Big Ten football coaches and members of the media selected several members of Michigan State’s football team for all-conference honors.
Despite the struggles on the field, Big Ten coaches and members of the media made sure to add several members of the Spartans football program on their all-conference ballets.
BIG TEN COACHES
Le’Veon Bell - Bell leads the nation in carries (350) while ranking third in rushing (137.3 ypg.) and 15th in all-purpose yards (155.5 ypg.). His 1,648 rushing yards (second) and 350 carries (fourth) rank among the Top 10 single-season totals in MSU history.
The Columbus, Ohio, native also is listed among the Big Ten leaders in rushing (first), all-purpose yards (second), rushing touchdowns (tied for sixth with 11) and total offense (10th with 137.3 ypg.).Bell has recorded seven 100-yard rushing games in 2012. A complete back, his 30 receptions (154 yards) are fifth on the team. He was named the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week three times this season (Aug. 31 vs. Boise State; Sept. 22 vs. Eastern Michigan; Nov. 24 vs. Minnesota).
According to STATS, Bell has gained 834 of his 1,648 rushing yards (51 percent) after contact and has broken 17 tackles this season. His 834 rushing yards after contact rank first among all NCAA FBS running backs. In addition, he has produced 77 first downs and 32 runs of 10 or more yards, including 12 gains of 20 or more yards.
A Doak Walker Award semifinalist, Bell has produced the top single-game total in the NCAA FBS this season for carries (44 vs. Boise State) and eighth-most rushing yards (266 vs. Minnesota). He is one of just three running backs in the NCAA FBS in 2012 to record three 200-yard rushing games (Toledo’s David Fluellen and Air Force’s Cody Getz).
Mark Dantonio - “Le’Veon Bell finished the regular season as the Big Ten’s leading rusher,” MSU head coach Mark Dantonio said. “He was a workhorse throughout the season and he finished strong (averaged 195.7 yards over the last three games). Le’Veon provided consistent production, and over the last three games, he really showed what he could do once he got to the second level of the defense.”
Max Bullough - A semifinalist for the Butkus Award, Bullough leads the team and ranks eighth in the Big Ten in both tackles (102; 8.5 avg.) and tackles for loss (12 for 44 yards). He also ranks second on the team with 2.5 sacks (15 yards). In conference games, he ranked fourth in tackles in the Big Ten, averaging 9.5 per game. Bullough, who was elected a team captain this season, has produced at least one tackle for loss in each of the last seven games, including a 1-yard loss in the regular-season finale at Minnesota. He also posted a team-high seven stops against the Gophers.
The 6-3, 252-pound Bullough registered eight tackles against Northwestern, with one tackle for loss (2 yards). His half sack (combined with junior defensive end William Gholston) against Kain Colter resulted in a 1-yard loss and a safety in the first quarter.
He reached double figures in tackles for the fourth time this season and sixth time in his career, with 10 stops against Nebraska.
Bullough recorded nine tackles while setting career highs for both tackles for loss (2.5 for 15 yards) and sacks (2 for 14) in Michigan State's 16-13 overtime victory at No. 25 Wisconsin, as the Spartans recorded their first win in Madison since 2001 while snapping the nation's second-longest active home winning streak at 21 games. MSU limited Wisconsin to 19 yards rushing (37 carries) - nearly 182 fewer than its season average. The Spartans also held the Badgers to 190 total yards - the first time UW managed fewer than 200 yards total offense since Nov. 20, 2004 (186 vs. Iowa). MSU's produced season highs in both tackles for loss (12 for 59) and sacks (5 for 38).
He posted 10 stops, a career-high two pass break-ups and recorded his first interception of the season at Michigan. Bullough recorded 11 stops against Iowa and posted a season-high 12 stops against No. 14 Ohio State to go along with two pass break-ups and a forced fumble. The Traverse City, Mich., native has 214 tackles, including 20.5 for losses (76 yards), in 39 career games.
Mark Dantonio - “I can’t say enough about Max Bullough,” Dantonio said. “He’s a great team leader, and he thoroughly prepares for every game. Max is a tough, downhill player, who consistently performs at a high level. He’s great in pass coverage too.
Johnny Adams - becomes the first Spartan defensive back to earn first-team All-Big Ten honors in consecutive seasons since John Miller (1987-88). In addition, Adams is just the sixth Spartan defensive back to be named first-team All-Big Ten in multiple seasons (Brad Van Pelt, 1971-72; William Simpson, 1972-73; Thomas Hannon, 1975-76; Phil Parker, 1983-85; Miller, 1987-88).
Adams ranks tied for fifth in the Big Ten with three interceptions and tied for 15th with 10 passes defended. He has collected 35 tackles, including three for losses (9 yards), and ranks tied for second on the team with seven pass break-ups. Adams collected a career-high two tackles for loss (3 yards) and a pass break-up against Notre Dame on Sept. 15 and tallied a season-high six tackles in the win at Indiana on Oct. 6.
The Akron, Ohio, native recorded a career-high two interceptions in the regular-season finale at Minnesota and his 10 career interceptions are 10th most in MSU history. He also ranks among MSU’s career leaders in interception return yards (fourth with 230), passed defended (fifth with 35) and pass break-ups (11th with 24).
Mark Dantonio - “Johnny Adams is a three-time All-Big Ten selection and that speaks volumes,” Dantonio said. “We constantly put him on an island and he responded to the challenge. He’s an active player with big-play capability.
Darqueze Dennard - The 5-11, 188-pound Dennard is tied for the team lead in interceptions (3), pass break-ups (7) and passes defended (10), numbers which all rank among the Big Ten leaders (tied for fifth in interceptions; tied for 15th in passes defended; tied for 16th in pass break-ups). He ranks sixth on the team with 49 tackles, including 3.5 for losses (5 yards).
The Dry Branch, Ga., product tied his career high with two interceptions against No. 21 Nebraska; his 30-yard interception return in the third quarter set up MSU’s third TD of the game. He tied his career high in tackles with seven stops against Northwestern and broke up a career-best three passes in the season-opening victory over Boise State.
Dennard has 102 tackles and 16 passes defended (six interceptions, 10 pass break-ups) in 29 career games, including 25 starts. He garnered honorable mention All-Big Ten accolades last season.
Mark Dantonio - “Darqueze Dennard simply had an outstanding season,” Dantonio said. “He’s truly a complete player. Darqueze is an excellent tackler, has great ball skills, and can run and cover. He too played a lot of press coverage.”
Mike Sadler - Sadler, who ranks second in the Big Ten and 20th in the NCAA FBS in punting with his 43.2-yard average, becomes the sixth Spartan punter to be named first-team All-Big Ten. He has placed 41 percent of his punts inside the 20 (28-of-68) and 22 percent inside the 10 (15-of-68). The 6-0, 180-pound Sadler has 16 punts of 50-plus yards, including a career-long 70 yarder against No. 14 Ohio State.
Sadler was named the Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week after averaging 46.6 yards on seven punts vs. No. 21 Nebraska, including three placed inside the 20. He pinned a season-best three punts inside the 10 in the overtime win at Wisconsin.
The Grand Rapids, Mich., native averaged 41.1 yards on seven punts at Michigan, including a season-high four inside the 20. On fourth-and-9 from MSU’s 23-yard line in the fourth quarter against the Wolverines, Sadler ran a fake punt 26 yards for a Spartan first down, leading to Dan Conroy’s go-ahead field goal with 5:48 remaining in the game.
Sadler averaged a career-best 55.4 yards per punt (five for 277 yards) against the Buckeyes, including his career-long 70-yarder in the second quarter.
Sadler’s career average of 42.2 yards per punt is currently sixth best in MSU history.
Mark Dantonio - “Mike Sadler averaged better than 43 yards per punt and had 28 kicks downed inside the 20,” Dantonio said. “Mike has an outstanding leg, great placement and excellent get-off time. He’s an extremely poised player, who has been asked to do a lot for this team. He also has great hands, as he has displayed as our holder.”
BIG TEN MEDIA