Air Force vs Michigan State: 5 Spartans who will be X-factors

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Sep 12, 2015; East Lansing, MI, USA; Oregon Ducks wide receiver Charles Nelson (6) runs with ball after the catch against Michigan State Spartans defensive end Shilique Calhoun (89) during the 2nd half of a game at Spartan Stadium. MSU won 31-28. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

5. Shilique Calhoun, DE

When Shilique Calhoun decided to return for his senior season, fans and coaches, alike, were jumping for joy knowing that one of the best defensive linemen in the country would be once again anchoring this Spartan defense.

Must Read: MSU Football: Game by game predictions for 2015

Calhoun isn’t off to the hottest start this season, but he’s playing well enough to help his fellow d-linemen get in on the action in the backfield. He’s causing double-teams and opening up opportunities for Malik McDowell, Joel Heath and Lawrence Thomas to get to the quarterback for a sack.

Michigan State leads the country with 11 sacks in two games, and he’s a big reason why, even recording 2.0 of his own. Defensive linemen don’t record many tackles, so his stat line of four total takedowns and two sacks isn’t out of the ordinary.

The Spartans will rely on him to do what he has been over the last two weeks by causing havoc on the offensive line and drawing enough double teams that Air Force forgets that the other three top-tier defensive linemen even exist.

Although passing won’t be an issue in this one so not many sacks will be had, the Spartans’ run-stopping ability will start with Calhoun and company.

Next: 4. Vayante Copeland