Michigan State football will celebrate its Senior Day this weekend for their final home game of 2023 against the 5-3 Nebraska Cornhuskers. The battle of the trenches will be important if the Spartans want to come out victorious, and defensive line coach Diron Reynolds knows his guys have to prepare for an "old-school" offense that features a dual-threat quarterback.
"They do a really good job," Reynolds said. "Their quarterback is their gold right now. You see a lot of option-type plays, speed options and others of the sort, and they create a lot of gap opportunities for the quarterback. I think he does a really good job being patient behind the blocking. I think the offensive line does a good job despite the moving pieces in there."
It's been a long road at MSU for redshirt senior defensive lineman Maverick Hansen, who will be playing in East Lansing for the last time this weekend. While he has served as a rotational player for most of his career, his impact goes far beyond statistics.
"I'll take 100 Mavericks on my team," Reynolds said. "He's been a joy to coach. He's really on the details; he pushes guys to be great. He's the ultimate student-athlete. He's going to do everything on and off the field the right way. He's gonna push everyone around him to do things the right way. It's baffling to him when someone doesn't do something right on or off the field. I love that about him."
In his five years in the green and white, Hansen has seen a lot of ups and downs with the program. Amid a six-game losing streak, he knows just how big a win on Saturday could mean not just for him and his fellow seniors but for the younger guys on the team who are struggling dealing with adversity of this magnitude for the first time.
"It would mean a lot to get a win," Hansen said. "I feel like a lot of guys are sluggish right now. Not myself, though; I'm going to go out and play and do my best at the end of the day, but for the younger guys, it's tough because they're dealing with losing at this level for the first time. I've been on losing teams before, and you gotta just stick together and come out of it."
For the other line, redshirt senior offensive lineman J.D. Duplain has been playing for the green and white just as long as Hansen has. While he's not sure how it'll feel stepping out at Spartan Stadium for the last time, he knows that his emotions will be running high.
"I always want to win, and I always have high emotions for games," Duplain said. "For that emotional change, I can't say right now since I am not out there yet, but my mindset's going to be on winning a football game because it always is."
Kick-off is set for 12 p.m. this Saturday on FS1.
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