• On defense, the Spartans return 20 letterwinners and eight starters from a unit that finished ranked No. MSU returns 100 percent of its passing yards from the quarterback position, 81 percent of its rushing yards and 76 percent of its receiving yards. • Dantonio's .657 winning percentage (65-34) in Big Ten games ranks first in MSU history (minimum 10 Big Ten games).
Out of a possible 143 starting positions last season over the course of 13 games, the Spartans are returning 107 of those starts (75 percent). He ranks second in school history in conference wins (Duffy Daugherty, 72), which also ranks 12th in Big Ten history.
Dantonio has 10 winning seasons in his 12 years in East Lansing, including a school-record 11 bowl bids.
• The second-winningest coach in school history with 107 victories, trailing only Hall of Famer Duffy Daugherty (109), Dantonio also ranks first in program history in conference winning percentage (.657, 65-34 record, minimum 10 games); tied for first in AP Top 25 finishes (seven); second in Big Ten wins (65), home wins (63) and AP Top 25 wins (21); and fifth in overall winning percentage (.677).
• Michigan State is in the midst of its winningest decade in school history based on total wins, as the Spartans are 85-34 (.714) since the beginning of the 2010 season. • Following the 2018 season, Dantonio announced a restructuring of his coaching staff for the 2019 campaign.
The duo has started 29 consecutive games alongside each other, dating back to the 2016 season, and the streak will continue into 2019. Prior to Dantonio's arrival, MSU had not recorded an 11-win season in its history, and had just two 10-win seasons (1965, 1999).
Filling in for the injured Lewerke, compiled a 2-1 record as the starter. In the win over Rutgers, Lombardi was 19-of-43 for 173 yards with one TD and one interception.
He was named the Big Ten Co-Freshman of the Week after leading the Spartans to a 23-13 victory over Purdue on Oct. Lombardi threw for 318 yards against the Boilermakers and completed 26-of-46 passes, including two touchdowns (11 yards to Darrell Stewart in second quarter; 48 yards to in fourth quarter). Lombardi played quarterback in seven games (eight games overall; punted once in an emergency situation at Arizona State).
• The Spartans return five seniors on defense who have earned All-Big Ten honors in their careers, including first-team All-American and Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year has led the team in tackles the past two seasons (100 in 2017, 102 in 2018) and returns for his third year as the starting middle linebacker. • Dantonio led the Spartans to the 2015 Big Ten Championship with a 16-13 victory over previously undefeated and fourth-ranked Iowa.
Both Bachie and Willekes have earned numerous preseason All-America accolades and have been named to multiple award watch lists. It marked Dantonio's third Big Ten Championship (2010, 2013, 2015), establishing a school record (previous: Daugherty and George Perles with two each).