|2006 Michigan State Spartans football|
|Conference||Big Ten Conference|
|2006 record||4–8 (1–7 Big Ten)|
|Head coach||John L. Smith|
|Home stadium||Spartan Stadium (c. 75,005 natural grass)|
|2006 Big Ten football standings|
|#2/2 Ohio State †||8||–||0||12||–||1|
|#8/9 Michigan ‡||7||–||1||11||–||2|
|#24/25 Penn State||0*||–||3||0*||–||4|
|† – BCS representative as champion |
‡ – BCS at-large representative
The 2006 Michigan State Spartans football team represented Michigan State University in National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) college football during the 2006 season. Michigan State competed as a member of the Big Ten Conference, and played their home games at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing, Michigan. The Spartans were led by fourth-year head coach John L. Smith. Smith had compiled a combined 18–18 record in his previous seasons at Michigan State, and he was fired after the 2006 season in which the team finished 4–8. The Spartans did, however, set the record for the greatest comeback from a deficit in college football history.
Michigan State teams during Smith's tenure were "known for their late season collapses". The Spartans started the 2006 season with a 3–0 record with victories over Idaho, Eastern Michigan, and Pittsburgh. The following week, Michigan State led Notre Dame, 37–21, in the third quarter, but surrendered 19 points to lose the game. The Spartans then lost all but one game on the remainder of their schedule.
On October 21, Michigan State traveled to Evanston, Illinois to face Northwestern. By the third quarter, Northwestern had extended its lead to a commanding 38–3. Michigan State gained momentum in the fourth quarter when Devin Thomas blocked a Northwestern punt, which was then returned for a touchdown by Ashton Henderson. Northwestern was forced to punt twice more and Michigan State capitalized on each possession with a touchdown, which tied the game, 38–38. Placekicker Brett Swenson made good the game-winning field goal with 0:13 remaining to play, and Michigan State won the greatest comeback in college football history.
After the record-setting victory, it appeared that Smith's job was temporarily secured, but the administration fired him shortly after a loss to Indiana the following week. The Spartans ended the season with four consecutive losses to finish with a 4–8 overall record and 1–7 against Big Ten opponents. In November, Mark Dantonio was hired as the replacement head coach.
|September 2*||12:00 PM||Idaho||Spartan Stadium • East Lansing, MI||ESPN+||W 27–17||70,711|
|September 9*||3:30 PM||Eastern Michigan||Spartan Stadium • East Lansing, MI||ESPN+||W 52–20||69,856|
|September 16*||12:00 PM||at Pittsburgh||Heinz Field • Pittsburgh, PA||ABC||W 38–23||47,956|
|September 23*||8:00 PM||#12 Notre Dame||Spartan Stadium • East Lansing, MI (Megaphone Trophy)||ABC||L 40–37||80,193|
|September 30†||12:00 PM||Illinois||Spartan Stadium • East Lansing, MI||ESPN+||L 23–20||71,268|
|October 7||4:30 PM||at #6 Michigan||Michigan Stadium • Ann Arbor, MI (Paul Bunyan Trophy)||ESPN||L 31–13||111,349|
|October 14||3:30 PM||#1 Ohio State||Spartan Stadium • East Lansing, MI||ABC||L 38–7||73,498|
|October 21||12:00 PM||at Northwestern||Ryan Field • Evanston, IL (Greatest comeback in college football history)||ESPN+||W 41–38||29,387|
|October 28||12:00 PM||at Indiana||Memorial Stadium • Bloomington, IN (Old Brass Spittoon)||ESPN+||L 46–21||36,444|
|November 4||3:30 PM||Purdue||Spartan Stadium • East Lansing, MI||ESPNU||L 17–15||65,398|
|November 11||12:00 PM||Minnesota||Spartan Stadium • East Lansing, MI||ESPNU||L 31–18||64,807|
|November 18||12:00 PM||at Penn State||Beaver Stadium • University Park, PA (Land Grant Trophy)||ESPN2||L 17–13||108,607|
|*Non-Conference Game. †Homecoming. #Rankings from Coaches' Poll released prior to game. All times are in Eastern Time.|
2007 NFL DraftEdit
The following players were selected in the 2007 NFL Draft.
|Drew Stanton||2||43||Quarterback||Detroit Lions|
|Clifton Ryan||5||154||Defensive Tackle||St. Louis Rams|
|Brandon Fields||7||225||Punter||Miami Dolphins|
- ↑ John L. Smith Records by Year, College Football Data Warehouse, Retrieved July 24, 2009. Archived July 26, 2009.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 Phil Steele's 2009 College Football Preview, volume 15, p. 66, Summer 2009.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Spartans stun Cats for biggest comeback in I-A history, ESPN, October 21, 2006.
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 Michigan State 2006 Schedule/Results, ESPN, retrieved July 24, 2009.
- ↑ Michigan State coach John L. Smith out after season, ESPN, November 1, 2006.
- ↑ Michigan State hires Dantonio to coach football team, USA Today, November 27, 2006.