EAST LANSING - Michigan State sophomore starting tailback Javon Ringer is improving and could see limited action for the Spartans on Saturday against Pittsburgh.
Ringer was banged up in Michigan State's 52-20 win over Eastern Michigan, sat out the fourth quarter and missed most of MSU's tuesday practice session. He is still questionable for Saturday.
For Pittsburgh, guard John Simonitis and running back Larod Stephens-Howling are also questionable.
Making a name
Pittsburgh middle linebacker H.B. Blades was named Big East defensive player of the week after recording 14 tackles and recovering a fumble in the Panthers 33-17 win over Cincinnati to open conference play.
Blades, the son of former Detroit Lions great Bennie Blades says he still remembers hanging out in the Lions locker room with Hall of Fame inductee Barry Sanders.
"One thing always stood out (with Sanders), he was never arrogant. He was very quiet, very humble. But he played harder than anybody else on the field. You can't help but respect, admire a guy like that," said Blades.
For the Spartans, wide receiver Matt Trannon was named Big Ten offensive player of the week after breaking the school's all-time single-game receiving record with 14 catches against Eastern Michigan.
Elite quarterbacks become friends
Pittsburgh quarterback Tyler Palko and Michigan State quarterback Drew Stanton were both Elite-11 quarterback selections and have remained close since that time.
"Drew and I have become really good friends," Palko told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. "We have a real close relationship. We talk to each other every week and, actually, we just exchanged text messages a little bit ago this morning. We wished each other luck and I'm looking forward to seeing him Saturday."
Pittsburgh coach Dave Wannstedt says he is awed by the size of the Michigan State football team. "This size if the first thing, when you look at this football team. We will not play a team any bigger," Wannstedt said in his weekly press conference. "Their tight end is 6-7. Their one starting wide receiver, they list him at (6-6). Then, we know what kind of size they have on their offensive and defensive line. They are a massive, huge football team."
For Michigan State's John L. Smith avoiding Pittsburgh corner Darrell Revis is the best policy. Revis, who has returned interceptions for touchdowns in Pitt's first two games, is one of the nation's elite corners. He'll likely be matched up with MSU's record breaking wideout Matt Trannon.
"You'd like to not deal with him at all," Michigan State coach John L. Smith said. "With guys like that, you'd like to stay away from him as much as you can."
Stanton, Fields still on top
Michigan State's duo of quarterback Drew Stanton and punter Brandon Fields maintained their spots atop the Big Ten career charts for completion percentage and punting average.
Stanton completed 75 percent of his passes (24-of-32) against Eastern Michigan to boost his career completion percentage to 66.1 percent and maintain his lead on Iowa's Chuck Long, who stands second at 65.0 percent (from 1981-85). Stanton also increased his career passing efficiency rating to 146.6, which ranks third behind Ohio State's Joe Germaine (151.0 from 1996-98) and Michigan's Elvis Grbac (148.1 from 1989-92).
Fields recorded only one punt against Eastern Michigan, placing a 29-yard boot inside the 20-yard line, but still ranks first with a career punting average of 45.7 per kick, just percentage points ahead of Iowa's Reggie Roby (45.5 from 1979-82).