Michigan State defense exceeds sky-high expectations in season opener

Posted at 11:31 PM, Aug 31, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-31 23:31:57-04

EAST LANSING, Mich. -- It's no secret Michigan State will lean upon its defense this fall as Mark Dantonio and the Spartans will have one of the best in the country. On Friday evening, however, the Spartan defense exceeded those high expectations even breaking a school record in rushing yards allowed.

"At the end of the game we didn't really even know," senior defensive tackle Mike Panasiuk said, "didn't know what the number was or we even had the school record until it was mentioned, so towards the end that was huge for us."

NorthPointe Christian alum Kenny Willekes recorded seven tackles for the Spartans with a sack and fumble recovery in the 28-7 win over the Golden Hurricane.

"I think the chemistry on our defense, you know, how much work we put in this off-season, you see how dominant we are when we play together," Willekes said, "we all do our job."

While Coach Dantonio was understandably pleased with defensive effort, he understands there are things to improve on.

"Defense playing like it did was huge," he added, "but then we stall out and we have a punt return and then we have a penalty, so those things are gonna happen, especially in the first game, but I guess when you look at it the biggest disappointment was the unforced errors."

The Spartans will look to ride their dominant defense into week two and hope to show that improvement on offense, as Western Michigan travels up from Kalamazoo next Saturday night.