Saturday’s performance by the Michigan State defense proved to be a Jekyll & Hyde performance. However, in the end Spartans defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi knows his defense made the plays needed to come away with a win.
“Another crazy win,” said Narduzzi. “Really happy with the way the defense played in the fourth quarter. The first three quarters looked out of sync. The most average performance of the year. It's good, we've been very consistent for eight games coming in, we just didn't play very good today in the first three quarters. We've got some guys banged up and we'll have some guys back for next week… Trenton Robinson played a heck of a game with two huge picks, obviously the one at the end which is the game winner. We'll win in any way we can.”
Coming off a win over Iowa, Narduzzi knew the Golden Gophers had a major weapon in quarterback MarQueis Gray.
“The guy has got the ability to make plays,” Narduzzi said about Gray. “He's a big guy and he's hard to get down and he made plays today. Give them credit, they beat Iowa a week ago. Coach Kill has got them playing hard, you see them play with a lot of emotion, kind of like that blue-collar type team like we are. They're going in the right direction, that's for sure, and MarQueis Gray is a great player. He's got a good arm and we knew that coming in. He made plays and sometimes we couldn't tackle or we were right there and he made plays. We'll look at the tape, but MarQueis Gray is a good football player and that's a good football team.”
One thing Narduzzi was happy about on the day was how senior captain Trenton Richardson stepped up when needed.
“He's our captain on defense and great players make big plays in big moments,” said Narduzzi about the senior. “We needed someone to step up and that's what we talked about in the fourth quarter...Trenton's an emotional guy and he gets everybody going.”