Extra prep leads to big game for Jones

Michigan State linebacker was "locked in" during the week leading up to Michigan and it showed Saturday in his play.

Michigan State linebacker Ed Davis had seen Taiwan Jones locked in before as the Spartans prepared for Nebraska.

So when Davis saw a similar focus from Jones last week during a film session, he knew Jones would be dialed in against Michigan on Saturday.

”He was telling me, ‘Ed, come on, let’s go, we’ve gotta dominate’ and that’s what we came out and did,” Davis said. “He was locked in the whole day and I really fed off his energy and he made the whole defense go to another level. …

”When he brought that mentality today, it just made us go to a whole nother level and we played lights out and were flying everywhere.”

Jones finished with eight tackles, two tackles for loss, a sack and a diving interception in MSU’s 35-11 win. He said he put in extra time knowing it was a rivalry game and his last one.

“I felt like I was locked in all this week,” he said. “I knew this was for bragging right for the rest of my life, so I want to come out on top. That’s why I put in extra time this week.”

Jones said he felt like he played well against the run and the pass, as well as getting pressure on Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner.

”I thought Taiwan Jones played outstanding,” coach Mark Dantonio said. “I saw him go up in the air a few times and make some big plays. He was aggressively blitzing. … He was crucial to some stops.”

The day almost ended in the third quarter for Jones, as he was called for roughing the passer with targeting and was set to be ejected from the game. After the call was reviewed, it was overturned and Jones avoided the ejection and missing the first half of MSU’s next game – against Ohio State.

“I was really upset,” he said. “It almost brought me to tears. Luckily, the call wasn’t overturned, but they didn’t mark the targeting call. They say you fight to live another down and I changed it right there and beat the odds.”

Now with Ohio State coming up next for the Spartans, Jones said it is safe to assume he will be buckling down in the film room once again.

“I feel like if I put the extra time in each week like I did with those two games, I could do that much better,” Jones said. “I’m just going to continue putting in extra time in the film room and doing extra things to make sure I can play to the best of my ability.”

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