Bennie Fowler

Mich. St.’s Bennie Fowler won’t seek sixth season, signs with agent

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One of the most productive and experienced members of Michigan State’s receiving corps won’t be coming back to East Lansing, the school confirmed Sunday.

An MSU official, mlive.com‘s Mike Griffin reported, acknowledged that Bennie Fowler has decided not to seek a sixth season of eligibility and will instead make himself available for the NFL draft.  In making the decision officially official, Fowler has already signed with an agent, which would preclude a return to the Spartans even if he were to change his mind.

Because of various injuries, Fowler could’ve appealed for another year of eligibility based on medical grounds.  The school official stated that Fowler “did not believe he had a successful case,” Griffin wrote.

In 2013, the 6-1, 213-pound Fowler led the Spartans in receiving yards (622) and receiving touchdowns (six) while he was third in receptions (36).  This year marked the second consecutive season Fowler has led the team in receiving yards and touchdown catches.

They are Legends: Spartans clinch division, B1G trip to Indy

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And now it’s officially official.

The front-runner for the better part of a month or more, Michigan State finally put the finishing touches on its run at the Big Ten Legends division title with a punishing 30-6 win over free-falling — and winless in conference play — Northwestern.  The division title is the Spartans’ second in three years since the conference split the league in half beginning with the 2011 season.

It was also MSU’s seventh straight win since suffering its lone loss of the season against Notre Dame in Week 4, and, as has been the case more times than not, it was a dominating defense and a sprinkling of an ever-improving offense that led the way.

That Spartans’ defense, ranked at or near the top in nearly every major statistical category, held the limping Wildcats to a pair of first-half field goals while forcing three second-half turnovers.  Showing they are somewhat human, however, MSU allowed more than 300 yards of total offense for the second straight game; entering last weekend, they hadn’t allowed a single team to top that mark the first nine games.

Offensively, running back Jeremy Langford came within a yard of matching his career-high, rushing for 150 yards and scoring two touchdowns.  The junior’s career-high was 151 yards set a week ago against Nebraska.  Connor Cook was brutally efficient, completing 16-of-23 passes for 293 yards and a pair of touchdowns while playing a pick-free game.  One of those scoring tosses was an 87-yarder to Bennie Fowler.

The win officially ended any hopes Minnesota entertained of reaching the title game, which had involved the Gophers winning and the Spartans losing their last two.  Those two teams will wrap up the regular-season portion of their schedules in East Lansing next Saturday.

As for MSU’s opposition in the Big Ten title game in Indianapolis the first Saturday of December, that could (should) very well be decided in a couple of hours.  If Ohio State beats Indiana in its game that kicks off at 3:30 ET this afternoon, the Buckeyes will clinch the Leaders division.

If the inexplicable happens and the 4-6 Hoosiers snap the Buckeyes’ nation’s best winning streak, MSU would have to wait until next weekend to start game planning for a specific opponent.  Wisconsin, which lost to Ohio State earlier this year, would slide into its third straight conference title game if it wins out and the Buckeyes lose its last two.  An OSU win against either Indiana or Michigan in The Game would clinch the division for the Buckeyes and leave the Badgers on the outside looking in based on the head-to-head tiebreaker.

Michigan, Michigan State locked in defensive battle

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Perhaps as expected, the story of the afternoon in East Lansing has been the play of the defenses in a pivotal game in the Legends Division between in-state rivals Michigan and Michigan State. If you like defense, then the first half has not disappointed, with Michigan State taking a 13-6 lead in to halftime. The only touchdown of the half came late on a Connor Cook pass to Bennie Fowler in the final minute of the half. It broke a 6-6 tie that had been set-up by four field goals earlier in the half.

Michigan opened the scoring with a 49-yard field goal by Matt Wile on the games opening possession and Michigan State answered with a 40-yard field goal by Michael Geiger in the first quarter. The two teams tacked on one more field goal each in the second quarter before the Spartans finally found a way in to the end zone late in the half. Michigan State has also sacked Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner five times already.

The tempers h in the first quarter flared a little more as the game has progressed, with chippy play and smack talk picking up as the game’s moments become more critical by the down.

“We let the lion out of the cage,” Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio said during a halftime interview on his way to the locker room.

The winner of this game will take control in the Big Ten Legends Division, moving one step closer to the Big Ten Championship Game for a potential clash with Ohio State. With things looking bad for Nebraksa against Northwestern, the importance of this game in East Lansing could be increasing as a result.

Tweaked hammy could cost Michigan State its second-leading receiver

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Despite what the naysayers would lead you to believe, Michigan State actually does have an offense. They roll up yards by the inch and score sometimes and everything.

Unfortunately, one of its most productive and reliable weapons on that side of the ball is not exactly the picture of health.

Early in the second half of the Spartans’ win over Indiana Saturday, Bennie Fowler suffered what’s officially being described as a hamstring injury.  A “tweak,” in the technical medical jargon of the day.

Fowler didn’t return, and his availability for the Purdue game this Saturday is unknown at this time.

“You know, he tweaked his hamstring a little bit so we’ll have to see how he’s doing, so we’ll deal with that as we go,” head coach Mark Dantonio said Sunday night. “But we really don’t talk about injuries too much. It was just a tweak.”

That tweak could cost the Spartans a receiver who is currently second on the team in receptions (18) and receiving yards (238), and tied for the team lead with three touchdown receptions.