If it’s true that a team plays like it practices, then the Michigan State defense should be very fast when it faces No. 3 Oregon’s supercharged offense on Saturday in Eugene. The Spartans have taken extreme measures to keep pace with the Ducks, who waddle through plays quicker than any team in the nation, including facing three offenses in rapid succession.
R.J. Shelton never pictured himself as the next Chris Gamble, but Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio apparently has. The speedy jack-of-all-trades is listed as a back-up cornerback for the first time in his career in addition to starting at wideout and kickoff returner for Friday's season opener against Jacksonville State in Spartan Stadium.
Shilique Calhoun has been named to 2014 preseason watch lists for numerous national awards, including the Bednarik Award (defensive player of the year), Lombardi Award (lineman of the year) and Nagurski Trophy (nation’s most outstanding defensive player).
Michigan State junior defensive end Shilique Calhoun, fifth-year senior free safety Kurtis Drummond and junior cornerback Trae Waynes have been named to the 2014 Bednarik Award Watch List, according to an announcement made Monday, July 7 by the Maxwell Football Club. The Bednarik Award has been presented to college football’s defensive player of the year since 1995.
The plays that went Michigan State's way during its 11-game win streak flipped allegiance. The resilience used to pull out critical victories along the way to Big Ten and Rose Bowl Championships last season wilted under the heat of the Oregon offense, defense and unseasonable weather in Autzen Stadium.
Saturday's matchup between Michigan State and Oregon features two of the NCAA's winningest programs this decade. Since 2010, Oregon has won 48 games, the most in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision, while MSU has won 43, which is the most in the Big Ten and tied for eighth in the FBS.
Last season, the members of Michigan State's defense chewed their gum in perfect rhythm. Middle linebacker Max Bullough knew what Denicos Allen and Taiwan Jones were thinking to his right or left because he was transmitting information to them telepathically. Bullough and Allen are gone, so the completely revamped linebacking unit will undergo especially close scrutiny.
Michigan State junior quarterback Connor Cook and fifth-year senior running back Jeremy Langford have been named to the 2014 Maxwell Award Watch List, according to an announcement made Monday, July 7 by the Maxwell Football Club. The Maxwell Award has been presented to college football’s player of the year since 1937.