Michigan State vs Purdue: 5 Spartans who need to step up

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Sep 12, 2015; East Lansing, MI, USA; Oregon Ducks wide receiver Charles Nelson (6) evades a tackle from Michigan State Spartans safety Montae Nicholson (9) during the first quarter at Spartan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

1. Montae Nicholson, FS

Montae Nicholson is probably one of the most athletic players on the entire team. The problem is, it takes more than just pure athleticism to be a good football player. Nicholson has consistently missed tackles, taken poor pursuit angles, and has displayed poor eye control, often biting on the run too hard while an open receiver runs right by him.

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The true sophomore impressed last season, playing as a freshman in place of R.J. Williamson at boundary safety at times, in addition to special teams. He was named to the All-Big Ten Freshman First-Team and was talked about as a potential All-American candidate by other players before this season.

Nicholson was moved to field safety this year to replace the graduated Kurtis Drummond. Nicholson and Williamson were expected to form a lethal pair of safeties in the secondary with safety Demetrious Cox moving to fill a cornerback spot.

Now Montae is in danger of losing his job to Demetrious Cox, who moved back to safety to replace him during the Central Michigan game.

"Montae needed to play better,” Dantonio told reporters Sunday night."

Dantonio discussed the possibility of moving Nicholson back to boundary safety.

"“Montae has played more of a boundary safety-type position (in the past), which may be what he needs to play…I’m not sure, but we will look at that this week,” Dantonio said. “We need to have a guy playing better at that (field safety) position in a game, so we went in that direction and gave Darian Hicks a shot at the corner position and he played well. Cox played well at the safety position. We’ve got guys that can play back there.”"

Who do you think needs to step up in the Michigan State vs Purdue game? Let us know in the comments below.

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