Defense "didn't play Spartan ball"

MSU's top-ranked defense gives up season-high yardage against Nebraska. Players sound off on what went wrong and moving forward.

In building the nation's top-ranked defense, Michigan State put together an impressive stretch in October and into November in which it did not allow a touchdown.

From its game on October 5 against Indiana until Saturday, the Spartans went a span of 194:33 of game time without allowing an opponent in the end zone.

That came to a screeching half against Nebraska as the Cornhuskers scored four touchdowns in MSU's 41-28 win in Lincoln.

"We don't necessarily think about, ‘Oh, we haven't given up a touchdown in more than a month,'" senior linebacker Max Bullough said. "I hadn't heard that until today. I think it's weird when you're on the field and you haven't given up a touchdown in a while and then someone does and then they score another one and they score another one and you're sitting down during an extra point and that's something we're not used to."

Nebraska also did something no other opponent has done to MSU this season: Rush for more than 100 yards. It took less than a quarter for Nebraska to eclipse MSU's average yards rushing allowed per game (43) as it had 46 in the opening frame.

"I feel like we didn't play Spartan ball," senior linebacker Denicos Allen said. "We didn't play our defense that we've been playing all year. We just gave up plays that we can stop.

"We weren't executing as well as we have all year and the emotion wasn't there."

All in all, Nebraska posted the most yards in a game against MSU this season with 392 and tied Indiana for the most points with 28.

"We weren't feeling it (Saturday) and you could tell from the beginning that we weren't the team that played Michigan or that played South Florida," defensive end Shilique Calhoun said. "We weren't that team, but I'm pretty sure we were going to bounce back. …

"It was one bad game for us but I am sure we will come back strong for Northwestern."


Spartan Digest Top Stories