Sunday, February 25, 2024

Captain McKinney looks for return against Indiana; rushing defense continues to shine

September 30, 2003
Senior whip linebacker Mike Labinjo puts pressure on Iowa running back Fred Russell during Saturday's game at Spartan Stadium. MSU won 20-10. —

With its captain on the sidelines in street clothes, the MSU defensive line has made a name for itself this season.

It has rotated in 10 different players and stands second in the nation in rushing defense behind Ohio State, giving up just 54.4 yards per game. It also is first in the Big Ten with 22 sacks.

But the captain, junior Brandon McKinney, is now aiming for a possible return in the upcoming weeks, with an MRI on his injured ankle Monday.

The junior defensive tackle was injured in the opener against Western Michigan and hopes to be on the dress list this weekend for the Homecoming matchup against Indiana (1-4, 0-1 Big Ten), a team that features two freshmen, two sophomores and a junior on its offensive line. He still is not on the team's depth chart, but he might be ready to play at Illinois on Oct. 11.

"It's a small bone in the ankle and they just want to make sure he's ready to go," head coach John L. Smith said. "He's pain-free and really wants to go. He will plan on dressing this week.

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