It is clear that the change in trend of Michigan State’s rivalry with Michigan has not changed MSU’s attitude about the game.
Kurtis Drummond was one of five MSU players who joined Mark Dantonio in his weekly press conference on Tuesday. Drummond alongside fellow seniors Travis Jackson and Jeremy Langford answered questions after Mark Dantonio’s laughter filled Q&A.
2014 has been a transition year for Drummond, emerging into the senior leader and backbone of the Spartan secondary. It has been a season of ups and downs, with the most notable ‘down’ being a dropped interception that could have put away Nebraska before they nearly came back in early October. Drummond responded after that game with seven solo tackles and a deflected pass in MSU’s victory over Purdue, but did not have much of an impact at all last week vs Indiana.
Halfway through his final season at Michigan State, Drummond has 33 tackles and two interceptions. Leading up to the Michigan game this week, Drummond appears to be business as usual, and is not letting past performances dictate his preparation.
Last year, Drummond had eight total tackles and on deflected pass against Michigan. The Spartan defense as a whole completely shut down the Wolverines, holding them to -48 rushing yards, and just six points. When asked if the team had any hopes of a repeat performance against the Wolverines this year, Drummond was adamant that a new season means a new start, and that the 2013 Michigan game is a thing of the past.
“What we did last year means nothing this year. We have the same goals every week, what we want offenses to be held under and what we want to allow or give up as a defense,” Drummond said. “So this week I think everybody will come ready to play and everybody will be excited for practice, but there hasn’t been talk about last year.”
Drummond added that the goal for the Spartan defense is a maximum amount of 17 points scored by their opponent.
“Our weekly goal every week is 17 points or less,” Drummond said. “We feel like we have an explosive offense enough to be able to put up more points than that.”
Drummond said that the 17 point goal has been in effect for as long as he has been at Michigan State.
The last time Michigan scored a touchdown against the Michigan State defense was in Spartan Stadium in 2011, Drummond’s freshman year. While Drummond said that not letting in a touchdown is an obvious goal for every opponent, there is no reason to treat this game any different because of previous accomplishments.
This Saturday will be Drummond’s last time facing the maize and blue, and the Spartans are currently 17-point favorites. That would mean Connor Cook and the Spartan offense would need to score a minimum of 35 points to cover the spread, assuming the defense can achieve its 17-point or less goal.
The emotions will certainly be running high as the Michigan seeks to defeat their in-state rivals in 2014, so their fans and the media will stop talking about 2013.
Bradley Allen is a multimedia journalist for Impact Sports
Photo: David Defever/Impact Sports