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Friday, November 28, 2014


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Awards, popularity rising for MSU football after U-M win




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Senior linebacker Denicos Allen tackles Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner during the game Nov. 2, 2013, at Spartan Stadium. MSU defeated Michigan, 29-6. Danyelle Morrow/The State News



The honors are rolling in for the MSU defense following a historic 29-6 pounding of Michigan in which the Wolverines were held to a record-low -48 rushing yards and their lowest point total against the Spartans since 1967.

MSU’s fifth win in the last six rivalry contests gave it a boost in the polls as well. The Spartans jumped to No. 18 from No. 24 in the Associated Press poll, from No. 24 to No. 19 in the USA Today coaches poll and moved up from No. 22 to No. 17 in the BCS standings.

For his team-high nine tackles, including three for loss and two of MSU’s seven sacks, senior linebacker Denicos Allen was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week and became the second Spartan this season honored as the Walter Camp Football Foundation National Defensive Player of the Week (sophomore defensive end Shilique Calhoun earned it in week two for his two defensive touchdowns against South Florida).

“Denicos Allen is a phenomenal football player,” defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi said in a release from the athletics department.

“He has a great attitude and portrays the toughness we expect out of our ‘Spartan Dawgs.’ He missed half of practice last week, with a minor injury, but you sure couldn’t tell based upon his performance.”

A three-year starter, Allen leads MSU in tackles with 57 and tackles for loss with 11. His five sacks are the second-most on the team.

For orchestrating the blitzkrieg of U-M, Narduzzi also was recognized by being named National Coordinator of the Week by Athlon Sports. His defense maintained its No. 1 national ranking, putting Narduzzi squarely in the mix for the Broyles Award, given to the top coordinator in the country at season’s end.

Calhoun didn’t miss out on the honors, either, for his six tackles and 2.5 sacks against the Wolverines, as he was nominated for the Capital One Cup Impact Performance of the Week. Visit http://espn.go.com/espn/feature/index?page=caponecup to vote for Calhoun as the weekly winner until noon Wednesday. As of about 1 p.m. Monday, Calhoun was in last place with 11 percent of the vote.

“Obviously big points in the game probably is our ability to stop the run and pressure the quarterback, which is probably an understatement,” head coach Mark Dantonio said Sunday. “Our third quarter stop after the turnover and then the fourth quarter pick by Darqueze Dennard. But our defense played outstanding, continued the pressure throughout the night. Great game plan. I think our players believed in it and they played extremely well.”


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