It wouldn’t have happened without the stellar play from several Spartan underclassmen gaining valuable reps in the second half they will need to be ready after this years senior class departs.
Senior safety Kurtis Drummond was encouraged by the growth he saw out of the first and second year players.
”You see younger guys growing,” Drummond said. “That's one thing you want to be able to do, is bring guys along with you. That's something we've done on defense, is pull guys along.”
One of the backups who performed well was redshirt freshman defensive end Demetrious Cooper. Cooper had two tackles and one pass break up in relief duty after senior defensive end Marcus Rush came out with an injury momentarily.
”He's going to be a great football player for us in the future,” defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi said. “I still have to see the tape, I know he had a bust at the end but he's going to make those mistakes because he's still a baby.”
True freshman linebacker Chris Frey also chipped in with two tackles for Michigan State. Coach Mark Dantonio talked about the experience Frey and redshirt freshman linebacker Riley Bullough have gained this year.
”There is nothing like game experience,” Dantonio said. “Chris lost the edge on a blitz where he probably could have came up on a sack. Well, the next time he'll be better.
”Riley's played a lot of significant snaps for us this year and I think that's going to enhance his abilities and his future play as well.”
Bullough came up with a diving interception at the end of the first half to go along with two tackles and true freshman defensive tackle Malik McDowell made his presence felt in the trenches in the second half.
”Riley [Bullough] got a lot of reps today, and so did Malik (McDowell),” Narduzzi said. “When you look at our defense overall, there aren't a lot of seniors.
“We're not going to lose much next year. We've been a good football team all year and will continue to be next year.”