Embed from Getty Images In 2018 Michigan State football’s defensive line became the nation’s best run-stopping defense. Kenny Willekes emerged as an All-American. Raequan Williamsand Mike Panasiuk formed an impenetrable wall up the middle. The defensive line is very good, but there are questions.
For the Spartans defense to improve during the 2019 season they must find more depth to combat high-tempo offenses which is a major concern. So is generating more of a pass rush.
Michigan State’s front four held opponents to 77.9 yards per game on the ground, which was 17.2 yards fewer than the next closest run defense Mississippi State . That included limiting eight teams to fewer than 65 yards. The Spartans were so disruptive against the run that opponents averaged only 30.2 carries per game.
The Spartans need to find a pass rush plain and simple. The Spartans managed just 28 sacks all season, including just seven in the final six games. It does no good to stop the run, only to give it all back on a pass. That was a broken record last season.
Stopping the run only to give up a huge pass, the Spartans defense could not get off the field. It must change for Michigan State to find more consistency to their game.
If Michigan State can count on the offense to extend drives and score, if the Spartans defense can find a pass rush, they will be a force in the Big Ten race. If not the 2019 season will look an awful lot like last season.