Undefeated Michigan State is having their best season in a generation, rekindling warm memories of the glory days under Biggie “somehow your words just hypnotize me” Munn and Duffy Daugherty. Back then, the East Lansing school won five national titles during a 15 year span (1951-1966).
The last national title winning team was known for their “Kill Bubba” chant, glorifying all-world defensive lineman Bubba Smith; probably the most iconic player in Spartan football history.
Today, the Spartans again have a stellar defensive line. What’s scary for the rest of the Big 10 is how good they are despite being so young. Led by sophomore tackle Jerel Worthy, a potential top ten pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, and sophomore rush end Tyler Hoover, this unit is very deep yet still a ways away from reaching the their peak.
All-Everything Linebacker Greg Jones said it best:
“Those are my guys. They make me look good, make the linebackers look good, make themselves look good, getting four man pressure. Jerel Worthy’s been stepping up, all those guys are truly stepping up when the time is needed, and they’re tough-minded individuals,” the team’s leading tackler said.
The Spartans are 18th in the nation in scoring defense and their front seven has an impressive array of statistics, spread about across the board. Johnathan Strayhorn leads the team in sacks, the starter at the other end Colin Neely leads the team in tackles for a loss. Everyone is chipping in with some production, but no one has individual stats that pop out at you.
“Tyler Hoover’s getting better, he had a couple big plays today, William Gholston’s coming into his own, he’s only a true freshman. We’re continuing to build depth and other players will still be coming in and they’ll add to this football team, and that’s the exciting thing about it,” Head Coach Mark Dantonio said after State’s win at Northwestern.
Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net , a Midwest webzine. He is also a regular contributor to the Tribune’s Chicago Now network, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker Network, and Fox Sports.com
You can follow him on Twitter @thesportsbank