When it comes to what you’ll see on the field this weekend, Michigan State has tied a school record with 11 wins on the season, and they were perfect in conference play for just the third time in the program’s history.
They have one of the best defenses in the nation. In fact they are the top team in total defense, only allowing 237.7 yards a game. They have maintained that ranking for 12 straight weeks.
They have the number one rushing defense (64.8 yards a game), are 2nd in third down defense (opponents only convert 28.7 percent of the time), fourth in scoring defense (11.8 points per game), 9th in pass defense (172.9 yards a game), 11th in the number of turnovers gained (27), 17th in interceptions (16 picks), 18th in red zone defense, 36th in tackles for loss (6.6 a game), 38th in sacks (2.42 a game).
Go ahead and read those numbers again. They are impressive. Then consider this: In 6 of their 8 Big Ten games this season, Michigan State held their opponent scoreless the entire second half. The only exceptions were Indiana and Nebraska.
That defense is led by senior Darqueze Dennard, who is a finalist for both the Jim Thorpe Award, that goes to college football’s top defensive back, and the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, which is an honor bestowed on the top defensive player.
Meanwhile, the top tackler on the Spartans defense, with 83, is senior linebacker Denicos Allen. He also has 15 TFLs, likewise a team best.
Oh, and we have yet to mention two-time captain and scholar athlete Max Bullough. The middle linebacker is, in many ways, the beating heart of this unit.
Page 3: The Offense