Michigan State's Marcus Rush, the ex-Michigan recruit, looks to stop Denard Robinson again
Michigan State defensive end Marcus Rush was whistled for roughing the passer after slamming Robinson to the ground after a pass attempt in the fourth quarter of the Spartans' 28-14 win last season.
Robinson, who did not return to action in that game, gets one final chance to beat Michigan State on Saturday, and the 6-foot-2, 250-pound Rush will be looking to bring the pressure once again.
"We know that he is a game-changer," Rush said after Michigan State's loss to Iowa. "We definitely need to make sure he doesn’t get out of that pocket, and we’ve got to make sure as a D-line especially that we squeeze that pocket and make sure that he knows there’s pressure there. And when he does scramble, we’ve got to get on our horse."
Rush, a redshirt sophomore from Cincinnati who has 23 tackles and a sack this season, was once a Michigan recruit. He made multiple trips to Ann Arbor, but ultimately did not develop a deep connection with Wolverines coaches.
"Coach (Rich) Rodriguez was there at the time, and he was just sitting there telling me all the stuff you want to hear," Rush said on coach Mark Dantonio's radio show last week. "You could kind of tell I didn't belong."
He said he could tell he had a better relationship with Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi when during visits, he couldn't seem to leave the coach's office.
Now it's Rush who is among those assigned the responsibility of stopping Robinson by Narduzzi. The Spartans have been successful at containing the running quarterback in the past, and last season they held him to 123 passing yards and 42 yards rushing, sacking him four times while also committing numerous personal fouls.
"Getting pressure on the quarterback with four, five and six (defenders) is something we've got to do better," said Narduzzi, who expects to get defensive tackle Tyler Hoover back after missing four weeks with a calf injury. "It was a key to our victory last year. And if we don't get it this year, it might be a key to our loss."