and
Western Kentucky (2013).

• As a student-athlete, Brohm was a three-year starter at quarterback for Louisville from 1989 to 1993.

SCOUTING THE BOILERMAKERS
• The 2021 Purdue season featured a 9-4 record, the second-most wins in a season in program history.

• The Boilermakers tied for second in the Big Ten West, helped by a pair of Top 5 victories over No. 2 Iowa and No. 3 Michigan State, handing both teams their first loss of their 2021 campaigns.

• The season was capped off with a 48-45 overtime victory over Tennessee at the TransPerfect Music City Bowl in Nashville.

• Led by second team All-Big Ten quarterback Aidan O’Connell, the 2021 Boilermakers ranked fifth nationally in passing offense at 355.4 yards per game.

• Mackey Award watch list member Payne Durham caught 45 passes for 467 yards and six touchdowns in 2021.

• King Doerue returns at running back after posting 533 yards and two touchdowns.

• On the defensive side, Purdue boasted an improved defense that ranked 23rd in the red zone.

• LB/S Jalen Graham tallied 64 tackles, four tackles for loss, a sack, two interceptions and seven pass breakups in 2021.

• S Cam Allen led the Boilers with four interceptions a year ago.

• Charlie Jones, a dangerous returner, transferred from Iowa after being named the Rodgers-Dwight Big Ten Return Specialist of the Year and ranking second in the nation with 1,251 all-purpose yards.

LAST MEETING NO. 12/11 PENN STATE STIFLES PURDUE, 35-7

A fast start on offense and a voracious pass rush that totaled 10 sacks led Penn State to a 35-7 victory over Purdue.

In the game’s first 16 minutes, Penn State built a 28-0 lead as Sean Clifford was responsible for four touchdowns, rushing for one and throwing three, while the defense held Purdue to just 1 yard. For the game, the Nittany Lions held the Boilers to 104 total yards and minus-19 rushing yards.

Clifford finished 20-for-29 with 264 passing yards and three touchdowns. Noah Cain paced the Nittany Lions’ run game with 105 rushing yards on 12 carries and a touchdown.

Penn State sacked Purdue quarterback Jack Plummer 10 times, led by the defensive end duo of Shaka Toney with three and Yetur Gross-Matos adding two, and also limited him to 13-of-27 passing for 119 yards. Additionally, safety Lamont Wade finished with a career-high 11 tackles, including a sack and a pass breakup.

A Toney sack secured a Purdue three-and-out to start the game, and the Nittany Lion offense responded with a six-play, 56-yard touchdown drive that concluded a 23-yard touchdown reception by KJ Hamler.

Toney forced another three-and-out on Purdue’s next possession with a thirddown sack. Clifford rushed across the goal line from the 3-yard line.

Penn State forced its third-straight three-and-out and then needed just two plays to score again. Jahan Dotson scored on a 72-yard reception, catching the pass at midfield and weaving through the Boiler defense.

The Nittany Lions’ next offensive drive was keyed by a 48-yard reception by Nick Bowers to the Purdue 9. Clifford connected with Pat Freiermuth on a 7-yard touchdown reception.

Plummer connected with Amad Anderson for a 15-yard touchdown catch to get Purdue on the board.

The third quarter was scoreless, as was the fourth quarter, until Cain’s rushing touchdown up the middle from 2 yards out with 5:41 remaining.

TEAM NOTES
NON-SATURDAY OPENERS
• Penn State has played 11 season openers on a non-Saturday, with a 7-3-1 record in those contests.

• The Nittany Lions will play their first ever Thursday season opener.

• Penn State will play their first non-Saturday season opener since Sunday, August 27, 2000 against USC, a 29-5 setback at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.

• The Nittany Lions have opened the season four times on a Sunday, three times on a Wednesday, three times on a Friday and twice on a Monday.

Day Date Opponent Score
Wednesday 10/31/1888 Dickinson T, 6-6
Friday 10/10/1890 at Penn L, 0-20
Friday 10/2/1891 at Lafayette W, 14-4
Wednesday 9/25/1895 Gettysburg W, 48-0
Sunday 9/23/1900 Susquehanna W, 17-0
Sunday 9/22/1901 Susquehanna W, 17-0
Friday 9/2/1977 at Rutgers W, 45-7
Monday 8/29/1983 vs. Nebraska L, 6-44
Wednesday 8/28/1991 vs. Georgia Tech W, 34-22
Sunday 8/25/1996 vs. USC W, 24-7
Sunday 8/27/2000 vs. USC L, 5-29

BIG TEN SEASON OPENERS
• The Nittany Lions are playing their fifth season opener against a Big Ten foe and the third consecutive opener against a conference opponent.

• Penn State played its first ever Big Ten game, against Minnesota on Sept. 4, 1993, a season-opening 38-20 victory.

• The Nittany Lions opened the 1994 season at Minnesota on Sept. 3, earning a 56-3 win.

• Penn State began the 2020 season, and a Big Ten-only schedule, at Indiana, falling 36-35 in overtime.

• The Nittany Lions earned a 16-10 win at No. 12 Wisconsin to begin the 2021 campaign.

• Penn State has played two previous Big Ten openers on a non-Saturday, defeating Illinois, 63-24, on Sept. 21, 2018 and Maryland, 59-0, on Sept. 27, 2019, both in Friday games.

• The Nittany Lions are 15-14 all-time in Big Ten openers and 17-12 in Big Ten road openers.

NINE BOWL TEAMS ON SCHEDULE
• The Nittany lions will face nine teams who participated in a bowl game to end their 2021 campaign.

• Purdue earned a 48-45 victory over Tennessee in the TransPerfect Music City Bowl.

• Auburn took on Houston in the Birmingham Bowl, falling 17-13.

• Central Michigan defeated Washington State in the Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl, 24-21.

• Michigan was crowned Big Ten Champions and reached the College Football Playoffs, falling 34-11 to Georgia in the semifinals (Orange Bowl).

• Minnesota earned a berth into the Guaranteed Rate Bowl, knocking off West Virginia, 18-6.

• Ohio State played in The Rose Bowl Game and defeated Utah, 48-45.

• Maryland made the trip to the New Era Pinstripe Bowl, winning 54-10 over Virginia Tech.

• Rutgers earned an invitation to the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl, where it fell to Wake Forest, 38-10.

• Michigan State defeated Pitt, 31-21, in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl.

HOME SWEET HOME
• With a 304-79 all-time record in Beaver Stadium, Penn State owns the sixth-best winning percentage (.794) in its current home venue amongst current FBS schools and leads the Big Ten.

• Penn State averaged 106,799 fans in seven home games this season, the seventh-highest average in program history and best season average since 2009.

• Only Alabama (.837) and Oklahoma (.817) have higher winning percentages in facilities older than Beaver Stadium

LIONS UNDER THE LIGHTS
• The 2022 season marks the 22nd-straight with at least one regular-season night game on the schedule.

• Penn State is set for an 8 p.m. kickoff at Purdue and a 7:30 p.m. kickoff against Minnesota.

• Penn State is 57-32 at night all-time. The figure breaks down to 18-11 at home, 27-14 on the road and 12-7 in neutral site games. Penn State is 1-1 at regular season neutral sites, 11-6 in bowl games and 1-0 in conference championship games.

• In 2019, Penn State played its most regular season night games in program history with four primetime tilts.

• On Oct. 12, 2013, the Lions claimed the longest game in Big Ten history when they edged Michigan under the lights, 43-40, in four overtimes in front of a sellout Beaver Stadium crowd of 107,844 on Homecoming.

STREAKING
• Penn State has won 14 consecutive games against teams that are not members of a Power Five conference.

• Penn State has won 13 consecutive games over non-conference opponents during the regular season, dating back to a win over Temple in 2016.

• Penn State has won 19-straight non-conference home games, dating back to a win over Kent State in 2013.

HISTORIC SERIES
• The Nittany Lions have played 21 teams 20 or more times in the 136-year history of the program.

• Penn State owns a winning record against 16 of the 21 teams that it has met 20 or more times.

• Six of the 21 teams are on the 2022 schedule, including Michigan (25), Ohio State (37), Indiana (25), Maryland (45), Rutgers (32) and Michigan State (36).

• Penn State and Purdue will play their 20th meeting to open the 2022 season.

• Sixteen of the 21 programs are currently members of NCAA Division I FBS. Bucknell, Lehigh and Penn are in NCAA Division I FCS, while Gettysburg and Lebanon Valley are in Division III.

OFFENSIVE NOTES
• Since the start of the 2016 season, Penn State’s offense is second in the Big Ten in touchdown percentage (31.3; 20th nationally), scoring offense (32.6; 27th), points per possession (2.14; 22nd), yards per pass attempt (7.92; 28th), yards per play (6.02; 32nd) and total offense (415.9; 46th) and is third in scoring percentage (40.13; 24th).

• Penn State’s offense has been explosive since the 2016 campaign, as it leads the Big Ten in 80-plus play percentage (0.21; 2nd nationally) and 70-plus (0.40; 10th), ranks second in 20-plus (7.83; 13th) and 40-plus (2.05; 15th), and holds third in 30-plus (3.61; 21st), 50-plus (0.99; 37th) and 60-plus (0.55; 30th).

• The Nittany Lions have tallied at least 55 plays of 20 or more yards in six of the last seven seasons (57 in 2021; 63 in 2019; 73 in 2018; 85 in 2017; 91 in 2016; 67 in 2015).

• Additionally, the Nittany Lions are third in the Big Ten and 14th nationally in 15-plus yard passing play percentage since 2016 (19.67 percent).

• Penn State has gained 200 or more rushing yards 33 times in the James Franklin era. Penn State is 28-5 in those games.

• Mike Yurcich enters his second season as Penn State’s offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach.

• Yurcich (California University (Pa.)) and Franklin (East Stroudsburg) both played in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC).

• As an FBS offensive coordinator, offenses under Yurcich have averaged 6.36 yards per play, ranking first among OC’s since 2013 and 13.79 yards per completion, which is also first in that time frame.

• Since 2013, Yurcich’s offenses have scored 50 or more points 26 times and 40 or more points 52 times (45.2 percent of games coached), both of which are tops among FBS offensive coordinators since 2013.

• His teams have averaged 58.7 touchdowns per year.

• Penn State has scored 40 points 21 times since 2016. By comparison, from 2008 until 2015, the Nittany Lions had 18 40-point outings.

QUARTERBACK NOTES
• Offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich also heads the Penn State quarterback room.

• Three quarterbacks Yurcich coached in college are currently on NFL rosters (Sam Ehlinger – Texas, Justin Fields – Ohio State, Mason Rudolph – Oklahoma State).

• Yurcich served as the passing game coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Ohio State in 2019, where quarterback Justin Fields was a finalist for the Heisman Trophy, Walter Camp Player of the Year Award and Davey O’Brien Award.

• Redshirt senior Sean Clifford is in his fourth season as Penn State’s starting signal caller, having played in 38 career games, making 33 starts.

• Clifford announced on Dec. 10, 2021 he would return in 2022 for his sixth and final season at Penn State.

• Clifford joins Jonathan Sutherland as the only four-time team captains in program history.

• Clifford could join Zack Mills (2001-04) and Tony Sacca (1988-92) as the only quarterbacks to start a game in four different seasons at Penn State.

• The Cincinnati native begins the season on the Davey O’Brien Award, Manning Award, Maxwell Award, Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, Walter Camp Player of the Year Award and Wuerffel Trophy watch lists.

• Clifford is also on the Reese’s Senior Bowl watch list.

• Last season, the quarterback was a finalist for the NFF’s William V. Campbell Trophy, awarded to the nation’s top football scholar athlete and was a member of the National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete Class.

• Clifford was named to the Allstate Good Works Team and was a finalist for the Senior CLASS Award. He owns a 3.45 cumulative GPA, graduated with a degree in public relations in December 2020 and is pursuing a second degree in journalism.

• Clifford is just one of three Penn State players all-time to reach 8,000-plus yards of total offense and one of three quarterbacks to reach 7,500 career passing yards.

• Clifford is one of six current FBS quarterbacks and one of four Power Five conference quarterbacks with 7,500 passing yards and 850 rushing yards in his career.

• He ranks eighth among current FBS quarterbacks with 7,839 career passing yards.

• The captain one of six current FBS quarterbacks with at least 7,800 passing yards and 60 passing touchdowns in his career.

• Clifford is one of seven current FBS quarterbacks with 600 career completions.

• The redshirt senior currently sits as the all-time leader at Penn State in completion percentage (.603), while ranking second at PSU in passing touchdowns (62), third in passing yards (7,839), completions (607) and passing efficiency (141.2), fourth in attempts (1,006), tied seventh in yards per pass attempt (7.8), eighth in lowest interception percentage (2.49) and 10th in touchdown pass percentage (6.16) and wins as a starting quarterback (21).

• He owns eight career games with at least 250 passing yards and three passing touchdowns, has tossed six career touchdowns of 70-plus yards and has completed 105 career passes of 20 or more yards.

• Clifford owns 26 career games with multiple TD passes, including 12 with three or more TDs, most by a PSU quarterback since 2000, and three with four or more.

• Clifford has tossed multiple touchdowns in a half on 16 occasions and nine different times has thrown multiple touchdowns in a quarter.

• Clifford owns seven career 300-yard passing games and 19 career 200-yard games.

• Redshirt freshman Christian Veilleux made his collegiate debut against Rutgers in 2021, throwing for 235 yards and three touchdowns.

• In the Rutgers game, Veilleux became the first Penn State true freshman QB to throw a TD since Christian Hackenberg at Wisconsin in 2013.

RUNNING BACKS NOTES
• Co-offensive coordinator/running backs coach Ja’Juan Seider has 14 years of college coaching experience, including 11 at the Power Five level.

• Seider helped a young running backs group to rank fifth in the Big Ten in rushing in 2020.

• In 2019, Seider mentored Journey Brown, who had 11 rushes of 20 or more yards and posted a Cotton Bowl and Penn State bowl-record 202 rushing yards.

• In 2018, Penn State posted its highest rushing average (204.9) since 2008 (205.8), led by second-team All-Big Ten selection Miles Sanders.

• As a player at Florida A&M, Seider won the Doug Williams Award for National Offensive Player of the Year, Jake Gaither Award (considered the Heisman Trophy of Historically Black Colleges) and earned All-America honors after throwing for 2,622 yards and 27 touchdowns and rushing for 740 yards and 14 touchdowns in 1999.

• Seider, who was the 1999 MEAC Offensive Player of the Year, was selected in the sixth round of the 2000 NFL Draft by the San Diego Chargers.

• Sophomore Keyvone Lee leads the group after rushing for 530 yards on 108 carries (4.9 average) a year ago.

• Lee has collected 968 career rushing yards (4.9 yards per carry) and six touchdowns. He also has 27 catches for 196 yards.

• The sophomore is a member of the Doak Walker Award watch list.

• Lee had a career-long 44-yard run against Indiana in 2021. He added a 21-yard run to lead Penn State with 74 yards on eight carries.

• Lee averaged 6.2 yards per carry against Maryland, rushing for 50 yards on eight carries, in 2021. He added two catches for 17 yards.

• Lee rushed for a season-high 88 yards on 20 carries vs. Michigan and 79 yards on 15 carries at Michigan State last season.

• Junior Devyn Ford has rushed for 629 career yards and six touchdowns, while adding 15 receptions and 72 receiving yards.

• Ford rushed for 107 yards, including an 81-yard touchdown, in his Penn State debut vs. Idaho in 2019.

TIGHT ENDS NOTES
• Tight ends coach Ty Howle enters his second season coaching the Penn State tight ends and his third season overall on the staff.

• Howle served as an offensive analyst in 2020, working closely with the offensive line and tight ends.

• Prior to returning to Happy Valley, Howle spent four seasons on the coaching staff at Western Illinois, serving as assistant head coach/co-offensive coordinator/offensive line coach in 2018-19.

• Howle was a four-year letter-winner on the Penn State offensive line from 2009-13. He started at center and left guard and was a four-time Academic All-Big Ten selection. He was a team captain in 2013.

• Howle played in 47 career games for the NIttany Lions, making 13 starts. He graduated in 2013 with a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology.

• Since James Franklin took over the program in 2014, three PSU tight ends have been taken in the NFL Draft, tied for eighth in the nation during that span (Pat Freiermuth – 2021, 2nd round; Mike Gesicki – 2018, 2nd round; Jesse James – 2015, 5th round).

• Penn State had four tight ends on opening week NFL rosters in 2021 (Nick Bowers, Freiermuth, Gesicki and James), trailing only Stanford (5) among FBS programs.

• An experienced tight end group, which has combined for 59 career games and 25 starts, looks to continue a strong tight end tradition.

• Redshirt junior Brenton Strange leads the group and has appeared in 24 career games for the Nittany Lions, making 18 starts.

• Strange started all 13 games in 2021 and made 20 grabs for 225 yards and three touchdowns.

• An All-Big Ten honorable mention selection by the media last season, Strange set career highs with four catches for 71 yards against Auburn, including a career-long 40-yard reception.

• Strange (4), sophomore Theo Johnson (4) and sophomore Tyler Warren (2) combined for 10 20-plus yard receptions during the 2021 season.

• Johnson, who recorded a catch in nine of 13 games a year ago, caught a 23-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter against Ball State, his first career touchdown catch.

• Johnson had a career-best 37-yard reception against Auburn.

• Johnson and Strange are both on the Mackey Award watch list.

• Warren scored a 3-yard run against Villanova and a 2-yard rushing touchdown against Auburn.

• The sophomore added a 22-yard reception vs. Auburn and a 29-yard catch against Rutgers.

• He made a key 2-yard touchdown reception on fourth and goal against Michigan, his first career receiving score.

WIDE RECEIVER NOTES
• Offensive recruiting coordinator/wide receivers coach Taylor Stubblefield is in his third season on the Penn State staff.

• As a player, Stubblefield caught 325 passes, which was an NCAA record at the completion of his career at Purdue.

• He still owns the Big Ten record for career receptions and ranks second in conference history with 3,629 yards.

• Stubblefield was a consensus All-American and a finalist for the Biletnikoff Award in 2004.

• Leading the wideout room is Parker Washington, who has caught a pass in all 22 games of his career.

• The sophomore owns 100 career receptions, ranking 18th all-time at Penn State.

• The 100 receptions for Washington in the first two seasons of his career are second-most ever at Penn State for a player in their first two years, trailing only DaeSean Hamilton (127 combined in 2014 and 2015).

• Washington and transfer Mitchell Tinsley (130) both have over 100 career receptions. Penn State is one of nine FBS schools and one of four Power Five programs with multiple players over 100 career receptions.

• Washington has recorded 1,309 career receiving yards, good for 22nd in program history.

• With Tinsley (1,779) and Washington, Penn State is one of 10 FBS teams, and one of five Power Five teams, with two players over 1,300 career receiving yards.

• Tinsley (19) and Washington (10) both have double-digit career receiving touchdowns. Penn State is one of seven FBS teams, and one of three Power Five teams, with multiple players collecting 10+ career receiving touchdowns.

• Tinsley and Washington are two of 30 FBS receivers entering the 2022 season with at least 100 receptions, 1,300 receiving yards and 10 receiving touchdowns in their career.

• Tinsley and Washington are both on the Biletnikoff Award watch list, while Washington is also on the Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award watch list.

• KeAndre Lambert-Smith (521), Tinsley and Washington each recorded over 500 receiving yards last season. Penn State is one of nine FBS teams, and one of six Power Five teams, with three receivers on the roster who tallied 500+ receiving yards in 2021.

• During the 2021 campaign, Washington’s 64 receptions on the year were good for sixth in a single season at Penn State, while his 820 receiving yards are good for 20th in a single season in school history.

• A third-team All-Big Ten honoree by Pro Football Focus and an Academic All-Big Ten honoree in 2021, Washington finished sixth in the Big Ten with the 64 catches and ninth with the 820 receiving yards.

• Washington’s seven receptions in the 2022 Outback Bowl were tied for the third-most by a Penn State player in a bowl game.

• Lambert-Smith returns for his third season in Happy Valley.

• Lambert-Smith, who has started 18 career games, made 34 receptions for 521 yards and five touchdowns with a long reception of 83 yards in 2021.

• Lambert-Smith has a reception in 16-straight games.

• The 83-yard reception resulted in a touchdown against Villanova (9/25), marking the seventh-longest pass play in program history.

• Eight of Lambert-Smith’s 34 catches in 2021 were 20 or more yards and he finished sixth in the Big Ten in yards per reception (15.3).

• Sophomore Malick Meiga reached the end zone for the first time in his career, on a 67-yard strike from Christian Veilleux, in the third quarter against Rutgers in 2021.

• Penn State welcomed Tinsley as a transfer this past offseason. Tinsley spent the previous two seasons at Western Kentucky.

• Tinsley, a senior, has a reception in 26-straight games and at least seven receptions in each of his last five games.

• Among current FBS receivers, Tinsley ranks seventh in career receiving touchdowns (19), 16th in career receiving yards (1,779) and 27th in career receptions (130).

• Tinsley has 26 career receptions of 20 or more yards and six receptions of 40 or more yards.

• A second-team All-Conference USA selection in 2021, Tinsley finished second in the league in receiving yards (1,402, 8th nationally), receptions (87, 16th) and touchdown receptions (14, 5th).

• He started all 14 games for the Hilltoppers and averaged 100.1 yards receiving per game and 16.1 yards per reception.

• During the 2020 season, he played in all 12 games, making nine starts, pacing the Hilltoppers in receptions (43), yards (377) and touchdowns (4).

OFFENSIVE LINE NOTES
• Offensive line coach Phil Trautwein enters his third season at Penn State.

• He was named to the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Class of 2021 “35 Under 35” list, recognizing the top-35 football coaches under the age of 35. He was the only Big Ten coach and the only offensive line coach on the 2021 list.

• In his two seasons at Penn State, Trautwein has helped seven Penn State offensive linemen to earn All-Big Ten honors.

• He’s coached 17 All-Conference selections over the last four seasons, which includes a stint at Boston College as the offensive line coach.

• Trautwein was a two-time All-SEC selection and two-time team captain as a left tackle at Florida, earning first-team honors in 2008 and second-team accolades in 2006.

• He was part of the Gators winning the BCS National Championship and SEC titles in the 2006 and 2008 seasons.

• Trautwein played four years in the NFL.

• Redshirt senior center Juice Scruggs leads the offensive line unit and begins the season on the Rimington Trophy watch list.

• In 2021, he was named All-Big Ten honorable mention by the coaches and media, earned Pro Football Focus All-Big Ten third team honors, and was the team’s Dick Maginnis Memorial Award, recognizing the most outstanding offensive lineman.

• Scruggs has made 13 career starts on the offensive line, all of which came during the 2021 season.

• Redshirt junior tackle Caedan Wallace returns and has 20 starts at right tackle and owns 26 career appearances.

• Sophomore Olumuyiwa Fashanu appeared in nine games a year ago and made his first career start, at left tackle, in the Outback Bowl against Arkansas.

• Sophomore Nick Dawkins, redshirt senior Bryce Effner and redshirt freshman Landon Tengwall also saw playing time on the line in 2021.

• Redshirt junior Sal Wormley has appeared in four games and returns after missing the 2021 season due to injury.

• Last season, Penn State did not allow a sack against Auburn on 33 pass attempts and against Indiana on 34 pass attempts.

DEFENSIVE NOTES
• Manny Diaz was hired as Penn State’s defensive coordinator and linebackers coach on Dec. 11, 2021.

• Diaz, who has 24 years of collegiate coaching experience, including three as a head coach and 13 as a defensive coordinator, joins the Nittany Lions after spending six seasons (2016-21) at the University of Miami, including three seasons as head coach (2019-21).

• Diaz coached the Hurricanes to three bowl appearances in his three seasons at the helm, which included an 8-3 record and 7-2 mark in ACC play during the 2020 season. It marked the second time with Diaz on staff as well as the second time in program history Miami won seven ACC games.

• Defenses under Diaz have been a force behind the line of scrimmage. From 2018-20, Miami’s defense featured at least one player with 15 tackles for loss: Jaelan Phillips (15.5) in 2020, Gregory Rousseau (19.5) in 2019 and Jonathan Garvin (18.0) in 2018.

• During Diaz’s tenure in Miami, the Hurricanes ranked in the top 10 nationally in tackles for loss each year. Miami was No. 9 in 2021 (7.75 per game), No. 4 in 2020 (8.6), No. 4 in 2019 (8.3), No. 1 in 2018 (10.5), No. 4 in 2017 (8.5) and No. 5 in 2016 (8.3).

• The Nittany Lions allowed just 17.3 points per game in 2021, good for second in the Big Ten and sixth in the country.

• Penn State allowed opponents only a 66.7 conversion rate in the red zone, ranking third in the country and leading the Big Ten.

• In 48 opponent red zone trips, Penn State held opposing teams without a score on 16 possessions.

• Penn State held its opponents to a 37.5 touchdown conversion percentage in the red zone, marking the third-best in the country (48 attempts, 18 touchdowns).

• The Nittany Lions’ 16 red zone stops were the most in the FBS.

• Penn State allowed just 11 passing touchdowns, tied for fourth in the country.

• Dating back to the Nebraska game in 2020, Penn State has forced a turnover in 19-straight games, tied for the second-longest streak among FBS teams (Baylor, 21; Oklahoma, 19).

• In those 19 games, Penn State has forced 28 total turnovers (19 interceptions, nine fumbles).

• Penn State forced 21 takeaways in 2021, including 14 interceptions.

• Over the last seven seasons, PSU sits second nationally in sacks per game (3.01; trailing only Clemson), third in QB hurries (904), fourth in total pressures generated (1351), seventh in fewest passing TDs allowed per game (1.10), seventh in tackles for loss percentage (10.62), eighth in fewest passing yards per attempt (6.30) and 11th in fewest rushing yards per attempt (3.61).

• Penn State’s 265 sacks over the last seven years (2015-21) are fourth behind Clemson (331), Alabama (313) and Pitt (285).

• Over the last seven years, Penn State has accumulated a 8.55 percent sack percentage (265 sacks on 3,402 plays), which ranks fifth in the FBS.

• Since 2014, Penn State has held opponents to seven or less points 23 times, seventh-most among FBS teams. Seventeen of those 23 games have been against Big Ten opponents.

• In the James Franklin era, Penn State has recorded seven shutouts, fifth-most among FBS teams.

• Since 2014, Penn State has kept opponents under 300 total yards 45 times, the seventh-most games among FBS teams.

• Penn State has held opponents under 100 passing yards in 16 games since 2014, tied eighth-most among FBS teams.

• Penn State has registered 10 or more tackles for loss 25 times since 2014, the third-most among FBS teams.

• In 2021, Penn State shut out two conference opponents in a season for the first time since joining the Big Ten in 1993.

• The Nittany Lions’ three pick-sixes in 2021 were the most for Penn State since 2003 (3) and marks the eighth time with three or more interception returns for a TD in a season.

• John Scott Jr. is in his third season heading the Nittany Lion defensive line corps. Scott brings 18 years of collegiate coaching experience to the Penn State defensive line room with two additional years of coaching experience in the NFL.

• In Scott’s first two seasons at Penn State, the Nittany Lions had three first-team All-Big Ten selections in Odafe (Jayson) Oweh and Shaka Toney in 2020 and Arnold Ebiketie in 2021.

• Six Nittany Lions earned All-Big Ten accolades in the last two seasons.

• The Nittany Lions defensive line room features 2021 All-Big Ten honoree DT PJ Mustipher.

• Mustipher, a senior and team captain, anchors the Nittany Lion defensive line room, having appeared in 40 career games and making 16 starts. In his Penn State career, Mustipher owns 107 tackles, 10 tackles for loss and three sacks.

• Mustipher is a team captain for the second-straight season.

• Despite suffering a season-ending injury at Iowa on Oct. 9, Mustipher was named a 2021 All-Big Ten second team selection by the coaches.

• Mustipher begins the season on watch lists for the Rotary Lombardi Award, Bronko Nagurski Trophy and Outland Trophy.

• Mustipher was a 2021 semifinalist for the Rotary Lombardi Award, a quarterfinalist for the Lott IMPACT Trophy and was on the Reese’s Senior Bowl watch list in 2021.

• The senior had a defensive line-high seven tackles at Wisconsin, recorded a sack against Villanova and tallied six tackles and a tackle for loss against Indiana in 2021.

• Redshirt senior DE Nick Tarburton has appeared in 22 career games, making eight starts.

• He recovered a fumble in the red zone, the first of his career, in the second quarter against Wisconsin in 2021.

• Tarburton made an assist on a sack against Illinois that resulted in a forced fumble and recovery for Penn State.

• Sophomore DT Coziah Izzard made his first career start against Illinois and started seven-straight games to finish the 2021 season.

• Izzard, who made 21 tackles, two sacks and three tackles for loss in 2021, recorded a strip-sack against Rutgers.

• Redshirt junior DT Dvon Ellies has also seen valuable time at defensive tackle, playing in all 13 games in 2021.

• Ellies recovered a fumble in the second quarter against Illinois, his first career recovery.

• Redshirt junior DE Smith Vilbert recorded three sacks in the Outback Bowl vs. Arkansas, the most sacks by a Penn State player in a single game since Shaka Toney had three against Purdue in 2019.

• The three sacks also set a Penn State bowl record.

• Penn State welcomed sophomore DE Chop Robinson to the program this summer. Robinson transfered from the University of Maryland.

• Robinson was a 2021 ESPN Midseason True Freshman AllAmerican, appearing in all 13 games with one start, totaling 19 tackles (12 solo), 2.5 tackles for loss for 18 yards and two sacks for 16 yards.

LINEBACKERS NOTES
• In addition to leading the defense, Manny Diaz also coaches the linebacker unit.

• Penn State’s linebacker corps is led by 2021 All-Big Ten honoree Curtis Jacobs.

• Jacobs, who earned All-Big Ten honorable mention recognition in 2021, has played in 20 career games and made 11 starts.

• Jacobs made 61 tackles (39 solo), to go along with seven tackles for loss, three sacks and an interception during his second season in Happy Valley in 2021.

• The sophomore made a career-high 10 tackles vs. Arkansas in the Outback Bowl.

• Redshirt senior Jonathan Sutherland also brings a wealth of experience to the linebackers room, having played in 45 career games.

• Sutherland, who played both safety and linebacker in 2021, made the switch to a full-time linebacker for the 2022 season.

• He joins Sean Clifford as the only four-time team captains in program history.

• Sutherland is on the preseason Paul Hornung Award watch list.

• Redshirt senior Charlie Katshir has played in 28 games as a Nittany Lion, including all 13 in 2021.

• Katshir collected 11 in 2021, including four against Ball State.

• Sophomore Tyler Elsdon appeared in 12 games in 2021, recording 12 tackles.

• Elsdon made a career-best six stops vs. Arkansas.

• Linebacker Micah Parsons was selected 12th overall by the Dallas Cowboys in the 2021 NFL Draft.

• Parsons was the highest drafted Penn State defensive player since Aaron Maybin went 11th overall to the Buffalo Bills in 2009.

• He was the first Nittany Lion defensive player drafted in the first round since Jared Odrick (2010; 28th overall to the Miami Dolphins) and the first PSU linebacker selected in the first round since LaVar Arrington (2000; second overall to the Washington Redskins).

• Penn State has 71 linebackers drafted all-time, the most for any school.

CORNERBACKS NOTES

• Terry M. Smith is in his ninth season as Penn State’s cornerbacks coach. He is also the program’s associate head coach and defensive recruiting coordinator.

• Over the last seven seasons, Smith has tutored a secondary which has seen eight defensive backs taken in the NFL Draft, including two in 2022, tied for the ninth-most nationally.

• Smith was a four-year letter-winner (1988-91) and three-year starter at wide receiver at Penn State. He ranks tied for 10th in career receiving touchdowns (15), 13th in career receiving yardage (1,825) and 14th in career receptions (108).

• Penn State forced 14 interceptions in 2021, tied for 26th in the FBS and third in the Big Ten.

• The Nittany Lions held opposing offenses to a 111.04 passing efficiency, ranking third in the Big Ten and sitting eighth in the nation.

• Penn State’s cornerbacks room is led by All-Big Ten returnee Joey Porter Jr.

• Porter begins the 2022 campaign on watch lists for the Bednarik Award, Bronko Nagurski Trophy, Jim Thorpe Award and Lott IMPACT Trophy.

• Porter was also named Preseason All-America second team by Sports Illustrated.

• Porter, who has played in 25 career games with the Nittany Lions and has made 21 starts, recorded his first career interception against Indiana in 2021.

• He collected 51 tackles, one forced fumble, one interception and four pass breakups a year ago.

• He was responsible for a key pass breakup on third down before an interception by S Jaquan Brisker in the season-opening win at Wisconsin in 2021.

• He tallied his first career forced fumble in the fourth quarter against Auburn in 2021.

• Redshirt junior Daequan Hardy, who owned nine passes defended in 2021, recorded his first career interception against Ball State.

• Hardy broke up two passes in each game against Villanova and Indiana.

• He tallied a career-best two tackles for loss and a solo sack at Iowa.

• Hardy grabbed his second career interception and returned it 17 yards for a touchdown against Michigan State.

• Sophomore Kalen King posted three tackles and his first career forced fumble against Ball State.

• King, who broke up a pass in each of his final four games of 2021, broke up a season-high two passes against Rutgers.

• He made a career-high seven tackles and broke up a pass vs. Arkansas in the Outback Bowl.

• Junior Johnny Dixon appeared in 12 games in 2021, making 10 tackles, two pass breakups and a half tackle for loss.

• Junior Marquis Wilson made the switch back to cornerback after being listed as an athlete for the 2021 season. He’s played in 27 games, including two starts, with 36 tackles, three pass breakups and two interceptions.

• Since 2014, the Nittany Lions have allowed less than 200 passing yards in 58 games, tied for the sixth-most among FBS teams.

SAFETIES NOTES
• Co-Defensive coordinator/safeties coach Anthony Poindexter is in his second season on the Nittany Lion coaching staff.

• Poindexter has 18 years of collegiate coaching experience, including seven as a defensive or co-defensive coordinator.

• As a player, Poindexter was a two-time consensus All-American at Virginia and was chosen as the 1998 ACC Defensive Player of the Year.

• Poindexter was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2020.

• Senior Ji’Ayir Brown leads the Penn State safeties.

• Brown is on the preseason watch lists for the Bednarik Award and Jim Thorpe Award.

• Brown, a third-team All-Big Ten honoree in 2021, tied for the nation’s lead with six interceptions.

• The six picks, which are tied for 10th-most in a single season at Penn State, are the most by a Penn State player since Anthony Scirrotto also had six in 2006.

• The senior had a hand in eight takeaways in 2021 (six interceptions, two fumble recoveries).

• He is the first Nittany Lion with six interceptions and two fumble recoveries in a season since Alan Zemaitis in 2005 (six interceptions, two fumble recoveries).

• Brown made his first start against Wisconsin and tallied his first interception as a Nittany Lion as time expired to secure the road win over the Badgers.

• He had a hand in two takeaways at Maryland, recovering a fumble and recording an 87-yard pick-six to help seal the victory.

• The 87-yard interception return marked the fifth-longest interception return in school history.

• The Trenton, N.J. native tallied two interceptions vs. Arkansas in the Outback Bowl, tying a Penn State bowl record.

• Thirteen players previously had two interceptions in a bowl game, most recently Derek Fox in the 1999 Alamo Bowl.

• Junior Keaton Ellis brings a wealth of experience to the Penn State secondary, having appeared in 30 career games, making seven starts.

• In his career, Ellis owns three forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, an interception and five pass breakups.

• During their true freshmen campaigns in 2021, sophomore Jaylen Reed (8 games) and redshirt freshman Zakee Wheatley (4 games) each gained playing experience in the secondary

SPECIAL TEAMS NOTES
• Stacy Collins enters his first season as Penn State’s special teams coordinator/outside linebacker/nickels coach.

• Collins, who has 24 years of collegiate coaching experience, joined the Nittany Lions after spending the 2021 season as Boise State’s special teams coordinator and edge coach.

• During the 2021 campaign, Collins’ special teams unit blocked three punts, which tied for seventh in the nation, and four kicks overall to rank ninth in FBS. Of the three blocked punts, two were returned for touchdowns.

• Under Collins, the Broncos finished fifth in the nation and led the Mountain West Conference in punt returns with a 15.77 yards per return. In addition, Boise State’s kickoff return defense was second the MWC and 36th in FBS with a 19.03 average.

• The Nittany Lions were second nationally in net punting (44.54, 2nd in B1G), fifth in kick return defense (14.0, 2nd) and ninth in punt return defense (2.79, 2nd) in 2021.

• Since 2019, Penn State’s kick return defense ranks second in the nation in touchback percentage (82.7; 1st in B1G) and percentage of kickoffs returned (9.9; 1st), third in percentage of kickoffs returned inside the 25 (75.0; 2nd), tied sixth in average kick return yards allowed (16.8; 5th) and 13th in average opponent field position (25.3; 5th).

• Also since 2019, Penn State’s punt return defense is ranked first in punts inside the 20 (46 percent), tied second in punts inside the 10 (24.5 percent; 1st in B1G) and eighth in net punting (41.6; 3rd).

• Senior K Jake Pinegar ranks fourth all-time at Penn State with 136 career extra points and sits ninth in career extra point percentage (96.5).

• Pinegar is sixth all-time at Penn State with a 73.5 field goal percentage. He’s also tied for 10th in field goal attempts (49) and tied for 11th in field goals made (36).

• The Iowa native is also ninth on the all-time scoring list with 244 career points.

• Pinegar’s 36 career field goals ranks third among current FBS kickers.

• Senior SN Chris Stoll is in his fourth season as Penn State’s primary long snapper. He’s appeared in 34 career games. • Stoll is a member of the Patrick Mannelly Award watch list. He is also on the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team watch list.

• Redshirt senior P Barney Amor averaged a school-record 42.1 yards per punt, with a long of 60 yards, at Colgate in 2019. He landed 17 punts inside the 20 and blasted 11 punts of 50-plus yards.

• S Jonathan Sutherland is wearing No. 0 for the thirdstraight season as the team’s special teams leader as part of a new tradition that began in 2020.

Purdue Boilermakers
Notes

A WIN WOULD
• Make Purdue 79-50-6 in season openers
• Make Purdue 93-37-4 in home openers
• Make Purdue 49-72-6 in Big Ten openers
• Make Purdue 6-10 when opening the year vs. a Big Ten team
• Mark the 295th victory at Ross-Ade Stadium
• Be the third-straight season opening victory in the Brohm era

STORY LINES
• Purdue opens its 135th season of football with a Thursday night bout against Penn State in front of a packed RossAde Stadium and a national audience on FOX. Kickoff is set for 8:05 p.m.

• The game will also be aired nationally on Westwood One with JP Shadrick, Ryan Harris and Jon Stashower on the call.

• Ross-Ade Stadium will be blacked out Thursday night. The Boilermakers will host their first Blackout game since 2018 when Purdue thumped No. 3 Ohio State.

• Head coach Jeff Brohm enters his sixth season at the helm in West Lafayette. Holding a 28-29 record at Purdue, the Boilermakers have won the last two season openers under Brohm.

• Purdue saw its rebuilding efforts pay off with an historic 2021 campaign that finished with a 9-4 record, two wins over AP top-5 teams, two All-America honorees and a bowl victory.

• Purdue will don a helmet decal to honor the late Purdue and Pro Football Hall of Famer Len Dawson, who passed away on August 24.

• Quarterback Aidan O’Connell returns behind center after one of the most prolific passing seasons in program history. Last year, O’Connell threw for 3,712 yards and 28 touchdowns with a Purdue record 71.8% completion clip over 12 games and nine starts.

• Purdue and Penn State will meet for the 20th time and the first in West Lafayette since 2016. The Boilermakers have not defeated the Nittany Lions since 2004, a nine-game skid.

• The Boilermakers have won 22 of their last 24 home openers.

• Purdue’s honorary captain against Penn State is 1980 Big Ten MVP and College Football Hall of Fame inductee quarterback Mark Herrmann.

PURDUE VS. PENN STATE
INSIDE THE MATCHUP
Record: 3-15-1 (.158)
In West Lafayette: 2-7
In State College: 1-8-1
Neutral: 0-0
Most points scored by Purdue: 28 (1951, 2003)
Most points scored by Penn State: 62 (2016)
Largest margin of victory by Purdue: 28 (1951)
Largest margin of victory by Penn State: 38 (2016

THURSDAY NIGHT OPENER
• The Boilermakers are scheduled to open a season on a Thursday for the third time in program history and play just their third Thursday game since 1904.

• Purdue holds a 6-7-2 record when playing on Thursdays. (2-5-2 at home, 3-1 on the road, 1-1 at neutral sites)

• Eleven of Purdue’s 15 Thursday games have been played on Thanksgiving.

COMMENCING WITH CONFERENCE
• The Boilermakers have a 78-50-6 record in season-opening games. Purdue has never faced Penn State to start the year.

• Purdue has opened the season with a conference game 18 times previously, the last coming in 2020 against Iowa.

• Purdue is 8-10 when facing a conference opponent to start the year and 6-10 against Big Ten foes – three of those losses were to the University of Chicago, which left the Big Ten in 1946.

BOILER NOTES
EXPERIENCED LINE
• Center Gus Hartwig (6-5, 310), guard Spencer Holstege (6-5, 10) and tackle Eric Miller (6-7, 305) will team up for their second campaign in the trenches.

• The trio anchor the left side of the line. Hartwig and Holstege have started the last 16 games, while Holstege enters the year with the most consecutive starts on the team with 18.

• Two spots were up for grabs on the right side of the line during preseason camp.

• Redshirt freshman guard Marcus Mbow (6-5, 305) solidified his spot after playing well in the Music City Bowl last December and having a solid spring and camp.

• Redshirt junior Cam Craig (6-5,310) started a pair of games in 2021 after missing 2020 due to injury. The Dublin, Ohio, native has emerged as the top right tackle heading into the year.

ARSENAL OF RECEIVERS
• Despite the departures of David Bell, Jackson Anthrop and Milton Wright, Aidan O’Connell will have an overabundance of targets to catch his passes.

• O’Connell has more than 15 potential targets split between the wide receivers, tight ends and running backs this season.

• Instant impact transfers from Iowa, Charlie Jones and Tyrone Tracy are the elder statesmen of the receivers room. The duo combined for 87 catches, 1,194 yards and eight touchdowns during their time in Iowa City.

• Big-bodied receivers in Broc Thompson, Mershawn Rice, Auburn transfer Elijah Canion, Collin Sullivan and Abdur-Rahmaan Yaseen all stand 6-foot-2 or taller to give some height on the perimeter.

• Shifty slotmen TJ Sheffield and Deion Burks will also get in on the action in different packages.

OLD RELIABLE AT TIGHT END
• Trusty veteran tight end Payne Durham enters his final season in West Lafayette after an All-Big Ten campaign in 2021 that saw him haul in 45 passes for 467 yards and six scores.

• Durham’s progression in college from backup to all-conference caliber is made more impressive when you consider he played one year of high school football after playing lacrosse all his life.

• Joining Durham as the front line tight ends will be Paul Piferi, who made five catches for 61 yards and a score last season. A former three-star quarterback, Piferi transitioned to tight end during the 2020 season.

• The only setback in the tight end room came during preseason camp when Garrett Miller suffered a season-ending knee injury.

• To provide more depth at tight end, the Boilermakers will look to walk-on redshirt sophomore Ben Buechel and sophomore Drew Biber.

THE KING LEADING HIS RUNNING BACKS
• King Doerue heads a stable of running backs. The senior from Amarillo, Texas, crossed the 1,000-yard mark for his career last season when he ran for 530 yards on 135 carries as Purdue’s primary rusher.

• Doerue split time with Zander Horvath in 2021, who was selected in the seventh round of the 2022 NFL Draft by the Los Angeles Chargers.

• Joining Doerue will be Dylan Downing, who carried the ball 44 times for 178 yards and a score last season. When Horvath went down with an injury, Downing stepped up to be the Boilermakers’ second back. During the offseason, Downing dropped nearly 20 pounds in an effort to be leaner and more agile, thanks to a refocus on nutrition.

• Central Michigan transfer Kobe Lewis will look to make his mark in West Lafayette. The Americus, Ga., product rushed for over 1,500 yards and 18 scores in his career.

• One player who has turned some heads during camp is walkon Devin Mockobee. The shifty redshirt freshman from Boonville, Ind., did not see action in 2021, after winning the Indiana high school state long jump and finishing second in the 110-meter hurdles.

DEN OF DEFENSIVE ENDS
Threatening the opposition’s signal-caller is the goal of every defensive end: causing disruption, havoc and confusion to the offense. Throughout its history, Purdue has produced many outstanding defensive ends, creating an institution unlike any other in college football – The Den of Defensive Ends. Eight members of The Den have gone on to be selected for the NFL Pro Bowl – Sugar, Lundy, Keena Turner, Colvin, Shaun Phillips, Spencer, Kerrigan and Cliff Avril – while four have played for Super Bowl champions: Turner, Colvin, Avril and Rob Ninkovich.
George Karlaftis became the lastest member of The Den of Defensive Ends, as the All-American was added in the spring of 2022.

STACKED LINEBACKERS
• Despite the linebackers room losing 2021 leading tackler Jaylan Alexander, the Boilermakers return a trio of their linebacking core from 2021 in Kieren Douglas, Jalen Graham and Kydran Jenkins.

• In their first season together, the trio amassed a combined 166 tackles, 15 tackles-for-loss and six sacks to go with three interceptions.

• Graham, in his third year as a starter, worked all over the defensive backfield for 64 tackles, including 45 solos. He was named Big Ten Player of the Week after intercepting a pair of passes, housing one, in the win at Nebraska.

• Kieren Douglas made the most of his first year in the starting lineup to total 67 tackles. His biggest contribution perhaps came on his final tackle of the season, when he and Jamari Brown combined to stop Tennessee’s Jaylen Wright’s forward progress at the goal line in overtime of the Music City Bowl.

• Kydran (KAY-dran) Jenkins closed his first campaign in the starting rotation tied for the team lead in sacks with George Karlaftis with five.

• Semisi Fakasiieiki makes his return back from injury. The Compton, Calif., native combined for 44 tackles and 3.5 tackles-for-loss in 2019 and 2020.

• Additional help will come from Murray State transfer Scotty Humpich. The redshirt senior was an All-OVC first team pick in 2020 before injury shortened his campaign last year.

EXPERIENCED SECONDARY
• Three of Purdue’s four defensive backs heading into the season have featured prominently in the Boilermakers’ starting lineup.

• Safety Cam Allen looks to build off his honorable mention All-Big Ten campaign in 2020 that saw him rack up 27 tackles and a pair of interceptions.

• Cornerback Cory Trice returns after missing the final 11 games of 2021 through injury. The 6-foot-3 defensive back was tabbed the No. 4 on The Athletic’s preseason top-20 senior cornerbacks.

• Redshirt senior Jamari Brown stepped into Trice’s role for the final 11 games of the season. He notched 32 tackles and broke up seven passes with two forced fumbles.

• Chris Jefferson provided a spark in extra defensive back situations last year. A Division II All-American at Findlay, Jefferson finished the year with 47 tackles and one interception, including a season-high 15 in the Music City Bowl.

DEFENSIVE BACK DEPTH
• Purdue’s jump into the portal gave some additional support in the secondary.

• Reese Taylor, the 2017 Indiana Mr. Football at quarterback, arrived from Indiana during the offseason. He tallied 65 tackles over 40 games with two interceptions with the Hoosiers.

• Sophomore Brandon Calloway, redshirt junior O.C. Brothers, junior Sanoussi Kane and transfers Tee Denson from Kansas State and Bryce Hampton from Adams State will give additional coverage on defense and special teams.

TRIO OF D-LINE STARTERS ARE BACK
• Even with George Karlaftis heading to the NFL, the Boilermakers have depth and experience on the defensive line going into 2022.

• Redshirt senior Lawrence Johnson enters his fourth season in the main rotation. Last season, Johnson made 34 tackles last season with 4.5 for loss and one sack.

• Fellow redshirt senior Branson Deen was tabbed All-Big Ten honorable mention by the coaches and media following 26 tackles with 9.5 for loss.

• Jack Sullivan expanded his role in 2021 to tally 22 tackles with 4.5 for loss. The redshirt senior graduated in early August with his degree in professional flight, technology and aviation management.

• Interior lineman Damarjhe Lewis, who was poised to have a breakout year, suffered a season-ending injury during the opening weeks of camp.

HEAVY HITTERS IN THE INTERIOR
• Penn State Transfer Cole Brevard has found his footing in West Lafayette, while redshirt senior Prince James Boyd Jr. will see his role grow, after recording five tackles and recovering one fumble in 2021.

• A freshman trio of Joe Strickland, Nic Caraway and Mo Omonode, along with redshirt freshman Khordae Sydnor could also add an impact in the trenches.

SPECIALIST TRIO RETURNS
• The Boilermakers have some stability returning in 2022 with the kicker, punter and long snapper all returning.

• Long snapper Nick Zecchino, one of two seventh-year players on the roster, will handle the short and long snapping duties for the fourth straight year.

• Fifth-year kicker Mitchell Fineran was named to the Lou Groza Award Watch List ahead of his second season in West Lafayette.

• Fineran had a huge 2021 season, making 82.8 percent of his field goal attempts (24-of-29) and earning All-Big Ten Honorable Mention accolades.

• Sophomore punter Jack Ansell completes the returner trifecta, as the Aussie looks to improve upon his campaign last year.

NEW SEPCIAL TEAMS COACH
• Head coach Jeff Brohm welcomed in Karl Maslowski as the Boilermakers’ new special teams coach during the offseason.

• Maslowski was a senior quality control specialist at Louisville for the last three seasons after coaching special teams at Northern Michigan from 2013-18.

• Under his direction, his punt units ranked top 30 nationally in six out of nine seasons, while his kickoff return units finished in the top 30 eight times.

IMPROVING THE RETURN
• Purdue ranked last in the Big Ten and 129th nationally in yards per kickoff return last season with 12.4 and 11th in the Big Ten with 6.2 yards per punt return.

• To bolster their return game, the Boilermakers brought in two of the best returners in the Big Ten in Charlie Jones and Reese Taylor.

• Jones was one of the most electric returners in the nation last Preseason Second Team All-America returner (Walter Camp), Fourth Team All-America returner (Athlon), First Team All-Big Ten returner (Phil Steele) and Second Team All-Big Ten (PFF).

• Last season, Jones took in an impressive award haul as the Rodgers-Dwight Big Ten Return Specialist of the Year, First Team All-Big Ten return specialist, First Team All-Big Ten kick return specialist by Phil Steele, Second Team All-Big Ten by the Associated Press and Fourth Team All-Big Ten punt return specialist by Phil Steele

• Taylor garnered Big Ten accolades after his 2020 campaign as a Third Team All-Big Ten punt returner by Phil Steele and honorable mention by the Big Ten coaches and media.

• The pair will join TJ Sheffield, one of Purdue’s primary returners the last two seasons, as the Boilermakers’ primary rotation

KICKOFF CREW
• The Boilermakers bring back all three kickers who took turns on kickoff last season. Purdue ranked 10th in the Big Ten and 45th nationally allowing 19.9 yards per kick return.

• Chris Van Eekeren kicked off 32 times for a 61-yard average and 18 touchbacks. He missed five games due to injury.

• Ben Freehill filled in when Van Eekeren went down. He tallied a 60.7-yard average with 15 touchbacks.

• Mitchell Fineran also handled kickoff duties in three games.

Thu., Sep. 1 @ 8:00 pm CT
New Mexico State Aggies at Minnesota Golden Gophers

New Mexico State Aggies
Notes

SERIES CAPSULE
vs. Minnesota
Overall: 1-2 | Home: 0-1 | Away: 1-1
Date Location Score W/L
8/30/18 Minneapolis 48-10 L
9/7/13 Las Cruces 44-21 L
9/10/11 Minneapolis 28-21 W

THE LAST MEETING
Minnesota and NM State have not met since the 2018 season when the Golden Gophers trounced the Aggies 48-10. After one quarter, the Aggies and Golden Gophers remained deadlocked at seven. NM State got on the board with a 13-yard touchdown pass from Matt Romero to Izaiah Lottie. Early in the second quarter, the Aggies took the lead when “Downtown” Dylan Brown drilled a 45- yard field goal. From there, it was all Golden Gophers. Minnesota rattled off 41 unanswered points to take down NM State in the Twin Cities.

BEHIND ENEMY LINES (MINNESOTA):
Like many teams around the country, Minnesota is still waiting to play in their first contest. The Aggies become an oddity around college football playing twice within the first six days of the college football season. Despite a disappointing 14-10 loss to Bowling Green, PJ Fleck and the Golden Gophers tallied a nine-win season in 2021. Minnesota pushed Ohio State in their season opener and responded to the Bowling Green disappointment with four straight wins over Purdue, Nebraska, Maryland, and Northwestern. Fleck and Co. found themselves in the Guaranteed Rate Bowl, knocking off West Virginia 18-6. Following the NM State contest, Minnesota will round out its nonconference slate against Western Illinois (FCS) and Colorado.

TURNOVER BUG
For the first time since 2007, NM State threw four interceptions in a contest against Nevada. The Wolf Pack defense ranked first in FBS football with a +16 turnover margin throughout the 2021 season and jumped out to a +5 margin after week zero.

Minnesota Golden Gophers
Notes

FIVE THINGS TO KNOW
1 – University of Minnesota football begins its 139th season, and sixth under head coach P.J. Fleck, Thursday night as it hosts New Mexico State at Huntington Bank Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 8 p.m. with a national TV audience on BTN.

2 – Minnesota is 96-36-6 all-time in season openers, including wins in four of their last six openers (3-2 under Fleck, including 3-0 vs. non-conference opponents). The Golden Gophers are 100-31-7 all-time in home openers with an identical stretch of four wins in their past six home openers (also 3-2 under Fleck). Minnesota, which is opening a season at home for the 10th straight year, is 8-5 in home openers since Huntington Bank Stadium opened in 2009. This will be the second time that the Gophers have opened a season against New Mexico State, also going so in 2018 with a 48-10 victory. The Aggies also served as Minnesota’s home opener in 2011, a 28-21 NMSU win.

3 – The 2022 Golden Gophers will be led by a veteran unit on the offensive side of the ball, highlighted by the “Encore Four” of quarterback Tanner Morgan, running back Mohamed Ibrahim, wide receiver Chris Autman-Bell and offensive lineman John Michael Schmitz. All four chose to return to Minneapolis for a sixth and final season. Morgan, Ibrahim and Autman-Bell all rank among the best in multiple career statistical categories at Minnesota, while Schmitz is a preseason All-American by numerous outlets and is on the watch list for the Lombardi Award, Outland Trophy and Rimington Award. Meanwhile, the defense returns nine players that started at least one game last year and three of its top four tacklers.

4 – Minnesota is coming off a 2021 campaign where it finished with a 9-4 record overall and a 6-3 mark in the Big Ten. The Gophers reached at least nine wins for the second time in the last three years under P.J. Fleck’s guidance. Multiple nine-win seasons in a three-year span has not happened at Minnesota since six straight seasons of nine or more wins from 1900-1905. In addition, Minnesota produced a .500 or better record in Big Ten play for just the ninth time in the past 50 years. Coupled with a 7-2 league record in 2019, Fleck is the first Gophers coach since Murray Warmath (1960, 1961 and 1967; six wins each) to win at least six conference games more than once.

5 – The 2022 campaign is the sixth for head coach P.J. Fleck at Minnesota. He enters the year with a record of 35-23. In Minnesota football history, only Henry L. Williams (55, 1900-04) had more wins in his first five seasons than Fleck’s 35. In addition, Fleck’s 21 wins in Big Ten play are the most in a coach’s first five years with the Gophers. Overall, Fleck is already sixth in program history for wins and Big Ten wins, and tied for seventh in games coached (58). His .603 win percentage is third best among the 11 Minnesota coaches with at least 45 games under their helm behind only Williams (.786, 1900-21) and Bernie Bierman (.716, 1932-41, ‘45-50)

FACING NEW MEXICO STATE
Minnesota and New Mexico State meet for the fourth time Thursday. The Golden Gophers hold a 2-1 edge in the all-time series, including a 1-1 mark in Minneapolis.

Minnesota has no New Mexicans on its roster, while New Mexico State has one Minnesotan: freshman DB Rashad McKinley from St. Paul (Hill Murray School).

In addition to NMSU head coach Jerry Kill being the Minnesota head coach from 2011-15, he was also the head coach at Northern Illinois from 2008-10, while Minnesota head coach P.J. Fleck was the wide receivers coach in 2008 and added the title of recruiting coordinator in 2009.
Current Gopher co-offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach Matt Simon was the NIU offensive quality control in 2010, while NMSU co-defensive coordinator/safeties coach Melvin Rice was a GA that year.

New Mexico State opens the 2022 season Saturday night (Aug. 27) with a home game against Nevada.

The Aggies are coming off of a 2-10 season in 2021 with their wins coming against South Carolina State and UMass. NMSU has lost 18 straight road games, the longest active streak in the NCAA.

Offensively, New Mexico State has to replace its top running back, quarterback and its top three receivers.

Dino Maldonado is the top returning passer after completing 37-of-66 passes for 513 yards with four touchdowns and two interceptions in two games. In the backfield, O’Maury Samuels leads the NMSU returners with 202 rushing yards on 65 carries and one score last year. Terell
Warner brings back the most receptions (38) and receiving yards (334) from a year ago.

On the other side of the ball, the Aggies return three of their top four tacklers from last year with Chris Ojoh leading the way with 72 stops. Ojoh also led the defense with 16.0 tackles for loss and 6.0 sacks. The unit’s leaders in interceptions (D.J. McCullough, 3) and pass breakups (Syrus Dumas, 8) also return in 2022.

LAST TIME VS. NMSU
With assistance from the AP: True freshman walk-on Zack Annexstad threw two touchdown passes to Tyler Johnson in his debut, and Minnesota opened the 2018 season by overwhelming New Mexico State in a 48-10 win.

Annexstad completed 16 of 33 passes for 220 yards and no interceptions, before yielding to backup Tanner Morgan midway through the fourth quarter.

Antoine Winfield Jr. pitched in the first punt return for a score by the Gophers in five years, a 76-yard zigzag through an Aggies coverage unit that missed six tackles during the play. Winfield’s was the third of four straight touchdowns for Minnesota in the second quarter.

Backup wide receiver Seth Green scored twice on direct snaps inside the 10-yard line, a clever twist from offensive coordinator Kirk Ciarrocca that punctuated a 522- yard performance by the Gophers. Rodney Smith rushed 24 times for 153 yards, while Mohamed Ibrahim added 101 on nine carries.

A first quarter touchdown and field goal gave New Mexico State a short-lived 10-7 lead, before Annexstad and Smith took the Gophers 75 yards in seven plays on the ensuing possession.

Emmit Carpenter added a pair of field goals in the second half, while Bryce Williams capped the scoring with a 1-yard run in the fourth quarter.

Terrell Smith and Blake Cashman led Minnesota with eight tackles each, with Cashman adding 4.0 tackles for loss. Thomas Barber had an interception, while as a team, the Gophers broke up nine passes.

A WIN WOULD…
• Be Minnesota’s fifth win in its last seven season openers

• Improve Minnesota to 97-36-6 all-time in season openers and 4-2 under head coach P.J. Fleck

• Enhance Fleck’s record to 36-23 at Minnesota and 66-45 overall

• Push the Gophers’ record to 101-31-7 all-time (and 4-2 under Fleck) in home openers

• Make the Gophers 3-1 all-time against the Aggies

• Put the Gophers’ record at 15-1 against non-conference opponents under Fleck

• Have Minnesota 19-10 all-time when playing on Thursdays, including 11-3 in season openers

• Improve the team’s record to 3-1 when playing on Sept. 1

THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL
Minnesota is opening the season on a Thursday night, something it has done 13 times previously in its history, all since 2001. In fact, the Golden Gophers opened on a Thursday for eight straight seasons from 2012-19, and then again in 2021.

The Gophers are 18-10 all-time in program history on Thursdays, including 10-3 in season openers, and have won four of their last five games on the day. Minnesota is 3-1 under P.J. Fleck on Thursdays.

Minnesota has a .657 winning percentage in its history when playing on days other than Saturday, going 55-28-3. Under Fleck, it is 8-3 on non-Saturdays

MORGAN LEADS MAROON & GOLD
Sixth-year senior quarterback Tanner Morgan is in his fourth full season as the Minnesota starter, and he’s established himself as the winningest signal-caller to ever wear the Maroon and Gold.

Morgan is 27-12 as a starter, breaking the previous mark of 24 career wins held by Mitch Leidner. Morgan has completed 554 (third most in school history) of 904 passes (fifth most) for 8,072 yards (second most) and 56 touchdowns (second most) in his career.

His career completion percentage of .613 is first in school history, as is his 150.76 efficiency rating and .692 win percentage.

He has led the Gophers in passing each year since 2018, joining him with Adam Weber (2007-10) and Rickey Foggie (1984-87) as the only QBs in Gopher history to lead the team in passing yards four times. He could become the first to do it in five years this year.

At Purdue last year on Oct. 2, Morgan became the fourth player in Gophers history to reach 50 career touchdown passes, joining Adam Weber (72), Bryan Cupito (55) and Asad Abdul-Khaliq (55). Of the four, Morgan did it in the fewest pass attempts with 727, edging out AbdulKhaliq’s mark of 736. Morgan also tied Weber for second fewest games to reach 50, doing so in his 34th game.

Against Nebraska on Oct. 16, Morgan finished 20-of24 for 209 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. His completion percentage of 83.3 percent tied for fourth in school annals since 1979. He also owns the No. 1 (21-22 at Purdue in 2019) and No. 2 (18-20 vs. Penn State in 2019) spots on that list.

Morgan was 14-of-15 (93.3 percent) for 171 yards and two touchdowns in the first half against the Huskers. He completed 16 straight passes in one span between the first and third quarters, breaking the school record for consecutive completions of 14 done four times previously, including once by himself. The 16 straight completions tied for the third longest streak in a conference game in B1G history.

Morgan has 12 Minnesota season and game records and was named All-Big Ten Honorable Mention in 2020. In 2019, he was named All-Big Ten Second Team, a Davey O’Brien Award semifinalist and a Manning Award finalist.

Last season, Morgan completed 149-of-250 passes for 2,044 yards and 10 touchdowns against nine interceptions for an efficiency rating of 34.3, and he added two rushing touchdowns. He ranks fourth in the Big Ten in yards per completion (13.72) and fifth in yards per pass (8.18).

RELIABLE TIGHT END TARGET
Poised for a breakout 2022 season Gopher tight end Brevyn Spann-Ford saw his production grow over the final weeks of 2021, serving as a reliable target in the Gopher passing attack.

Of Spann-Ford’s 30 targets last year, 17 came in the final four weeks of the regular season, including a season-high six targets versus Illinois and four against Iowa and Wisconsin. He caught 23 passes for 296 yards and a touchdown last year, tying for third on the team in receptions and ranking fourth in receiving yards.

Additionally, Spann-Ford’s 76.7 percent catch rate was the best on the team for anyone with at least 10 targets last year.

At Indiana, Spann-Ford had three catches for 67 yards, all in the first half, with the receiving yards being a career-high. He logged career-long 48-yard reception in the second quarter that was the longest for a Minnesota tight end since a 50-yard reception for Nate Wozniak versus Middle Tennessee on Sept. 16, 2017.

O-LINE LOOKS TO RELOAD
Minnesota is coming off a 2021 season where it boasted one of the deepest and most experienced offensive lines in the entire country.

The Golden Gophers’ line had more combined starts at the FBS level than any team in the nation with 235. In addition, 12 members of the unit had appeared in at least one game and nine had started at least one contest.

Four of the five starters have graduated, but center John Micheal Schmitz, a preseason All-American and nominee for the Lombardi Award, Outland Trophy and Rimington Award, returns to anchor the unit. The sixth-year senior has started a team-high 23 games in his career and is Pro Football Focus’ highest-graded returning center.

As a whole, the offensive line consists of 65 career starts covered by six players. Second-year transfer Karter Shaw started 19 games at right guard while at Utah State, while newcomer Chuck Filiaga had 11 starts during his time at Michigan.

While the unit may lack the number of starts as a year ago, it is certainly not a young group. Of the 18 offensive linemen on the Minnesota roster, half are entering at least their fourth year of college, though 15 have at least two years of eligibility remaining.

SORI-MARIN LEADS DEFENSE GOPHER UPPERCLASSMEN
Fifth-year linebacker Mariano Sori-Marin returns as the top tackler from last season.

u Sori-Marin, who started all 13 games but was limited
to less than one quarter of play at Purdue because of
injury, finished with 85 tackles, including 23 in a two-game
span. After 11 at Northwestern, he had 12 against Illinois,
which was the most by a Gopher last year.

u On the watch list for the 2022 Butkus Award, SoriMarin also had 4.5 tackles for loss in 2021 to go with three
pass breakups, two forced fumbles and an interception.

WALLEY: FRESHMAN AA
Sophomore defensive back Justin Walley earned a spot on the 247Sports True Freshman All-American team last season and was PFF’s highest graded true freshman cornerback.

Walley played in all 13 games last season and started the final six of the season. He made 29 tackles, broke up seven passes, recovered two fumbles, forced one fumble and made one interception.

During the season, he was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week after a standout performance in Minnesota’s 23-13 win against Wisconsin.

He recorded his first career interception and finished the game with a career high five tackles, helping Minnesota win Paul Bunyan’s Axe for the second time in four years.

Walley was the first Gopher freshman defensive player to be named Big Ten Freshman of the Week.

TRANSFERS BOOST DEFENSE
The Gophers’ defense in 2022 is looking to its five transfers to provide depth and production at key spots along the defensive line and in the secondary.

Defensie Back Beanie Bishop spent the past four seasons at Western Kentucky where he played in 36 career games and made 76 tackles, totaled 8.5 tackles for loss, defended 12 passes, made three interceptions and forced one fumble.

Last season, he was named All-Conference USA First Team as a defensive back as he made 43 tackles and 6.5 tackle for loss, broke up four passes, made three interceptions (returned one for a touchdown) and forced one fumble. He also returned 28 kickoffs for 676 yards to earn all-conference honorable mention as a kickoff returner.

Fellow defensive back Ryan Stapp comes to Minnesota following three years at Abilene Christian where he made 91 tackles in 27 games. He added 6.5 tackles for loss, 13 pass breakups and four interceptions. While with the Wildcats, where he was teammates with former Gopher linebacker Jack Gibbens, Stapp was on the Southland Conference Commissioner’s Honor Roll.

Defensive lineman Kyler Baugh is one of three defensive linemen to transfer in to Minnesota. Baugh played the previous three years at Houston Baptist where he played in 26 career games with 18 starts. He made 104 career tackles, which included 11.0 tackles for loss and 5.0 sacks, broke up four passes, forced a fumble and recovered another. He was a three-time Southland Conference Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll honoree.

Darnell Jefferies is a defensive lineman coming off a four-year career at Clemson where he was a part of the 2018 national championship team and the 2019 squad that reached the national title game. He played in 29 career games for the Tigers and made 22 tackles, one tackle for loss and half a sack.

The third defensive lineman is Lorenza Surgers who is playing in Minnesota after four seasons at Vanderbilt. He played in 18 career games and made 19 career tackles, which included 1.5 tackles for loss and one sack. He also broke up two passes.

TRICKETT COMES THROUGH
Graduate transfer Matthew Trickett made the most of his first season with Minnesota.

Trickett made 36 of 38 extra points and 17 of 25 field goals for a season total of 87 points, 41 points higher than any other Gopher. He ranked ninth in the Big Ten in scoring and 11th with 6.7 points per game. His 87 points were 11th overall in Minnesota single-season history and seventh all-time among Gopher kickers.

Trickett’s 17 made field goals tied for fifth most in program history and the most since Emmit Carpenter made 17 in 2018. He made 1.31 field goals per game, good for sixth in the Big Ten.

Trickett did miss eight field goal tries last year, though five of those attempts were from 45 yards or longer and three were 50-plus yards.

KESICH: KICKOFF SPECIALIST
Junior kickoff specialist Dragan Kesich, who did not play against Illinois, had 42 touchbacks on 66 kickoffs last year. He finished 30th in the country with his 63.64 percent touchback rate and 24th with his 63.59 average yardage on kickoffs.

Against Maryland on Oct. 23, he had a career high six touchbacks and tied a career high with seven kickoffs.

Minnesota was 11th nationally by holding opponents to 16.67 yards per return and 21st with only 295 kickoff return yards allowed. The Gophers also tied for 31st in the country with only 18 opponent kick returns this year.

CRAWFORD THE PUNTER
FROM DOWN UNDER
Mark Crawford is back for his third season as the Gophers’ punter. Last year, he punted 47 times for 1961 yards, an average of 41.7 yards per punt that ranked eighth in the Big Ten. He had six kicks cover at least 50 yards and 24 punts land inside the 20-yard line.

A native of Perth, Australia, Crawford played Australian Rule’s Football in the winter until he was 17 and then played cricket in the summer until he was 22.

He trained in Melbourne with Prokick Australia, which has seen its graduates win six Ray Guy Awards (all since 2013) and 85 All-America honors.

Crawford was named the co-Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week on Oct. 4 last year after a standout performance in Minnesota’s 20-13 win at Purdue.

He continually flipped the field in a rain-soaked game, as he averaged 51.3 yards on six punts. He recorded a career-long, 60-yard punt twice, which was Minnesota’s longest punt since Ryan Santoso had a 61-yarder against Illinois on Oct. 21, 2017.

Crawford’s six punts traveled 60, 60, 58, 46, 45 and 39 yards with his three longest punts all ranking in the top 20 of longest punts in the Big Ten at the time. He placed four punts inside the 15-yard line, which led to Purdue starting drives on its own 2, 9, 15 and 15 yard lines.

Crawford also executed four successful holds (two point-after attempts and two field goals) in a driving rain.

STRONG AWAY FROM HOME
Minnesota finished the 2021 season 5-1 on the road, including a 4-1 mark in true road games.

The Gophers shut out Colorado, 30-0, in Boulder, won at Purdue, 20-13, and beat Northwestern in Evanston, 41-14. The Gophers lost at Iowa, 27-22, but bounced back with a 35-14 victory at Indiana then capped off the season with an 18-6 win over West Virginia in the Guaranteed Rate Bowl in Phoenix.

The four road wins tied for the most in school single-season history, also notching four wins in 2019, 2003, 1999 and 1961.

The Golden Gophers are 14-4 (.778) in their last 18 games away from home, including bowl games, beginning with a 37-15 win at Wisconsin on Nov. 24, 2018. During that span, only Ohio State (17-3; .850) has a better mark away from home among Big Ten teams.

Fri., Sep. 2 @ 7:00 pm ET
Western Michigan Broncos at Michigan State Spartans

Western Michigan Broncos
Notes

FIRST AND FIVE
TEAM 117
Western Michigan embarks on its 117th season of college football in 2022. The Broncos enter the season led by head coach Tim Lester. Lester, a WMU alum and Hall of Famer, has posted a 32-25 record in five seasons, also going 22-16. WMU is fresh off its second bowl win in program history, a 52-24 drubbing of Nevada in the 2021 Quick Lane Bowl.

QB1
For the first time since 2019 there will be a new starting quarterback for the Broncos. With Kaleb Eleby departing early for the NFL, redshirt-freshman Jack Salopek has earned the starting job behind center. Salopek, who has been at WMU for three seasons, saw brief action last season. The Pittsburgh-area native made his collegiate debut in the 44-41 win at Pitt. He was subbed in to start the halftime, with Eleby still in the locker room receiving treatment for dehydration. Salopek drove WMU down the field, going 3-for-3 for 20 yards, before Eleby was subbed back in and the drive stalled on a failed fourth-down conversion at the Pitt 30.

HIS TARGETS
WMU’s returning receivers caught 44 passes for 768 yards and six touchdowns, and that was all junior Corey Crooms. Crooms had a breakout year and was second on the team in TD grabs and tops on the team in yards per catch at 17.5. While Sean Tyler and La’Darius Jefferson both caught balls out of the backfield, no rostered wide receivers or tight ends have a single catch. The Broncos brought in graduate transfers Jehlani Galloway and A.J. Abbott. Galloway comes from Boston College, where he caught 18 career passes for 215 yards and two touchdowns. Abbott battled through injuries in his career at Wisconsin, recording three receptions for 19 career yards. WMU also has eight redshirt-freshmen wide receivers and three true freshmen. The lone sophomore is Anthony Sambucci.

MAKING HIS MARK
Western Michigan junior running back Sean Tyler is coming off a career-best season that saw him finish with 1,150 yards on the ground and nine rushing touchdowns. It was his first time eclipsing 1,000 yards and the 13th-most in a single season. Tyler’s rushed for 1,803 yards in his career on just 286 carries for a staggering 6.3 yards per carry. The Richton Park, Ill., native needs just 650 more yards to break into WMU’s top10 rushers of all time.

ROAD WARRIORS
Western Michigan opens with its first two games of the season on the road. The Broncos head to Ball State next Saturday to open Mid-American Conference play. WMU has also not played a MAC opponent as early as week two (other than the COVID-shortened 2020 season) since 2008, when it hosted Northern Illinois.

SERIES NOTES
FOR OPENERS
• The Western Michigan football team opens its 117th season and sixth under the direction of head coach Tim Lester on Friday at No. 15/14 Michigan State

• WMU is 2-3 in openers under Lester, but 0-3 in season-openers against Power Five programs.

BRONCOS VS SPARTANS
• Michigan State and Western Michigan will meet for the 17th time on Friday, with the Spartans having won the past 12 meetings.

• The two teams met most recently back in 2019, with the Broncos falling 51-17. Prior to that the previous three meetings were decided by less than 15 points.

• WMU is 0-10 all-time at Spartan Stadium.

BRONCOS TAKE ON POWER FIVE
• Western Michigan has secured 14 all-time victories over current members of the Power 5 conferences.

• The Broncos are 14-69-1 versus those programs, with eight of the 13 wins coming against Big Ten teams.

• WMU’s most recent Power 5 wins came last season in a wild 44-41 victory at Pitt. The Broncos were the lone team to beat the Panthers during the 2021 regular season.

• The win over Pitt was the first Power 5 victory for head coach Tim Lester. Prior to that he had suffered setbacks to Michigan (2021, 2018)Michigan State (2019 & 2017), Syracuse (2019 & 2018), and Southern Cal (2017).

• Lester also has one of WMU’s Power 5 victories as a quarterback for the Broncos, leading his team to a 27-24 win at Vanderbilt in 1998. Lester was 17-for-29 passing for 218 yards and a TD.

OFFENSIVE NOTES
AMONG THE BEST
• WMU’s offense finished in the top 20 nationally and top three in the MAC in six categories.

ALMOST HISTORY
• Last season the rushing attack of Sean Tyler and La’Darius Jefferson almost made WMU Football history.

• The duo combined for 1,986 yards on the ground, with Tyler posting a career-high 1,150 yards. Jefferson finished just 164 shy of 1,000, which would have been the first time two WMU running backs eclipsed 1,000 in a season.

• The closest on record was in 2016 when Jarvion Franklin rushed for 1,353 yards and Jamauri Bogan rushed for 923.

MOVING OVER
• Redshirt sophomore Jacob Gideon started all 13 games last season at guard. He now moves over to center, his position in high school, to lead the offensive line. Gideon was recently named to the Rimington Trophy Watch Lists for the nation’s top center.

DEFENSIVE NOTES
AMONG THE BEST
• Western Michigan’s defense also ranked in the top 20 in five categories nationally, and ranked first in the MAC in four.

STACKED AT LB
• Western Michigan returns its top three tacklers from last season in linebackers Zaire Barnes, Corvin Moment and Ryan Selig. Barnes and Moment tied for the team lead with 68, with Selig sitting right behind them at 63. The trio combined for 21.5 tackles for loss 10 sacks and six of the team’s 10 fumble recoveries last season.

SACK ATTACK
• The Broncos finished the season with 43 total sacks and return 22 of them for the 2022 season, led by Marshawn Kneeland’s 4.5. WMU will have to work as a group to replace MAC Defensive Player of the Year Ali Fayad’s 13 and Second Team All-MAC selection Ralph Holley’s 6. Barnes, Moment and Selig combined for 10 from the linebacker position

Michigan State Spartans
Notes

FIRST-AND-10 –
• No. 15/14 Michigan State kicks off its 126th season of football and begins its third season under head \coach Mel Tucker on Friday, Sept. 2 against Western Michigan. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. ET in Spartan Stadium. The game will be televised on ESPN with Roy Philpott (play-by-play), Andre Ware (analyst) and Paul Carcaterra (sidelines) on the call.

• MSU is looking to build off the momentum from last season’s school-record turnaround, as the Spartans posted a nine-game improvement from 2020 (two wins) to 2021 (11 wins), won a New Year’s Six bowl game over No. 12 Pitt in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, and finished No. 8 in the AFCA/USA TODAY Coaches Poll and No. 9 in The Associated Press Poll.

• Friday’s game marks the 17th meeting between Michigan State and Western Michigan. The Spartans lead the overall series, 14-2, including a 12-game winning streak that dates back to 1921. In the last matchup in 2019, MSU defeated WMU, 51-17.

• Michigan State is 7-0 in home Friday night games since 2011 and 9-0 overall in Friday night games during that same time span. All of those games were in season openers for the Spartans.

• MSU is 13-2 against WMU in East Lansing, including a 10-0 record in Spartan Stadium. The series dates back to 1908, as Michigan State topped Western Michigan, 35-0, in the first-ever meeting between the two schools. After playing five times between 1908 and 1921, with MSU holding a 3-2 advantage in the series, the two teams didn’t meet again until 1980.

• In just his second year in East Lansing in 2021, Mel Tucker led MSU to an 11-2 record, a Top 10 ranking, and a win in the New Year’s Six with a victory over ACC Champion and No. 12 Pittsburgh in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl. Tucker was named a finalist for National Coach of the Year by multiple organizations, including the American Football Coaches Association, the Paul Bear Bryant Awards, the Football Writers Association of America and the Maxwell Football Club. He was also named the Big Ten Coach of the Year by both the coaches and media and the AFCA Region 3 Coach of the Year. Tucker became the earliest Spartan coach to win double-figure games in a season (previous: Mark Dantonio with 11 wins in his fourth season at MSU in 2010).

• Michigan State is 85-37-3 (.692) all-time in season openers, including a 20-3 record (.869) in its last 23 games. In addition, the Spartans are 103-22 (.824) all-time in home openers, including victories in 22 of the past 23 years.

TEAM NOTES
A LOOK AT THE 2022 SCHEDULE

• The 2022 season and home opener for Michigan State against Western Michigan on Friday marks the eighth time in the past 12 years that Michigan State will open the season with a Friday night game in East Lansing. It also marks the 10th time since 2011 that MSU will open on a Friday night.

• Michigan State plays host to Akron on Sept. 10 at 4 p.m. before traveling to Washington on Sept. 17. It marks just the second trip to Seattle in program history and first since 1970. The Huskies will make the return trip to Spartan Stadium on Sept. 16, 2023.

• MSU will begin conference play at home on Sept. 24 vs. Minnesota before traveling to Maryland on Oct. 1. The Spartans will host Ohio State on Oct. 8 and Wisconsin on Oct. 15 for Homecoming, then take a bye week on Oct. 22 to get ready for the Michigan game in Ann Arbor on Oct. 29.

• Michigan State opens the last month of the regular season on the road at Illinois on Nov. 5 and closes the home schedule with games in Spartan Stadium against Rutgers (Nov. 12) and Indiana (Nov. 19). The regular season concludes on Nov. 26 at Penn State.

SPARTAN FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS SINCE 2011
• Since 2011, Michigan State has played nine home openers on Friday night (9-0 record), including seven in Spartan Stadium (7-0). Here’s a look at MSU’s Friday night games since 2011:
Sept. 2, 2011: No. 17 Michigan State 28, Youngstown State 6 (East Lansing)
Aug. 31, 2012: No. 13 Michigan State 17, No. 24 Boise State 13 (East Lansing)
Aug. 30, 2013: Michigan State 26, Western Michigan 13 (East Lansing)
Aug. 29, 2014: No. 8 Michigan State 45, Jacksonville State 7 (East Lansing)
Sept. 4, 2015: No. 5 Michigan State 37, Western Michigan 24 (Kalamazoo)
Sept. 2, 2016: No. 12 Michigan State 28, Furman 13 (East Lansing)
Aug. 31, 2018: No. 11 Michigan State 38, Utah State 31 (East Lansing)
Aug. 30, 2019: No. 18 Michigan State 28, Tulsa 7 (East Lansing)
Sept. 3, 2021: Michigan State 38, Northwestern 21 (Evanston)

UNDER THE LIGHTS PT. 2
• Friday marks the 26th night game in Spartan Stadium history. MSU went 2-0 during night games at Spartan Stadium last season with wins over Nebraska and Western Kentucky to improve to 18-7 in night games in East Lansing. MSU’s fi rst-ever night game in Spartan Stadium was a 27-13 win over USC to open the 1987 season.

BACK FOR MORE
• Seven Spartan seniors – punter Bryce Baringer, guard Matt Carrick, safety Xavier Henderson, left tackle Jarrett Horst, tight end Tyler Hunt, tight end Powers Warren and cornerback Ronald Williams – are taking advantage of a rare opportunity, staying at MSU for another year thanks to a COVID-19 pandemic waiver.

• In addition, graduate transfers Daniel Barker (TE, Illinois), Brian Greene (OL, Washington State) and Ameer Speed (CB, Georgia) are also in their fi nal year of eligibility after gaining an additional year.

A QUICK GLANCE AT WESTERN MICHIGAN (0-0)
• Western Michigan is coming off an 8-5 season in 2021, ending with a 52-24 shootout win over Nevada in the 2021 Quick Lane Bowl. The Broncos finished tied for fourth in the West Division of the Mid-American Conference with a 4-4 league mark.

• WMU ranked third in the MAC and 34th in the NCAA in scoring offense with 32.5 points per game, while ranking fourth in the MAC in scoring defense at 28.2 ppg.

• The Broncos’ offense also ranked second in the MAC and 12th in the NCAA in total offense (466.4 ypg), as well as third in the conference and 17th in the country in rushing offense (212.8 ypg) and fourth in the league and 49th in the nation in passing offense (253.6 ypg). WMU’s offensive line also led the conference and ranked sixth in the country in tackles for loss allowed (3.6 pg). Western Michigan also topped the MAC and ranked fourth in the FBS in time of possession (35:16 pg).

• Defensively, WMU topped the MAC and ranked 18th in the FBS in total defense (329.5 ypg), while ranking second in the conference and 10th in the country in passing defense (186.4 ypg) and second in the league and 50th in the nation in rushing defense (143.1 ypg). The Bronco defense also led the MAC and ranked second in the FBS in third-down conversion percentage defense (.268), and also topped the league and ranked fourth in the nation in team sacks (3.31 pg).

• Individually, WMU looks to replace quarterback Kaleb Eleby, who threw for 3,277 yards and 23 TDs last season. Redshirt freshman Jack Salopek played in two games, going 3-for-5 for 20 yards, while fellow redshirt freshman Mareyohn Hrabowski appeared in four games, and was 0-for-1 passing. Sophomore newcomer Stone Hollenbach transferred to WMU from Alabama, but didn’t play a snap for the Crimson Tide.

• The Broncos have a veteran running back corps, as WMU returns four of its top from rushing leaders from a year ago, including the top two. Leading the way is junior Sean Tyler, who led the Broncos with 1,140 yards (87.7 ypg/6.4 ypc) and nine TDs. Senior La’Darius Jefferson is in his third year at WMU after transferring from Michigan State following the 2019 season. Jefferson led WMU in rushing in 2020 with 633 rushing
yards and ran for 836 yards (69.7 ypg/4.5 ypc) with a team-leading 10 TDs in 2021. Tyler was fourth in the MAC in rushing (87.7 ypg), while Jefferson was seventh (69.7 ypg). Sophomore running back Zahir AbdusSalaam had 22 carries for 115 yards, while Hrabowski added 21 carries for 121 yards (30.3 ypg/5.8 ypc).

• WMU returns just three of the 11 total players that caught a pass in 2021, with just 61 of 233 receptions (26. percent), 920 of 3,297 yards (27.9 percent) and only eight of the 23 TDs (34.8 percent) returning.

• Junior wide receiver Corey Crooms is the leading returner with 44 catches for 768 (59.1 ypg/17.5 ypc) with three TDs, which ranked second on the team in both receiving yards and TDs, and third in catches. Running back Tyler is the only other Bronco with double-digit receptions and a TD catch from last season, with 14 catches for 114 yards (8.8 ypg/8.1 ypc) with two TDs.

• The Bronco defense returns its top three returning tacklers, led by senior linebacker duo of Zaire Barnes and Corvin Moment with 68 tackles apiece. Barnes also led WMU with three fumble recoveries, adding 5.0 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks and one forced fumble. Moment is the leading returning Bronco defender in tackles for loss with 10.0 tackles for loss, adding 3.5 sacks, three forced fumbles and one fumble recovery. Junior linebacker Ryan Selig logged 63 stops, 4.5 tackles for loss, 4.0 sacks, two fumble recoveries, one interception and one pass break-up.

• On special teams, WMU returns senior punter/placekicker Nick Mihalic, who ranked fourth in the MAC last season with a 41.9 yards per punt average. Mihalic had a long of 58 yards, one of nine punts of 50+ yards, along with pinning 14 punts inside the 20.

• Mihalic also handled a majority of the WMU placekicking duties, going 9-of-11 with a lone of 30 yards, having two blocked. He also was 11-of-14 on PATs. Additionally, Mihalic handled most of the Broncos’ kickoffs, with 75 kickoffs for an average of 54.3 ypk with 15 touchbacks.

• WMU head coach Tim Lester is in his sixth season at the reins of the Broncos, posting a 32-25 record in leading his alma mater. Overall, Lester is in his 12th season as a collegiate head coach, logging a 62-48 ledger.

• Western Michigan offensive coordinator Jeff Thorne is the father of Michigan State junior quarterback Payton Thorne. Coach Thorne is in his first season with the Broncos after six seasons as the head coach of North Central College, where he led the Cardinals to a 2019 Division III National Championship, their first in program history, and 2021 national championship appearance.

MSU/WESTERN MICHIGAN SERIES NOTES
• Saturday’s game marks the 17th meeting between Michigan State and Western Michigan. The Spartans lead the overall series, 14-2, including a 12-game winning streak that dates back to 1921. In the last matchup in 2019, MSU defeated WMU, 51-17.

• MSU is 13-2 against WMU in East Lansing, including a 10-0 record in Spartan Stadium. The series dates back to 1908, as Michigan State topped Western Michigan, 35-0, in the first-ever meeting between the two schools. After playing five times between 1908 and 1921, with MSU holding a 3-2 advantage in the series, the two teams didn’t meet again until 1980.

OFFENSIVE PREVIEW
QUARTERBACKS
Players returning (3):
• #14 Noah Kim (R-So., 6-2, 185, Centreville, Va./Westfield)
• #18 Andrew Schorfhaar (R-So., 6-2, 195, DeWitt, Mich./DeWitt)
• #10 Payton Thorne (2L, R-Jr., 6-2, 205, Naperville, Ill./Naperville Central)
(13 games/13 starts, 234-of-388 passing (.603), 3,233 yards, 27 TDs, 10 INTs, 181 rushing yards, 4 rushing TDs) Incoming freshman (1): • #12 Katin Houser (Fr., 6-3, 213, Anaheim, Calif./St. John Bosco)^ Letter-winners lost (1):
• Anthony Russo (1L, 2 games, 7-of-9 passing (.778), 43 yards, 0 TDs, 0 INTs)
^ Enrolled in January 2022

After a record-setting season in his first year as the starting quarterback, redshirt junior quarterback Payton Thorne is back for the Spartans in 2022.

Thorne set a school single-season record with 27 touchdown passes in 2021, surpassing Kirk Cousins, who previously held the record with 25 TDs in 2011. Thorne also ranked among MSU’s single-season leaders in total offense (third with 3,414 yards), passing yards (third with 3,233), passing yards per game (third with 248.7), passing efficiency (sixth with 148.1 rating), pass completions (tied for sixth with 234) and pass attempts (seventh with 388). Overall in his first year as the starting quarterback, Thorne was 234-of-388 passing (.603) for 3,233 yards, 27 TDs and 10 interceptions.

An honorable mention All-Big Ten selection by the coaches and media, Thorne was especially effective at throwing the ball downfield, ranking tied for sixth in the FBS with 14 TD passes of 20-plus yards and tied for ninth with eight completions for 50-plus yards. He threw for 200-plus yards in eight games and 300-plus yards in three games, including a career-high 354 yards in MSU’s Chick-fi l-A Peach Bowl victory over No. 12 Pitt. In addition, Thorne showed he can be productive on the ground – without sacks, he gained 362 yards on 61 carries (5.9 avg.), including 20 for first downs and four TDs. The Naperville, Illinois, native was named one of four captains last season and will also be counted on for his leadership for the Spartans this fall. Redshirt sophomore Noah Kim will look to continue on building his experience with the offense in preseason camp, while redshirt sophomore Andrew Schorfhaar provides depth at the position.

The Spartans also welcomed in freshman Katin Houser as an early enrollee in January and he participated in spring practice. Houser was rated a consensus four-star prospect and was an Elite 11 finalist last summer. Offensive coordinator Jay Johnson is in his third year coaching the quarterbacks for the Spartans

RUNNING BACKS
Players returning (3):
• #24 Elijah Collins (3L, R-Sr., 6-1, 215, Detroit, Mich./University of Detroit Jesuit) (7 games, 18 carries, 102 yards, 5.7 avg.)
• #2 Harold Joiner (1L, R-Sr., 6-4, 220, Birmingham, Ala./Auburn) (13 games, 13 carries, 43 yards, 3.3 avg.)
• #22 Jordon Simmons (2L, Jr., 5-11, 195, Marietta, Ga./McEachern) (13 games/1 start, 70 carries, 278 yards, 4.0 avg.)

Transfers (2):
• #8 Jalen Berger (R-So., 6-1, 215, Newark, N.J./Wisconsin) (3 games, 24 carries, 88 yards, 3.7 avg., 1 TD) * ^
• #3 Jarek Broussard (Gr.-5, 5-9, 195, Dallas, Texas/Colorado) (11 games/10 starts, 142 carries, 661 yards, 4.7 avg., 2 TDs) %

Incoming freshman (1):
• #38 Christian Banks (Fr., 6-1, 210, Orlando, Fla./Olympia)

Letter-winners lost (2):

• Donovan Eaglin (1L, 13 games, 6 carries, 33 yards, 5.5 avg.)
• Kenneth Walker III (1L, 13 games/13 starts, 263 carries, 1,636 yards, 6.2 avg., 18 TDs)

  • at Wisconsin in 2021 | % at Colorado in 2021 | ^ Enrolled in January 2022

The Spartans featured an explosive and resurgent rushing attack last year thanks to unanimous first-team All-American Kenneth Walker III, who had one of the best seasons in Michigan State history en route to winning the Doak Walker Award, the Walter Camp National Player of the Year and the Big Ten Running Back of the Year. Walker ranked second in the FBS with 1,636 rushing yards and his 18 rushing TDs ranked tied for eighth in the nation.

Three returning letter-winners – Elijah Collins (R-Sr.), Harold Joiner (R-Sr.) and Jordon Simmons (Jr.) – along with two Power 5 transfers (Jarek Broussard, Colorado; Jalen Berger, Wisconsin) will compete in the backfield during preseason camp.

Collins is looking to regain the form he showed during his redshirt freshman season in 2019, when he nearly rushed for 1,000 yards (222 carries for 988 yards) in 13 games, including 12 starts. He had 41 carries for 90 yards in 2020 and 18 carries for 102 yards in seven games last season while battling an ankle injury. Joiner, an Auburn transfer, primarily played on special teams and in third-down situations during his first season with the Spartans in 2021. He recorded 43 rushing yards on 13 attempts and also had five catches for 35 yards.

Simmons led the Spartans in rushing as a true freshman in 2020 with 219 yards on 56 carries in five games, but saw a more limited role as a sophomore with the emergence of Walker. Simmons still ranked second on the team with 278 yards on 70 carries last season and earned the start in the Chick-fi l-A Peach Bowl after Walker opted out of the game. He recorded his first 100-yard rushing game with 121 yards on 16 carries in the win over Youngstown State in Week 2.

Berger was rated a four-star prospect out of high school before attending Wisconsin for two years (2020-21). He rushed for 389 yards and three TDs in seven career games with the Badgers, including a team-leading 301 yards on 60 carries in just four games as a true freshman during the COVID-shortened 2020 season. The Newark, New Jersey, native enrolled at MSU in January and made strong gains toward the end of spring practice.

Broussard, who joined the program in May from Colorado, rushed for 1,556 yards and seven TDs the past two seasons (2020-21) in just 17 games for the Buffaloes. He was named the 2020 Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year after leading the league with 895 rushing yards and five touchdowns in six games during the pandemic-shortened season, and followed up with 661 yards and two TDs last fall. Effrem Reed, who was an offensive analyst the past two seasons, was promoted to running backs coach in the offseason.

WIDE RECEIVERS
Players returning (12):
• #13 Sebastian Brown (R-So., 6-3, 196, Detroit, Mich./Cass Tech)
• #0 Keon Coleman (So., 6-4, 215, Opelousas, La./Opelousas Catholic) (10 games, 7 catches, 50 yards, 1 TD)
• #86 Aubrey Dawkins (R-So., 5-10, 185, Verona, Wis./Verona)
• #16 Christian Fitzpatrick (R-So., 6-4, 218, Southfield, Mich./Louisville) (11 games, 2 catches, 3 yards)
• #83 Montorie Foster (2L, Jr., 6-0, 185, Cleveland, Ohio/St. Edward) (13 games/3 starts, 12 catches, 164 yards, 1 TD)
• #80 Zach Gillespie (R-So., 6-2, 205, East Lansing, Mich./Lansing Catholic) *
• #82 Nick Hunter (R-Jr., 5-10, 190, Grayling, Mich./Grayling)
• #3 Terry Lockett Jr. (2L, So., 6-0, 180, Minneapolis, Minn./Minnehaha Academy) (9 games, 3 catches, 17 yards)
• #25 Joseph Martinez (R-So., 5-9, 200, Holt, Mich./Holt)
• #85 Cade McDonald (2L, R-Jr., 5-11, 195, Naperville, Ill./Naperville Central, 8 games)
• #17 Tre Mosley (2L, R-Jr., 6-2, 198, Pontiac, Mich./West Bloomfield) (13 games/9 starts, 35 catches, 530 yards, 3 TDs)
• #1 Jayden Reed (2L, Gr.-5, 6-0, 190, Naperville, Ill./Western Michigan) (13 games/13 starts, 59 catches, 1,026 yards, 17.4 avg., 10 TDs)

Wide receiver Jayden Reed, who earned first-team All-America honors as an all-purpose player by the American Football Coaches Association, is back for his senior season at Michigan State. Reed’s explosiveness was one of the main reasons for MSU’s school-record turnaround season last year – he not only led the Spartans with 59 catches for 1,026 yards and 10 touchdowns, but he also ranked first in the Big Ten in punt returns (19.8 avg.; 12 returns for 238 yards) and tied for the FBS lead with two punt returns for touchdowns (62 yards vs. Nebraska, 88 yards vs. Western Kentucky). His 10 TD grabs were sixth most in an MSU single-season and his 1,026 receiving yards ranked ninth most.

Named one of five finalists for the Paul Hornung Award, given annually to the nation’s most versatile player, Reed averaged 18.0 yards per play (1,674 all-purpose yards on 93 total plays), which led the Big Ten and ranked tied for seventh in the FBS. Forty-two of Reed’s 59 catches (.712) went for either a first down or a touchdown, and he led MSU with 32 explosive plays (20-plus yards), including 20 receptions, nine kick
returns and three punt returns. In addition, seven of his 10 TD catches were from 25-plus yards.

Reed’s playmaking ability was on full display in the Chick-fi l-A Peach Bowl, as he was named the game’s Offensive MVP after hauling in six passes for 80 yards and two touchdowns in the win over No. 12 Pitt, including the go-ahead score from 22 yards out with 2:51 left in the game.
Although the Spartans lost three-year letter-winner Jalen Nailor, who had a career-high 37 catches for 695 yards and fi ve TDs last year and was drafted in the sixth round by the Vikings, MSU brings back experienced starter Tre Mosley (R-Jr.) alongside Reed. Mosley has been steady for the Spartans during his career, recording 63 receptions for 817 yards in 23 games from 2019-21, including 13 starts. He recorded career highs in catches (35), receiving yards (530) and TD receptions (3) last season while earning nine starting assignments.

Junior Montorie Foster also has starting experience after filling in for the injured Nailor during the last month of the regular season. He hauled in 12 catches for 164 yards, including a 52-yard TD reception in the win over Maryland, during his second season with the Spartans in 2021.

Sophomore Keon Coleman showed flashes of his athleticism as a true freshman with seven receptions for 50 yards, one of which came on a touchdown grab at Ohio State. He spent the winter with the basketball team, playing in six games, but also participated in spring practice as he continues to compete for a starting role.

Returning letter-winners Christian Fitzpatrick (R-So.) and Terry Lockett (Jr.) are promising young receivers who will look to increase their production after spending another year in the offense, while walk-ons Sebastian Brown (R-So.), Aubrey Dawkins (R-So.), Nick Hunter (R-Jr.), Joseph Martinez (R-So.) and Cade McDonald (R-Jr.) provide depth for the Spartans. Zach Gillespie (R-So.) spent his first two seasons
as a quarterback but made the transition to wide receiver during spring practice. The Spartans are bringing in four scholarship freshmen in 2022, including four-star prospect Germie Bernard, who was an early enrollee and competed in spring practice. Antonio Gates Jr., Jaron Glover and Tyrell Henry all signed National Letters of Intent with MSU and joined the program in the summer.

OFFENSIVE LINE
Players returning (10):
• #53 OT Brandon Baldwin (R-So., 6-7, 315, Detroit, Mich./Independence CC)
• #58 OT Spencer Brown (1L, R-Jr., 6-6, 315, Commerce Township, Mich, Walled Lake Western, 8 games/1 start at RT)
• #77 OT Ethan Boyd (R-Fr., 6-7, 325, East Lansing, Mich./East Lansing)
• #56 RG Matt Carrick (4L, Gr.-6, 6-5, 320, Minerva, Ohio/Perry, 7 games)
• #67 LG J.D. Duplain (3L, Sr., 6-4, 300, Strongsville, Ohio/Strongsville, 13 games/13 starts at LG)
• #72 C Dallas Fincher (R-So., 6-4, 300, East Kentwood, Mich./East Kentwood)
• #79 LT Jarrett Horst (Sr.-5, 6-6, 300, Milddleton, Wis./Arkansas State, 8 games/8 starts at LT)
• #59 C Nick Samac (3L, Sr., 6-4, 300, Mentor, Ohio/Mentor, 13 games)
• #74 OL Geno VanDeMark (R-Fr., 6-6, 325, Lodi, N.J./St. Joseph)
• #61 OL Kevin Wigenton (R-Fr., 6-5, 315, Colts Neck, N.J./The Hun School)

Transfers (1):
• #50 Brian Greene (Gr.-6, 6-3, 300, Yakima, Wash./Washington State) (8 games/6 starts at C) *

Incoming freshmen (7):
• #68 OG Gavin Broscious (Fr., 6-4, 315, Surprise, Ariz./Desert Edge)
• #76 OT Andy Hartman (Fr., 6-6, 265, Grand Blanc, Mich./Grand Blanc)
• #66 OT Ashton Lepo (Fr., 6-7, 310, Grand Haven, Mich./Grand Haven)
• #69 OL Jacob Merritt (Fr., 6-6, 270, Northville, Mich./Northville)
• #64 OT Braden Miller (Fr., 6-6, 297, Aurora, Colo./Eaglecrest)
• #75 OT Ben Nelson (Fr., 6-7, 305, Holland, Mich./Holland Christian)
• #71 OG Kristian Phillips (Fr., 6-4, 347, Conyers, Ga./Salem)

Letter-winners lost (8):
• C Matt Allen (4L, 13 games/13 starts at C)
• OT AJ Arcuri (4L, 13 games/8 starts at RT, 5 starts at LT)
• OG Blake Bueter (4L, 13 games/5 starts at RG)
• OL Luke Campbell (4L, 12 games)
• OG Jacob Isaia (3L, 13 games)
• OL Kevin Jarvis (4L, 12 games/8 starts at RG, 4 starts at RT)
• OG James Ohonba (2L, 13 games)
• OT Dan VanOpstall (2L, 13 games)

  • at Washington State in 2021

The Spartans lost eight lettermen from last season’s offensive line, including four starters (center Matt Allen, guard Blake Bueter, tackle AJ Arcuri, guard/tackle Kevin Jarvis), but assistant head coach/offensive line coach/run game coordinator Chris Kapilovic still returns plenty of experience in 2022. Although Allen started every game at center in 2021, senior Nick Samac split time with Allen during the season and has earned 10 starting assignments throughout his career. Samac has played more than 1,000 snaps in 27 collegiate games his first three seasons at center (2019-21)

Senior J.D. Duplain, a second-team All-Big Ten honoree by Pro Football Focus, is back for his fourth consecutive season starting games at left guard. Duplain earned fi ve starts at left guard as a true freshman in 2019 and fi ve more as a sophomore in 2020 before starting every game at the position last season while helping pave the way for Doak Walker Award winner and unanimous All-American Kenneth Walker III. At right guard, sixth-year graduate senior Matt Carrick brings 18 career starts and 38 games of experience to the table. Carrick rotated at right guard in the fi rst seven games last season, but missed the second half of the year with an ACL injury. He started all seven games at the position in 2020 and 11 times in 2019. Fifth-year senior Jarrett Horst, who transferred to MSU in 2021 after starting two years (2019-20) at left tackle at Arkansas State, started the fi rst eight games of the season at left tackle during the Spartans’ 8-0 start. Although he missed the last fi ve games of the year, Horst still earned honorable mention All-Big Ten accolades by the coaches and media in playing a total of 317 offensive snaps.

Another experienced transfer joins the Spartans in 2022, as Brian Greene heads to East Lansing from Washington State. A sixth-year graduate senior, Greene has played in 30 career games, including 10 starts at center (four in 2020, six in 2021).

Redshirt junior Spencer Brown, who still has three years of eligibility remaining, earned his first career start in the Chick-fi l-A Peach Bowl victory over No. 12 Pitt, playing in all 89 snaps at right tackle against the Panthers. Brown played 155 snaps in eight games overall last year and will look to increase his time in the rotation this season.

The Spartans are also returning five players who did not see playing time on the line last season, but gained valuable experience during spring practice: OT Brandon Baldwin (R-So.), OT Ethan Boyd (R-Fr.), C Dallas Fincher (R-So.), OL Geno VanDeMark (R-Fr.) and OL Kevin Wigenton (R-Fr.).

Michigan State signed four offensive linemen to National Letters of Intent in the Class of 2022 (OG Gavin Brocious, OT Ashton Lepo, OT Braden Miller and OG Kristian Phillips), and three more walk-ons joined the team in the summer (Andy Hartman, Jacob Merritt, Ben Nelson).

TIGHT ENDS
Players returning (5):
• #6 Maliq Carr (1L, R-So., 6-5, 255, Inkster, Mich./Purdue) (12 games/1 start, 8 catches, 135 yards)
• #97 Tyler Hunt (4L, Gr.-6, 6-3, 248, Gobles, Mich./Gobles) (11 games/4 starts, 14 catches, 136 yards, 1 TD)
• #92 Evan Morris (1L, R-Jr., 6-5, 245, Elsie, Mich./Ovid-Elsie, 1 game)
• #47 Jackson Morse (R-Jr., 6-3, 240, East Lansing, Mich./Davenport)
• #40 Powers Warren (1L, Gr.-6, 6-4, 240, Minnetonka, Minn./Mississippi State, 2 games)

Transfers (1):
• #9 Daniel Barker (Gr.-5, 6-4, 250, Fort Lauderdale, Fla./Illinois) (12 games/5 starts, 18 catches, 202 yards, 11.2 avg., 4 TDs) *

Incoming freshmen (2):
• #81 Michael Masunas (Fr., 6-4, 250, Tucson, Ariz./Hamilton)
• #87 Jack Nickel (Fr., 6-4, 245, Milton, Ga./Milton) ^

Letter-winners lost (4):
• Adam Berghorst (3L, 6 games)
• Trenton Gillison (3L, 9 games, 1 catch, 5 yards)
• Parks Gissinger (2L, 4 games)
• Connor Heyward (4L, 13 games/13 starts, 35 catches, 326 yards, 2 TDs)
^ Enrolled in January 2022 | * at Illinois in 2021

Although the Spartans are losing starter Connor Heyward, who was selected in the sixth round of the 2022 NFL Draft by the Steelers after a successful season in 2021, there are still plenty of intriguing options at tight end for third-year coach Ted Gilmore.

Former walk-on Tyler Hunt, who began his Spartan career as a punter, returns for a sixth season in 2022. Hunt posted career highs in receptions (14) and receiving yards (136) in 11 games last season, including four starts, before missing the last two games with an injury. He made the transition from a specialist to a tight end during preseason practice in 2020.

Redshirt sophomore Maliq Carr showed plenty of promise during his first season with the Green and White in 2021 and expects to contribute more to the offense this fall. Carr had seven receptions for 128 yards in the last six games and had eight receptions for 135 yards overall in 12 total games, including a start in the Chick-fi l-A Peach Bowl against No. 12 Pitt. The former Purdue transfer joined the Spartan basketball team in January, along with wide receiver Keon Coleman.

The program welcomed transfer Daniel Barker (Sr.-5) from Illinois during the summer, an experienced player who owns the Fighting Illini record for most touchdown catches by a tight end with 11. Barker racked up 64 receptions for 827 yards in 44 games at Illinois from 2018-21, including 21 starting assignments. Powers Warren (Gr.-6) played in two games last fall for the Spartans, while Evan Morris (R-Jr.) and Jackson
Morse (R-Jr.) provide depth at the position.

The Spartans signed two tight ends to National Letters of Intent in the Class of 2022: Michael Masunas and Jack Nickel. Nickel enrolled in January and participated in spring practice.

DEFENSIVE PREVIEW
DEFENSIVE ENDS
Players returning (5):
• #19 Itayvion Brown (1L, R-So., 6-4, 247, St. Louis, Mo./Minnesota) (6 games, 4 tackles)
• #98 Avery Dunn (R-So., 6-4, 245, Shaker Heights, Ohio/Shaker Heights, 1 game)
• #5 Michael Fletcher (2L, R-Jr., 6-6, 260, Flint, Mich./Carman-Ainsworth) (7 games, 6 tackles)
• #47 Jeff Pietrowski (2L, Jr., 6-2, 250, Medina, Ohio/St. Edward) (13 games/3 starts, 33 tackles, 7 TFLs, 5.5 sacks, 3 FF, 1 FR)
• #26 Brandon Wright (3L, Sr., 6-2, 250, Euclid, Ohio/Euclid) (11 games, 7 tackles, 2.5 TFLs, 2.5 sacks, 1 FF)

Transfers (1):
• #2 Khris Bogle (Sr., 6-4, 245, Fort Lauderdale, Fla./Florida) (11 games/3 starts, 23 tackles, 3.5 TFLs, 1.5 sacks) * ^

Incoming freshmen (4):
• #17 Chase Carter (Fr., 6-6, 235, Brooklyn Park, Minn./Minnehaha Academy) ^
• #56 Jay Coyne (Fr., 6-1, 225, New York, N.Y./IMG Academy)
• #32 James Schott (Fr., 6-4, 225, Greenwood, Ind./Center Grove)
• #18 Zion Young (Fr., 6-6, 260, Atlanta, Ga./Westlake)

Letter-winners lost (5):
• Drew Beesley (4L, 9 games/9 starts, 29 tackles, 5.5 TFLs, 5.5 sacks, 2 PBUs, 1 FF, 1 FR)
• Jack Camper (4L, 3 games, 1 tackle)
• Drew Jordan (1L, 12 games/1 start, 18 tackles, 3.0 TFLs, 1.5 sacks)
• Jacub Panasiuk (5L, 13 games/13 starts, 37 tackles, 11 TFLs, 7 sacks, 3 PBUs, 2 FR, 1 FF)
• Zach Slade (1L, 2 games)

  • at Florida in 2021 | ^ Enrolled in January 2022

Michigan State lost both of its primary starters at defensive end to graduation in Drew Beesley and Jacub Panasiuk, but the Spartans have four letter-winners returning, added an impact transfer in Khris Bogle from Florida, and signed three players at the position to National Letters of Intent for the Class of 2022.

Rated a four-star prospect in the Class of 2019, Bogle was ranked one of the top 100 overall players in the nation coming out of Cardinal Gibbons High School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Bogle played three seasons (2019-21) with the Gators, collecting 69 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss and eight sacks in 35 career games, including seven starts. He enrolled in January and participated in spring practice for the Spartans to get a head start for the 2022 season.

Junior Jeff Pietrowski was productive in his second season with the Spartans in 2021, ranking tied for second on the team with 5.5 sacks and third with seven tackles for loss in 13 games and three starts. He played a total of 483 snaps on defense and also ranked tied for second in the Big Ten with three forced fumbles. Senior Brandon Wright, who made the transition from running back to defensive end during spring practice in 2021, made his presence known in the last two games of the season, recording a 14-yard sack and a forced fumble vs. Penn State and then picking up four tackles, including 1.5 sacks, in the win over No. 12 Pitt in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl.

Former four-star linebacker Itavyion Brown (R-So.) also made the position change to defensive end last season during preseason camp but was limited to six games after suffering an injury early in the year. He returned to the lineup for the last five games and played primarily on third-down situations. Redshirt junior and two-year letter-winner Michael Fletcher has appeared in 15 career games, while redshirt sophomore
Avery Dunn is also back for the Spartans.

MSU signed three players to NLIs at defensive end, including Chase Carter, who enrolled in January and competed in spring practice. James Schott and Zion Young joined the program over the summer. First-year coach Brandon Jordan, who was hired in January as a pass rush specialist, will work with the defensive ends, along with fellow first-year defensive line coach and run game coordinator Marco Coleman.

DEFENSIVE TACKLES
Players returning (8):
• #8 Simeon Barrow (1L, R-So., 6-3, 290, Grovetown, Ga./Grovetown) (10 games/10 starts, 34 tackles, 4 TFLs, 3 sacks, 1 PBU, 1 FF)
• #57 Evan Brunning (R-Jr., 6-5, 300, Oxford, Mich./Oxford)
• #97 Maverick Hansen (2L, R-Jr., 6-4, 300, Farmington Hills, Mich./Harrison) (13 games/3 starts, 26 tackles, 6 TFLs, 3.5 sacks, 1 PBU)
• #41 Derrick Harmon (R-Fr., 6-5, 320, Detroit, Mich./Loyola, 4 games, 1 tackle)
• #99 Jalen Hunt (2L, R-Jr., 6-4, 320, Belleville, Mich./Belleville) (11 games/1 start, 5 tackles)
• #63 Jacob LaFave (1L, R-So., 6-4, 285, Brighton, Mich./Brighton) *
• #94 Dashaun Mallory (2L, Gr.-5, 6-2, 280, Bolingbrook, Ill./Bolingbrook) (13 games, 12 tackles, 0.5 TFL)
• #64 Jacob Slade (3L, Gr.-5, 6-4, 305, Lewis Center, Ohio/Olentangy) (13 games/12 starts, 40 tackles, 5.0 TFLs, 2.5 sacks, 2 PBUs, 1 FR)

Incoming freshmen (1):
• #91 Alex VanSumeren (Fr., 6-3, 300, Bay City, Mich./Garber) ^

Letter-winners lost (1):
• Kyle King (1L, 8 games, 4 tackles, 1 TFL, 3 PBUs)
^ Enrolled in January 2022

  • LaFave lettered in 2020 playing special teams and on the defensive line. He redshirted in 2019 as an offensive lineman. He was not on the roster in 2021 but returned to the roster for spring practice on the offensive line; he switched back to defense in preseason camp.

The Spartans are loaded with experience and talent along the interior of the defensive line with five returning letter-winners, including starters Jacob Slade and Simeon Barrow.

A first-team All-Big Ten selection by Pro Football Focus, Slade posted career numbers in 2021 with 40 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks. According to PFF, he racked up 40 QB pressures, the most of any Big Ten defensive tackle and tied for 10th most in the FBS, and 33 QB hurries, No. 1 among Big Ten DTs and No. 3 in the FBS. He was named to the AP All-Bowl Team after recording a career-high two tackles for loss, including 1.5 sacks, to go along with six stops overall in the victory over No. 12 Pitt in the Chick-fi l-A Peach Bowl. Slade enters the 2022 season on watch lists for the Outland Trophy and the Lombardi Award; he was also named a second-team preseason All-American by the Walter Camp Football Foundation.

Barrow also proved to be a solid force up the middle in his first year for the Spartans, tallying 34 tackles, four TFLs and three sacks in 10 starts. After missing the last three games of the regular season due to an injury, Barrow stormed back on the field with six tackles and a TFL in the bowl win against the Panthers. Redshirt junior Maverick Hansen filled in for Barrow in the starting lineup for three games and was equally effective during his time in the lineup. Hansen ranked fourth on the team with 3.5 sacks and 6.0 tackles for loss in 13 games overall.

Jalen Hunt (R-Jr.) has battled injuries the past two seasons but has still played in 16 games with two starts, while redshirt senior Dashaun Mallory is also an experienced veteran and has appeared in all 20 games the past two seasons. Promising redshirt freshman Derrick Harmon played in four games last fall to preserve his redshirt season.

Four-star prospect Alex VanSumeren, who was ranked one of the top overall players in the nation by Rivals, ESPN and 247Sports, enrolled in January at Michigan State and gained valuable experience during spring practice.

LINEBACKERS
Players returning (7):
• #42 Carson Casteel (R-Fr., 6-2, 222, Florence, Ala./Florence)
• #35 Sam Edwards (R-So., 6-1, 217, Williamston, Mich./Lansing Catholic)
• #10 Ma’a Gaoteote (So., 6-1, 230, Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman) (9 games, 7 tackles, 1 FF, 1 PBU)
• #27 Cal Haladay (1L, R-So., 6-1, 230, Elysburg, Pa./Southern Columbia) (13 games/12 starts, 96 tackles, 5 TFLs, 0.5 sacks, 2 INTs, 2 PBUs, 2 FF)
• #31 Kobe Myers (R-So., 6-1, 220, Pontiac, Mich./Blair Academy)
• #23 Darius Snow (2L, Jr., 6-1, 230, Frisco, Texas/Hebron) % (13 games/9 starts, 87 tackles, 5.5 TFLs, 3 PBUs, 1 INT, 1 FR)
• #13 Ben VanSumeren (Gr.-5, 6-3, 235, Bay City, Mich./Michigan) (13 games, 12 tackles)

Transfers (2):
• #7 Aaron Brule (Gr.-5, 6-2, 242, New Orleans, La./Mississippi State) (12 games/8 starts, 52 tackles, 7.5 TFLs, 2.5 sacks) * ^
• #4 Jacoby Windmon (Sr., 6-2, 250, New Orleans, La./UNLV) (12 games/12 starts, 118 tackles, 11.5 TFLs, 6.5 sacks, 2 FF, 1 PBU) # ^

Incoming freshmen (1):
• #11 Quavian Carter (Fr., 6-3, 190, Camilla, Ga./Lee County)

Letter-winners lost (2):
• Quavaris Crouch (1L, 10 games/9 starts, 75 tackles, 2 TFLs, 2 sacks, 1 FF, 1 FR, 3 PBUs)
• Noah Harvey (4L, 11 games/4 starts, 32 tackles, 4 TFLs, 2 sacks, 1 INT, 2 PBUs) & Snow moved to linebacker during spring practice after playing nickelback/safety last season | * At Mississippi State in 2021 | # At UNLV in 2021 | ^ Enrolled in January 2022

The linebackers, coached by Secchia Family Defensive Coordinator Scottie Hazelton, feature a strong position room with returning starter Cal Haladay (R-So.) and two impact transfers (Aaron Brule from Mississippi State, Jacoby Windmon from UNLV). In addition, junior Darius Snow, who started nine games last season primarily as a nickelback, made the move to linebacker during spring practice. The Spartans utilize two linebackers in their 4-2-5 defensive scheme, led by Hazelton.

Haladay won the middle linebacker job as a redshirt freshman and went on to earn Freshman All-America honors after tying for the team lead with 96 tackles. He also returned two interceptions for touchdowns, including a game-winning 78-yard return for a score with less than a minute remaining in the Chick-fi l-A Peach Bowl victory to earn Defensive MVP honors in the game.

Snow earned a starting spot at nickelback in Week 5 and went on to close the year with nine consecutive starts. He moved back to safety in the bowl win over No. 12 Pittsburgh. Snow finished with 87 tackles, good for third on the team and 18th in the Big Ten, including 5.5 tackles for loss, three pass break-ups and one interception. His versatility provides numerous options for the Spartans on defense. Windmon arrived to East Lansing from UNLV, where he picked up second-team All-Mountain West recognition following his highly productive junior season with the Runnin’ Rebels. The New Orleans native ranked third in the MWC and 13th in the FBS in tackles per game (9.8 avg.; 118 total) and also had 11.5 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks.

Brule started eight games and played in 12 last season at Mississippi State, recording 52 tackles, 7.5 TFLs and 2.5 sacks. He brings a wealth of experience from Starkville, where he collected 141 tackles, including 17.5 TFLs and 7.5 sacks, in 40 career games (19 starts) from 2018-21. Both Windmon and Brule enrolled in January and learned the defense under Hazelton at spring practice.

Sophomore Ma’a Gaoteote, a former four-star and top-100 recruit out of Bishop Gorman High School, played in nine games as a true freshman to earn his fi rst letter and will compete for time in the rotation, along with redshirt senior Ben VanSumeren, who played in all 13 games in 2021. Redshirt freshman Carson Casteel, who was injured in 2021, also returns for the Spartans. Sam Edwards (R-So.) and Kobe Myers (R-So.) add depth to the position. MSU signed one linebacker in the Class of 2022, Quavian Carter, from Camilla, Georgia.

SECONDARY
Players returning (15):
• #0 CB Charles Brantley (1L, So., 6-0, 170, Sarasota, Fla./Venice) (8 games/1 start, 18 tackles, 4 PBUs, 1 INT)
• #33 S Kendell Brooks (1L, Sr.-5, 6-0, 215, Swansea, S.C./North Greenville) (13 games, 9 tackles)
• #14 CB Khary Crump (R-So., 6-0, 180, Los Angeles, Calif./Arizona, 2 games)
• #15 S Angelo Grose (2L, Jr., 5-10, 185, Mansfield, Ohio/Mansfield Senior) (13 games/13 starts, 83 tackles, 2.5 TFLs, 1 INT, 6 PBUs, 1 FF)
• #5 S Hamp Fay (R-Fr., 6-5, 220, Hudson Oaks, Texas/All Saints Episcopal) %
• #28 S Tate Hallock (2L, R-Jr., 6-4, 210, Grand Rapids, Mich./Forest Hills Central, 8 games)
• #25 S Isaiah Henderson (Fr., 6-3, 175, Reynoldsburg, Ohio/Pickerington Central)
• #3 S Xavier Henderson (4L, Gr.-5, 6-1, 210, Reynoldsburg, Ohio/Pickerington Central) (13 games/13 starts, 96 tackles, 10 TFLs, 3 sacks, 2 PBUs, 1 INT, 1 FF)
• #12 NB/CB Chester Kimbrough (1L, Sr., 6-0, 185, New Orleans, La., Florida) (12 games/11 starts, 40 tackles, 3 TFLs, 1 sack, 3 PBUs, 1 FF, 1 FR, 1 INT)
• #40 S A.J. Kirk (R-Fr., 6-1, 210, Columbus, Ohio/Archbishop Hoban)
• #29 CB Marqui Lowery (1L, R-So., 6-0, 180, Charlotte, N.C./Louisville) (7 games/2 starts, 22 tackles, 2 TFLs, 1 PBU)
• #34 S Khalil Majeed (R-Fr., 5-11, 190, Moorestown, N.J./Suffield Academy)
• #21 CB Davion Primm (R-Fr., 6-0, 205, Detroit, Mich./Oak Park) @
• #30 CB Justin White (1L, R-Jr., 5-9, 180, Agoura Hills, Calif./Colorado Mesa) (13 games, 11 tackles)
• #9 CB Ronald Williams (1L, Sr.-6, 6-2, 195, Ferriday, La., Alabama) (13 games/9 starts, 40 tackles, 8 PBUs, 1 INT, 2 TFLs, 1 sack, 1 FF)

Transfers (1):
• #6 CB Ameer Speed (Gr.-6, 6-3, 215, Jacksonville, Fla./Georgia) (13 games/3 starts, 13 tackles) * ^

  • At Georgia in 2021 | ^ Enrolled in January 2022
    % Fay made the switch from quarterback to safety in preseason camp
    @ Primm made the switch from running back to cornerback in preseason camp

Incoming freshmen (7):
• #37 CB Caleb Coley (Fr., 6-0, 180, Warner Robins, Ga./Houston County) ^
• #24 CB Malcolm Jones (Fr., 6-1, 200, Leesburg, Ga./Lee County)
• #1 S Jaden Mangham (Fr., 6-2, 175, Bingham Farms, Mich./Wylie E. Groves) ^
• #39 DB Joey Silveri (Fr., 6-1, 200, Grand Rapids, Mich./Catholic Central)
• #43 S Malik Spencer (Fr., 6-1, 195, Buford, Ga./Buford)
• #21 CB Dillon Tatum (Fr., 5-11, 200, Farmington Hills, Mich./West Bloomfi eld) ^
• #20 CB Ade Willie (Fr., 6-1, 188, Sarasota, Fla./IMG Academy) ^

Letter-winners lost (4)
• NB Michael Dowell (3L, 12 games/4 starts, 40 tackles, 2 TFLs, 3 PBUs)
• DB Emmanuel Flowers (3L, 12 games, 3 tackles)
• S CJ Hayes (3L, 7 games)
• S Spencer Rowland (1L, 6 games, 1 tackle)

Former Spartan All-American and NFL veteran Harlon Barnett is in 14th year overall on the defensive coaching staff at Michigan State, his third under head coach Mel Tucker. Barnett was the cornerbacks coach in 2020 before returning to coaching the entire secondary in 2021. Ross Els, who is also the special teams coordinator, will coach the nickelbacks this season, while Tucker will also assist with the cornerbacks. The Spartans have a mix of returning starters, transfers and six freshmen signees in the secondary. At cornerback, four players are back who started at least one game last year, including primary starters Chester Kimbrough (11 starts) and Ronald Williams (nine starts). Kimbrough (Florida) and Williams (Alabama) both transferred to MSU last summer and played the most snaps at cornerback for the Spartans in 2021 during their fi rst season wearing the Green and White. Kimbrough also saw time at nickelback during spring practice.

Fellow Louisville transfer Marqui Lowery battled injuries in his first year in East Lansing, but still earned two starting assignments while playing in seven games overall. Sophomore Charles Brantley played in eight games and earned a start at Purdue on Nov. 6, but he suffered a season-ending injury in the game and had his freshman season cut short by a month. Brantley sealed the win over No. 6 Michigan on Oct. 30 with
one-handed interception in the final minute of the game.

The Spartans brought in another transfer this season that will bolster the cornerback position as Ameer Speed enrolled in January after spending his first five years at Georgia (2017-21). Speed started in three games for the National Champion Bulldogs in 2021 and played in 13 games overall, playing a total of 181 snaps with 13 tackles.

Justin White (R-Jr.), a Division II transfer from Colorado Mesa who sat out the 2020 season, saw his playing time increase toward the end of last year, including a season-high 43 snaps in the regular-season finale against Penn State. Khary Crump (R-So.), an Arizona transfer, played in two games last fall on special teams. Davion Primm (R-Fr.), who was a running back last season and in spring practice, made the move to cornerback during preseason camp.

Both freshmen corners enrolled early and competed in spring practice: Caleb Coley (Warner Robins, Ga.) and Ade Willie (Sarasota, Fla.).

The Spartans will be strong in the back end as starters Angelo Grose (Jr.) and Xavier Henderson (Sr.-5) return at safety for MSU in 2022.

A 2021 team captain, Henderson has started 33 consecutive games at safety and will continue to be the vocal leader of the Spartan defense as he comes back for his fi fth season with the program. He recorded career highs in tackles (96) and tackles for loss (10) last year to earn third-team All-Big Ten honors by the media. Grose started all 12 games of the regular season at safety, but returned to nickelback in the Chick-fi l-A Peach Bowl, a position where he earned four starting assignments as a true freshman in 2020. He led the team with more than 1,000 snaps on defense while collecting 83 tackles and seven passes defended (one interception, six pass break-ups).

Returning letter-winners Kendell Brooks (Sr.-5) and Tate Hallock (R-Jr.) are back for the Spartans, along with A.J. Kirk (R-Fr.) and Khalil Majeed (R-So.), who will provide depth in the secondary. The Spartans signed four safeties/nickelbacks in the Class of 2022, including four-star prospects Jaden \Mangham and Dillon Tatum, who were both early enrollees and participated in spring practice, along with Malcolm Jones and Malik Spencer, who arrived on campus this summer.

SPECIAL TEAMS PREVIEW
Punter: Bryce Baringer is using his extra season of eligibility in 2022 and returns as the starting punter after a record-breaking season in which he set the MSU single-season record with his 48.4-yard punting average, a mark that also led the Big Ten and ranked No. 5 in the FBS. Baringer became the first Spartan punter to lead the Big Ten in punting since the late Mike Sadler in 2012. In addition, Baringer’s 48.4-yard
average was also the second-best average in Big Ten history, second only to Iowa’s Reggie Roby in 1981 (49.8 avg.). Baringer also ranked second in the conference in punts of 50-plus yards (26), including 10 of 60-plus yards, to earn second-team all-league honors. Freshman Ryan Eckley enrolled in January and adds depth at the position.

Placekicker: The Spartans will have a new starting placekicker for the first time in five years following the departure of the school’s all-time leading scorer and field-goal kicker, Matt Coghlin. While Coghlin battled an injury at the end of last season, Stephen Rusnak stepped in the last five games to earn his first letter. Rusnak was 4-of-5 on PATs and averaged 54.3 yards on kickoffs with four touchbacks on 21 kickoffs. The Spartans also signed Jack Stone in the Class of 2022 to compete at kicker, and added graduate transfer Ben Patton from Auburn in August prior to the season opener. Long Snapper: Hank Pepper handled every snap for the Spartans as a true freshman in 2021 and is back for his second season as the starter. Redshirt freshman Michael Donovan provides backup for the Spartans at the position.

Kick Returner/Punt Returner: Redshirt senior Jayden Reed earned first-team All-America honors from the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) as an all-purpose player last season thanks to a dynamic return game, as Reed led the Big Ten in punt returns (19.8 avg.; 12 returns for 238 yards) and tied for the FBS lead with two punt returns for touchdowns (62 yards vs. Nebraska, 88 yards vs. Western Kentucky). Reed also ranked fourth in the Big Ten in kick returns (23.5 avg.) and second in the Big Ten and 23rd in the FBS in combined returns (614 yards). He was selected the Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week vs. Nebraska after his 62-yard punt return late in the fourth quarter tied the game in MSU’s eventual overtime victory against the Huskers.

Reed was named one of five finalists for the Paul Hornung Award, which is given annually to the nation’s most versatile player. As a team, Michigan State led the Big Ten and ranked third in the FBS in punt returns (18.2 avg.). Reed’s two punt returns not only tied a school record, but he became the first Spartan to ever return touchdowns on back-to-back punts (fourth quarter vs. Nebraska; first quarter vs. Western Kentucky).

Fri., Sep. 2 @ 8:00 pm ET
Illinois Fighting Illini at Indiana Hoosiers

Illinois Fighting Illini
Notes

ALL-TIME SERIES vs. INDIANA
Series: 44-24-3
Last: L, 24-14 11/11/2017 at Champaign
Streak: L3
at Indiana: 15-15-3
Bielema vs. Indiana: 7-0

Illini Win in Week 0
• Illinois beat Wyoming, 38-6, last week for a Week 0 win in its second straight season. Last season, Illinois beat Nebraska, 30-22, in Week 0.

• The Illini opened the game with a bang with a two-play touchdown drive and never trailed. Chase Brown took his first carry of the season 38 yards up the right sideline before senior Tommy DeVito connected with Brown for a 14-yard TD pass one play later on his first pass attempt as an Illini.

• Illinois allowed just 30 passing yards against Wyoming, its fewest passing yards allowed since Sept. 15, 2012 when the Illini held Charleston Southern to 29 passing yards.

• Illinois has held opponents to 20 points or less in five of its last six games, dating back to Oct. 23, 2021.

• Illinois held the Cowboys to 1-for-12 on third down. Wyoming started the game by going 0-for-11 on third down before picking up a third down in the fourth quarter against the Illini backups.

• Illinois’ 477 yards of total offense were the Illini’s most under Bret Bielema (most since 490 at Nebraska 11/21/2020).

Defensive Improvement
• Illinois announced a contract extension for defensive coordinator Ryan Walters on Nov. 14, 2021, after Walters helped Illinois have one of the best defensive turnarounds in college football.

• Illinois’ defense made a 13.0-point improvement from 2020 to 2021 (34.9 ppg to 21.9 ppg). The 13.0 ppg improvement is the program’s third-best improvement since 1950.

• Illinois’ scoring defense (31st from 97th), total defense (32nd from 89th), and third-down defense (51st from 114th) all improved 50 or more spots in the national rankings.

• Illinois allowed only 18.9 points in Big Ten games, the fourth-best in the conference. In 2020, Illinois allowed 34.9 points per Big Ten game, ranking last in the conference.

• Illinois’ Big Ten defensive ranks in conference play improved 7+ spots in points per game (4th from 14th), touchdowns allowed (t-3rd from 14th), yards per play (4th from 13th), yards per game (5th from 14th), rush yards per carry (7th from 14th), pass yards per throw (4th from 14th), and pass yards per game (1st from 10th).

• Illinois held nine of its 12 opponents under their season scoring average in 2021.

• Illinois’ total defense improved by 101.0 yards per game from 2020 to 2021 (467.3 to 366.3). The 101.0 ypg improvement is the program’s fourth-best improvement since 1950.

• Illinois’ defense allowed only 48 points (12.0) in regulation of its four Big Ten road games in 2021, including only four TDs by opposing offenses in Big Ten road games.

• Illinois allowed only one passing touchdown over its final six games of the season and none in the final 19 quarters (4 games + final 3 quarters at Penn State).

• Illinois allowed only 2.5 yards per carry in Big Ten road games in 2021 (142 carries, 361 yards) and only 1.7 yards per carry in the fourth quarter of those games (31 carries, 52 yards).

• Illinois had a streak of holding opponents to 24 points or fewer in seven straight games from September 17 to November 6, 2021.

Big Wins in the Bielema’s Year One
• Bret Bielema became the first first-year head coach in Illinois history to win two top 25 games. The Illini had marquee wins at #7 (AP) Penn State, in the longest game in college football history, and at #20 (CFP) Minnesota, in Illinois’ first ever College Football Playoff ranked win.

• The Illini were one of four teams to win two AP/CFP ranked games on the road in 2021, along with Boise State, Fresno State, and Mississippi State.

• Illinois had as many AP/CFP ranked wins in 2021 (2) as the previous 12 years combined.

• Illinois tied for its most Big Ten wins (4) since the 2007 team went 6-2 en route to the Rose Bowl (tied with the 2010, 2013, 2019, which also had four Big Ten wins).

• Illinois dominated Northwestern, 47-14, in the season finale for the Illini’s first win in the Land of Lincoln Trophy rivalry game since 2015, snapping a six-game losing streak.

• According to ESPN’s SP+ metric, Illinois had its best season since 2011 and 8th-best season in the last 25 years.

Ground Game
• Illinois lined up with seven offensive linemen for 24 snaps at Penn State in 2021, leading to the most ever rushing yards by an opposing team at Beaver Stadium in a Big Ten game (357 rushing yards). The “barge” package produced 129 yards (5.4 yards/carry) and nine first downs.

• Illinois was 4-0 when it ran the ball 46+ times in 2021 with wins vs. Nebraska, vs. Charlotte, at #7 Penn State, and at #20 Minnesota.

• Brown had two of the nation’s top 17 rushing games of the season. He and Michigan State’s Kenneth Walker III were the only running backs with two of the top 17 highest rushing games.

• Brown rushed for a career-high 257 yards against Charlotte, the fourth-most in a game in Illinois history, and 223 yards at Penn State, the seventh-most in a game in Illinois history.

• Brown’s 257 yards are the seventh-most by a running back in college football this season.

• Brown’s 257 yards were the most by a RB coached by Bret Bielema in his 13 years as a head coach.

• Brown led the nation in yards after contact in Week 8 with 145 at Penn State, according to PFF. He led the nation in yards after contact twice in a four-week span in October and he was the only running back to lead the nation in yards after contact twice in 2021.

• Brown had 200 yards after contact against Charlotte according to PFF, the most yards after contact in all of college football in Week 5 and tied for the fifth-most yards after contact in a game during the 2021 season.

• Josh McCray ran for a career-best 156 yards on 24 carries against Purdue 9/25/21. It was the fourth-most rushing yards by a true freshman in program history.

• McCray had 144 yards after contact at Purdue according to PFF, the second-most yards after contact in Week 4. He had another 100 yards after contact at Penn State.

• McCray’s 156 rushing yards at Purdue were the fifth-most by a true freshman in 2021.

• McCray’s 156 rushing yards at Purdue were the most by a true freshman in a road game in 2021

Indiana Hoosiers
Notes
SETTING THE SCENE
• Indiana kicks off its 138th season of football when it hosts Illinois to open the 2022 season on Friday, Sept. 2. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. inside Memorial Stadium (55,250; Field Turf) on FS1.

• With the season opening falling on a Friday night, it will mark the first time IU has played under the Friday night lights of Memorial Stadium since at least 1995. The Hoosiers have played just two prior Friday contests in that span.

• Indiana has won 15-of-18 season openers, including seven straight from 2004-10 and five straight from 2012-16.

• IU will open with a Big Ten foe for the fourth time in Tom Allen’s six campaigns and third straight season. Allen has faced No. 2 Ohio State (2017), No. 8 Penn State (2020) and No. 17 Iowa (2021) to open seasons with the Hoosiers.

• Indiana will kick off a campaign against Illinois for the for the fifth time in program history and the first time since 1974.

• Illinois has won three of the four season openers with IU’s lone win coming in a 20-0 blanking of the Illini on August 26, 1959. The 1960, 1973 and 1974 meetings went the way of Illinois, with the ’73 contest played in Bloomington, as well.

• Indiana and Illinois are meeting for the first time since 2017 and the first time in Bloomington since 2013.

• Since 2002, Indiana has opened the season at home in 13 of the 20 seasons. The Hoosiers own a 12-1 record in those games, with the lone loss to No. 2 Ohio State (2017).

NEWS & NOTES
• Head coach Tom Allen enters 2022 on pace to join a select group of coaches in Indiana history, as he is on pace to reach the 30-win mark at the school.

• Indiana returns the bulk of its defensive snaps from the 2021 season for new defensive coordinator Chad Wilt, while first-year
offensive coordinator Walt Bell will begin his first season in Bloomington with a more fresh-faced crew.

• Senior Jaylin Williams enters his final season with the Cream and Crimson on pace to join the top-10 list for career
interceptions. The Memphis, Tennessee, native owns six picks in his career entering the campaign.

• Don Fischer, the Voice of the Hoosiers, will begin his 50th season on the call in 2022 and will be honored by the National
Football Foundation in 2022, while color analyst and IU alum, Rhett Lewis begins his first season on the broadcast crew.

TEAM NOTES
QUARTERBACKS
• Indiana’s quarterback room has a pair of experienced quarterbacks that new offensive coordinator and position coach Walt Bell can look at when 2022 gets started in Connor Bazelak and Jack Tuttle.

• Bazelak began his career at Missouri, where he was the 2020 SEC Co-Freshman of the Year after throwing for 2,366 yards and seven touchdowns in eight starts (10 games played).

• The Dayton, Ohio, native followed that up with 2,548 yards passing and 16 touchdowns in 11 starts during the 2021 campaign.

• The four-star recruit out of Archbishop Alter finished his twoyear stay in Columbia, as just the ninth Tiger quarterback to pass for at least 5,000 yards in a career.

• Jack Tuttle stepped into a starting role in both the 2020 and 2021 seasons after injuries and has appeared in 14 games with four starts in his Hoosier career.

• Stepping in for the final three games of the 2020 season, Tuttle went 44-of-72 (61.1 percent) for 362 yards with two touchdowns and one interception and led the Hoosiers to a pair of victories and a berth in the Outback Bowl.

• In his first career start, he guided IU to a 14-6 win at No. 16 Wisconsin, the program’s first win in Madison since 2001. Tuttle completed 13-of-22 for 130 yards with two TDs and zero INTs.

• The redshirt senior graduated with a supply chain management degree in May 2021 and is a two-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree and 2021 semifinalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy.

• Tuttle transferred from the University of Utah on Dec. 17, 2018, practiced with team, and was ruled eligible for the 2019 campaign in the spring. He did not see action at Utah.

• In five games in 2019, Tuttle went 6-of-11 for 34 yards and had nine rushes for 20 yards.

• A graduate of Mission Hills High School in San Marcos, Calif., Tuttle was a Rivals and 247Sports four-star prospect, the No. 4 pro-style quarterback nationally by Rivals, the No. 5 pro-style quarterback nationally by 247Sports, and the No. 13 player in California by 247Sports.

• Tuttle’s father, Jay, was a walk-on kicker at IU (1986-88).

• Add into the mix Grant Gremel, who started the 2021 season finale at Purdue and was the first walk-on quarterback to start a game for IU since 1995.

• Redshirt-sophomore Dexter Williams II is also among the quarterback stable, as he redshirted his first season on campus, before an ACL injury ended his 2021 season during spring practice.

• Williams was among the top dual-threat quarterbacks in the country as a senior at Mount de Sales Academy in Georgia. 24/7Sports rated him the No. 13 dual-threat quarterback nationally.

• The newcomer to the room is freshman Brendan Sorsby of Lake Dallas High School in Corinth, Texas. He threw for 1,271 yards in seven games during an injury-shortened senior season.

• Sorsby was the No. 13 rated pocket passer nationally per ESPN after he threw for 14 touchdowns in 2021.

OFFENSIVE LINE
• Senior Matthew Bedford planted roots on the Indiana offensive line upon his arrival in Bloomington and has started 27 of 28 career games played in the cream and crimson.

• IU’s 2019 Offensive Newcomer of the Year, Bedford has made eight starts each at right guard, left tackle, and right tackle. His other three starts came at left guard.

• An honorable-mention All-Big Ten pick as a junior, Bedford saw 475 snaps in pass protection during the 2021 season and allowed just 20 total pressures for a 97.6% pass blocking efficiency rating from Pro Football Focus.

• Luke Haggard (6-7, 305) gained 30 pounds in the 2021 offseason after he started all six games he appeared in at left tackle in his FBS debut in 2021.

• Haggard was rated as the No. 9 NFL Draft offensive tackle prospect by Pro Football Focus during the 2022 offseason.

• A senior out of Santa Rosa (Calif.) Junior College, Haggard was a team captain and an All-Bay 6 conference selection during his two years at junior college.

• Redshirt sophomore Mike Katic (6-4, 312) was named IU’s 2020 Offensive Newcomer of the Year after starting four games at left guard with six appearances overall during his red-shirt freshman season.

• After winning the starting spot at left guard in 2021, Katic owns 13 career starts. He missed three games towards the end of 2021.

• Zach Carpenter (6-5, 320) joined the program as a transfer from the University of Michigan and participated in spring ball prior to the 2022 season.

• After appearing in five games with two starts during his two seasons at Michigan, Carpenter made three starts in five appearances during his first season in Bloomington in 2021.

• Darren Hiller is in his fifth season overseeing the offensive line. The 28-year coaching veteran has coached 23 players who have moved on to the NFL, including former Hoosiers Caleb Jones (tackle), Wes Martin (guard), Brandon Knight (tackle), Simon Stepaniak (guard), and Harry Crider (center).

• Crider was a 2021 free-agent signing of Philadelphia, Stepaniak was a sixth-round selection by Green Bay in the 2020 NFL Draft, Martin was a fourth-round selection by Washington in 2019, and Knight was a 2019 free-agent signing of Dallas.

• Tackle Jason Spriggs and guard Dan Feeney (New York Jets) were drafted in 2016 and 2017, respectively. Spriggs was taken in the second round by Green Bay and Feeney was selected a third-round pick by the Los Angeles Chargers.

• Rodger Saffold, a 13-year veteran guard with Tennessee, along with Martin, Knight, Feeney and Jones give Indiana five former offensive line standouts currently on NFL rosters.

RUNNING BACKS
• Associate head coach and 38-year coaching veteran Craig Johnson begins his first season with the Cream and Crimson and his 21st in collegiate football.

• Johnson returns to the college sidelines in a coaching capacity for the first time since 1999, as he spent the 20 seasons in the NFL between 1999 and 2019.

• A quarterback during his time at the University of Wyoming, Johnson has tutored five NFL All-Pro selections, including running backs Saquon Barkley and Chris Johnson.

• The running backs room is a mixture of young recruits and veteran backs from the transfer portal in 2022.

• The most experienced back in the room is Auburn transfer Shaun Shivers. His 43 games played are the third most college football games played on the IU roster (45, Fitzgerald; 44, Jaylin Williams).

• In four seasons at Auburn, Shivers compiled 1,464 all-purpose yards as a runner, receiver and kick returner. He rushed for 1,020 yards and eight touchdowns in his career.

• Josh Henderson joined the program after appearing in 23 games during three seasons at North Carolina.

• The New Jersey native compiled 209 yards rushing during his career with the Tar Heels.

• Indiana’s Mr. Football in 2019, Charlie Spegal entered the season as the most experienced running back at IU, as he rushed for 62 yards on 19 carries during his redshirt-freshman season in 2021.

• Both David Hollowman and Trent Howland saw time during their true freshmen seasons in 2021, with each receiving a redshirt season.

• True freshman Jaylin Lucas enrolled in spring classes and participated in spring practice and is heralded as one of the fastest players on the roster.

• Lucas was rated as the No. 12 all-purpose back in the class of 2022 by Rivals and earned first-team All-Louisiana during his senior season.

• Starring for Edna Carr High School in New Orleans as a senior, Lucas played his first three prep seasons at Terrenbonne High School prior to Hurricane Ida.

• On the track, Lucas finished No. 6 at the LHSAA state track and field championships as a senior.

• Five of the last six featured running backs have reached the NFL – Stevie Scott III (New Orleans, Denver), Devine Redding (Kansas City, Tampa Bay), Jordan Howard (Philadelphia, Miami, Chicago), Tevin Coleman (New York Jets, San Francisco, Atlanta), and Stephen Houston (New England, Pittsburgh, Baltimore).

WIDE RECEIVERS
• First-year co-offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach Adam Henry returns to college coaching after spending the last seven years working with some of the best NFL wideouts.

• His previous two collegiate coaching stops both came in the state of Louisiana, as he spent 10 years at McNeese State and three at LSU.

• His time at LSU produced three NFL Draft picks from the wide receiver spot from just the 2014 draft class. Jarvis Landry, Odell Beckham Jr. and James Wright were all taken in the 2014 draft.

• D.J. Matthews Jr. is in his second year with the program after being a graduate transfer (Florida State) during the 2021 season.

• The 5-11, 160-pound Matthews enrolled in 2021 spring classes and participated in spring ball, but his 2021 season was cut short by a knee injury in the fourth game of the season at Western Kentucky.

• In four games, Matthews Jr. caught 13 passes for 165 yards and returned four punts for 83 yards and one touchdown. He took a punt 81 yards for a score against Idaho in week two.

• In 35 games (16 starts) at FSU, Matthews had 84 receptions for 809 yards and five touchdowns to go along with one punt return TD.

• The Jacksonville, Florida, native finished his FSU career No. 10 on the program’s career punt return yards (582) and returns (56). He also holds two of the top-4 single-game marks.

• Matthews did not play in 2020 while finishing his interdisciplinary social science degree.

• One of the most followed storylines during fall camp was the move of sophomore Donaven McCulley from quarterback to wide receiver after one season on campus.

• After staring four games and quarterback in 2021, McCulley made the move to wide receiver during spring practice.

• McCulley threw a number of his touchdown passes to freshman Omar Cooper Jr. while the duo played together at Lawrence North High School in Indianapolis.

• Cooper Jr. was rated as the No. 155 prospect nationally and the No. 22 wide receiver nationally entering his first season on campus in 2022.

• A pair of transfers will also look to make an impact in 2022 as Cam Camper (Trinity Valley C.C.) and Emery Simmons (North Carolina) each had solid fall camps.

• Simmons committed to Indiana out of high school, before ultimately choosing North Carolina and spending three seasons in Chapel Hill.

• He caught 30 passes for 516 yards and three touchdowns over 30 games played, with one scoring grab in each of his three seasons.

• Camper was a football walk-on at Sam Houston State for one season before he spent two years at Trinity Valley C.C. in Texas where he caught 50 passes for 858 yards and four touchdowns.

• From his senior year of high school to this season, Camper great five inches and gained 40 pounds thanks to a late growth spurt.

TIGHT ENDS
• In his third season coaching the tight ends, Kevin Wright might have the most inexperienced group on the roster, but it also seems like the one with the highest upside.

• The most experience in the room comes in the form of 6-foot6 former high school linebacker AJ Barner and his 20 games played, with most of that time seen on special teams.

• He has 14 receptions for 162 yards on his resume, with his lone touchdown a flash of athleticism as he bounced off a tackle and went 76 yards for a score against Idaho in 2021.

• Barner was his conference defensive player of the year as a senior in high school.

• Behind Barner are a pair of redshirt freshmen in James Bomba and Aaron Steinfeldt, while true freshmen Brody Foley and Ryan Miller enter as heralded recruits.

• Bomba is an Indiana legacy, as his father, Matt (1990-92), and grandfathers, Brad (1954-56) and Bob Van Pelt (1964-66), all lettered in football at IU. His mother, Kelly, an executive associate athletic director for the Hoosiers.

• Bomba went to Bloomington South High School and was a two-time all-state pick.

• Steindeldt is a Bloomington North product and earned all-state honors twice as a prep standout. He was the Indiana Football Coaches Association Mr. Football positional winner as a senior.

• A three-sport all-conference performer that also earned honorable mention all-state honors in basketball.

• He appeared in one game during his true freshman season, the series finale at Purdue.

• A pair of Ohio products crossed the border for college, as Foley (Cincinnati) and Miller (Chagrin Falls) were each among the top-30 national tight end prospects.

• Foley was the No. 26 tight end nationally per 247Sports, while Miller earned a No. 23 tight end ranking per ESPN, even after he missed senior season with an injury.

SPECIALISTS
• Special teams coordinator Kasey Teegardin enters his third season and has helped turn the unit into one of the more consistent in the Big Ten.

• His 2020 unit ranked No. 5 in ESPN’s special teams efficiency rankings.

• Place kicker Charles Campbell was Phil Steele’s first-team All-Big Ten kicker in 2020 after he won the starting role during camp and connected on 10-of-11 field goals (90.9 percent) and all 25 extra points.

• The Jackson, Tennessee, native led the conference in field goal percentage (No. 9 nationally), finished third in field goals made and scoring per game among kickers (6.9), tied for third in field goals made per game (1.3, T-28th), finished fourth in PATs made, and tied for sixth in scoring per game among all players.

• Campbell made all three of his attempts from 50-plus yards in 2020 to become the second Hoosier to record three 50-yarders in one season (Pete Stoyanovich, 1988).

• The redshirt senior is one of four IU kickers with three 50-yarders in his career (Stoyanovich, 6; Frank Stavroff, 3; Griffin Oakes, 3) and the second Hoosier (Chris Gartner at Kentucky – Sept. 30, 1972) with a pair of 50-yarders in a single game with makes from 50 and 53 yards in the Outback Bowl vs. Ole Miss.

• The 53-yarder set an Indiana and Outback Bowl record and shares third in school history.

• Campbell a two-time Groza Star of the Week: a three field goal performance versus Rutgers (2020) and a program-record-tying four made field goals at Western Kentucky (2021).

• Campbell was a U.S. Army All-American and kicked in the 2018 U.S. Army All-American Bowl out of University School of Jackson.

• Sophomore James Evans took over the reins at punter in 2021 after he enrolled in 2021 spring classes and participated in practice after committing to Indiana sight unseen in person.

• He trained under Nathan Chapman and John Smith at Prokick Australia and hadn’t played a down of American football or visited the United States prior to his arrival in Bloomington.

• Sean Wracher earned third-team All-Big Ten honors from Phil Steele in each of his three seasons on campus and is a Patrick Mannelly Award watch list member entering 2022.

• He has started all 33 games since stepping foot on campus and has snapped for all-league kickers Logan Justus (2019) and Campbell (2020), and a Ray Guy Award semifinalist in Whitehead (2020).

• The Akron, Ohio, native was a Kohl’sKicking.com five-star prospect and ranked the No. 1 long snapper nationally by Kornblue Kicking.

DEFENSIVE LINE
• While the defense returns the most experience on the team, the defensive line might be the most experienced unit among that group.

• Along with three-year letter-winner and 2019 honorable mention All-Big Ten pick Demarcus Elliott, Sio Nofoagatoto’a (three letters) and James Head Jr. (four letters) have played their fair share of football.

• Elliott has started 30 of the 32 games in which he has appeared since his arrival in Bloomington from Garden City (Kan.) Community College in 2019.

• He has piled up 78 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss and three sacks from his spot on the interior line.

• With his media degree in hand, Head Jr. has appeared in 39 games – tied for No. 7 on the team entering the season – with 20 starts.

• Limited to just seven games due to injury in 2021, Head has produced 58 tackles in his 39 appearances with 10.0 tackles for loss.

• The Miami native produced a sterling career at Southridge High School, where he finished with 250 stops, 47 for loss and 45 sacks.

• Nofoagatoto’a was born in New Zealand and lived there until 2008, when he moved to American Samoa. He relocated to Australia in 2015, before attending his final two years of high school at Clearwater (Fla.) Academy International.

• He is the first Hoosier from American Samoa since offensive lineman Pita Elisara (1998-99).

• Even some of the new faces on the line enter the 2022 season with extensive experience in the college game, with transfer student-athletes LeDarrius Cox (Ole Miss), Patrick Lucas Jr. (Ole Miss) and JH Tevis (Cal) all appearing in double-digit games prior to arriving on campus.

• Tevis has the most experience as he played in 20 career games and earned honorable-mention All-Pac 12 during his three seasons at Cal.

• His 2021 season featured 37 tackles, 5.5 for loss and one sack on his way to earning postseason honors from the Pac 12.

• Cox and Lucas Jr. appeared in 13 and 11 games, respectively, during their two seasons on the defensive line together at Ole Miss.

• The true freshman trio of Nick James, J’Mari Monnette and Venson Sneed Jr. are among those that impressed during fall camp.

• Two of those three (James and Sneed) enrolled early and participated in spring classes and practice.

• James was among the top recruits nationally with a No. 229 ranking nationally per ESPN out of IMG Academy. A native of Alabama, he spent his first two prep seasons at Prattville High School.

• Monnette was a part of the Louisiana High School Athletic Association 5A state runner up squad Alexandria High School.

• Sneed is another four-star prospect that was among the top-30 defensive end prospects, while he also participated in basketball and weight lifting at Winter Park (Fla.) High School.

LINEBACKERS
• Don’t expect a drop off at linebacker due to the departure of Micah McFadden, as Cam Jones is back for his final collegiate season as the anchor of the IU defense.

• An honorable-mention All-Big Ten pick in 2020, a two-time team captain, and Academic All-Big Ten selection, started his career at the husky position, but has appeared in 31 games at linebacker since moving in 2019.

• He made his first career start in the 2020 opener and win over No. 8 Penn State, where he made a then-career-best seven stops, one for loss, and matched a career-high with six solos.

• In 2021, Jones nearly doubled his career high in single season tackles with 64 after back-to-back 35-stops seasons in 2019 and 2020.

• His 154 career tackles are the most on the team entering the 2022 season, just ahead of Devon Matthews (151).

• Jones’ eight takeaways are tied for the most among returning IU defenders (Tiawan Mullen). His takeaway ledger includes four forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and two interceptions.

• Aaron Casey will don the iconic No. 44 this season in honor of IU legend George Taliaferro, who was the first African American drafted by an NFL team.

• With his public financial management degree already complete, Casey is primed to earn the second starting linebacker spot after 33 appearances and no starts entering the season.

• Even with no starts, Casey still owns 45 tackles and 5.5 for loss in his career, playing in every game during his three seasons on the field.

• Transfers Jared Casey and Bradley Jennings Jr. will add depth to an otherwise young corps.

• Casey played three seasons at Kentucky before arriving in Bloomington, where he appeared in 27 games with 30 tackles.

• Jennings Jr. will enter his fifth season of college football with 35 games played and 68 tackles in a career that began at the University of Miami.

• The highest rated prospect to sign with Indiana, Dasan McCullough looks to make an impact during his true freshman season on campus after staring as a senior at Bloomington South High School.

• A consensus four-star recruit, McCullough was rated as the 40th prospect and No. 4 outside linebacker nationally, and the No. 1 prospect in Indiana by ESPN.

• He played his first three prep seasons at Blue Valley High School in Kansas, while his father, Deland, was a part of the Kansas City Chiefs coaching staff.

CORNERBACKS
• No unit is more decorated entering the 2022 season than the men patrolling the boundaries for IU, as Tiawan Mullen (1st team) and Jaylin Williams (2nd team) became the first cornerback duo in Indiana history to earn All-Big Ten honors in the same season in 2020.

• Mullen, who allowed just 14 completions in 2020, earned first-team All-America accolades from the Football Writers Association of America, the first cornerback in school history to collect first-team recognition and just the second (Tim Wilbur, 2nd team in 1980) to achieve All-America status.

• The Fort Lauderdale, Fla., native was the program’s first cornerback to secure first-team all-conference honors since Tracy Porter in 2007.

• For the third straight season, Mullen finds himself on the preseason watch list for the Bednarik Award, as he is tied as the team’s active leader (Cam Jones) with eight career takeaways (3 interceptions, 3 forced fumbles, and 2 fumble recoveries).

• In the 2020 victory at Michigan State, Mullen recorded the first two interceptions of his career to mark the first multi-pick game at IU since Jonathan Crawford vs. Purdue in 2016.

• Along with his 2020 All-America honors, Mullen was a Freshman All-American (247Sports, The Athletic) and honorable-mention All-Big Ten in 2019.

• His older brother, Trayvon, played cornerback at Clemson University (2016-18) and is a member of the Las Vegas Raiders, and his cousin (mother’s side), Lamar Jackson, played at Louisville (2015-17) and is the Baltimore Ravens quarterback.

• Trevell Mullen joins his older brother on the Indiana roster this season after a standout prep career that earned him a top200 national ranking from ESPN and Rivals while at Coconut Creek High School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

• Williams, a senior out of Memphis, is the team’s active leader in interceptions (6) and ranks No. 2 on the team in career games played (44) entering the 2022 campaign.

• His six career takeaways are tied for No. 3 on the team (Bryant Fitzgerald), behind Cam Jones and Mullen with eight takeaways.

• He opened 2020 with INTs in three-consecutive games and finished with four overall, which tied for the team lead, ranked third in the Big Ten, and shared eighth nationally.

• Redshirt sophomore Lem Whatley-Neely and Alabama transfer Brylan Lanier, along with newcomers James Monds III and Jamari Sharpe, will add needed depth to a position that was ravaged with injury in 2021.

• Watley-Neely has two career appearances under his belt as he enters his third season on campus. An all-state pick from Harper Woods (Mich.) High School, he played nine different positions in his senior season and hauled in three interceptions.

• It doesn’t get more Alabama than Lanier, who attended Paul W. Bryant High School in Tuscaloosa and then walked on for the Crimson Tide in 2021. He received his redshirt season prior to transferring to Indiana.

• Monds III comes from a football family, as his cousin, Mario Monds; and uncle, Wonder Monds; both played college football. A first-team all-state pick out of Vero Beach (Fla.) High School, Monds III enrolled early and participated in spring practice.

• A native of Miami, Florida, Sharpe helped Northwestern High School to the FHSAA 6A state title as a sophomore. He played three years at wideout before moving to cornerback as a senior

SAFETIES
• Big Ten football will be nothing new for Justin Jones’ group in 2022, as the room returns seven letter-winners to the back end of the defense.

• A 2020 third-team All-Big Ten selection, Devon “Monster” Matthews will handle strong safety duties for the fourth straight season. His 40 career games played are tied for No. 5 on the team entering the season (Alfred Bryant).

• In nine games last season, Matthews racked up 54 tackles, 4.0 tackles for loss and hauled in one interception. He also missed three games due to injury.

• His 151 tackles rank No. 2 on the current team, just behind Cam Jones’ 154 stops.

• A Jacksonville, Fla., native, Matthews earned the nickname “Monster” as an 8-year old defensive end when he knocked a quarterback’s helmet off on a sack.

• Noah Pierre was one of the unsung heroes on the back end of the 2021 defense with six starts in 12 appearances in a multitude of spots on the defense.

• His 35 tackles were 7x his career total entering the season (7 in 19 games) and he added his first career interception against Michigan State (10/16/21) in his first career start.

• Josh Sanguinetti missed four games due to injury in 2021, but was productive on the back end in his eight appearances – two starts – with 17 stops and one interception.

• The four-star prospect out of Lauderdale Lakes, Fla. and the University School. He has appeared in 16 career games in three seasons on campus.

• Bryant Fitzgerald leads all returning Hoosiers with 45 games played, which includes 23 starts overall (20 at husky).

• Fitzgerald’s six career takeaways are tied for No. 3 among returning IU defenders (Jaylin Williams), and just behind Cam Jones’ team-best eight takeaways.

• In his career, Fitzgerald owns 116 career tackles, which sits No. 3 on the team behind Cam Jones (154) and Devon Matthews (151).

• He led the team with three interceptions during his redshirt freshman season, a total that was tied for the most among freshmen in the Big Ten and No. 7 nationally.

• After using his graduate transfer in 2021, Jonathan Haynes returns for his fourth season of Division I football after missing most of the 2021 campaign with injury.

• Haynes appeared in 25 career games – four in 2021 – with 92 career tackles and two career interceptions.

• He was a teammate of IU defensive line transfers LeDarrius Cox and Patrick Lucas Jr. at Ole Miss.

• Newcomers in true freshman Phillip Dunnam and junior college transfer Louis Moore will each look to add depth on the back end after strong fall camp showings.

• The No. 40 safety nationally by ESPN, Dunnam played on both sides of the ball at North Miami (Fla.) Beach Senior High School and was a first-team All-Dade County pick as a senior.

• Athleticism runs in his family, as cousins E.J. Biggers (cornerback) and Louis Delmas (safety) both played in the NFL and his uncle, Udonis Haslem, is a 19-year veteran in the NBA.

• A two-way player while at Navarro (Texas) College the last two seasons, Moore appeared in 16 games. He caught 48 passes as a wide receiver over two seasons and posted 18 tackles as a sophomore playing safety

OUTSIDE LINEBACKERS (BULLS)
• After playing in 28 games during his first three seasons on the field, redshirt senior Alfred Bryant took over the starting role at the program’s hybrid BULL position.

• After starting 12 games in 2021, Bryant enters his final collegiate season tied for No. 5 on the team with 40 career appearances (Devon Matthews).

• A career-high 26 tackles in 2021 pushed his career total to 68, with 7.5 of those going for a loss. He has added two fumble recoveries and two forced fumbles.

• UCLA transfer Myles Jackson enrolled in the spring to attend classes and participate in spring practice and add another veteran for the group.

• In eight career games at UCLA, Jackson made seven tackles with two for a loss. He also forced one fumble and came away with his first career sack at Arizona on Oct. 9, 2021.

Sat., Sep. 3 @ 11:00 am CT
South Dakota State Jackrabbits at Iowa Hawkeyes

South Dakota State Jackrabbits
Notes
SERIES NOTES
• First Meeting

A 2022 season filled with high expectations for the South Dakota State football team kicks off Saturday as the Jackrabbits make the trek to the University of Iowa.

Kickoff is set for 11 a.m. at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City, Iowa. The game is set to be nationally televised on FS1.

The Jackrabbits are coming off a 2021 season in which they posted an 11-4 overall record (5-3 in the Missouri Valley Football Conference) and made a deep run into the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs by advancing to the national semifinals for the fourth time in five seasons. SDSU is ranked second in the Stats Perform preseason media poll and third in the initial FCS coaches’ poll conducted by the American
Football Coaches Association.

Iowa posted a 10-4 overall record during the 2021 season, including a 7-2 league mark in advancing to the Big Ten Conference championship game. The Hawkeyes, which are among the top teams receiving votes in preseason FBS polls, concluded the season with a 20-17 defeat at the hands of Kentucky in the Vrbo Citrus Bowl.

THE SERIES: Saturday’s game will mark the first-ever meeting between South Dakota State and Iowa on the football field. The game also will feature a matchup between two of the longest-tenured coaches in college football — South Dakota State’s John Stiegelmeier enters his 26th season at the helm of the Jackrabbit football program, while Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz begins his 24th season leading the Hawkeyes.

FOR OPENERS: Now in his 26th year as head coach, John Stiegelmeier has led SDSU to a 16-9 record in season openers. The Jackrabbits won each of their first seven season openers under Coach Stig, starting with a 17-7 victory at UC Davis in 1997. Of SDSU’s nine losses in season openers under Coach Stig, five have come against Football Bowl Subdivision opponents, including a 28-21 setback at Minnesota in the 2019 opener.

PLAYING UP: South Dakota State will face a Football Bowl Subdivision opponent for the 12th time since moving to the Division I ranks. The Jackrabbits have compiled a 2-9 record against FBS foes, starting with a 44-17 setback at Iowa State in the 2008 season opener.

The Jackrabbits last played an FBS foe in the 2021 season opener at Colorado State and came away with a convincing 42-23 victory. SDSU’s first win against an FBS opponent was a 41-38 win at Kansas in the 2015 season opener.

Previous FBS games:
2008: Iowa State 44, SDSU 17 2014: Missouri 38, SDSU 18
2009: Minnesota 16, SDSU 13 2015: SDSU 41, Kansas 38
2010: Nebraska 17, SDSU 3 2016: TCU 59, SDSU 41
2011: Illinois 56, SDSU 3 2019: Minnesota 28, SDSU 21
2012: Kansas 31, SDSU 17 2021: SDSU 42, Colorado State 23
2013: Nebraska 59, SDSU 20

Notes: SDSU’s 2018 game at Iowa State was canceled due to inclement weather and a scheduled matchup at Nebraska in 2020 was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic

ELITE COMPANY: South Dakota State is one of only two Football Championship Subdivision programs to reach the playoffs each of the last 10 seasons, including advancing to the national semifinals or championship game in four of the last five seasons. Defending national champion North Dakota State holds the longest active streak with 12 consecutive trips to the playoffs

SEASON 15 IN THE MVFC: The 2022 season marks South Dakota State’s 15th as a member of the Missouri Valley Football Conference. Since joining the league in 2008, SDSU is the only program in that span to not have a losing season in conference play. The Jackrabbits hold a 76-34 record in MVFC games and have won six or more league games six times. SDSU earned a share of league titles in 2016 and during the 2020-21 spring season.

Iowa Hawkeyes
Notes

1st & 10
1 QB Spencer Petras will be making his 20th career start in Iowa’s season opener against South Dakota State. Petras ranks 13th in program history in career passing yards (3,474) heading into the 2022 season.

2 3s company… Iowa returns all three starting linebackers in Jack Campbell, Seth Benson and Jestin Jacobs. The Hawkeyes are the only team in the nation to have three linebackers on the Butkas Award Preseason Watch List.

3 The Hawkeyes return 17 starters (8 on offense, 7 defense, 2 specialists) and 44 letter-winners from a team that won 10 games and won the Big Ten West Division title in 2021.

4 Iowa’s defense has ranked in the top 16 in total defense and the top 13 in scoring defense in the FBS in each of the last four seasons. Over the last five years, Iowa and Clemson are the only two CFB teams to allow 30 or more points in fewer than 10 percent of their games.

5 Williams X 2… 1,000-yard rusher Tyler Goodson is in the NFL, meaning the Hawkeyes will employ Williams & Williams in 2022. Gavin and Leshon Williams combined for 140 rushing yards in the Citrus Bowl against Kentucky and 374 rushing yards for the season. Gavin and Leshon are not related.

6 LB Jack Campbell is the Preseason Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year. The Cedar Falls, Iowa, native led the nation with 143 tackles in 2022, which are the fifth most in program history and the most by a Hawkeye since 2009.

7 Iowa has 89 interceptions since 2017, the most of any team nationally. The defense had a school-record 25 interceptions in 2021, including four apiece by Riley Moss and Jermari Harris.

8 Only three teams nationally have been in the top 25 in points per possession allowed in each of the last five years: Iowa, Clemson and Alabama.

9 The Hawkeyes have four players — LB Jack Campbell, DB Riley Moss, TE Sam LaPorta and P Tory Taylor — that have been named preseason All-Americans by various outlets.

10 Iowa is 98-33-2 (.748) in season openers, including a 19-4 mark under head coach Kirk Ferentz. The Hawkeyes had won six straight season openers prior to losing the opening game in 2020. Iowa is 19-2 in season openers since 2001.

SERIES HISTORY
The Hawkeyes are meeting South Dakota State for the first time in program history. It is Iowa’s first game against an FCS opponent since hosting Northern Iowa (W, 38-14) during the 2018 season.

THE CALIFORNIA KID
• Spencer Petras owns a 13-6 record (.684) as Iowa’s starting quarterback, the ninth-best percentage by a starting quarterback in program history. Iowa has scored 26 points per game in Petras’ 19 starts.

• He started 17 straight games from the 2020 season through Week 9 of 2021 before missing the Nov. 13 game against Minnesota because of injury.

• Petras led Iowa to 12 consecutive victories from 2020-21, winning the final six games of 2020 and the first six games of 2021. He went 194-of-324 for 2,226 yards with 17 touchdown passes, four interceptions during the winning streak.

• The Hawkeyes averaged 31.8 points per game in 2020, Petras’ first year as the starting quarterback. It marked Iowa’s highest point per game total since 2002 (36.5). The Hawkeyes won their final six games in 2020, outscoring their opposition, 214-83.

• Petras matched his career high with three touchdown passes and set a career high with two rushing touchdowns Week 5 at Maryland. He became the first Iowa quarterback with multiple passing touchdowns and multiple rushing touchdowns in a game since Brad Banks at Minnesota in 2002.

WILLIAMS SQUARED
Iowa will have a 1-2 Williams punch in the backfield in 2022 in sophomores Gavin and Leshon Williams. The duo combined to rush for 374 yards on 86 carries during the 2021 season.

• Gavin Williams made his first career start in the Citrus Bowl against Kentucky, where he finished with 98 yards on 16 carries. Leshon Williams, meanwhile, had 10 carries for 42 yards against the Wildcats. They are not related.

THE MAN IN THE MIDDLE
Senior linebacker Jack Campbell returns as the anchor of the Iowa defense after earning second-team All-America honors by the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and Phil Steele in 2021. The Cedar Falls, Iowa, native led the country with 143 tackles, including 57 solo and 86 assists. The total ranks fifth in a single season in school history and were the most by a Hawkeye since Pat Angerer had 145 in 2009.

• Campbell was the first Hawkeye to record 100 tackles in a single season since Josey Jewell, who had 100+ tackles each year from 2015-17. He posted five double-digit tackle performances (11, 18, 17, 16, 14).

• This season, Campbell is a preseason All-American by Athlon Sports, Phil Steele and The Sporting News. He has also been named to the Butkas Award, Nagurski, Bednarik and Lott IMPACT Trophy Watch Lists.

WHAT A TRIO…
The Hawkeye defense returns all three of its starting linebackers in Jack Campbell, Seth Benson and Jestin Jacobs. All three players are on the Butkus Award Watch List, making Iowa the only team in the nation to have three linebackers on the list.

• The trio combined for 301 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss, three sacks and four interceptions during the 2021 season. Campbell also scored two defensive touchdowns (fumble recovery at Iowa State; interception return TD vs. Illinois).

BALL HAWKS
• Iowa led the country with a school-record 25 interceptions in 2021. The Hawkeyes have 89 interception since 2017, more than any team in the country.

• Eleven Hawkeyes had at least one interception in 2021 — the most for the program since 1997 (14). Four players finished with at least three interceptions for the first time since 2008. Riley Moss and Jermari Harris had four interceptions apiece.

• Moss had two interceptions returned for a touchdown, both in Week 1 against Indiana. LB Jack Campbell returned an interception 32 yards for a touchdown against Illinois in Week 11.

• Iowa combined for 10 interceptions in consecutive games against Maryland and Penn State in 2021, which tied Miami (2001) for second most over a two-game span over the last 25 years. Mississippi State had 11 in 2002.

• Six different Hawkeyes intercepted a pass in Iowa’s 51-14 win at Maryland, tying a school record for most players with an interception in a single game (vs. Wisconsin in 1982). The six interceptions are the most in a game since Iowa had a school-record seven interceptions vs. Wisconsin in 1982.

• Iowa turned 31 turnovers into 92 points in 2021. The Hawkeyes’ defense scored 28 points (4 TDs and 2 safeties). Iowa’s special teams had two touchdowns (one kickoff return, one blocked punt return).

• Iowa has had at least one interception return for a touchdown in each of the last 14 seasons and 19 of the last 21.

Sat., Sep. 3 @ 12:00 pm ET
Buffalo Bulls at Maryland Terrapins

Buffalo Bulls
Notes
BALL HAWKS
• Iowa led the country with a school-record 25 interceptions in 2021. The Hawkeyes have 89 interception since 2017, more than any team in the country.

• Eleven Hawkeyes had at least one interception in 2021 — the most for the program since 1997 (14). Four players finished with at least three interceptions for the first time since 2008. Riley Moss and Jermari Harris had four interceptions apiece.

• Moss had two interceptions returned for a touchdown, both in Week 1 against Indiana. LB Jack Campbell returned an interception 32 yards for a touchdown against Illinois in Week 11.

• Iowa combined for 10 interceptions in consecutive games against Maryland and Penn State in 2021, which tied Miami (2001) for second most over a two-game span over the last 25 years. Mississippi State had 11 in 2002.

• Six different Hawkeyes intercepted a pass in Iowa’s 51-14 win at Maryland, tying a school record for most players with an interception in a single game (vs. Wisconsin in 1982). The six interceptions are the most in a game since Iowa had a school-record seven interceptions vs. Wisconsin in 1982.

• Iowa turned 31 turnovers into 92 points in 2021. The Hawkeyes’ defense scored 28 points (4 TDs and 2 safeties). Iowa’s special teams had two touchdowns (one kickoff return, one blocked punt return).

• Iowa has had at least one interception return for a touchdown in each of the last 14 seasons and 19 of the last 21.

Bulls Open 2022 Campaign at Maryland on Saturday

The University at Buffalo football team will kick off the 2022 season on the road at Maryland on Saturday. Dealing with numerous injuries throughout the season, the Bulls are coming off a 4-8 campaign in 2021.

Buffalo returns nine starters from last season, including six on the defensive side of the ball. The Bulls were picked third in the MAC East Division preseason poll.

Maryland is coming off a 7-6 season and a win over Virginia Tech in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl. The Terrapins were picked fifth in the Big Ten East preseason poll.

This is the first meeting between the schools.

Snyder Gets Call Under Center
Cole Snyder, who joined the Bulls in January after transferring from Rutgers, has earned the starting quarterback job heading into the 2022 campaign. Snyder is a Western New York native, graduating from Southwestern High School near Jamestown. He was a two-time All-Western New York First Team selection and the Class C South Player of the Year.

At Rutgers, Snyder appeared in six games in 2021 and was 18-for-28 for 130 yards and a touchdown while adding 42 rushing yards. Snyder is the third Western New Yorker to start a season opener under center for the Bulls in the last 10 seasons. Joe Licata (Williamsville South) was the opening game starter in 2013, 2014 and 2015. Matt Myers (West Seneca West) was the starter in 2019.

Bulls vs. the Big Ten
Saturday will mark the seventh time in the last 10 years the Bulls will face an opponent from the Big Ten Conference. Buffalo has one win during that stretch, defeating Rutgers, 42-13, in 2018.
Year Opponent Result
2013 at Ohio State L, 40-20
2015 at Penn State L, 27-14
2017 at Minnesota L, 17-7
2018 at Rutgers W, 42-13
2019 at Penn State L, 45-13
2021 at Nebraska L, 28-3

Big Game James
Back for a fifth season, linebacker James Patterson continues to cement himself as one of the best linebackers in program history.

Entering the 2022 campaign, he is three tackles shy of 300 for his career. He’d become the 12th player in program history to reach the 300 tackle mark.

A team captain since his sophomore season, Patterson was named All-MAC First Team in 2020 and 2021.

Maryland Terrapins
Notes
THE OPENING KICK
REWRITING THE RECORD BOOKS
QB Taulia Tagovailoa rewrote the Maryland record books in 2021, setting five program records. The All-Big Ten honoree reached the top of the Maryland single-season record book in passing yards (3,860), completions (328), completion percentage (69.2%), touchdowns (26, tied with Scott Milanovich, 1993) and 300-yard passing games (7).

Tagovailoa had the sixth-most single season passing yards in Big Ten history last season, only trailing Dwayne Haskins (Ohio State, 2018), CJ Stroud (Ohio State, 2021), Curtis Painter (Purdue, 2006) and Drew Brees (Purdue, 1998 & 1999).

Heading into his third season as a Terp, Tagovailoa stands first in program lore in career completion percentage (67.6%), second in career 300-yard passing games (8), fourth in career passing touchdowns (33), sixth in career completions (403) and eighth in career passing yards (4,871).

OPENER SUCCESS
The Terps have won 10-straight non-conference openers heading into the 2022 season, tied for the second-longest streak in the Big Ten, only trailing Michigan State who has won 12-straight. Maryland’s streak dates back to 2010 when the Terps beat Navy 17-14 at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore and includes two wins over Texas.

Maryland has won seven home games during this stretch, most recently beating West Virginia, 30-24, last season, behind 332 yards and three touchdowns from Taulia Tagovailoa. Both Dontay Demus Jr. and Rakim Jarrett had six catches and more than 100 yards receiving and a touchdown apiece in the game.

In the Locksley era (2019-pres.), Maryland’s average of 48.9 points per game in non-conference play leads the nation The Terps have scored 30-plus points in six-of-seven non-conference games under Locksley.

THE CUPBOARD IS STOCKED
The Terps bring back nine players who earned All-Big Ten honors over the last two seasons. OL Spencer Anderson, CB Jakorian Bennett, WR Dontay Demus Jr., OL Jaelyn Duncan, DL Ami Finau, WR Rakim Jarrett, DL Mosiah NasiliKite, DB Tarheeb Still and QB Taulia Tagovailoa all return to the Terps as the foundation of the 2022 team.

Maryland has the 10th ranked returning offense in the nation according to ESPN’s SP+ rankings, which takes into account teams’ returning production, recent recruiting and recent results to project where they’re trending between seasons. The Terps, which return a plethora off offensive talent, including the entire starting offensive line from 2021, has the third ranked offense in the Big Ten for 2022 (Michigan and Ohio State) according to ESPN.

ON THE OFFENSE: BY THE NUMBERS
3 QB Taulia Tagovailoa stood atop the Big Ten in numerous passing categories last season, ranking top-three in the league in passing yards (3,860), completion percentage (69.2), completions per game (25.23), passing efficiency (151.1) and total offense (303.1). Tagovailoa’s completion percentage and completions per game marks ranked top-10 in the nation.

7 The 2021 Pinstripe Bowl MVP had seven 300-yard passing games last season, the most in program history and the second-most in the Big Ten (CJ Stroud, Ohio State). Tagovailoa has thrown for 300-plus yards eight times in his career, only two away from tying Scott Milanovich for the career program record (10).

8 Maryland is one of only eight teams in the FBS and the only team in the Big Ten that will return all five starters on the offensive line (Cincinnati, Oregon, Pittsburgh, Stanford, Syracuse, Wake Forest & West Virginia). The Terps bring back All-Big Ten performers Spencer Anderson and Jaelyn Duncan as well as center Johari Branch, tackle DJ Glaze and guard Mason Lunsford.

16.8 Since the start of 2020, Dontay Demus Jr.’s average of 16.8 yards per catch is the second highest of any Big Ten player with at least 50 receptions, behind former Michigan State WR Jalen Nailor (19.2).

86.6 OL Spencer Anderson was the highest rated pass blocking tackle in the Big Ten and third highest rated in the nation among tackles with over 500 snaps last season by Pro Football Focus, earning an 86.6 grade. Anderson allowed only one sack on 516 pass-blocking snaps last year while playing both tackle spots and center.

163 The Terps have a veteran offense in 2022 as they return a group that has started a combined 163 games for Maryland and 186 games overall (Jacob Copeland for Florida). Fourteen different returners have started a game for the Terps led by offensive linemen Jaelyn Duncan (27) and Spencer Anderson (19).

5,740 Led by QB Taulia Tagovailoa’s strong play, the Terps set school records for passing yards (3,960) and total yards (5,740) last season as well as completions (339) and completion percentage (.693).

ON THE DEFENSE/SPECIAL TEAMS: BY THE NUMBERS
1 Maryland had 22 different players record at least one tackle for loss this past season, the most in the Big Ten. The Terps return 16 of those 22 players who recorded a tackle for loss, including Mosiah NasiliKite, who stood second on the team with seven, Greg China-Rose who tallied 5.5 and Ami Finau who recorded five. The Terps were one of only two Big Ten teams (Michigan) to have at least one tackle for loss in all 13 games played.

12 DB Dante Trader Jr. was selected as Pro Football Focus’ breakout player to look out for on the Terrapins roster for the 2022 season. Trader Jr. was a solid tackler last season with just one miss on 15 attempts and made some impactful plays, including four defensive stops, one pass breakup and one QB hit.

25 Maryland returns a pass rush group that has combined for 25 sacks throughout their career. Led by the 2020 Big Ten leader in sacks per game Mosiah Nasili-Kite with eight career quarterback takedowns, the Terps have 10 players on their roster who have recorded a sack in their career. Greg China-Rose and Durell Nchami both have four career sacks.

27 The cornerback duo of Jakorian Bennett and Tarheeb Still combined for 27 pass breakups last season, the most of any DB duo in the Big Ten. Both Bennett and Still allowed a QBR of 60 or lower in coverage.

27.5 LB Durell Nchami has the highest pass-rush win rate in the Big Ten since 2020 according to Pro Football Focus. On only 148 pass rush snaps, Nchami has a win rate of 27.5%.

45.5 P Colton Spangler set a new Maryland single-season punting record by averaging 45.5 yards per boot last season, punting for 1,320 yards on 29 punts. Spangler had nine punts go over 50 yards.

52 CB Tarheeb Still was one of only 52 players in the FBS to return a punt for a touchdown last year, ripping off a school-record long 92 yard punt return in Maryland’s New Era Pinstripe Bowl victory to open the scoring in the Terps 54-10 win over Virginia Tech.

128 The Terps have an experienced defense returning for 2022, a unit that has combined for 128 career starts, led by 17 apiece from DL Ami Finau and CB Tarheeb Still. Sixteen different players on the defensive side of the ball have started a game in their career, 15 for Maryland and Vandarius Cowan who started seven games for West Virginia.

Sat., Sep. 3 @ 12:00 pm ET
Colorado State Rams at Michigan Wolverines

Colorado State Rams
Notes
NOTING THE RAMS
• The Rams begin year one under head coach Jay Norvell who was named the program’s 24th head coach on Dec. 6, 2021. Norvell led his Wolf Pack team onto Sonny Lubick Field in the season finale on Nov. 27 and was the final head coach to walk off the turf. He returned to Fort Collins nine days later as the Rams new head coach.

• Over his five years in Reno, (2017-21) he compiled four-straight seven-plus win seasons and led the Wolf Pack to four bowl games. Colorado State last won seven games in a season in 2017.

• Norvell is the fourth Colorado State head coach in the last nine seasons, dating back to Jim McElwain’s final season in 2014.

• Norvell brought over a number of FBS transfers to bolster the Colorado State roster and even more newcomers. All totaled, there are 15 scholarship transfers from FBS programs on the roster and 54 newcomers overall.

• Colorado State is expected to start redshirt freshman quarterback Clay Millen in the opener against Michigan. He will be the first freshman quarterback to start a season opener for the Rams since true freshman Pete Thomas in 2010. That season, Thomas set the freshman passing record with 2,662 yards in 12 starts.

• The five expected starters among the offensive line have combined for 92 starts – zero coming from expected starter at left tackle Brian Crespo-Jaquez. That total would rank as the 14th-most combined starts by an offensive line unit in the nation, however, none of those starts came together as a unit.

• While Colorado State’s roster features 15 players with 10 or more starts at the FBS level, the team effectively returns just six offensive and defensive starters overall. Offensively, only Ty McCullouch and David Bailey started more than eight games last season. On defense, only Devin Phillips, Dequan Jackson, Cam’Ron Carter, and Tywan Francis eclipsed eight starts in 2021.

NOTING THE GAME
• The Rams travel to Ann Arbor for the first time in program history, likely the largest crowd the program has ever played in front of. Two trips to Alabama in 2017 and 2013 eclipsed the 100,000 attendance figure (101,821).

• The game pits the Rams against a top-10 Michigan team. Since 1993, the Rams are 13-36 vs. ranked opponents and 2-17 vs. top-10 opponents. CSU has not beaten a ranked team since beating No. 6/7 Colorado in the second game of the 2002 season. The Rams entered the polls the following week and went 10-4 that season.

• Head coaches Norvell and Harbaugh are no strangers to each other, having played on opposite sides of the ball during their playing careers. Norvell’s No. 1 ranked Hawkeyes beat Harbaugh’s No. 2 ranked Wolverines 12-10 on a last-second field goal on Oct. 19, 1985 on CBS. It was Norvell’s senior season in which he was named All-Big Ten.

• Norvell’s tenure coaching with the Indianapolis Colts (1998-01) immediately followed Harbaugh’s playing career with the team (1994-97). Both coaches were also players for the 1987 Chicago Bears. Norvell played in six games with three starts in what was Harbaugh’s rookie season.

Michigan Wolverines
Notes
NO NOTES AVAILABLE AT THIS TIME

Sat., Sep. 3 @ 12:00 pm ET
Rutgers Scarlet Knights at Boston College Eagles

Rutgers Scarlet Knights
Notes
NOTABLE
• Rutgers opens its 2022 season with a trip to face former Big East foe Boston College. It will be the first time back to Alumni Stadium for the Scarlet Knights since 2004.

• Rutgers is 9-4 in season openers under head coach Greg Schiano, including victories the past two years over Michigan State and Temple. The
team is 79-64-9 all-time in openers.

• The roster includes 41 players who saw action in the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl, including eight starters on both offense and defense. In addition, 26 return who made their Rutgers debut in 2021, while 20 come back after making their collegiate debut last season.

• Rutgers went 3-0 in non-conference games in the regular season last year and is 43-20 overall under Schiano.

• Schiano is in his third season back and 14th overall leading the Scarlet Knights. He owns 76 victories, two shy of matching Frank Burns (78)
for the most wins in program history.

VERSUS BOSTON COLLEGE
• Rutgers and Boston College were both original members of the Big East Football Conference and met in the inaugural league game on Aug. 31, 1991, at Rutgers Stadium. The Scarlet Knights won the contest, 20-13.

• The first score in the 1991 meeting came just over a minute in when tailback Bill Bailey, now an academic advisor for Rutgers Athletics, ran
into the end zone from a yard out. Tom Tarver was named the first Big East Offensive Player of the Week after completing 21-of-30 passes for
275 yards. He connected with Chris Brantley on a 42-yard scoring pass in the third quarter to help RU pull away.

• The first meeting between the programs was a 13-7 victory for Rutgers at Boston College in 1919. There were 11 other non-conference matchups before 14 Big East games between 1991 and 2004.

• The teams most recently met in 2019 at SHI Stadium. Rutgers took a 10-7 lead in the second quarter, but Boston College answered to claim a 30-16 win.

• Rutgers has had four 100-yard rushing performances against Boston College, with Bruce Presley achieving a high of 151 in 1995. There have also been five 100-yard receiving games. Andrew Baker leads the way with 141 yards on 12 receptions, tied for seventh-most in the RU record book, in 1984 against the 11th-ranked Eagles. At quarterback, Ray Lucas’ 327 yards on 26-for-44 passing in 1995 is one of three 300-yard games for the team in the series.

• Defensively, Brian Sheridan racked up 26 tackles, second-most in a game in program history, in the 1997 game, while Nate Jones ran back
a 70-yard interception return, sixth-longest in team history, in 2001.

• In the team records, Rutgers’ 57 passing attempts in 1983 versus Boston College are tied for the most in a single game in school history.

• OL Mike Ciaffoni, OL Ireland Brown and TE Johnny Langan started their careers at Boston College before transferring to Rutgers.

• OL Mike Ciaffoni and OL Nick Ciaffoni are both from Sudbury, Massachusetts, approximately 16 miles from Chestnut Hill. Linebackers coach
Corey Hetherman is from Oxford, Massachusetts.

• Offensive line coach Augie Hoffmann was a four-year letter-winner for Boston College and earned First Team All-Big East at guard in 2003.

• Rutgers will face Boston College head coach Jeff Hafley, who previously served as Rutgers defensive backs coach in 2011 and followed head coach Greg Schiano as secondary/safeties coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2012- 13. The BC staff also includes former Scarlet
Knight assistants John McNulty, Tem Lukabu and Steve Shimko, plus letter-winner Savon Huggins.

• Rutgers game highs versus Boston College: Rushing Yards: Bruce Presley, 151 (1995) Passing Yards: Ray Lucas, 327 (1995) Receiving Yards: Andrew Baker, 141 (1984)

OFFENSE
• A native of Glen Ridge, New Jersey, Sean Gleeson is in his third season as offensive coordinator at Rutgers. He was named a candidate for
the 2020 Broyles Award, which annually honors the top assistant coach in college football.

• The Scarlet Knights went 5-0 in 2021 when not committing a turnover. That included scoring 61 points in the season opener versus Temple, the most by the team against an FBS opponent since 2008.

• Two from the offense were selected in the 2022 NFL Draft: WR Bo Melton (Seahawks) and RB Isiah Pacheco (Chiefs). Melton climbed to sixth in the school record books with 164 receptions and 10th with 2,011 receiving yards. Pacheco earned honorable mention All-Big Ten and left seventh in program history with 2,442 career rushing yards and 11th with 3,039 all-purpose yards.

Quarterbacks
Evan Simon
• 2021: Played in six games. Went 16-for-28 passing (57.1 percent) for 145 yards.

• Set career highs with seven passes, 14 attempts and 86 yards versus Maryland. Led two touchdown drives in the third quarter.

• Completed all five passes against Ohio State.

• Made collegiate debut versus Delaware.

• Completed 154 passes for 2,625 yards and 25 touchdowns as a senior at Manheim Central High School. Also ran for 930 yards and 15 rushing touchdowns and collected Class 4-6A Mr. PA Football award for the 2019 season.

Noah Vedral
• Started 20 games for Rutgers and has 35 games of collegiate experience.

• Ranks ninth in program history with 316 completions and 10th with 3,566 yards of total offense.

• Named to the 2022 Allstate American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Good Works Team for exemplary community service, academic dedication and impact on and off the field.

• 2021: Passed for 1,823 yards, most by a Scarlet Knight since 2015. Completed 180-of-303 attempts (59.4 percent) with seven touchdowns. Recorded 23 completions of at least 20 yards with a long of 75. Ranked second on the team with 297 rushing yards. Scored two touchdowns on the ground. Collected 2,120 yards of total offense for an average of 163.1 per game to rank eighth in the Big Ten.

• A semifinalist for the 2021 William V. Campbell Trophy. The award recognizes an individual as the absolute best football scholar-athlete in
the nation for his combined academic success, football performance and exemplary leadership.

• Recipient of the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award and earned the Bender Award at the team banquet.

• 2020: Ranked third in the Big Ten with a 61.5 completion percentage (136-for-221), third with 19.43 completions per game, fifth with
nine passing touchdowns, seven with 1,253 passing yards, seventh with 206.6 yards of total offense per game and 10th with 64 points responsible for.

• Passed for a career-high 381 yards against Michigan, eighth-most in a game in program history, on 29 completions with three touchdowns. Became third Rutgers quarterback to pass for over 300 yards in a Big Ten game (Gary Nova, Chris Laviano).

• 2019: Started games versus Minnesota and Indiana for Nebraska. Led the Cornhuskers on a game-ending six-play, 42-yard, one-minute scoring drive that culminated with the game-winning 24-yard field goal to beat Northwestern. Had six completions of at least 30 yards.

• 2017: Started career as the backup quarterback for UCF, who went 13-0 as the nation’s only undefeated team. Completed 22-of-29 passes for 276 yards and one touchdown, adding added 77 rushing yards and two touchdowns on the ground.

• A three-time Big Ten Distinguished Scholar.

Gavin Wimsatt
• 2021: Played in four games. Completed nine passes for 45 yards and rushed for 68 yards.

• Totaled seven completions and ran for 39 yards in the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl versus Wake Forest.

• Made collegiate debut with a 13-yard completion on fourth down during the go-ahead drive at Illinois.

• Threw for 504 yards and five touchdowns in two games for Owensboro as a senior in 2021 before enrolling at Rutgers in September.

• Finished high school career with 5,304 passing yards and 62 passing touchdowns.

• A consensus four-star prospect, an ESPN300 recruit and the No. 4 dual-threat quarterback nationally by Rivals.

Running Backs
Kyle Monangai
• 2021: Rushed for 235 yards with four touchdowns on 62 carries. Added 10 receptions for 68 yards.

• Picked up season highs with 77 yards on 15 carries with a touchdown in the win at Illinois.

• Rushed for first two collegiate touchdowns against Temple. Put Rutgers on top in third quarter with an 11-yard score at Syracuse.

• 2019: Totaled 674 kickoff return yards on 23 attempts. Average of 29.3 yards per kickoff return ranked second in the Big Ten and fifth nationally. Had an 89-yard return at Nebraska and a 95-yard return against No. 6 Oregon in the Rose Bowl for touchdowns. The one in Pasadena marked just the third kickoff return score in Rose Bowl history.

• Scored rushing touchdowns versus Purdue in 2019 and against Illinois in 2018.

Aaron Young
• 2021: Led the team with six touchdowns scored (five rushing, one receiving). Totaled 56 carries for 205 rushing yards and five touchdowns. Posted 12 receptions for 85 receiving yards and a score.

• 2020: Rushed 35 times for 96 yards and a touchdown. Scored first collegiate touchdown on a one-yard rush to give Rutgers the lead in the win at Purdue.

• 2019: Led the team with 823 all-purpose yards (550 kickoff return, 153 rushing, 113 receiving, seven punt return). Had three games with over 100 all-purpose yards and led the team in six contests.

• Younger brother of defensive back Avery Young.

Wide Receivers
Aron Cruickshank
• A member of the Paul Hornung Award watch list as one of the most versatile players in the country.

• Owns 3,129 career all-purpose yards (2,194 kickoff return, 523 receiving yards, 245 rushing yards, 167 punt return yards) in 43 games.

• Has scored 10 career touchdowns (four kickoff return, three receiving, two rushing, one punt return).

• 2021: Named Second Team All-Big Ten as a punt returner by Phil Steele and Pro Football Focus. Second on the team with 743 all-purpose yards (316 kickoff return, 244 receiving, 153 punt return, 30 rushing) with a career-high 206 against Temple. Recorded 20 receptions with receiving touchdowns versus Ohio State and Michigan State. Scored a 62-yard touchdown on a punt return against Delaware to earn Big Ten Co-Special Teams Player of the Week. Suffered a season-ending injury against Wisconsin.

• 2020: Voted Big Ten Rodgers-Dwight Return Specialist of the Year and First Team All-Big Ten by the coaches and media. Picked honorable mention All-America by Phil Steele. Led the nation with two kickoff return touchdowns as one of four players with multiple scores. Had
a 98-yard touchdown versus Nebraska and a 100-yarder at Purdue. Ranked fourth nationally and first in the Big Ten with 671 combined kick return yards. Averaged 26.8 yards, second in the Big Ten, on 25 kickoff returns. Second on the team with 936 all-purpose yards with an
average of 104 per game, 13th in the Big Ten, and five games in triple figures. Totaled 37 receptions for 239 yards and one touchdown. Had three games with at least seven catches. Recorded eight receptions for 84 yards versus Michigan, including first collegiate receiving
score to help tie the game on a fourth down with 27 seconds remaining.

• Played in 27 games for Wisconsin (2018-19). Named Second Team All-Big Ten (coaches & media) in 2019.

• 2019: Totaled 674 kickoff return yards on 23 attempts. Average of 29.3 yards per kickoff return ranked second in the Big Ten and fifth nationally. Had an 89-yard return at Nebraska and a 95-yard return against No. 6 Oregon in the Rose Bowl for touchdowns. The one in Pasadena marked just the third kickoff return score in Rose Bowl history.

• Scored rushing touchdowns versus Purdue in 2019 and against Illinois in 2018.

Taj Harris
• Played in 37 games the previous four seasons at Syracuse with 32 starts at wide receiver. Has totaled 151 career receptions for 2,028 yards
and 10 touchdowns. Owns five 100-yard receiving games and 21 games with at last 50 receiving yard. Recorded at least one catch in last 15 games played.

• 2021: Caught 16 passes for 171 yards. Posted 122 receiving yards on eight catches against Rutgers. A member of the Biletnikoff Award watch list.

• 2020: Named Third Team All-ACC. Ranked fifth in the ACC in receptions per game (5.8) and sixth in receiving yards per game (73.3). Totaled
58 catches, 733 yards and five touchdowns on the year, all of which led the team. Recorded season highs of 13 receptions and 146 receiving yards against NC State.

• 2019: Ranked second on the team in both catches (37) and receiving yards (559). Had two touchdown receptions. Averaged 15.1 yards per catch.

Shameen Jones
• Has totaled 86 career receptions for 882 yards and four touchdowns. Owns five games with at least five catches.

• 2021: Recorded 35 receptions for 334 yards. Had 10 games with multiple catches. Posted second career game in triple figures with 109 receiving yards on eight catches, matching career high, versus Michigan State.

• 2020: Finished second on the team with 378 receiving yards and third with 34 receptions last season. Hauled in three touchdowns. Averaged 11.1 yards per reception with at least one catch in every game and multiple in eight games. Picked up a first down or touchdown on 17 catches. Recorded a pair of 14-yard touchdown receptions at Purdue for first collegiate multi-score game. Totaled a career-high eight catches. Had a personal-best 127 receiving yards on seven catches versus Michigan.

Sean Ryan
• Played in 41 career games with 22 starts. Owns 81 receptions for 1,044 yards, scored four touchdowns. Played last three seasons at West
Virginia after starting career at Temple.

• 2021: Totaled 25 receptions for 399 yards and three touchdowns.

Isaiah Washington
• 2021: Totaled 19 receptions for 179 yards, had six games with multiple catches. Started, hauled in two receptions for 20 yards and threw
a 27-yard completion playing in hometown in the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl versus Wake Forest.

• Has 13 career games with multiple catches, including four versus Ohio State and Michigan State and Maryland last season.

• 2018: Scored first career touchdown on a 51-yard reception versus Liberty.

Joshua Youngblood
• 2021: Recorded six receptions for 52 yards and a touchdown. Picked up 156 yards on seven kickoff returns. Totaled a game-high 135 all-purpose yards (110 kickoff return, 25 receiving on two catches) in the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl versus Wake Forest. Scored first touchdown as
a Scarlet Knight on a 12-yard reception versus Ohio State.

• 2019: Returned a nation-leading three kickoff returns for touchdowns en route to being named the Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Year by the league’s coaches, earning All-America honors from ESPN, Second Team All-America accolades from CBS Sports and the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA), and Freshman All-America honors from the FWAA and The Athletic. Also named First Team All-Big 12 as a kick returner. Kick return touchdowns occurred at Texas, at Texas Tech and against Iowa State. Averaged 35.9 yards per return.

Tight Ends
Matt Alaimo
• Owns five career games with multiple receptions. Has collected 18 career receptions for 133 yards.

• Earned the Frank R. Burns Award (4/22) as the player who displays extraordinary mental and physical toughness during spring practice.

• Spent 2018 season at UCLA.

Victor Konopka
• 2021: Totaled four receptions for 52 yards. Johnny Langan

• Scored 10 career rushing touchdowns and passed for seven.

• 2021: Rushed for 109 yards with three touchdowns, totaled 18 receptions for 177 yards and completed six passes for 68 yards with a score.
Named Rutgers’ MVP for the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl versus Wake Forest after totaling 57 receiving yards on a season-high six receptions, 20 rushing yards and two completions for 21 yards.

• 2020: Led the offense with four rushing touchdowns and second with 201 rushing yards on 56 carries. Picked up 14 first downs. Rushed for nine first downs at Purdue while running for 95 yards on the ground, including 53 in the fourth quarter. Also completed all three passes with a 62-yard touchdown strike.

• 2019: Started eight games and led the team with 1,231 yards of total offense. Accounted for seven touchdowns (four passing, three rushing). Rushed for 391 yards, the most by a Rutgers quarterback since Sam Mudie had 401 in 1961 and third-most by a Big Ten quarterback following the 2019 regular season. Rushed for a team-high 30 first downs.

• Rushed for 118 yards in the win over Liberty to become the first Rutgers quarterback to reach the century mark in a game since Sam Mudie (105) versus Lehigh in 1961. Named Big Ten Co-Freshman of the Week after the performance.

• 2018: Redshirted at Boston College. Transferred to Rutgers for spring semester and ruled eligible for 2019 season after appeal.

• Played high school football for Nunzio Campanile, now Rutgers tight ends coach, at Bergen Catholic.

DEFENSE
• Joe Harasymiak is in his first season as defensive coordinator. A native of Waldwick, New Jersey, Harasymiak spent the last two seasons as co-defensive coordinator at Minnesota and was previously head coach at Maine. In 2021, Minnesota ranked third in the nation in total defense (278.8), fourth in first downs defense (202), sixth in scoring defense (17.3), eighth in rushing defense (97.5) and ninth in passing yards allowed (181.2). The Golden Gophers held eight-straight opponents, and 10 of the last 11, below their total offensive average entering the game.

• 2021: Rutgers ranked 19th nationally and second in the Big Ten holding opponents to 33.9 percent on third down. That includes nine games allowing five or less conversions with a season-best 1-for-14 at Indiana.

• Rutgers recorded four fumble recoveries and two interceptions at Indiana. It was the 10th time under head coach Greg Schiano with at least five turnovers gained and third time with at least six takeaways.

Defensive Line
Mayan Ahanotu
• Claimed a spot on the Wuerffel Trophy watch list, which honors college football players who serve others, celebrate their positive impact on
society and inspire greater service in the world as the sport’s premier award for community service. Serves as a weekly mentor for the Middlesex Juvenile Detention Center in leading sessions with incarcerated young men.

• 2021: Collected multiple stops in seven games and had a strip sack in the road win over Syracuse.

• Father, Chidi, played college football at California and then played 12 years at defensive end in the NFL with five different teams, totaling 436 career tackles, 46.5 sacks and seven fumble recoveries.

Kyonte Hamilton
• 2021: Totaled 22 tackles with two for loss. Became first true freshman to start that season against Wisconsin.

• Previously a member of the Rutgers wrestling team and went 3-1 as a heavyweight. Named the 2020 Metropolitan Wrestler of the Year by The Washington Post.

Aaron Lewis
• 2021: Totaled 30 tackles with 2.5 sacks and a forced fumble. Had seven games with multiple stops.

Ifeanyi Maijeh
• 2021: Totaled 19 tackles with three for loss and 1.5 sacks. Added two fumbles recoveries, a forced fumble, pass breakup and blocked kick. Had seven games with multiple stops

• Played in 27 games with 19 starts for Temple(2018-20) previously. Named to the Bednarik Award, Nagurski Trophy and Outland Trophy watch lists in 2020. Earned First Team All-American Athletic Conference in 2019 after totaling 52 tackles with 10 for loss, 6.5 sacks and a
forced fumble.

Linebackers
Deion Jennings
• Earned the Douglas A. Smith Award as the most improved defensive player during spring practice.

• Totaled 65 career tackles with 6.5 for loss, two pass breakups and one interception.

Tyreem Powell
• 2021: Totaled 20 tackles with an interception, pass breakup and fumble recovery. Earned the Douglas A. Smith Award as the most improved
defensive player during spring practice.

Defensive Backs
Kessawn Abraham
• 2021: Named MVP – Defense. Earned First Team All-Big Ten by Pro Football Focus. Totaled 44 tackles with three for loss and recorded nine
pass breakups. Sealed the win at Illinois with a tackle-for-loss on fourth down with 1:08 remaining.

Christian Izien
• Owns 219 career tackles with four games in double figures.

• 2021: Named honorable mention All-Big Ten in the media vote. Totaled 75 tackles with nine for loss, had at least five stops in 10 games.
Notched four pass breakups.

• 2020: Selected honorable mention All-Big Ten after leading the team with four interceptions, all over the last three games, and three fumble recoveries to gain seven turnovers on the season. Three fumble recoveries ranked tied for third nationally and second in the Big Ten, with the four picks ranked tied for third in the Big Ten and eighth nationally. Recorded two interceptions and two fumble recoveries against Nebraska after notching first career interception versus Penn State and adding another the following week at Maryland.

Robert Longerbeam
• 2021: Collected a team-high 10 pass breakups, tied for seventh-most in the Big Ten. Totaled 30 tackles with two forced fumbles. Recorded four pass breakups at Northwestern, the first Scarlet Knight to reach the mark in a game since Saquan Hampton versus Buffalo in 2018. Earned the Frank R. Burns Award as the player who displays extraordinary mental and physical toughness during spring practice.

Max Melton
• 2021: Led the team with three interceptions with one pick-six. Totaled 28 tackles with two for loss. Added six pass breakups, a blocked
punt and a fumble recovery. Named Fourth Team All-Big Ten by Phil Steele.

• 2020: First true freshman to start, picking up four solo tackles at Ohio State.

• Father, Gary, played wide receiver and running back at Rutgers (1987-91) and mother, Vicky, competed for Rutgers women’s basketball (1989-93). Older brother, Bo, was drafted by the Seahawks after playing for the Scarlet Knights from 2017-21.

Avery Young
• First on the defense with 45 games played and 42 career starts. Owns 242 tackles with eight for loss, 19 pass breakups, two interceptions and four forced fumbles. Has over 3,000 snaps of collegiate experience.

• 2021: Claimed a spot on the All-ECAC Defense. Second on the team with 81 tackles. Had at least seven stops in eight games. Recorded two sacks with an interception, pass breakup and forced fumble. Added 16 yards on five punt returns and 48 yards on two kickoff returns.

• 2020: Named honorable mention All-Big Ten after leading the Big Ten with three forced fumbles, totaling 58 tackles with 3.5 for loss and three pass breakups.

• Has 35 career punt returns with a long of 22 yards. Also threw a cross-field lateral on a punt return to setup a 58-yard touchdown by Bo
Melton at Ohio State in 2020.

• Older brother of running back Aaron Young.

SPECIAL TEAMS
• Rutgers set the NCAA record for net punt average (45.25) in 2021, topping the previous mark of 45.04 held by BYU (1983).

• Rutgers has the national leaders in kickoff return touchdowns from 2020 (WR Aron Cruickshank) and 2019 (WR Joshua Youngblood) on the roster.

• Since 2009, Rutgers has blocked 57 kicks (field goals, extra points & punts) on special teams. Breaking down the blocked kicks since 2009,
Rutgers has swatted 24 punts, 24 field goals and nine extra points. The Scarlet Knights have scored directly 10 times after a block, picking
up eight touchdowns, one safety and a defensive two-point conversion. The Scarlet Knights have 92 rejections overall since 2002.

• RU has blocked 62 kicks under Schiano, including last year a punt by DB Max Melton at Syracuse and an extra point by DL Ifeanyi Maijeh that led to DB Kessawn Abraham returning it 85 yards for two points against Maryland.

Guy Fava
• Booted 59 career kickoffs with 14 touchbacks.

• 2020: Made a 44-yard field goal and all five extra points in first collegiate game as place kicker at Michigan State.

Adam Korsak
• Played in 46 career games, all as the starting punter, since debuting in 2018.

• Reset the school record for net punt each of the previous four years, including setting the NCAA record (45.25) in 2021.

• Named preseason first team All-America by multiple outlets.

• Named to the Ray Guy Award watch list for the fifth consecutive year. Won the fan vote in 2021 after becoming one of three finalists. Sixtime Ray Guy Award Punter of the Week.

• Named First Team All-Big Ten in 2021, Second Team All-Big Ten in 2020 and 2019, honorable mention in 2018.

• 124 consecutive attempts without a touchback dating back to 2019 (22 games). Only five career touchbacks (1.8 percent of attempts) and 113 downed inside the 20 (41.2 percent).

• Averaging 43.9 yards per punt, second in program history, on 274 career attempts. Booted 49 at least 50 yards, 11 of 60 or more yards.

• Holds the school record with 12,021 career punting yards.

• 105 career fair catches forced.

• Has never had a punt blocked or returned for a touchdown in 274 career attempts.

• 2021: Selected Second Team All-America by Walter Camp, the Football Writers Association of America, Associated Press and Phil Steele for
the highest national honors for a Scarlet Knight since 2012 and highest ever by a RU punter. Punted 72 times with 38 downed inside the 20,
16 settling at the 10 or closer, eight at the five or closer and four times stopping a punt at the 1-yard line. Opponents were held to 41 return yards with a return of less than four yards 69 times, including 65 attempts recording a zero or negative return. Starting field position for opponent averaged to the own 22-yard line. Established a new Rutgers record with a 45.82 average, topping the previous high of 44.4.

• Picked up a first down on a 17-yard rush versus Nebraska in 2020.

• Set the school record, which had stood since 2006, with a career-long 79-yard punt against Northwestern in 2018.

• Three-time Academic All-Big Ten (2019-21) and a Big Ten Distinguished Scholar (2020).

• A two-time team captain.

• Working towards second master’s degree.

• Prepped at Maribyrnong College, where he competed in Australian rules football, cricket and golf. A four-time state representative in
Australian football and cricket. A native of Melbourne, Australia.

Jude McAtamney
• 2021: Competed for Chowan University in North Carolina. Finished 6-of-10 on field goal attempts with a long of 47 yards and three attempts of more than 40 yards. Went a perfect 47-of-47 on extra points.

• A native of Derry, Ireland. Played Gaelic football and competed as a free taker for Derry U20s of the Gaelic Athletic Association. Helped
the Oak Leaf County to the Ulster title in 2018.

UP NEXT
• The home opener (Back to the Birthplace Game) is set for Saturday, Sept. 10 at 4 p.m. versus Wagner at SHI Stadium. It will be the first
meeting on the gridiron between the Scarlet Knights and Seahawks.

Boston College Eagles
Notes
FIRST-AND-10
Boston College opens its 2022 season at home against Rutgers on Saturday, Sept. 3 from Alumni Stadium for a noon kickoff.

BC head coach Jeff Hafley begins his third year at the helm of the program and is 12-11 overall.

The game will air on ACC Network with Chris Cotter (play-byplay) on the call along with former Eagle linebacker Mark Herzlich (analyst) and Lericia Harris (sideline reporter).

Coverage on the Boston College Sports Network begins 30 minutes prior to kickoff on WEEI 93.7 FM and 850 AM. Jon Meterparel (play-by-play) is joined on the call by former BC linebacker Pete Cronan in the booth and quarterback Scott Mutryn on the sideline.

BC leads the all-time series with Rutgers, 20-6-1. The Eagles and Scarlet Knights last faced off in 2019 as BC won its 11th straight game in the series, 30-16, in Piscataway.

The 2019 matchup between BC and Rutgers was the Eagles’ most recent contest against a Big Ten opponent. The Eagles are 39-43-2 all-time against teams currently in the Big Ten and 9-17 against teams in the Big Ten at the time of competition.

BC is 7-0 against former conference opponents from the Big East (Rutgers, Temple, Syracuse [2010], UConn) and ACC (Maryland).

As members of the Big East, BC and Rutgers met annually between 1991 and 2004 with the Eagles holding a 12-1-1 advantage.

The Eagles have won both season openers in Hafley’s tenure and have won each of their last five with the last season-opening loss coming to Georgia Tech in Dublin, Ireland in 2016.

The Eagles have won both home openers in Hafley’s tenure and have won each of their last four with the last home-opening loss coming to Wake Forest in 2017.

MEET THE EAGLES

5 Phil Jurkovec | Quarterback

Enters the season on the Maxwell Award, Unitas Golden Arm Award and Walter Camp Player of the Year watch lists.

10-6 all-time as a starter at BC.

Missed six starts in 2021 after a first-quarter injury in week two at Massachusetts (9/11).

Six 300-yard games are fifth most in BC history. Matt Ryan and Doug Flutie hold the school record with 12.

Started all 10 games played in 2020, missing the finale due to injury, and passed for 2,558 yards; the most by any BC quarterback in his first 10 starts in program history.

Eight career rushing touchdowns four behind Jack Concannon for BC record.

4 Zay Flowers | Wide Receiver

Named to the Biletnikoff Award watch list.

Ranks 10th all-time in program history with 1,979 career receiving yards and 12th all-time with 122 career receptions.

He is 821 yards and 69 receptions behind Alex Amidon for both the career receiving yards and career reception records.

Fifth all-time at BC with 17 receiving touchdowns; one behind Rich Gunnell for fourth and 11 behind Kelvin Martin for the record.

24 Pat Garwo | Running Back

Named to the Doak Walker Award watch list.

Became 19th player at BC to surpass 1,000 yards in a season with 1,045 in 2021; the 24th overall 1,000-yard season by an Eagle.

Took over as the Eagles’ starter in week three a year ago with a 160-yard performance at Temple (9/18).

Four 100-yard rushing games in 2021.

DEFENSIVE TURNAROUND
The Eagles ranked 125th in total defense in 2019 and in two years under Jeff Hafley’s staff improved 97 spots to 28th in 2021, the second biggest jump in the country.

BC gave up just 344.2 yards per game of total offense in 2021; a 134.5 yard per game improvement over two years. Only Houston (166.3) had a bigger improvement over that period.

The Eagles’ improved their scoring defense by 10.0 points per game to 22.2; the sixth-largest jump in the country in two years and third-largest among Power 5 programs.

Per PFF’s advanced metrics, the Eagles are the most improved FBS team in tackling defense and second most improved FBS team in coverage defense in the last two years.

BC is the only FBS team to improve its PFF defensive grade by 10 or more points (10.7), tackling grade by 20 or more points (38.0) and coverage grade by 20 or more points (32.4).

GARWO CAN GO
Running back Pat Garwo rushed for a then career-high 160 yards at UMass (9/11/21), becoming BC’s first 100-yard rusher since David Bailey at Syracuse (Nov. 7, 2020). Garwo’s previous career best was 36 yards vs. Pitt (10/10/20).

Garwo became the first BC rusher over 150 yards since AJ Dillon (242) and David Bailey (172) did so at Syracuse (11/2/19).

Garwo averaged 10.7 yards per attempt, tied for the seventh-best single-game yards per carry average for a BC player since 1996.

He started the remaining 10 games and rushed for 1,045 yards to become the 19th 1,000-yard rusher in BC history; recording the 24th 1,000-yard season by an Eagle.

Garwo ripped off a career-long 67-yard run for BC’s first touchdown to cap off a 99-yard scoring drive in a 41-34 OT win against Missouri (9/25/21).

Garwo finished with his second 100-yard performance of the season and the second of his career with a career-high 175 yards vs. Mizzou.

Garwo registered four 100-yard rushing games in 2021.

RUN IT BACK
The Eagles rushed for 1,983 yards a year ago. BC returns 1,910 (96.3%) of its rushing offense from a year ago. The Eagles’ top three rushers are back, including Pat Garwo (1,045 yards), Alec Sinkfield (350) and quarterback Phil Jurkovec (322).

BC returns 45.2% of its production in the passing game from 2021 as Jurkovec comes back from a 915-yard season in just six starts.

The Boston College receiving corps returns 101 (59.8%) of its receptions. Zay Flowers (44), Jaelen Gill (24) and Jaden Williams (19) combined to catch 51.5% of BC’s completions last season.

The Eagles’ offense brings back 28 (80%) of its touchdowns from a year ago, led by Garwo (7), while the kicking game returns all 13 field goals and 35 PATs with Connor Lytton (11-12 FG, 25-25 PAT) leading the way.

Defensively, the Eagles return their top four tacklers; Kam Arnold (61), Jaiden Woodbey (56), Vinny DePalma (54) and Josh DeBerry (53). Collectively, BC brings back 492 (67.5%) of its tackles from a year ago.

O-LINE NEW
Boston College’s offensive line features five new starters in 2022 after all five lineman earned All-ACC recognition a year ago; led by first-team selections Zion Johnson, a first-round pick of the Chargers, and Alec Lindstrom. Ben Petrula earned third-team honors and Tyler Vrabel picked up an honorable mention. All four enter 2022 on NFL rosters, while the lone returner Christian Mahogany will miss the season due to an
ACL injury. In the spring of 2022, Mahogany ranked as the No. 2 guard on Mel Kiper’s draft board for 2023.

Tackles Jack Conley and Ozzy Trapilo combine for all four of the lines career starts with two apiece. Conley started as an eligible sixth lineman at Clemson (10/2/21) and at left tackle against NC State (10/16/21) in place of Vrabel. Trapilo earned a start at left guard as Johnson moved to left tackle for Vrabel against Virginia Tech (11/5) and covered right guard for Mahogany against Florida State (11/20).

Center Drew Kendall redshirted as a true freshman last year after appearing in two games. He is the highest rated prospect of the group; a four-star by 247 Sports and Rivals.

The o-line has a new coach this year in 16-year NFL veteran assistant Dave DeGuglielmo. DeGuglielmo got his start in coaching as an offensive graduate assistant for Tom Coughlin at Boston College in 1991.

Sat., Sep. 3 @ 2:30 pm CT
North Dakota Fighting Hawks at Nebraska Cornhuskers

North Dakota Fighting Hawks
Notes
INSIDE THE GAME
NORTH DAKOTA OPENS THE SEASON AT NEBRASKA
After 25 practices in fall camp, the University of North Dakota will kickoff its 2022 season on Saturday, Sept. 3 inside Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Neb. The Fighting Hawks and Cornhuskers will square off at 2:30 p.m. (CT).

The game will air live on the Big Ten Network and will be carried on The Home of Economy Radio Network with the pregame show starting at 1:30 p.m. On the radio, Jack Michaels and Tom Dosch will have the call with Paul Ralston serving as the sideline reporter.

Saturday’s game will mark the second meeting between the two squads, with Nebraska winning the lone previous game by a tally of 33-0 on Sept. 23, 1961. The Fighting Hawks will be looking for their second win over an FBS opponent, after beating Wyoming 24-13 in the 2015 road opener.
While North Dakota fell one game shy of the FCS Playoffs with a 5-6 record in 2021, the Fighting Hawks were in every game. UND either had the lead or a chance to take the lead in the fourth quarter in all 11 of its competitions in 2021.

All four of UND’s losses in 2021 against FCS programs came by an average margin of 4.6 points, with four of the five opponents ranked in the polls – two of them in the top five. Nebraska’s 2021 season looked very similar to North Dakota’s, with the Huskers finishing with a 3-9 mark, with an average margin of loss coming by 6.67 points. Six of the nine losses came to teams ranked in the FBS top-25, with three of them coming to teams ranked in the top-10. Nebraska had the lead or a chance to take the lead in the fourth quarter in eight of its games in 2021. In the Husker season opener last week, Nebraska fell 31-28 to Northwestern in Ireland.

SERIES NOTES
HEAD COACH SCOTT FROST
• Scott Frost’s rapid rise in the coaching ranks culminated with the former Husker national champion returning to his alma mater in December 2017.

• It took Frost just two years to post his first undefeated season as a head coach, as Frost guided UCF to one of the greatest two-year turnarounds in NCAA history. Inheriting an 0-12 team, making a bowl game in his first season and then leading the Knights to a 13-0 record in 2017.

• Frost lived up to the title of one of the best offensive play-callers in the country in 2018, inheriting an offense that ranked 87th nationally in total offense and finished the 2018 season ranked 25th nationally in total offense.

• He has made upgrading Nebraska’s talent a priority, with four of his five recruiting classes ranked in the top 25 nationally.

• He has posted a 15-30 record since returning to Lincoln, with 11 losses coming to top-25 opponents.

• Of the 30 losses under Coach Frost, 21 of them have come by eight points or less.

SCOUTING THE CORNHUSKERS
• Nebraska enters Saturday with a 0-1 overall record and an 0-1 mark in Big Ten play.

• The Cornhuskers piled up 465 yards of total offense against Northwestern, including 355 yards on 25-of-42 passing from Texas transfer QB
Casey Thompson.

• New Mexico State transfer Isaiah Garcia Castandeda made his presence felt against the Wildcats, hauling in four grabs for 120 yards and touchdown.

• Anthony Grant led the Big Red on the ground with 101 yards on 19 carries, including a pair of touchdowns that gave Nebraska a 28-17 lead in
the third quarter.

• Luke Reimer and Ochaun Mathis led the Blackshirts last weekend with 12 tackles and 10 stops, respectively.

• Nebraska is used to putting up yards, ranking second in the Big Ten last year in total offense with 447.6 yards per game.

• The Huskers led the Big Ten last year in passing yards per completion with 14.87 yards per catch.

ROTECTING THE QUARTERBACK
• North Dakota linemen do not take kindly to teams harassing the quarterback, finishing 2021 ranked No. 3 nationally in sacks allowed and leading the MVFC with only 0.73 sacks allowed per game. Only allowing the quarterback to be taken down eight times the entire season.

• During the 2020-21 season, the Fighting Hawk linemen put up similar numbers, leading the conference and ranking No. 3 nationally in sacks
allowed, only allowing 0.29 sacks per game – only allowing two sacks the entire year.

• The UND O-line also ranked highly in tackles-for-loss allowed, sitting fifth in the nation and second in the MVFC – allowing only 3.64 tackles-for-loss per game.

MANAGING THE GAME
• Quarterback Tommy Schuster led the MVFC in completion percentage last season, completing 65.5 percent of his passes.

• He also ranked in the top half of the conference in completions per game, passing efficiency, passing yards, total yards per game and yards
per pass attempt.

• Last season, Schuster threw for 13 touchdowns and accounted for at least one touchdown in every game except one.

• In UND’s Division I history, Schuster ranks third in career passing attempts (493), third in career passes completed (384), third in career passing yards (4,089) and is tied for third in career passing touchdowns (24).

• In his career, Schuster has completed 64.8 percent of his passes, ranking third in UND’s Division I history

LOOKING IN THE MIRROR
• Last season, the Fighting Hawks played the 10th toughest schedule in the nation and fell one game shy of the FCS Playoffs, finishing
the season with a 5-6 record after a 24-21 heartbreaker at South Dakota State.

• On average, North Dakota fell by an average of 4.6 points in the five losses in FCS play, marking the first time in UND history the team had lost five games by single digits, dating back to 1894.

• Four of the five losses in league play also came to teams ranked in the FCS Top 25. In every game in 2021, North Dakota either had the lead or a chance to take the lead in the fourth quarter.

• The Cornhuskers had a very similar season last year, with Nebraska going 3-9 with an average margin of loss of 6.67 points. Six of the nine
losses came to teams ranked in the FBS Top 25, with three of them coming to teams ranked in the top-10.

• Nebraska had the lead or a chance to take the lead in the fourth quarter in eight of its 11 games in 2021.

Nebraska Cornhuskers
Notes
Nebraska opens its 2022 home schedule on Saturday afternoon when the Huskers welcome the North Dakota Fighting Hawks to Memorial Stadium. Game time in Lincoln is set for shortly after 2:30 p.m. CT with BTN providing television coverage.

Nebraska heads into the contest with an 0-1 record following a 31-28 season-opening loss against Northwestern last Saturday in the Aer Lingus Football Classic in Dublin, Ireland. Nebraska twice held 11-point leads against the Wildcats, but Northwestern rallied in the second half for the three-point victory. The Nebraska offense showed its explosiveness in the loss, racking up 465 yards, including 355 passing yards.

After opening with a Big Ten Conference game overseas, the Huskers will now settle into their home environment at Memorial Stadium for the next month. The matchup with North Dakota is the first of four straight games in Lincoln. After the UND contest, Nebraska will welcome non-conference opponents Georgia Southern (Sept. 10) and Oklahoma (Sept. 17) to Lincoln before opening its Big Ten home schedule against Indiana on Oct. 1.

North Dakota will be opening its 2021 season on Saturday in Lincoln. The Fighting Hawks posted a 5-6 record last season against one of the nation’s most difficult FCS schedules. North Dakota’s five FCS losses last season were all by seven or fewer points, with each of the setbacks coming against 2021 FCS playoff participants.

Nebraska and North Dakota have met just one time previously, with the Huskers opening the 1961 season with a 33-0 shutout over North Dakota at Memorial Stadium.

14 – Saturday’s game marks Nebraska’s 14th all-time matchup with a Football Championship Subdivision opponent. The Huskers have won each of the 13 prior matchups against FCS foes, including a 52-7 victory over Fordham last season.

100 – Nebraska had both a 100-yard rusher (Anthony Grant) and 100-yard receiver (Isaiah Garcia-Castenada) in the season opener against Northwestern. That marked the first time the Huskers had both a runner and receiver top the century mark since 2021 against Northwestern.

300 – Quarterback Casey Thompson cracked the 300-yard passing barrier against the Wildcats with 355 yards through the air. His 355-yard outing was the most ever by a Nebraska player in a season opener, bettering Taylor Martinez’s 354 yards vs. Southern Miss in 2012.

SERIES HISTORY: NEBRASKA VS. NORTH DAKOTA
Saturday’s game is the second all-time meeting between Nebraska and North Dakota. Nebraska defeated North Dakota, 33-0, in the 1961 season opener in the only other meeting between the schools. Nebraska and UND are scheduled to meet again in 2026 in Lincoln. Saturday’s game will mark Nebraska’s 14th game all-time against an FCS foe (at time of game), with the Huskers holding a 13-0 record in those contests.

• Nebraska defeated Fordham 52-7 last season in its first game against an FCS opponent since 2018.

• All of Nebraska’s games against FCS opponents have occurred since 1992, including facing an FCS opponent for five straight seasons from 2010 to 2014.

NEBRASKA HOME OPENER HISTORY
Nebraska opens its seven-game home schedule on Saturday at Memorial Stadium. The Huskers have won three of four home openers under Scott Frost. Overall, Nebraska has been victorious in 34 of its past 36 home openers.

• This marks the third consecutive season Nebraska has opened away from Memorial Stadium. Prior to the pandemic shortened 2020 season, Nebraska had not opened away from Lincoln since 1999.

HUSKERS HIT RARE 300-100-100 COMBO IN OPENER
The Nebraska offense reached a rare milestone in the season opener against Northwestern on Saturday. The Huskers recorded a 300-yard passer with Casey Thompson throwing for 355 yards, a 100-yard rusher in Anthony Grant, who had 101 yards and two touchdowns, and a 100-yard receiver
with Isaiah Garcia-Castaneda catching four passes for 120 yards and a touchdown.

• Saturday’s game marked just the eighth time in school history Nebraska has produced a game with a 300-yard passer, 100-yard rusher and 100-yard receiver.

• Three of the eight games have come during Scott Frost’s tenure as head coach, most recently in a 42-38 win at Illinois in 2019. Nebraska also accomplished the trifecta in a 2018 matchup against Purdue.

Sat., Sep. 3 @ 6:00 pm CT
Illinois State Redbirds at Wisconsin Badgers

Illinois State Redbirds
Notes
SERIES HISTORY: NEBRASKA VS. NORTH DAKOTA
Saturday’s game is the second all-time meeting between Nebraska and North Dakota. Nebraska defeated North Dakota, 33-0, in the 1961 season opener in the only other meeting between the schools. Nebraska and UND are scheduled to meet again in 2026 in Lincoln. Saturday’s game will mark Nebraska’s 14th game all-time against an FCS foe (at time of game), with the Huskers holding a 13-0 record in those contests.

• Nebraska defeated Fordham 52-7 last season in its first game against an FCS opponent since 2018.

• All of Nebraska’s games against FCS opponents have occurred since 1992, including facing an FCS opponent for five straight seasons from 2010 to 2014.

NEBRASKA HOME OPENER HISTORY
Nebraska opens its seven-game home schedule on Saturday at Memorial Stadium. The Huskers have won three of four home openers under Scott Frost. Overall, Nebraska has been victorious in 34 of its past 36 home openers.

• This marks the third consecutive season Nebraska has opened away from Memorial Stadium. Prior to the pandemic shortened 2020 season, Nebraska had not opened away from Lincoln since 1999.

HUSKERS HIT RARE 300-100-100 COMBO IN OPENER
The Nebraska offense reached a rare milestone in the season opener against Northwestern on Saturday. The Huskers recorded a 300-yard passer with Casey Thompson throwing for 355 yards, a 100-yard rusher in Anthony Grant, who had 101 yards and two touchdowns, and a 100-yard receiver with Isaiah Garcia-Castaneda catching four passes for 120 yards and a touchdown.

• Saturday’s game marked just the eighth time in school history Nebraska has produced a game with a 300-yard passer, 100-yard rusher and 100-yard receiver.

• Three of the eight games have come during Scott Frost’s tenure as head coach, most recently in a 42-38 win at Illinois in 2019. Nebraska also accomplished the trifecta in a 2018 matchup against Purdue.

THIS WEEK’S OPPONENT
The University of Wisconsin is located in Madison, Wisconsin, and has an enrollment of 47,932 students. The Badgers are members of the Big Ten Conference and play their home games at Camp Randall Stadium (80,321).

Last season, the Badgers overcame a 1-3 start and went on to win 8 of their last 9 games to finish the season with a 9-4 overall record. They capped off the year with a victory in the Las Vegas Bowl over Arizona State.

Wisconsin’s defense was one of the best in the country in 2021, leading the NCAA in total defense and rushing yards allowed. The Badgers’ defense allowed opposing offenses to score just 19 touchdowns and 169 points in 13 games last season (13.0 ppg).

The Badgers boast one of the best backfield duos in the country in Chez Mellusi and Braelon Allen. The pair combined for 2,083 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns last season and are both on the preseason watch list for the prestigious Doak Walker Award.

BATTLING THE BIG TEN
Illinois State was 0-8 in school history against Big Ten Conference foes until the 2016 season, when the Redbirds shocked Northwestern to come away with a 9-7 win. The 2022 season opener against Wisconsin will give the Redbirds another chance to play against one of the best teams in the Big Ten. Illinois State has played four current members of the Big Ten Conference and has with a pair of losses each to Illinois, Minnesota and Purdue and a lone loss each to the Wildcats and Iowa. Overall, ISU head coach Brock Spack is 1-3 in his time as head coach against Big Ten opponents and has posted three wins (Eastern Michigan, Northwestern and Colorado State) over FBS programs in his time at ISU.

A BIG ADDITION
The Redbird offense struggled mightily in the passing game in 2021 and the coaching staff is hoping their transfer from the Big Ten will be the quarterback to turn things around. Junior Zack Annexstad joined the Redbirds in the spring and instantly took over the huddle, playing well all spring and through the summer on way to being named the starting quarterback. Annexstad, a transfer from Minnesota, was named starting quarterback by coach P.J. Fleck as a freshman in 2018 and is thought to be just the second walk-on true freshman quarterback to start a season opener, joining Baker Mayfi eld who started his fi rst game at Texas Tech in 2013 after walking. He would go on to complete 97 passes for 1,277 yards (third most all-time for a Minnesota freshman) and nine touchdowns (tied for third most all-time for a Minnesota freshman with Tanner Morgan) that season, before missing parts of the next three seasons due to injury.

FBS SECONDARY DEPTH ADDED
A trio of experienced FBS secondary defenders join the Redbirds this fall to help bolster a young group for the Redbirds. Central Arkansas transfer Deandre Lamont, Indiana transfer Larry Tracy III and Bowling Green transfer Sy Dabney have all worked their way into playing positions during fall camp and hope to make big impacts this fall for the Redbird defense.

GETTING DEFENSIVE
The Redbirds have become accustomed to finding the end zone on the defensive side of the football in recent years, and they kept that streak alive in 2021 when Jarrell Jackson recorded a 95-yard interception return for a touchdown against Eastern Illinois early in the season. ISU has now scored a defensive touchdown in each of the last 13 seasons under the leadership of Brock Spack.

Wisconsin Badgers
Notes
BADGERS OPEN 2022 SEASON AT CAMP RANDALL
The 18th-ranked Wisconsin Badgers open the 134th season of Wisconsin
football by playing host to Illinois State on Saturday. Kickoff is set for 6 p..m.,
with the game airing live on FS1.

Saturday, Wisconsin is honoring the back-to-back-to-back Big Ten championship teams from 2010, 2011 and 2012. Included in that run were victories in the first two Big Ten Football Championship Games, a 42-39 win over Michigan State in 2011 and a 70-31 win over Nebraska in 2012. Current UW head coach Paul Chryst was the offensive coordinator for the 2010 and 2011 teams.

Since last season, Camp Randall Stadium has undergone some noticeable changes. UW completed the CR Future project, a comprehensive renovation
of the seating area in the south end zone, in slightly more than nine months. In addition, UW’s new playing surface bears the name “Barry Alvarez Field,” honoring the legacy of the legendary former Badgers coach and athletic director.

KEY NOTES TO CONSIDER
The Badgers are in their 8th season under head coach Paul Chryst, who is 65-23 (.739) as head coach at his alma mater. The two-time Big Ten Coach of the Year has led the Badgers to a 43-16 (.729) conference record and a 6-1 mark in bowl games. Chryst is in his 17th season overall on the Badgers’ coaching staff.

Wisconsin boasts one of the nation’s best backfield combos in senior RB Chez Mellusi and sophomore RB Braelon Allen. The duo combined to rush for 2,083 yards last season despite Mellusi missing the last four games with a knee injury.

Jim Leonhard is back for a 6th season as defensive coordinator, and 7th season on the coaching staff overall, at his alma mater. Under Leonhard — an All-America safety during his playing days at UW — the Badgers have been dominant. Over Leonhard’s first 6 seasons the Badgers rank 3rd in scoring defense (17.3 points per game), 1st in total yards allowed (284.8 yards per game), 1st in pass efficiency defense (110.5), 3rd in rushing defense (103.4 ypg) and 1st in opponents’ third down conversions (30.5%).

The Badgers welcome three new assistant coaches and two holdovers that transitioned to new positions. Offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Bobby Engram, inside linebackers coach Mark D’Onofrio and running backs coach Al Johnson are in all their first seasons with UW. Offensive line coach Bob Bostad has moved from coaching inside linebackers to offensive line and Chris Haering now coaches tight ends after seven seasons as Wisconsin’s special team s coordinator.

Senior NT Keeanu Benton and junior OLB Nick Herbig spearhead a defense that led the country last season in total defense and rushing yards allowed. Benton is entering his fourth season as a starter while Herbig has started all 20 games of his career.

Wisconsin seeks a 21st consecutive bowl game in 2022, with the Badgers having won 7 of their last 8 bowl appearances — including last year’s 20-13 win over Arizona State in the Las Vegas Bowl.

BY THE NUMBERS
7 – Wisconsin is 19-5 all-time in home night games. The Badgers have won seven straight contests under the lights at Camp Randall, dating
back to 2016.

18 – UW is ranked No. 18 in the preseason Associated Press poll. Since 2001, the Badgers have made 18 appearances in the preseason AP
Top 25, tied for 6th-most in the country and second behind only Ohio State in the Big Ten

65 – Among Power Five conference schools, only six teams have won more games than Wisconsin (65) since 2015 (the Paul Chryst era):
Alabama (92), Clemson (89), Ohio State (79), Oklahoma (78), Georgia (76), Notre Dame (68).

FOR STARTERS
Dating back to 1996, Wisconsin has won 25 of its last 26 home openers. Since 2000, UW has won 19 of its last 22 season openers.

The Badgers have not lost a season-opening game at home to a non-conference opponent since 1995, going 15-0 in those contests.

LOOKING BACK
Following a 1-3 start, Wisconsin bounced
back to win 8 of its last 9 games a year ago,
culminating with a win over Arizona State in
the Las Vegas Bowl.

The Badgers put together a 7-game win streak towards the end of the season on the strength of a suffocating and opportunistic defense, a dominant run game and a consistent passing attack.

Wisconsin outscored its opponents by a margin of 223-72 over the those 7 weeks, an average margin of 21.6 points per game.

In then-No. 19 Penn State, then-No. 12 Notre Dame and then-No. 14 Michigan, the Badgers faced a ranked opponent in 3 of their first 4 games last season. The Badgers were the only FBS team to face 3 top-20 opponents in their first 4 games a year ago.

MEN IN THE MIDDLE
Wisconsin’s two leading tacklers from a year ago, senior Jack Sanborn (Chicago Bears) and junior Leo Chenal (Kansas City Chiefs) are both
in the NFL. The pair earned first-team All-Big Ten honors a year ago with Chenal winning the Butkus-Fitzgerald Big Ten Linebacker of the Year award.

A quintet of inexperienced but talented inside ‘backers are vying to replace the production of Sanborn and Chenal. Juniors Tatum Grass and Maema Njotmeta, sophomores Jordan Turner and Jake Chaney and redshirt freshman Bryan Sanborn (Jack’s younger brother) all took reps with the No. 1 defense during fall camp.

Though none of the five has started a game for the Badgers, Grass has the most experience of the group, with 19 career games played and
14 career tackles.

Turner played in just 6 games a year ago but made the most of his limited opportunities, recording two interceptions and a career-high 4 tackles in the Las Vegas Bowl win over Arizona State.

DYNAMIC DUO
Wisconsin returns one of the best backfield tandems in the country this season in senior Chez Mellusi and sophomore Braelon Allen. The pair combined for 2,083 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns last season.

The duo each rushed for at least 100 yards in two games last season, on Oct. 9 vs. Illinois (Mellusi – 145 / Allen – 131) and again at Purdue (Mellusi – 149 / Allen – 140).

Allen and Mellusi were one of just three Power Five RB teammate tandems to each rush for at least 800 yards last season, joining Hassan Haskins and Blake Corum of Michigan and Isaiah Spiller and Devon Achane of Texas A&M.

Mellusi topped the 100-yard mark in 4 of his first 9 games as a Badger before suffering a season-ending leg injury at Rutgers on Nov. 6. Despite missing the final four games of the seaosn, he finished the season just 185 yards shy of 1,000.

Mellusi came to Madison after spending 2 seasons as backup to consensus All-American Travis Etienne at Clemson.

THAT’S O-LINE U TO YOU
After five seasons as Wisconsin’s inside linebackers coach, Bob Bostad returns to his roots to mentor UW’s offensive line in 2022. This is
his second stint with the program he helped reach unprecedented offensive success during a six-year run that saw the Badgers claim a pair of Big Ten championships.

For Bostad, coaching the Badgers’ offensive line marks a return to the role that saw him help Wisconsin build the most explosive offenses in school history while churning out an impressive list of pro linemen. Bostad previously served as UW’s offensive line coach for four seasons (2008-11), developing nine players who went on to become NFL draft picks, including three first-round selections in Gabe Carimi (2010 Outland Trophy winner), Kevin Zeitler and Travis Frederick. In addition, eight of Bostad’s pupils would go on to be named first-team All-America.

The Badgers return three starters from last year’s line in senior LG Tyler Beach, junior C Joe Tippmann and sophomore LT Jack Nelson.

Beach is the most expereinced of the linemen with 21 career starts. A third-team All-Big Ten choice last season at left tackle, Beach has made the move inside after playing tackle his first four seasons.

Tippmann has ben named to both the Outland Trophy and Rimington Award watch lists. He was an honorable mention All-Big Ten selection in 2021, starting 10 games in the middle.

Nelson moves outside to tackle after starting all 13 games at right guard and earning honorable mention All-Big Ten honors in his debut season.

SERIES HISTORY
First Meeting
Wisconsin is 19-1 all-time against teams curently in the Missouri Valley Football Conference:
8-1 vs. South Dakota State
3-0 vs. North Dakota State
3-0 vs. Western Illinois
2-0 vs. South Dakota
2-0 vs. North Dakota
1-0 vs. Northern Iowa

Sat., Sep. 3 @ 7:30 pm ET
Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Ohio State Buckeyes

Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Notes
SERIES HISTORY
Ohio State leads the all-time series 4-2-0. Notre Dame won the first two meetings in the series, including what was touted as the original college football ‘Game of the Century’ in 1935 when Bill Shakespeare connected with Wayne Millner for a 19-yard game-winning touchdown pass
for the Irish with 32 seconds remaining.
First meeting Notre Dame 18, Ohio State 13 November 2, 1935
Last ND Victory Notre Dame 7, Ohio State 2 October 31, 1936
Most recent meeting Ohio State 44, Notre Dame 28 January 1, 2016 (Fiesta Bowl)

Saturday will mark the first regular-season meeting between Notre Dame and Ohio State since 1996. The two more recent meetings between the two schools occurred in the Fiesta Bowl 10 years apart (2006, 2016) and in two different venues (Sun Devil Stadium, University of Phoenix Stadium).

STORYLINES
• Notre Dame’s Dick Corbett Head Football Coach Marcus Freeman, the 30th head coach in school history, begins his first full season with the Irish by taking on his alma mater, Ohio State. Freeman was a linebacker for the Buckeyes (2004-08) and has coached against his alma mater in Ohio Stadium previously – in 2019 as the defensive coordinator at Cincinnati.

• Tyler Buchner will make his first career start at quarterback for the Irish in Ohio Stadium. The sophomore signal caller appeared in 10 games in 2021, finishing with six total touchdowns (three rushing, three passing), 298 passing yards and 368 rushing yards (7.0 ypc).

• The 2022 season opener marks the first time Notre Dame is kicking off the season in a top five matchup since 1990, when the top-ranked Irish defeated No. 4 Michigan 28-24 in Notre Dame Stadium.

NOTRE DAME VS. NUMBER 2
• All-time: 8-9-2

• On Opponent’s Field: 4-2-2

• Last win vs. No. 2: October 20, 1990 – No. 10 Notre Dame 29, Miami 20

• Last game vs. No. 2: December 29, 2018 – No. 3 Notre Dame 3, No. 2 Clemson 30

NOTRE DAME SEASON OPENERS
• All-time: 109-17-5 (.851)

• On Opponent’s Field: 26-5-2 (.818)

• Notre Dame has won its last five season openers.

• In the 109 seasons Notre Dame has won its opener, the Irish have gone on to post a winning record 93.5 percent of those campaigns (102).

• In 10 of the last 12 seasons, the Irish have scored the first points in the season’s opening game. Since 1958, Notre Dame is 38-4 (.904) in the season opener when scoring first, while they are 14-6 when the opponent registers the first score.

• Notre Dame began the 2021 season on the road as well, marking the 2022 season as the first time the Irish have started on the road in back-to-back years since 2005 and 2006 (wins at Pittsburgh and Georgia Tech, respectively).

IRISH ITEMS – BY THE NUMBERS
.53 – Sack average per game for junior defensive end Isaiah Foskey. Of all the Notre Dame players who have recorded 15 or more sacks in a career, Foskey ranks fourth in sacks-per game behind Justin Tuck, Kory Minor and Stephon Tuitt

2 – All-America seasons at Northwestern for junior safety Brandon Joseph before transferring to Notre Dame during his past offseason. Joseph boasts 129 career tackles, nine interceptions and has been named to the Thorpe, Nagurski and Bednarik Award watch lists.

3 – Notre Dame has only played three times in its history on September 3 and are 2-1 on the date, which includes Charlie Weis’ first game for the Irish on the road at No. 23 Pittsburgh (a 42-21 Notre Dame victory).

7 – Notre Dame and Ohio State, who rank 1-2 in all-time college football winning percentage (.7339* for ND, .7314 for OSU), will be meeting for just the seventh time on Saturday night.

8 – Over the past two seasons with Tommy Rees as the offensive coordinator, Notre Dame is one of only eight FBS schools to pass for over 6,500 yards and rush for over 4,000 yards (North Carolina, Ole Miss, BYU, Alabama, Oklahoma, Ohio State, Florida and Clemson).

11 – Sacks last season by Isaiah Foskey. A Nagurski and Bednarik Award Watch List selection, Foskey is just outside of the top-10 on the Irish career sack charts with 15.5 in his career. The school record is 24.5 by Justin Tuck from 2002-04.

41.0 – Notre Dame tied the school record for sacks in a season last year with 41, matching the total from the 1996 season. Of those 41 sacks, only 6.5 were recorded by players who graduated and left the program at the end of the 2021 season.

42 – Since Paul Hornung started his first career game against SMU in the 1955 season opener in Notre Dame Stadium, Irish quarterbacks are 42-16 (.724) in their first career starts (see page 6 for more details).

71 – Receptions last season for junior tight end Michael Mayer, the most in a single season for a Notre Dame tight end. At 113 career receptions, Mayer has his eyes set on the school career receptions record by a tight end (140, Tyler Eifert, 2009-12).

101 – Team-leading tackle total last season for junior linebacker JD Bertrand and it marked the first time since 2018 an Irish player had reached double digits in tackles during a season.

213 – Since 1980, Notre Dame is 213-24 (.899) when it scores 30 or more points

A NOTEWORTHY SEASON OPENER
Notre Dame will open the season at Ohio State ranked fifth in the Associated Press poll, while the Buckeyes are the second-ranked team entering the season. Some historical comparison notes on the season-opening matchup:

• It is the first season-opening top-five matchup for Notre Dame since September 15 1990, when the top-ranked Irish defeated No. 4 Michigan in Notre Dame Stadium.

• It will be the first time the Irish have opened the season on the road against at top-five opponent since September 8, 2001, when No. 5 Nebraska defeated No. 23 Notre Dame 27-10 in Memorial Stadium.

• It is the first time a top-five ranked Notre Dame team has opened the season on the road against any opponent since September 2, 2006, when the second-ranked Irish defeated unranked Georgia Tech 14-10.

• The last time the Irish opened the season in a ranked matchup, regardless of top-25 positioning or venue? A 24-17 victory by the 12th-ranked Irish over No. 14 Michigan on September 1, 2018.

• The last time Notre Dame defeated a top-10 team on the road – in its first true road game of the season – was 2012 when No. 20 Notre Dame defeated No. 10 Michigan State 20-3 in Spartan Stadium. The Irish did begin the season on the road that year in a neutral site game in Dublin, Ireland, against Navy.

• Notre Dame’s last road victory over a top-five ranked team occurred in 2005, when No. 20 Notre Dame defeated No. 3 Michigan 17-10 on September 10 in Michigan Stadium.

• The most recent road victory against a top-10 ranked team was October 27, 2012, when the fifth-ranked Irish defeated No. 8 Oklahoma 30-13 in Memorial Stadium.

Ohio State Buckeyes
Notes
FIRST AND TEN
Ohio State kicks off its 133rd season of football Saturday at Ohio Stadium with a primetime game against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.

This delightful matchup of college football powers is a national, Top 5 contest as Ohio State enters nationally ranked at No. 2 in both the Associated Press and AFCA polls while Notre Dame is No. 5 in both polls.

Ohio State (942 wins) and Notre Dame (929) rank in a tie for second and fifth, respectively, in all-time wins while the teams’ respective winning percentages of .731 and .730 are No. 1 and No. 3 all-time.

At No. 5, Notre Dame is tied with Penn State (1978) and Alabama (1986) as the highest ranked season-opening opponent for Ohio State.

This is the fourth consecutive meeting between the two programs where both teams are in the Top 10 of the national rankings, including the
2016 (Ohio State – 7; ND 8), 2006 (Ohio State – 4; ND 5) and 1996 (Ohio State – 4; ND 5) games.

Ohio State’s Ryan Day is in his sixth year with the program and his fourth as head coach. He is 34-4 overall and his teams are 18-1 at home and 13-4 vs. Top 25-ranked teams.

10 – Ohio State is opening a season ranked nationally in the Top 10 for a 10th consecutive year. Ohio State is 105-13 since 2013 with one CFP national championship, four CFP appearances and five Big Ten titles.

.800 – Over the last 10 seasons, Ohio State has a 36-9 record vs. ranked opponents for a .800 winning percentage. Ohio State is 14-3 (.824) vs. ranked opponents at home during this decade.

2022 – Ohio State’s 2002 national championship squad, coached by Jim Tressel and featuring QB Craig Krenzel and captains Michael Doss and Donnie Nickey, will be honored Saturday for its 20th anniversary.

6 – Ohio State’s 2022 team captains are WR Kam Babb, LB Tommy Eichenberg, DE Tyler Friday, TE Cade Stover, QB C.J. Stroud and SAF Kourt Williams. Babb is now a two-time captain.

A GRAND OPENING
Ohio State will face a top-five ranked opponent in its season opener for just the third time in program history on Saturday. The other two times were in 1978 – vs.No. 5 Penn State – and 1986 – vs. No. 5 Alabama

Only nine other times has Ohio State opened its season against a ranked opponent, with the last time coming 19 years ago (Aug. 30, 2003 vs. No. 17 Washington)

Never before have the Buckeyes opened a season in a game when both teams are ranked in the top five

Saturday night will be just the seventh all-time meeting between Ohio State and Notre Dame and the first in the regular season in 26 years.

The only other two times Notre Dame has played at Ohio State was 1935 (an 18-13 Irish win) and 1995 (a 45-26 Ohio State win).

The Buckeyes have taken each of the last four games in the series, winning in 1995 and 1996 and then adding Fiesta Bowl wins following the 2005 and 2015 seasons

Ohio State has won 22 consecutive season-opening games dating back to a 23-12 loss to No. 12 Miami in the 1999 Kickoff Classic at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.

Overall, the Buckeyes have won 42 of their last 45 season openers.

The 2022 football season will represent the 133rd season of football for the Ohio State Buckeyes.

Ohio State and Notre Dame complete this home-and home series with a game Sept. 23 next year at Notre Dame Stadium.

SCOUTING NOTRE DAME
Ranked fifth in the Associated Press preseason poll, Notre Dame is coming off a season in which it went 11-2 and made an appearance in the Fiesta Bowl.

The Irish will have a new starting quarterback when it takes the field on Saturday night in Ohio Stadium: sophomore Tyler Buchner.

Buchner played in 10 games last fall and completed 21 of 35 passes for 298 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed 46 times for 336 yards and three TDs. Tight end Michael Mayer was a John Mackey Award semifinalist last year after catching 71 passes for 850 yards and seven touchdowns.

The Irish’s leading returning rusher is Chris Tyree, who played in 12 games last season with 222 yards on 56 carries.

Defensively, leading tackler JD Bertrand returns. He totaled 101 stops with 7.0 tackles-for-loss and 1.5 sacks

TWO OF THE BEST
By any measure, Ohio State and Notre Dame have been two of the elite – and winningest – programs over the last 10 seasons.

In that span, Ohio State is third with 117 wins; Notre Dame is sixth with 97.

The Buckeyes are second nationally with a .900 winning percentage while Notre Dame is sixth (.757)

They represent two of the six schools to make multiple appearances in the College Football Playoff

A HISTORICAL CONTEXT
While Ohio State and Notre Dame have been among the best programs over the last 10 years, they stack up against anyone in and decade … ever. Consider:

Ohio State ranks in a tie for second in alltime wins (942); Notre Dame is fourth (929)

Ohio State is first in all-time winning percentage (.731); Notre Dame is third (.730)

The Buckeyes and Fighting Irish are tied for first all-time with seven Heisman Trophy winners apiece.

Notre Dame’s 105 all-time consensus AllAmericans ranks first; Ohio State’s 90 is second

Ohio State has spent 950 weeks ranked in the Associated Press poll, which is No. 1 alltime; Notre Dame is fourth at 849 weeks.

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