Michigan State’s secondary has called itself the No Fly Zone all season and three of four starters had at least one interception entering Saturday’s game against Minnesota.
Only sophomore cornerback Trae Waynes hadn’t registered an interception – and his teammates let him know this had to be the week, so he responded with a pair of picks.
“It was actually kind of ironic,” Waynes said. “Everybody said it’s my turn and even coach (Harlon) Barnett said I should be getting one this game with how we game planned everything. Darqueze (Dennard) made it known he wasn’t going to leave Spartan Stadium without me getting a pick here so it was pretty funny.”
Waynes got his first career interception midway through the first quarter, when he pulled down a Philip Nelson pass on third down.
”I saw what we practiced,” Waynes said. “They basically did what we knew they would and it worked out.”
He then reeled in another one just before halftime to give the Spartans a chance to score before the half.
His senior counterpart Dennard said seeing him get a pair of interceptions was a big relief.
”I’ve been telling this guy since he got here and I’ve been watching him that he is going to be the best corner to ever play here,” Dennard said. “I told him throughout this week like, ‘Bro, you gotta get an interception on my senior day. You gotta get one.’
”When he got the first one, I was excited and I sat on the bench and told him, when you get an interception they come in bunches. It just so happened he got another one.
”It’s a great feeling for me. I know it’s a great feeling for him and I think the rest of the DBs feel the same way that he got the monkey off his back.”
Defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi said he hopes that Waynes is sitting in Dennard’s shoes in a couple seasons: Being a Jim Thorpe Award finalist, given to the nation’s top defensive back.
”We’ve talked about it all year and making plays and that guy’s a great corner and he is going to be a great corner in the future,” Narduzzi said. “Hopefully in a couple years he is a Thorpe finalist as well.”