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Michigan State LB Denicos Allen leads dominant defensive effort

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Mike Carter / USA TODAY Sports
Michigan State DE Shilique Calhoun played a key role in the Spartans' win Saturday.

Michigan senior offensive tackle Taylor Lewan vowed early in the week that the Wolverines would not be bullied by Michigan State on Saturday. Unfortunately for Lewan and the rest of the Wolverines, the Spartans bullied them, stole their Halloween candy and made sure film-room sessions in Ann Arbor in the next few days would be hand-wringing affairs.

Michigan State simply pushed around Michigan, rolling to a 29-6 victory in a key Big Ten showdown, the Spartans' fifth victory in six games over their in-state rivals. The Spartans limited the Wolverines to 168 total yards, and Michigan "rushed" for minus-48 yards, a school record for fewest rushing yards.

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"I thought, obviously defensively, we played an outstanding football game," Spartans coach Mark Dantonio said. "They made a couple of plays but weren't able to run the ball. We had seven sacks and continued to keep pressure on throughout."

Michigan State's defensive standouts stood out in a big way. Senior outside linebacker Denicos Allen (5-foot-11, 218 pounds) -- whose lack of size is his only drawback -- led the Spartans with nine tackles and added three tackles for loss, including two sacks. Senior cornerback Darqueze Dennard (5-11, 197), No. 35 on NFL Media analyst Gil Brandt's list of the nation's top 100 seniors, had four tackles, an interception and a forced fumble. Senior strong safety Isaiah Lewis (5-10, 208) had four tackles and a pass breakup. Senior inside linebacker Max Bullough (6-3, 245) had five tackles and two quarterback hurries. And rising-star sophomore end Shilique Calhoun (6-4, 250) had a monster day, finishing with six tackles, 2.5 sacks and two quarterback hurries. He spent some of his day working against Lewan, seen as a sure first-rounder and one of the top tackles in the nation, but his damage came against senior right tackle Michael Schofield and the interior linemen.

Michigan State finished with seven sacks and seven quarterback hurries. Michigan had given up 12 sacks in its first seven games.

Asked afterward if Michigan was bullied, Lewan said "Yeah, I think that's exactly what it was. I think a lot of this game absolutely falls on this offensive line."

Mike Huguenin can be reached at mike.huguenin@nfl.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

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