Spartan Digest takes a glance at Michigan State's season opening opponent the Furman Paladins led by head coach Bruce Fowler.

Spartan Digest takes a glance at Michigan State’s first opponent of the 2016 the Furman Paladins led by sixth year head coach Bruce Fowler. Fowler enters the game with a career coaching record of 24-35.

The 120th season of Michigan State Spartans football will kickoff Friday night in Spartan Stadium when the No. 12/11 ranked Spartans welcome Furman out of the Southern Conference for a 7:00 p.m. start.  This is the first meeting between the two schools.

DATE FRIDAY, SEPT. 2
KICKOFF 7:04 P.M. EDT
LOCATION EAST LANSING, MICH.
STADIUM SPARTAN STADIUM (75,005)
SURFACE NATURAL GRASS
ALL-TIME SERIES FIRST MEETING
TV-WEB BIG TEN NETWORK / BTN2Go
RADIO SPARTAN SPORTS NETWORK

KEY POINTS

Michigan State is 98-21 all-time in home openers, including a 17-game winning streak that began in 1999 with a win over Oregon.  The streak is tied for the third-longest active streak in the nation.  Head coach Mark Dantonio is 9-0 in home openers since taking over the Spartans program.

The Spartans return a total of 48 letterwinners and 12 starters this season.  A total of 28 current Spartans return with starting experience.

Under Dantonio the Spartans are 33-12 against non-conference opponents, including a 25-2 record in Spartan Stadium.  The Spartans under Dantonio are also 24-1 in games against teams outside of Power Five conferences.

In season openers Dantonio has posted an 8-1 record at Michigan State and is 10-2 overall as a head coach.

The Spartans open the season ranked in both the Preseason Associated Press Poll (No. 12) and the Coaches Poll (No. 11).

Friday’s game marks just the sixth time in school history that MSU has played an opponent from the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision (FCS). The Spartans defeated Montana State, 44-3, in the 2009 season opener; Northern Colorado, 45-7, in Week 4 of the 2010 campaign; Youngstown State, 28-6, in the 2011 season opener; Youngstown State, 55-17 in Week 3 of the 2013 season and Jacksonville State, 45-7 in the 2014 season opener. Michigan State has outscored its FCS opponents, 217-40 (average score of 43-8), in the five previous meetings.

TEAM COMPARISONS

TEAM MICHIGAN STATE FURMAN
OFFENSIVE SCHEME MULTIPLE MULTIPLE
DEFENSIVE SCHEME MULTIPLE 4-3 MULTIPLE
STARTERS RETURN OFFENSE 3 6
STARTERS RETURN DEFENSE 6 7
RETURNING SPECIALISTS 3 3

RETURNING STAT LEADERS

FURMAN

RUSHING ANTONIO WILCOX 88 CARRIES / 375 YRDS / 1 TD
PASSING REESE HANNON 126-228-6 / 1,409 YRDS / 6 TDs
RECEIVING ANDREJ SUTTLES 43 REC 621 YRDS / 4 TDs
TACKLES CARL RIDER 105 TOTAL / 8 TFLs

MICHIGAN STATE

RUSHING LJ SCOTT 146 CARRIES / 699 YRDS / 11 TD
PASSING TYLER O'CONNOR 13-24-1 / 133 YRDS / 2 TDs
RECEIVING R.J. SHELTON 43 REC 503 YRDS / 4 TDs
TACKLES RILEY BULLOUGH 106 TOTAL


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