In his most recent game, Michigan senior wide receiver Jeremy Gallon set a Big Ten record with 369 receiving yards in a victory over Indiana.
Saturday, he'll try to get open against a Michigan State defense that hasn't allowed a 300-yard passer since Nov. 27, 2010 -- a span of 36 games. The Spartans are third nationally this season in pass defense, allowing just 160.6 yards per game. They have given up eight TD passes and have nine interceptions in eight games, and opposing quarterbacks are completing just 46.4 percent of their passes.
Gallon likely will spend a lot of time covered by Michigan State's Darqueze Dennard, who has been the best cornerback in the Big Ten this season and is one of the five best senior cornerbacks in the nation. Dennard is No. 35 on NFL Media draft analyst Gil Brandt's list of the top 100 seniors nationally.
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Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi loves to blitz and has no issues leaving his corners in man-to-man situations. In a media opportunity this week, Gallon told reporters he is looking forward to that.
"I love it -- I love one-on-one matchups," Gallon said. "If you're one-on-one and if they're doubling someone else or whatever ... a one-on-one matchup, to me, is great."
Gallon is enjoying a breakout season. While he is not in Brandt's Hot 100 seniors list, Brandt nevertheless likes Gallon. "He's a matchup nightmare for bigger, slower defensive backs," Brandt said. "I see him as a third-day draft pick in May, but he has a chance to play better than his draft position in the NFL."
Gallon was considered an iffy pro prospect before the season. He lacks size (he's 5-foot-8 and 184 pounds) and hadn't been all that productive (84 receptions and eight TDs in his first three seasons). But through seven games this season, he has 45 receptions for 831 yards and seven TDs. He is most comfortable in the slot but also has been used on the outside in his career.
Gallon works well with Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner, and almost 45 percent of Gardner's completions this season have gone to Gallon (42.1 percent, to be exact). While Gallon was recruited by former coach Rich Rodriguez to play in a spread offense, he has proved to be a good fit for the Wolverines' pro-style attack; at the same time, he has proved to NFL scouts that he can play in that style of attack.
Dennard (5-11, 197) has been an important player since he stepped foot on Michigan State's campus in 2010. He is comfortable in press coverage and is a sure tackler with good speed. He has two interceptions (giving him eight for his career), seven pass breakups and 33 tackles this season, and he is quite familiar with Gallon.
"I've been seeing him since 2011 when we played them," Dennard told reporters this week. "He's a small guy. He's not that big, but he's a quick guy. He's fast, runs good routes, gets in and out. ... He's a good receiver.''
One issue for Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio is the officiating. In their one loss this season, to Notre Dame, the Spartans were called for pass interference four times and for defensive holding once.
"I think it's very important that ... things are held in check, that it doesn't go one way or the other," Dantonio said Tuesday at his weekly news conference, "and that's their [officials] responsibility because there's a lot of [offensive] holds that don't get called, too."