Spartans defense finally shows up

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

Michigan State's defense figured to be the team's strength this fall, with eight starters back in the fold and Big Ten Preseason Defensive Player of the Year Greg Jones at linebacker.

But in the last three games, the Spartans have wilted, particularly in the secondary. They're turning it around today against archrival Michigan, bottling up the Big Ten's best rushing offense (240.2 ypg). Tate Forcier and the Wolverines have done nothing on the ground, racking up minus-5 rushing yards midway through the third quarter. Michigan State's front seven has bottled up Carlos Brown, and the other ball-carriers have been ineffective.

Michigan State continues to waste opportunities in the red zone, as Brandon Graham and the Wolverines defense tightens up. If the Spartans win this one, it'll be because of the defense.