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

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Sep 4, 2015; Kalamazoo, MI, USA; Western Michigan Broncos quarterback Zach Terrell (11) is sacked by Michigan State Spartans defensive end Shilique Calhoun (89) during the 2nd half of a game at Waldo Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Shilique Calhoun and the rest of the Michigan State defensive line, and front-seven for that matter, have played exceptionally well this season. This might be kind of a no-brainer pick, as I try to steer clear of those, but with Central Michigan’s Cooper Rush dropping back, on average, 43 times per game, Calhoun needs to spearhead a strong pass rush.

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On the season, Calhoun has gotten double-teamed a number of times as it seems like opposing offensive lines key on him and make him work for the pressure more often than not.

Calhoun has eight total tackles and 2.0 sacks through three games, putting him on pace to finish with 32 tackles and 8.0 sacks by the end of the year. In my opinion, he should blow past those expected numbers, especially while going up against a very weak Central Michigan offensive line.

Expect Michigan State to blitz more in this one and put pressure on Rush, but that has to start with the success of Calhoun around the edge. If he can help collapse the pocket and force Rush to be uncomfortable on the run, he will have done his job.

Don’t be shocked if Calhoun finishes with five tackles and 2.5 sacks.

Next: 2. Shane Jones