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The Michigan State Defense was Non Existent When Mark Dantonio Arrived, Now it is Feared. Welcome Back Mean Green!

The MSU defense has been the subject of a great deal of talk after the Michigan game this past weekend. MSU’s defense was dominant. They gobbled up the Wolverine opposition unlike any Spartan team I remember. They were fierce, relentless and intimidating.

Many in the state and national media will have you believe MSU is a dirty football team having been flagged numerous times for late hits and personal fouls. Sophomore defensive end Will Gholston has been the subject of a great deal of criticism. Some of it is deserved. Some of it is not. While Will was picking up personal fouls for his twisting of Dennard Robinson’s facemask and the obvious jab he threw at UM right tackle Lewan, what was missed were the numerous times Lewan grabbed Big Will’s facemask and the other DEs that he faced.

It was a rivalry grudge match. The officials threw their flags accordingly and while everyone sits in their La-Z-boys and debates the Spartan penalties one thing truly stands out. Michigan’s most effective play of the day was the 15-yard personnel foul racked up by MSU defenders.

Robinson had only 40 some yards rushing. MSU had 90 plus yards in penalties making their penalty yards more important to the Wolverine offense than their own QB. That is an incredible stat. Without the penalty yards, Michigan would have looked even more putrid against MSU than they already did on Saturday.

Football is a game of toughness and emotion. I wasn’t pleased with the late hits and personal fouls, but it did set the tone for the game. MSU’s defense pushed Michigan around. UM’s QB’s ran for their lives to make sure the ‘Big Green Men’ didn’t mash them permanently into the turf.

Michigan State looked like the ‘Mean Green’ defenses of the 1960’s and somewhere far above the field I have to think that Charlie “Mad-Dog” Thornhill, Bubba Smith and George Webster were smiling and celebrating the demolition of those who sported a bad costume one can only compare to that of a swarm of mild mannered honey bees.

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Michigan State’s defensive front is unbelievable. They are full of rangy athletes that are designed to disrupt, dismember and create piles of unruly opponents. And piles they created… like chord wood stacked and ready to go for a long Michigan winter. That’s precisely the way the Wolverine offense played after MSU imposed their physical will on the Maize and Blue.

Remember all the preseason talk about MSU’s linebackers taking a step back with the loss of Jones and Gordon? Anyone think that Bullough and Allen are lesser players? I don’t. I will be one of the first on record to say that both players are an upgrade on the field for MSU.

Bullough is dominant. He is the best MLB in the Big Ten Conference and he’s only a sophomore. Allen is as well. Go through the Spartan defense and look at all the youth MSU is playing right now. You think it is going to get any easier for opponents the next couple seasons?  Hell no!! This MSU defense is going to be good for a long time.  The drubbings are just beginning.

MSU has a tough task ahead of them stopping Wisconsin this weekend. There is little doubt that Wisconsin’s offense is the best in the Big Ten. They ran over Nebraska’s Husker defense like an Axial Flow combine in 200 bushel corn. We’ll soon find out just how elite this MSU defense is and I for one cannot wait.

So while the whining continues about MSU’s play last Saturday, I think it is just another thing for Russell Wilson to think about before he takes the field on Saturday night. You can bet your sweet bippy that Wisconsin is running fire drills trying to figure out how to keep MSU’s DE’s and LB’s out of their backfield. Wilson hasn’t really taken any good shots this year. He’ll take some on Saturday. Count on it.

On another note, the uniform combination has been getting a great deal of debate as well. My take is quite simple; it is a great recruiting tool. Sure the MSU uniform has tradition that certainly must be honored, but let’s face it, it isn’t anything like UM, PSU or ND. If it helps us recruit and garner more media attention than I am absolutely fine becoming the Oregon copycat of the Midwest. If it helps MSU get more brand recognition, sells more merchandise and ultimately puts a higher quality product on the field than I’m good with it.