Defensive line: A-
I was very close to giving this group a B+ because of its inability to really slow down DJ Irons before his injury, but he was getting the ball out quickly and that wasn’t really on the line. He had the perfect game plan for beating this MSU defense and the line didn’t have the time when he was in the game.
When Jeff Undercuffler Jr. entered the game, everything changed.
Undercuffler wasn’t near the same caliber of athlete as Irons and was more of a pocket passer. That got him in plenty of trouble as he was sacked by the Spartans five times and now they lead all of college football in sacks with 12 on the season. While Undercuffler wasn’t nearly as effective against MSU’s defense, it wasn’t for a lack of talent (he had over 6,000 career yards and 59 touchdowns at Albany before transferring to Akron) but rather the line getting more pressure.
Jacoby Windmon followed up his fantastic opening performance with five total tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, a pass breakup at the line, and three (!!!) forced fumbles. He now has 5.5 sacks on the year and looks like one of the best defensive linemen in the country early on.
Maverick Hansen had five total tackles as well, Jeff Pietrowski added three tackles, Khris Bogle had a tackle for loss, Jacob Slade was quiet with one tackle, and Zion Young recorded his first career sack in the fourth quarter with two takedowns. Derrick Harmon also had 0.5 sacks.