Michigan State fans know all about the long line of Bullough’s to wear the Green and White over the years. However, there is also a side of Riley Bullough family, his mother’s side, to have worn the monogram of Notre Dame as grandfather Jim Morse and uncle Jim Morse both played out their college careers in South Bend.
Does this make the game between the Spartans and Irish extra special?
“Yeah, I think it definitely does,” he said. “Growing up, we'd go to Notre Dame games and the next week come to a Michigan State game. So we were always traveling. But it was a great time going to those games.
“My grandpa has a huge part over there. My mom went there. My uncle played there. So to be able to go down there and get a win against them in that environment, it means so much to the team. But I think for me it would especially mean a lot.”
While there might be a spilt within the family, Bullough knows where his family will be when the game gets started. However, he also can’t hide from liking the Irish fight song.
“My mom bleeds green nowadays, so she'll definitely be wearing the Spartan jersey and rooting us on,” he said.
The last time Bullough got a chance to play against the Irish was his red-shirt freshman season and mostly on special teams. However, he’s able to explain to those playing in their first edition of the game the importance each will have in the success of the team.
“You know, I try to tell them this is a huge game,” he said. “I think they sort of understand it, but they don't really fully understand the environment that we're going to be in. And I remember looking back at that game, Notre Dame was a physical, fast, violent team. Kind of the same things that we pride ourselves on, so we understand that. We need to do those things and we need to play our best football game to go down there and get a win.”
Bullough knows if the Spartans are to leave with a win the defense must step up against Irish quarterback DeShone Kizer. What has stood out about Kizer in watching film?
“I would say overall their offense is extremely athletic and they've got a lot of players,” he explained. “Kizer, he's an athletic guy, he can throw the ball but he can also take it and run. So to combat that, you've got to be fundamentally sound on defense. Everyone's got to do their job. They've got to do it every single play for the entire game.
“So that's what we're preparing to do this week in practice. So I'm sure our coaches will be all over the scout team to try to give us the best look, and that's kind of how we're going about it.”