Connor Cook, the winningest quarterback in school history, owns a 33-4 record (.891) as the starter, including a 22-2 (.917) mark against Big Ten opponents. The 33 wins are the second most among active starting quarterbacks in the NCAA FBS (Stanford’s Kevin Hogan with 34), and Cook’s .891 winning percentage is No. 1 (minimum 24 starts). Cook is 4-1 against AP Top 10 teams in his career and 7-3 against AP Top 25 opponents. His 37 career starts are tied
for second (with Jeff Smoker, 2000-03) in MSU history, trailing only Cousins, who made 39 career starts from 2009-11.
“Despite all of his previous success, Connor Cook is having his best season as a senior,” Dantonio said. “His leadership has been outstanding, and he’s really showcased his playmaking ability this season. He’s at his best in the tight games. Connor is 33-4 as our starting quarterback, including a remarkable 22-2 record against Big Ten opponents.”
Cook is one of five finalists for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, and he also earned semifinalist honors for the second year in a row from the Davey O’Brien Award (nation’s best quarterback) and the Maxwell Award (college player of the year).
Cook ranks among the Big Ten leaders in touchdown passes (tied for first with 24), passing efficiency (second with 146.7 rating), passing (third with 248.2 ypg.), and total offense (third with 254.7 ypg.). He became MSU’s all-time leader in touchdown passes after throwing four in the Nebraska game; he has 71 overall (Kirk Cousins threw 66 from 2008-11), which is tied for seventh in Big Ten history.
Cook’s last season is shaping up to be his most productive in the record book. With 24 TDs already in 2015, he is just two away from passing Cousins (25) for the most in a Spartan single-season. He established a school record by throwing for more than 300 yards in four consecutive games (367 vs. Rutgers; 328 vs. Michigan; career-high 398 vs. Indiana; 335 vs. Nebraska). His 10 300-yard passing games are tied for first in school history, along with Smoker. The four 300-yard passing games are tied for second most in an MSU single-season (record: Smoker with six in 2003). Cook is also nearing the career mark for most passing yards in school history. Cook, who is currently third with 8,793 yards, only trails Smoker (8,932) and Cousins (9,131).
The 6-4, 220-pound Cook earned his 28th career win in the victory over Purdue on Oct. 3, making him the winningest starting quarterback in school history. He passed Cousins’ school-record mark of 27 career victories (27-12 record from 2009-11).
The Hinckley, Ohio, native is ranked among MSU’s all-time leaders in touchdown passes (first with 71), total offense (first with 9,018 yards), 300-yard passing games (tied for first with 10), 200-yard passing games (second with 25), passing efficiency (third with 143.1 rating), passing yards (third with 8,793), pass attempts (third with 1,099), pass completions (third with 638), and pass completion percentage (ninth at .581).
Among active NCAA FBS quarterbacks, Cook ranks among the leaders in touchdown passes (sixth with 71), passing yards (eighth with 8,793), total offense (10th at 9,018 total yards), passing yards per game (22nd at 214.5 ypg.) and passing efficiency (26th with 143.2 rating).
Cook posted his seventh 200-yard passing game of the season and 25th of his career, hitting 19-of-26 throws for 248 yards and three touchdowns against Penn State on Senior Day in his final appearance at Spartan Stadium. He completed passes to seven different receivers, including TD strikes of 29 yards to Shelton, 29 yards to Burbridge and 6 yards to Price. With 243 total yards vs. PSU, Cook set MSU’s career record for total offense (9,018 yards; previous record – 9,004 yards by Cousins, 2008-11). He became the school’s all-time leader in total offense with his 16-yard completion to Shelton early in the fourth quarter.
Cook had his school-record streak of 36 consecutive starts snapped as he sat out the Ohio State game on Nov. 21 (shoulder).
Cook tied a career high with four touchdown passes at Nebraska to set a new Michigan State career record with 68, passing Cousins. Cook completed 23-of-37 passes for 335 yards and one interception along with his four TDs, and set a school record with his fourth straight 300-yard passing game (367 vs. Rutgers; 328 vs. Michigan; 398 vs. Indiana; 335 vs. Nebraska). He also tied Smoker for the most 300-yard passing games in a career with 10.
After setting a school record with 416 yards of total offense and throwing for a career-high 398 yards in Michigan State’s 52-26 win over Indiana in Week 8, Cook was named the Big Ten Co-Offensive Player of the Week for the first time in his career. Cook also set career highs for pass completions (30) and pass attempts (52) against the Hoosiers and tied his career best with four touchdown passes. He produced some of the top single-game passing totals in school history: completions (tied for sixth with 30), pass attempts (sixth with 52), passing yards (second with 398) and TD passes (tied for second with 4). The 398 passing yards were just two shy of MSU’s single-game record (Bill Burke, 400, vs. Michigan in 1999).
Cook became just the second Spartan starting quarterback to defeat Michigan three consecutive times (Cousins, 2009-11) in MSU’s 27-23 triumph at Michigan Stadium in Week 7. He threw his 60th career touchdown pass with a 30-yard pass to Macgarrett Kings Jr. in the third quarter and completed 18-of-39 passes overall for 328 yards. It marked Cook’s fifth fourth-quarter comeback for the Spartans (2012 Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl vs. TCU; 2013 vs. Ohio State in Big Ten Championship Game; 2014 Rose Bowl vs. Stanford; 2015 Cotton Bowl vs. Baylor; 2015 vs. Michigan).
Cook threw for 367 yards – the fifth-highest total in school history – and two touchdowns in the win at Rutgers in Week 6. His showing against the Scarlet Knights was named one of the “Great 8” performances of the week by the Davey O’Brien Award. With the score tied at 24 with 4:16 to play, Cook engineered a 10-play, 76-yard game-winning touchdown drive to lead MSU to a 31-24 win. His 29-yard completion on third-and-9 from the MSU 25 to Shelton kept the drive alive and led to LJ Scott’s 3-yard TD run with 43 seconds remaining in the game.
In MSU’s 35-21 victory over Air Force on Sept. 19, Cook matched his career high with four touchdown passes and was 15-of-23 passing for 247 yards. He connected three times for scores with Burbridge, who tied MSU’s single-game touchdown reception record against the Falcons and was named the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week.
Cook completed 20-of-32 throws for 192 yards and two touchdowns in the 31-28 win over then-No. 7 Oregon on Sept. 12 in Spartan Stadium. Cook improved his record to 4-1 as the starting quarterback at MSU against teams ranked in The Associated Press Top 10, which ranks tied for second most in school history (Steve Juday: six wins from 1963-65; Bill Burke: four wins from 1998-99).
**Infor provided by MSU Athletics**