The NFL Draft Report is considered in the NFL to be THE ELITE analysis of players.  The find the details, the stats and the information that NFL teams crave.  They are in a way the MONEYBALL of football.  They did a nearly 100 page report on the Spartans Darqueze Dennard.  Dave Te Thomas sent that report to a few of us Michigan State beat reporters to let you all read and enjoy.  Before the report here is what he sent us:

As if there was any doubt, Darqueze has been named first-team All-American  by The NFL Draft Report. Our scouts also rated Darqueze as the second-best  defensive prospect eligible for the 2014 NFL Draft, based on pro potential. The  only defender rated higher is UCLA’s rush end Anthony Barr. I thank the Michigan  State Sports Information staff for providing our department  with in-depth info over the years. Dating back to Ken Hoffman’s days at  MSU, their office has been truly outstanding in making our scouts “look  smart.”
Since 1973, it has been my responsibility to provide the NFL Office, their  respective scouting departments and their public relations directors with  in-depth information on players eligible for the draft (all featured in the NFL  Draft Report provided to the media from the office prior to the draft)
I have attached Dennard’s profile to this email. On it, of particular  interest, is where Dennard’s man coverage skills rank with some of college  football’s elite throughout the years. There is so much more to a player’s  “game” and contributions that are not found in the normal stats charts. While  most secondary types are hailed for the almighty interception, as you will see  in the details on his charts, to call this “Air Traffic Controller” a lockdown  cornerback is an understatement.
Perhaps it is fitting it is the holiday season, for outside of Ebenezer  Scrooge, no player has been more “stingier” when it comes to man coverage skills  and denying any receiver of enjoying a “gift” that Darqueze has been this  season!

So read this amazing and thorough analysis of the human NO FLY ZONE Darqueze Dennard courtesy of Dave Te Thomas:  Merry Christmas!

DARQUEZE DENNARD

Cornerback

Michigan State University Spartans

#31

5:11.2-197

Dry Branch, Georgia

Twiggs County High School

 

OVERVIEW

Perhaps it is fitting that Dennard’s teammates used to call the Georgia native “Country” earlier in his Spartans career. Based on his stellar performance during his junior campaign that carried over into 2013, where he has been simply spectacular, the senior ended the university’s drought for producing All-American and will likely see him become one of the few defensive backs in Michigan State history to be selected in the first round of the NFL Draft.

 

Ever since Herb Adderley was a first round choice by both the Green Bay Packers and the New York Titans (American Football League; now known as the Jets) in 1961, no other Spartans defensive back has heard their name called in the opening round of the draft. Safety Brad Van Pelt was a first round choice by the New York Giants in 1973, but he was taken as a linebacker, a position he would play throughout his professional career.

 

In fact, since Adderley was chosen in the first round back in 1961, twenty-five other MSU players were first round choices. Since Adderley, the earliest a Spartans cornerback would be selected was James Burroughs, a third round pick by Baltimore in 1982. Only three other Michigan State defensive backs have been selected in the first three rounds since Adderley became a Packer – safety Bill Simpson (second round by the Los Angeles Rams in 1974), safety Tom Hannon (third round by Minnesota in 1977) and safety Eric Smith (taken by the Jets in the 2006 third round).

 

Dennard became Michigan State’s first legitimate first-team All-American selection among their secondary performers since Harlon Barnett garnered that honor in 1989. In the history of MSU football, the only defensive backs to receive All-American first-team accolades have been James Ellis (Spartans’ only defensive back to earn that honor twice – 1951/52), Allen Brenner (1968), Van Pelt (1971), Simpson (1973) and James Burroughs (1981).

 

Only one of eleven defensive backs to be placed on the 2013 Nagurski Award (nation’s best defensive player) Watch List, Dennard is the unquestioned “field general” of a secondary that is part of a squad that led the nation throughout all thirteen weeks in total defense (allowed just 248.15 yards per game). The Spartans also closed out the 2013 regular season schedule leading the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision ranks in rushing defense (80.77 yards per game) and opponent third-down conversions (.277; 53-of-191).

 

The media has attached the moniker of “Air Traffic Controller” on the senior cornerback and dubbed the territory that Dennard covers as a “No Fly Zone.” The Spartan defender has more than lived up to that lofty billing. Through thirteen games during his senior campaign, Dennard has had 111 passes targeted into his area, allowing just seventeen of those tosses to be completed (15.32%) for 91 yards, as he recorded fourteen passes defended (four interceptions, ten deflections) and rerouted/jammed his man coverage assignments away from 62 of those tosses (55.86%).

 

Those receivers produced an average of 5.35 yards per reception vs. Dennard, the lowest figure by any starting defensive back since the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) era began in 1998. He also held the opposition to an average of 0.8198 yards per pass attempt.

 

That pass attempt figure is the lowest ever recorded by any college player since The NFL Draft Report, a scouting information service, began compiling in-depth statistical reports for the league in 1968. In fact, only two other players went through an entire season allowing less that one yard per pass attempt.

 

Jim Marsalis of Tennessee State, held those receivers to just 0.969 yards per attempt in 1968. Marsalis was selected in the first round of the 1969 NFL Draft by the Kansas City Chiefs, earning league Defensive Rookie of the Year honors that season. He started for the Chiefs throughout the 1976 season before ending his career as a member of the New Orleans Saints in 1977.

 

Marsalis was later followed by Deion Sanders of Florida State in 1988 (0.935 yard average), as the two-time NFC Defensive Player of the Year made his professional debut with the Atlanta Falcons in 1989 after they selected him in the first round of the draft. He played for Atlanta until 1993, spending time with San Francisco (1994), Dallas (1995-1999) and Washington (2000) before ending his NFL career with Baltimore (2004-2005). That places Dennard is some very elite company, but the “ever so humble” Georgia native has only one goal in mind as his college career is coming to an end – helping the Spartans defeat Stanford in the 2014 Rose Bowl.

 

The cornerback often deflects praise to his team-mates, calling his success a “team effort.” That attitude has seen the quiet “lockdown” cornerback receive the national attention he rightly deserves in 2013. He is the first Michigan State player to win the Thorpe Award, which has been given to the nation’s best defensive back since 1986. The award was immediately accepted as one of the nation’s top collegiate sports honors. Winners are judged on their performance on the field, athletic ability and character.

 

Dennard was also the recipient of the Tatum Award, which is given annually to the most outstanding defensive back in the Big Ten Conference and is named in honor of the late Jack Tatum, a three-year starter from 1968-70 and two-time All-American at Ohio State. Known for his tenacity and fierce style of play, Tatum was named National Defensive Player of the Year as a senior, as the mainstay of the Ohio State defense for three seasons helped the Buckeyes compiled a 27-2 record and win the 1968 National Championship and two Big Ten Conference titles, in addition to playing in two Rose Bowls.

 

Dennard became the sixth Michigan State player to be named the best at his respective position by the Touchdown Club of Columbus, joining Brad Van Pelt (1972 Defensive Back of the Year), Carl Banks (1983 Linebacker of the Year), Lorenzo White (1985 Running Back of the Year), Tony Mandarich (1988 Offensive Lineman of the Year) and Charles Rogers (2002 Receiver of the Year). He also was named the Tatum-Woodson Big Ten Defensive Back of the Year and earned first-team All-Big Ten honors for the second year in a row (unanimous pick by the league’s coaches).

 

“Darqueze Dennard is a complete corner,” Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio said. “He’s an extremely competitive and gifted athlete. Darqueze has great ball skills, out-standing tackling ability, remarkable change of direction and plays the deep very well. He really has been a cornerstone of our defense for the last three years.”

 

“I’m awfully proud of the way Darqueze Dennard has played not only this season but throughout his entire career,” Spartans assistant head coach/defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi said. “He is coached by the best defensive backs coach in the country, in Harlon Barnett, and without a doubt, Darqueze has turned out to be the best defensive back in the country. The best way to describe him is fast, physical and smart. Plus, he has the ability to make big, game-changing plays.”

 

The Spartans’ rise to prominence on the defensive front coincided with Dennard’s elevation to the starting lineup during his sophomore campaign. Michigan State had ranked 60th nationally vs. the pass (220.08) and 43rd in total defense (353.77 ypg) during the Twiggs County High School recruit’s true freshman season that saw the cornerback limited to just six games and two starting assignments, due to knee injury issues.

 

In 2011, Dennard took over “field” cornerback duties, starting eleven games, as MSU finished 11th in the nation vs. the pass (176.93 ypg) and led the Big Ten Conference, in addition to ending up sixth in the FBS by yielding just 277.43 yards per game. In the two contests that Dennard sat out due to injuries, the Spartans surrendered the second- and third-highest yardage totals for the schedule (415 vs. Minnesota and 370 vs. North-western).

 

With Dennard in the lineup that year, Michigan State’s defense held the opposition to under 200 yards in three contests, including a low of 48 yards vs. Florida Atlantic. That season, he not only defended six passes, but also rerouted/jammed his pass coverage assignments away from 30-of-62 tosses targeted into his area. He recorded seven touchdown-saving tackles, set up a scoring drive after blocking a field goal and killed twenty more possessions by delivering the final tackle on those series.

 

The best was yet to come, as Dennard, a first-team All-Big Ten Conference selection as a junior, did more than enough on the field to garner All-American consideration. He started all thirteen contests, pacing a squad that ranked ninth nationally in both pass defense (175.77 ypg) and scoring defense (16.31 ppg), in addition to again leading the conference while finishing fourth in the nation with an average of 274.38 yards per game in total defense.

 

Dennard established himself as perhaps the hardest-hitting defensive back to wear a Big Ten Conference team uniform since the days of Ohio State’s Jack Tatum (1967-70) and Michigan’s Heisman Trophy winner, Charles Woodson (1995-97). Evidence to back that claim was his dominance as a shutdown cornerback, as he allowed only 18-of-91 passes targeted into his territory (19.78%, the lowest completion percentage allowed by any starting cornerback in the FBS in 2012), as opponents managed averages of only 8.39 yards per completion and 1.66 yards per attempt.

 

Dennard recorded an incredible 33 third-down stops, adding two more on fourth-down snaps during his junior season. He delivered 22 of his 52 hits inside the red zone, posting four of his stops behind the line of scrimmage. He also produced nine touchdown-saving tackles, racing out of his assigned area to make those crucial stops after opponents had eluded other MSU defenders. The hard-hitting cornerback also caused his coverage assignments to drop five of the balls intended for them.

 

The 2013 All-American and All-Big Ten Conference first-team selection was also a finalist for the Nagurski Award (defensive player of the year). With only the Rose Bowl remaining to be played, he has collected 59 tackles through thirteen contests of the regular season schedule, firmly entrenching himself as the best “shutdown” pass defender in the nation.

 

Taking over “boundary” cornerback duties after starting at the “field” position the previous two years, Dennard’s keen field vision and explosive closing speed has seen him deliver nineteen touchdown-saving tackles, as he often came out of his territory to make those plays when opponents managed to elude other Spartans defenders. He has produced a total of 43 third-down stops (36 vs. the pass), five more on fourth-down snaps and registered 23 hits inside the red zone, including thirteen on goal-line stands.

 

 

 

How Dennard ended up in a Michigan State uniform was a complete “accident.” While competing as a defensive back and wide receiver at Twiggs County High School, the two-way performer was lightly recruited, drawing some interest from Oklahoma State, Wake Forest, Middle Tennessee State and Utah State, with MTSU the only institution to offer him a scholarship during his prep senior season.

 

Michigan State recruiter Dave Warner was trying to attend a game in Vienna, Georgia, where present Spartans wide receiver Keith Mumphrey was scheduled to play for Dooley County High. Somehow, Warner “zigged instead of zagged” and arrived in Dry Branch, Georgia, population 2,049. He saw a young cornerback playing for Twiggs County and made note. He later returned to see Mumphrey’s team take on Dennard’s during the 2009 schedule and came away impressed.

 

Warner was so impressed after intently evaluating the player shadowing Mumphery. The next day, Dennard received a phone call asking him to visit Michigan State. Soon after, MSU coach Mark Dantonio offered the Georgia native a scholarship. “God’s work,” the cornerback recalls.

 

Four years later, Dennard is the unquestioned leader of one of the elite defensive units in college football. Many scouts are predicting that he will be drafted much earlier than his older cousin, former Nebraska cornerback Alfonzo Dennard, who was taken by the New England Patriots in the seventh round of the 2012 draft.

 

At the Big Ten Conference football media day function prior to the 2013 season kicking off, Dennard recalls his decision to become a Spartan and the “growing pains” he experienced earlier in his career. “I never dreamed I’d get a chance to play in the Big Ten.” Nor did the player, whose teammates used to call him “Country,” imagine he would be dressed in suit and tie and representing his school at the Big Ten’s premier publicity event.

 

“I was rough around the edges when I first arrived,” Dennard said. Michigan State middle linebacker Max Bullough agreed, calling him shy, quiet and often out of his element.

“But Darqueze has changed a lot,” said Bullough, another All-Big Ten pick. “He’s got an unbelievable amount better at football and socially, too. He’s more open. He’s able to handle the media. He’s an unbelievable athlete. He’ll never cause trouble. He’s never out at night or has an issue. He is there to work, do his job and win football games.”

 

One of Dennard’s chores recently has been to stay in touch with cousin Alfonzo. He has been picking Alfonzo’s brain for tips on preparing to play in the NFL. “I’ve talked to Alfonzo about it and with guys from Michigan State who made it,” the cornerback said. “Basically, they say to work hard and don’t think too far ahead. Those guys have told me I’ve got the talent to play at that level. Just play hard and don’t change nothing.”

 

Another place Dennard can go for NFL advice is to his position coach, Harlon Barnett, who was an All-American at Michigan State in 1989 and went on to a seven-year pro career with Cleveland, New England and Minnesota. “Not too many coaches were All-Americans,” Dennard said. “Coach B has been a great influence on me with all the values he has instilled.”

 

Barnett can thank MSU’s recruiter Dave Warner for getting Dennard to commit to becoming a Spartan when he signed his national letter of intent to attend Michigan State on January 28th, 2010. Prior to his arrival in Michigan, the Georgia native lettered in foot-ball, basketball and track at Twiggs County High School. The two-way performer for grid-iron head coach Dexter Copeland, Dennard received just a two-star prospect status from Rivals.com as a 170-pound senior.

 

Dennard lettered all four years in football, but he began to realize his emerging football skills during his junior season in 2008. He earned Atlanta Journal-Constitution and GSWA All-State honors as a wide receiver, leading the Middle Georgia Class A region in total receptions (61), receiving yards (923) and touchdown catches (17). That year, he hauled in a career-best 18 tosses for 255 yards vs. Wilkinson County and also featured seven grabs for 118 yards vs. Wilcox County.

 

As a senior in 2009, Dennard led the Cobras to an 11-2 record, capturing the Class 2A Region title, as Twiggs County scored 468 points and gave up just 119. The two-time All-State selection on offense, he was named to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution All-State team as a defensive back. The Georgia Sports Writers Association awarded him honorable mention All-State accolades at defensive back, in addition to receiving All-Middle Georgia recognition as a kick returner.

 

During his senior season, Dennard pulled down 40 passes for 502 yards and eleven touch-downs to guide his squad to the state quarter-finals. On defense, he returned two of his nine interceptions for touchdowns, adding 50 tackles. He also scored twice while averaging 27.2 yards as a punt returner, picking up Class A Super 11 Team honors from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Georgia High School Football Daily.

 

At the conclusion of his Cobras’ career, Dennard played in the 2009 Georgia Athletic Coaches Association North-South All-Star Game, where he scored on a 48-yard reception in the third quarter. In addition to his gridiron success, he lettered in basketball for coach Dwayne White. In track, he recorded a top time of 10.88 in the 100-meter dash at the 2010 Georgia High School Association 2010 Outdoor Championships. He would finish second in that event during the final heat, clocking at 10.933.

 

While most draft analysts have ranked Dennard as one of the top five cornerbacks eligible for the 2014 draft, The NFL Draft Report has provided the 32 league scouting departments with further evidence to back up their claim that the Spartan is not only the “most complete” defensive back in the collegiate game, but also rank him as one of the top ten overall best players in the game (see Comparison Charts listed after Dennard’s player statistics and performance charts).

 

Their research/statistical department cite the Michigan State senior’s all-around play since the beginning of the 2012 season as “proof positive” to back up their claim. During that span of twenty-six games, the versatile defender has had 211 passes targeted into his area, as opposing quarterbacks completed 35 of those tosses (16.59%) for 242 yards and just two touchdowns, averaging 6.91 yards per reception and 1.15 per pass attempt.

 

CAREER NOTES

Dennard has appeared in 43 games for Michigan State, starting his last 39 appearances – 26 at “field” cornerback and thirteen others at the “boundary” position…Posted 164 tackles (105 solos) that included a 2-yard sack, nine stops for losses totaling 20 yards and five quarterback pressures…Caused two fumbles and recovered another…Deflected twenty passes and intercepted ten others for 125 yards in returns (12.50 avg), including one touchdown…Made eight tackles for the kickoff coverage unit, including a pair of touchdown-saving stops…In 43 contests, Dennard has had 286 passes targeted into his territory, as the opponents completed 60 of those tries (20.98%) for 564 yards and three touchdowns, an average of 9.40 yards per reception and 1.97 yards per pass attempt…In pass coverage, he not only registered 30 defended passes (twenty break-ups and ten thefts), but also rerouted or jammed his main coverage assignment away from 151 other tosses (52.80%), as he was credited with twenty-three touchdown-saving tackles, six stops-for-loss and took down four receivers at the line of scrimmage for no gain, yielding 33 first downs, but he also recorded 93 third-down stops and five more on fourth-down snaps vs. the passing game…As a junior, Dennard allowed just 1.66 yards per pass attempt, leading the nation’s starting defensive backs by holding opponents to just a 19.78 pass completion percentage into his targeted area (18-of-91 attempts)…As a senior, he  limited his coverage assignments to an average of just 0.8198 yards per pass attempt (17 completions of 111 targeted throws for 91 yards), the lowest figure by a major college cornerback since Deion Sanders of Florida State held opponents to just 0.935 yards per attempt in 1988 (including bowl game)…Since 1968, the only other defensive back in college football to limit his opponents to under one yard per pass attempt in a season was Jim Marsalis of Tennessee State (0.969-yard average in 1968)…His 32 third-down stops vs. the pass also were tops among 2012 NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision starting performers, while his 36 third-down hits in 2013 also lead the major college participants through the regular season schedule…Against the run, Dennard was credited with 68 tackles, delivering fifteen touchdown-saving tackles, eight stops-for-loss and ten more hits that brought down ball carriers for no gain, as he posted ten third-down tackles while limiting those runners to just 88 yards (1.29 ypc)…Among his 164 tackles, he produced 56 of those hits inside the red zone, including twenty on goal-line plays.

 

2013 SEASON

Dennard earned All-American first-team honors from The NFL Draft Report the Walter Camp Football Foundation, USA Today and Phil Steele’s College Football Preview, as he became the first cornerback at Michigan State to earn first-team national recognition since Harlon Barnett in 1989…He also added All-Big Ten Conference first-team accolades…The senior was the recipient of two of the most prestigious honors accorded a defensive back, when he earned Jim Thorpe Award and Jack Tatum Award honors…Dennard is the first Michigan State player to capture the Thorpe Award, which has been given to the nation’s best defensive back since 1986. The award was immediately accepted as one of the nation’s top collegiate sports honors. Winners are judged on their performance on the field, athletic ability and character…The Tatum Award is given annually to the outstanding defensive back in the Big Ten Conference and is named in honor of the late Jack Tatum, a three-year starter from 1968-70 and two-time All-American at Ohio State. Known for his tenacity and fierce style of play, Tatum was named National Defensive Player of the Year as a senior, as the mainstay of the Ohio State defense for three seasons helped the Buckeyes compiled a 27-2 record and win the 1968 National Championship and two Big Ten Conference titles, in addition to playing in two Rose Bowls…Dennard became the sixth Michigan State player to be named the best at his respective position by the Touch-down Club of Columbus, joining Brad Van Pelt (1972 Defensive Back of the Year), Carl Banks (1983 Linebacker of the Year), Lorenzo White (1985 Running Back of the Year), Tony Mandarich (1988 Offensive Lineman of the Year) and Charles Rogers (2002 Receiver of the Year)…Dennard also was named the Tatum-Woodson Big Ten Defensive Back of the Year and earned first-team All-Big Ten honors for the second year in a row (unanimous pick by the league’s coaches)…Regarded by The NFL Draft Report as the best defensive back prospect eligible for the 2014 NFL Draft and fifth overall by that scouting information service, Dennard became just the third player in college football since The NFL Draft Report began compiling in-depth statistics to limit his pass coverage assignments to less than one yards per pass attempt. Through thirteen starting assignments, there were 111 passes targeted into Dennard’s area. He allowed just seventeen receptions (15.32 pass completion percentage) for 91 yards, an average of 5.35 yards per pass completion and 0.8198 yards per pass attempt. The only other defensive backs to limit opponents to under one yards per attempt were Jim Marsalis of Tennessee State, who held those receivers to just 0.969 yards per attempt in 1968. Marsalis was selected in the first round of the 1969 NFL Draft by the Kansas City Chiefs, earning league Defensive Rookie of the Year honors that season. He started for the Chiefs throughout the 1976 season before ending his career as a member of the New Orleans Saints in 1977…The other defensive back to hold receivers to under one yard per attempt was Deion Sanders of Florida State in 1988 (0.935 yard average), as the two-time NFC Defensive Player of the Year made his professional debut with the Atlanta Falcons in 1989 after they selected him in the first round of the draft. He played for Atlanta until 1993, spending time with San Francisco (1994), Dallas (1995-1999) and Washington (2000) before ending his NFL career with Baltimore (2004-2005)…Dennard started all thirteen games, seeing action at both the “boundary” and field” positions, as he was often assigned the task of taking on the opponent’s best receiver…

The defensive leader recorded a career-high 59 tackles (33 solos) that included five stops (solos and assists) behind the line of scrimmage…He posted five quarterback pressures, two that caused interceptions, as he also caused two fumbles…His four interceptions for 38 yards in returns is tied for third in the league ranks…Also deflected ten other tosses, registering a total of fourteen passes defended…The unquestioned leader of the Spartans unit that ranks among the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision leaders in seven different statistical categories, he helped the Spartans lead the nation in rushing defense (80.8 yards per game), total defense (248.2 ypg), and opponent third-down conversions (.277; 53-of-191), in addition to ranking among the Top Ten in passing efficiency defense (second with a 91.5 rating), scoring defense (fourth at 12.7 points per game), turnover margin (seventh at +1.1 per game) and passing defense (sixth at 167.4 ypg.)…Michigan State has been ranked first in the nation in total defense for thirteen consecutive weeks…

In pass coverage, Dennard either rerouted or jammed his coverage assignments away from a nation-best 62 of those 111 tosses (55.86%), in addition to his fourteen defended passes…He delivered 36 third-down stops and three more on fourth-down snaps, as he posted three stops-for-loss and twice stopped receivers at the line of scrimmage for no gain, in addition to registering thirteen touchdown-saving tackles vs. the aerial game…

Among the major college starting cornerbacks, Dennard’s average of limiting opposing ball carriers to just 1.47 yards per carry (thirty attempts for 44 yards) is the lowest figure, as he delivered seven third-down hits, two more on fourth-down plays and recorded five touchdown-saving tackles vs. the ground attack…The senior produced a total of 23 tackles inside the red zone, including thirteen on goal-line stands…The blue chip prospect also performed briefly on special teams, making a pair of stops, including one touchdown-saving tackle for the kickoff coverage unit.

 

2013 SEASON GAME ANALYSIS

Western Michigan…In a 26-13 victory to start the season, the team captain matched his career-high with three pass deflections, adding a QB pressure and a pair of tackles…In the second quarter, he batted away a deep pass intended for Corey Davis and then prevented the receiver from getting into his route on a two other back-to-back tosses, including on a third-&-10 pass play, forcing the Broncos’ punt unit on to the field…Davis again had a pass targeted for the split end broken up by Dennard, who jammed Davis on a third-&-5 incomplete throw from Zach Terrell to close out first half action…The third quarter brought much of the same frustration for Davis, as the Spartans cornerback deflected another deep pass away from the Bronco five minutes into the third quarter and Dennard would conclude his day by twice denying Davis an opportunity for snaring fourth quarter tosses…Record Watch-Dennard’s three pass deflections equaled his previous game-high during the 2012 season opener vs. Boise State…Head to Head Competition-WR#84-Corey Davis (6:02-207)…The cornerback held the receiver to no catches for zero yards…Dennard Game Impact…Rerouted his opponent away from five passes and deflected three others, as he recorded one QB pressure and allowed 1-of-10 tosses targeted into his area (10.00%) to be completed for three yards, no touchdowns and no first downs. Dennard recorded two third-down stops vs. the passing game…Team Defensive Impact-Michigan State allowed 18-of-43 passes to be completed (41.86%) for 193 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions, as the opponent generated 204 yards on a total of 75 plays (2.72 yards per attempt).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

South Florida…The team captain assisted on five tackles, including one behind the line of scrimmage, as he also batted away a pair of pass attempts and recorded a pressure…The boundary cornerback played a part in USF’s first three offensive plays for the day, as he assisted in tackling Marcus Shaw on a 4-yard carry, pressured Bobby Eveld into throwing an incomplete pass and then rerouted Andre Davis away from the QB’s third-&-6 toss, forcing the Bulls to punt…Davis was again stymied by Dennard in attempts to pull in one toss and on the next snap, the Spartan batted down Eveld’s throw to Shaw…He again denied Davis a chance for catching a third-&-4 pass, as USF again punted early in the second stanza…On the final possession of the first half, Dennard jammed Davis twice on back-to-back pass attempts and then slipped into the backfield on the next play to tackle tailback Michael Pierre for a 3-yard loss on a third-&-10 snap…At the MSU 2-yard line with 0:03 left in the second quarter, Dennard tripped up Shaw on a third-&-goal carry, as USF would then settle for a 21-yard field goal before heading to the locker room at half time…

In the third frame, the Spartans defender jammed Davis on a third-&-10 pass intended for the receiver and the Bulls’ punt team came on the field…Fourth quarter action saw the “boundary” cornerback first deflect one pass away from Davis on a fourth-&-4 snap and then kill USF’s final series when he jostled Davis on a third-&-6 toss that the “X” receiver dropped, leading to another punting situation…Head to Head Competition-WR#81-Andre Davis (6:01-202)…The cornerback held the receiver to no catches for zero yards…Dennard Game Impact…Rerouted his opponent away from seven passes and deflected two others, as he recorded one QB pressure and allowed 0-of-10 tosses targeted into his area (00.00%) to be completed for zero yards, no touchdowns and no first downs. He recorded three third-down stops and another on a fourth-down snap vs. the passing game…Posted one touchdown-saving tackle and two third-down hits, in addition to making one stop-for-loss vs. the ground attack…Team Defensive Impact-Michigan State allowed 6-of-26 passes to be completed (23.08%) for 66 yards, no touchdowns and one interception, as the opponent generated 155 yards on a total of 61 plays (2.54 yards per attempt).

 

Youngstown State…The first unit played just part of the first half in a 55-17 rout of the Penguins, as Dennard was in on two tackles…On the game’s opening series, his crafty “hand work” led to flanker Michael Wheary dropping an easy pass and on YSU’s next possession, he assisted in tackling 6:05-254-pound Nate Adams on the tight end’s third-&-8 catch for just three yards at the MSU 17, as the opponent would then settle for a 34-yard field goal to salvage some points from that 8-play series…Late in the third quarter, the team captain appeared on special teams, flattening Andre Stubbs to prevent a possible touchdown during a 54-yard kickoff return…Head to Head Competition-WR#9-Michael Wheary (5:11-181)…The cornerback held the receiver to no catches for zero yards… Dennard Game Impact…Rerouted his opponent away from one pass, as he allowed 0-of-2 tosses targeted into his area (00.00%) to be completed for zero yards, no touchdowns and no first downs. He recorded one third-down stop and another inside the red zone, in addition to producing one touchdown-saving tackle vs. the passing game…Added another touchdown-saving tackle as a member of the kickoff coverage unit…Team Defensive Impact-Michigan State allowed 11-of-27 passes to be completed (40.74%) for 121 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions, as the opponent generated 172 yards on a total of 47 plays (3.66 yards per attempt).

 

Notre Dame…”We’ve got to be able to handle those things,” MSU head coach Mark Dantonio said, “and play through the adversity.” The Spartans lost a penalty-filled heart-breaker to the Fighting Irish, as Dennard was flagged twice and missed picking up his assignment on a short-2-yard touchdown toss to T.J. Jones late in the second quarter…

The team captain said the Spartans can’t let the penalties affect them. “In the end, we just got to make more plays to help the offense out,” he said. “The refs call what they had to call. They thought it was pass interference. We got to continue to play.”…The Spartans entered with the nation’s top-ranked defense, allowing 50 yards a game rushing, and 127 passing. Michigan State’s defense had also scored four touchdowns, which is also how many it had allowed. They stopped the Irish on the ground, holding them to 82 yards, and limited quarterback Tommy Rees to a season-low 142 yards passing. But it wasn’t enough, as the rivalry was decided by a touchdown or less for the ninth time in the past fourteen meetings between the two schools…Dennard harassed split end DaVaris Daniels all day, as the Irish receiver did not catch any passes vs. the Spartan and was denied by Dennard in getting to eight passes targeted to the Notre Dame athlete…The MSU cornerback wasted no time ‘staking out his territory” on the field, rerouting Davis away from Rees passes on back-to-back third- and fourth-down pass plays, leaving the Irish with no points to show for their opening 10-play march, as both tosses failed to meet their target in the right side of the end zone…The Irish caught a break after Dennard bumped into Daniels on a third-&-9 incomplete toss, earning a first down when the Spartan was hit with a holding call…The start of the second stanza began with Daniels failing to get into his route on consecutive pass plays, as Dennard shifted the receiver away from an inside third-&-15 toss, bringing out the Notre Dame field goal unit. The 37-yarder was wide left, ending an 8-play series with no points on the board…The end of the first half featured Dennard upending George Atkinson at the line of scrimmage on a third-&-1 carry. On second-&-goal, he stymied Daniels on a pass play, but handling a switch-off on third-&-goal, T.J. Jones slipped inside and Dennard went to the outside, leaving the flanker alone at the back of the end zone for a 2-yard touchdown grab…Dennard made up for that miscue when he rerouted Daniels away from a deep third-&-1 toss, leading to a Notre Dame punt late in the third quarter…Before that frame ended, the boundary cornerback was again flagged, this time for pass interference, as that flag nullified Dennard’s interception and Notre Dame capitalized on that penalty to keep alive a 52-yard touchdown drive that gave the Irish a 17-10 lead…Dennard ended another Notre Dame series when he tripped up tail-back Cam McDaniel in the backfield for a loss on a third-&-1 rushing attempt to force the Irish to punt…A third-&-9 pass targeted for Daniels slipped out of the receiver’s grasp when the split end was distracted by a hard-charging Dennard, taking his eyes off the ball before he could haul it in, as Notre Dame would again punt…With 3:12 left in the game, the Irish punt team was back on the field, the result of Dennard preventing Daniels from catching a third-&-14 Tommy Rees pass…Head to Head Competition-WR#10-DaVaris Daniels (6:02-203)…The cornerback held the receiver to no catches for zero yards; and WR#5-T.J. Jones (5:11-199)…The cornerback held the receiver to one catch for a 2-yard touchdown…Dennard Game Impact…Rerouted his opponent away from eight passes and deflected another, as he recorded one QB pressure and allowed 1-of-11 tosses targeted into his area (09.09%) to be completed for two yards, one touchdown and one first down. He recorded six third-down stops and another on a fourth-down snap, in addition to posting a QB pressure, along with four hits in the red zone, including two on goal-line snaps vs. the passing game…Posted one tackle-for-loss vs. the ground attack…Team Defensive Impact-Michigan State allowed 14-of-34 passes to be completed (41.18%) for 142 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions, as the opponent generated 224 yards on a total of 66 plays (3.39 yards per attempt).

 

Iowa…In a 26-14 victory, the score could have been much different, but the standout senior cornerback delivered a pair of touchdown-saving tackles and killed a pair of other possessions with interceptions. He also paced the defense with eight tackles on the way to earning Big Ten Conference Defensive Player of the Week honors…Dennard’s first pass theft came late in the first quarter, as he stepped in front of receiver Don Shumpert and snared a toss from Iowa QB Jake Rudock near midfield, advancing the ball 29 yards, weaving through would-be tacklers from the left side of the field before being brought down at the Iowa 23-yard marker…With 3:53 left in the opening frame, receiver Jordan Cotton got a step on the cornerback, but Dennard recovered and went of the top of the Iowa split end on a deep toss from Rudock that Cotton could not pull in, resulting in the Hawkeyes punting the pigskin away…At the 6:18 mark of the second quarter, both Dennard and safety Isaiah Lewis converged on split end Tevaun Smith on a pass play. All three players hit the ground, with Smith holding on to the ball for a 5-yard gain. The MSU duo had a violent helmet-to-helmet collision and both lay on the field after the play. Lewis would leave with a neck injury, but the ever-tough Dennard would return to the field one snap late, tackling Mark Weisman on a 2-yard carry…Still a bit woozy from the collision, Dennard was beat on a 36-yard pass play to Smith in the second quarter, but he quickly made up for that miscue, as he first nailed tailback Damon Bullock on a screen pass for three yards on a third-&-6 snap. Bullock had to be helped off the field while the Iowa punt unit kicked the ball away…Dennard “owned” the fourth quarter, killing several Iowa drives by rerouting receivers away from four deep passes, including making a sensational play to “ride up” Shumpert in the left corner of the end zone to prevent an almost certain touch-down catch with 4:00 remaining in the contest…He also sealed the victory when he posted his second interception for the day, picking off Rudock’s pass at the MSU 40…Record Watch-When Dennard picks off a pass, “one is never enough” in a game. This marked the third time in his career that the cornerback recorded two interceptions in a game. He first accomplished that feat vs. Georgia on January 2nd, 2012, in the Outback Bowl. He again had a pair of thefts on November 3rd, 2012 vs. Nebraska…Head to Head Competition-WR#4-Tevaun Smith (6:02-200)…The cornerback held the receiver to three catches for 46 yards and one first down; and WR#8-Don Shumpert (6:03-203)…The cornerback held the receiver no catches…Dennard Game Impact…Rerouted his opponent away from seven passes, including one in the corner of the end zone and intercepted two others, as he allowed 4-of-14 tosses targeted into his area (28.57%) to be completed for 49 yards, no touchdowns and one first down. He recorded two third-down stops and made four hits in the red zone, including one on a goal-line snap vs. the passing game…Posted three tackles, including one that brought down a ball carrier at the line of scrimmage for no gain vs. the ground attack…Team Defensive Impact-Michigan State allowed 26-of-46 passes to be completed (56.52%) for 241 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions, as the opponent generated 264 yards on a total of 62 plays (4.26 yards per attempt).

 

Indiana…Dennard suffered a right shin contusion in the fourth quarter, but refused to sit out the rest of the game, as he collected five tackles with a quarterback pressure and also deflected a pass…On the Hoosiers game-opening drive, he made a sensational touch-down-saving tackle. QB Nate Sudfeld short-tossed the ball to Tevin Coleman and slipped around a pair of MSU defenders that were blocked out on the play, heading up the left sideline for what appeared to be the game’s first score, but Dennard raced from the other side of the field and somehow managed to capture the tailback and shove him out of bounds near midfield…Later in the first frame, he collided with Ted Bolser, causing the tight end to drop a pass intended for the Hoosier. On third-&-22, Kofi Hughes went up and extended for a Sudfeld deep pass, but Dennard managed to “jostle” the receiver, leading to an incompletion, followed by an Indiana punt…Another IU series ended with a punt after the MSU cornerback denied Duwyce Wilson the chance to get to another deep pass by Sudfeld on a third-&-13 play…The next series saw Dennard jammed receivers on back-to-back incomplete throws, including a third-&-5 pass play to again force an Indiana punt…

The cornerback was involved in a questionable play in the second quarter. Dennard yielded five inches to 6:05 receiver Cody Latimer. On third-&-goal, the split end leaped for a Tre Roberson pass along the left side of the end zone for a touchdown, but the refs did not see that after elevating over Dennard for the ball, the pigskin bounced on the ground when Latimer fell forward with the ball (was covered up by the receiver’s body) and it tied the game at 14-14…Dennard exploded past Indiana right offensive tackle Ralston Evans to pressure Sudfeld on a third-&-10 pass and the QB was forced to throw the ball away, bringing out the IU punt team. The cornerback was injured on the QB hurry, as his right leg was fallen on by a teammate making the play. After laying on the field for a few minutes, he got up and valiantly limped to the sidelines…Many thought that the senior’s day was over, but he would return to the field, as Sudfeld would attempt a deep toss to Kofi Hughes during Indiana’s next possession, but Dennard made a sensational leap to get a piece of the ball and it squirted to the ground right at the goal line…The cornerback would again make a touchdown-saving tackle, as he broke off his assignment on the left side of the field, racing to the other sideline, where he prevented tailback Shane Wynn from reaching the end zone, tackling the Hoosier at the MSU 4-yard line with 2:17 left in the contest…Head to Head Competition-WR#3-Cody Latimer (6:05-217)…The cornerback held the receiver to one catch for a 3-yard touchdown; and WR#13-Kofi Hughes (6:03-219)…The cornerback held the receiver no catches…Dennard Game Impact…Rerouted his opponent away from seven passes, including one at the end zone, along with deflecting one other toss, as he allowed 2-of-13 tosses targeted into his area (15.38%) to be completed for eight yards, one touchdown and one first down. He recorded seven third-down stops and made two hits on goal-line snaps, along with recording two touchdown-saving tackles vs. the passing game…Posted one tackle that brought down a ball carrier at the line of scrimmage for no gain vs. the ground attack…Team Defensive Impact-Michigan State allowed 25-of-47 passes to be completed (53.19%) for 259 yards, two touchdowns and one interception, as the opponent generated 351 yards on a total of 74 plays (4.74 yards per attempt).

 

Purdue…If you look in Webster’s Dictionary for the description of “shutdown cornerback,” you will likely see a picture of Darqueze Dennard placed next to the explanation. At least, that is what a bevy of Purdue players thought after Michigan State handed them a 14-0 loss. Dennard made seven tackles, including one behind the line of scrimmage…He was used mostly to trail ball carriers during the first half, but on the opening series of the third quarter, he made a touchdown-saving tackle on the second play of the second half. Akeem Hunt came in to play tailback for the Boilermakers and took a screen pass from QB Danny Etling, racing past MSU middle linebacker Max Bullough and safety Isaiah Lewis on what appeared to be a race towards the end zone. Dennard was on the opposite side of the field covering a receiver, but immediately broke off that assignment, fought off three other blockers and somehow managed to get to the right side of the field and take Hunt down after a 43-yard gain deep into MSU territory. With the refs’ backs turned, a frustrated Hunt grabbed at Dennard’s face mask on the sidelines and tried to twist his helmet off. The Spartan just grinned, pointed and “went back to business.”…Hunt tried to get to a third-&-5 pass from Etling on the next series, but Dennard and Bullough “got some payback” when they both exploded into the ball carrier with such force, the ball popped out of Hunt’s hands and Purdue was forced to punt…Another sensational play by Dennard came on Purdue’s next possession. Split end DeAngelo Yancey somehow beat the cornerback off the snap and was two steps ahead of the Spartan heading down field. Etling spotted the open target and uncorked a deep pass. Dennard recovered and generated a second gear that saw him not only reach the receiver, but also bump Yancey as the target went up for the ball, which would hit the ground in the middle of the end zone. Two plays later, on third-&-10, Etling again tried to go the deep route when he saw Cameron Posey beat MSU strong safety Kurtis Drummond. Dennard came off his assignment, angled to the middle of the field and stalled the receiver’s attempt to get to the toss, forcing Purdue to again bring out the punt squad…Another Boilermakers punt was the result of another drive-killing play by Dennard. Etling bolted from the pocket on a third-&-19 snap and reached the second level, but the cornerback came from the other side of the field, spun the quarterback around and tackled him after a 7-yard gain…Both Dennard and Bullough would leave a “lasting impression” on Hunt for his previous dirty play, as both converged on the tailback on a swing pass in the backfield, “blowing up” the Boilermaker with a crunching tackle for a 1-yard loss…Head to Head Competition-WR#80-DeAngelo Yancey (6:02-200)…The cornerback held the receiver to no catches…Dennard Game Impact…Rerouted his opponent away from three passes, including one in the end zone, along with recording a pair of touchdown-saving tackles, as he allowed 1-of-5 tosses targeted into his area (20.00%) to be completed for minus one-yard, no touchdowns and no first downs. He recorded two third-down stops, including one behind the line of scrimmage vs. the passing game…Posted five hits, including two on third-down plays vs. the ground attack… Team Defensive Impact-Michigan State allowed 14-of-25 passes to be completed (56.00%) for 160 yards, no touchdowns and one interception, as the opponent generated 226 yards on a total of 59 plays (3.83 yards per attempt).

 

 

 

 

Illinois…With Michigan State’s offense scoring often in the first half, the defense had most of the second half “off” while the reserves gained valuable playing time in a 42-3 triumph. Dennard had just two tackles, but one was on a goal-line stand, preventing a potential touchdown…On the game’s first play from scrimmage. Illini QB Nathan Scheelhaase uncorked a deep pass over the middle, but Dennard covered intended target Ryan Lank-ford “like a blanket” and the ball sailed over both players’ heads…He rerouted split end Miles Osei away from another pass play and early in the second quarter, Illinois tried to punch the ball in on a fourth-&-goal snap at the MSU 1-yard line, but Dennard and middle linebacker Max Bullough teamed up to flatten tailback Jon Davis for no gain, leaving the Illini with no points to show for a 10-play, 62-yard series…Head to Head Competition-WR#12-Ryan Lankford (6:00-178)…The cornerback held the receiver to no catches; and

and WR#8-Miles Osei (6:00-201)… The corner-back held the receiver to no catches… Dennard Game Impact…Rerouted his opponent away from three passes, posting one third-down stop, as he allowed 0-of-3 tosses targeted into his area (00.00%) to be completed for zero yards, no touchdowns and no first downs vs. the passing game… Added two hits, including one on fourth-down goal-line play that prevented a touchdown vs. the ground attack… Team Defensive Impact-Michigan State allowed 13-of-21 passes to be completed (61.90%) for 103 yards, no touchdowns and one interception, as the opponent generated 128 yards on a total of 42 plays (3.05 yards per attempt).

 

Michigan…In a 29-6 victory, Michigan State limited the Wolverines to minus-48 yards rushing – the lowest single-game rushing total in U-M history. It also marked the fewest rushing yards allowed by MSU under head coach Mark Dantonio and tied for the third fewest allowed in school history (school record -63 rushing yards by Pittsburgh in 1960; -60 rushing yards by Pittsburgh in 1981; -48 rushing yards by Northwestern in 1983). Led by their senior team captain, the Spartans recorded season highs in tackles for loss (11 for 65 yards) and sacks (seven for 49), as four of those sacks were the result of Wolverines QB Devin Gardner failing to find his intended targets open, thanks to the shutdown “blanket” coverage provided by MSU cornerbacks Trae Waynes and Dennard, who had four tackles, caused a fumble and came up with a crucial fourth quarter interception at the Michigan State 2-yard line that helped the defense record their third consecutive game without allowing a touchdown. MSU has held all nine of its 2013 opponents below 100 yards rushing. In 88 games under Dantonio, the Spartans defense has held its opponents under 100 yards rushing 44 times (50 percent). In 35 starting assignments, Dennard was a member of the first unit that held opponents under 100 yards rushing 29 times…The game also marked the eighth consecutive quarter that Michigan State has held Michigan without a touchdown (129:49 time elapsed). On Saturday, MSU limited Michigan to 12 first downs and 168 total yards. Michigan gained 51 yards on the game-opening drive, but managed just 117 yards on its next 11 possessions. The Wolverines went just 2-of-13 third-down conversions. Wolverines’ standout receiver, Jeremy Gallon, coming off a previous match-up vs. Indiana, where he hauled in fourteen passes for 369 yards and two touchdowns, was Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner’s primary target during that game-opening 51-yard series, catching passes on the game’s first two plays for 46 yards. To counter Gallon, the MSU coaches assigned Dennard to trail the split end after Gallon added another catch for 22 yards on Michigan’s next series. Over the final three quarters, Gallon would be held to just one catch by Dennard, but the receiver fumbled the ball after that reception, as U-M recovered the pigskin for a 1-yard loss…While Dennard ended the day with just four hits, his stellar play insured victory for the Spartans. Gardner was sacked for a 10-yard loss during the game’s opening possession, as Dennard was covering the QB’s intended target, flanker Jehu Chesson on the play. On third-&-20, Gardner again could not locate an open receiver, instead electing to run with the ball over left tackle, but Dennard played off his coverage assignment and zeroed in on the QB, taking Gardner down at the line of scrimmage for no gain after beating left offensive tackle Taylor Lewan to the corner. U-M would elect to kick a 49-yard field goal on the next play to salvage some points from that 9-play march…Midway through the first quarter, Gardner was again sacked, the result of Dennard coming into the backfield to pick up tailback Fitzgerald Tousaaint on an intended throwback along the left side of the line, but Gardner held the ball too long and defensive end Shilique Calhoun pulled the Michigan passer down for an 11-yard loss, forcing the Wolverines to punt…Later in the first frame, on both sacks of Gardner, the QB held on to the ball two long, as both MSU cornerbacks had the Wolverine’s targets blanketed and the pressure from the front seven was too much for the Michigan passer to overcome…With 1:22 remaining in the opening period, Gardner aired the ball out along the left sideline on a third-&-8 play and the 6:04, 235-pound slot receiver extended for the ball, but Dennard managed to reach around, obstructing the receiver’s view of the path of the ball, missing pulling the pigskin in by inches…In the third quarter, Gardner tried a quick slant pass to Gallon, but Dennard was right on top of the receiver, blocking Gallon’s path to the ball as the pass sailed past the duo and hit the ground…Four minutes later, Devin Funchess went over the middle, but was smothered by Dennard and a trio of Spartans, causing the slot receiver to lose concentration on the ball in flight, dropping the intended pass…During a late third quarter series, Gardner dropped back to pass and quickly fired out to Gallon along the right side. Dennard immediately wrapped up the receiver, spinning Gallon to the ground with such force, the ball squirted out of the receiver’s hands, but UM would pick up the errant pigskin for a 1-yard loss on the play. On third-&-6, Dennard frantically waved for teammates to join him vs. a stacked three-receiver alignment on the left side. Gardner tried to fire the ball to one of those targets, but the senior cornerback’s alertness to the play had all three Wolverines covered. The protection up front broke down and Gardner barely got the incomplete toss away before he was smothered by MSU’s Shilique Calhoun…The final quarter showed off Dennard’s outstanding shutdown coverage ability.

Gardner saw Gallon streaking down the left sideline, but Dennard was in the receiver’s “hip pocket” as the Wolverine tried to reach out for the ball, only to have his path to the pigskin blocked by a diving Dennard, who managed to reach around with his right hand and block Gallon’s view. The receiver complained to the refs that he was held by the MSU cornerback on the play, but officials were not buying into his plea. A frustrated, bruised and battered quarterback tried to squeeze around the left side to pick up a valuable first down on a third-&-6 bolt out of the pocket. Despite All-American left offensive tackle Taylor Lewan trying to use a few “dirty tactics” on the lead block, Dennard came off his coverage assignment and zeroed in on the quarterback, colliding with Gardner just an inch short of gaining a coveted first down. Michigan would “go for it” on fourth down, but the drive would continue when MSU would be flagged for two many players on the field. That would place the ball at the Michigan State 41, where Michigan then picked up 44 more yards on seven plays before Garder again would try to connect with Gallon, whose only reception since the opening quarter was a catch that led to a fumble and a 1-yard loss. Dennard again stuck close to the receiver as they both went for the ball down the left sideline. Gardner’s toss on a fade route was to be a “back shoulder” throw, but it instead came out to the front shoulder, as the MSU team captain reached out and over Gallon to make the interception at the MSU 2-yard line. Gardner would slump on the field after the play and had to be helped to the sidelines. It would be the end of the day for the exhausted Wolverines passer, as he could “not answer the bell” and return to the field when U-M got the ball back with 2”36 remaining in the contest. Dennard’s interception, the ninth for his career, set up an 8-play, 97-yard Michigan State drive that ended with tailback Jeremy Langford carrying the ball the final 40 yards for a touchdown that sealed the 29-6 victory for the Spartans…The locker room was abuzz after the game, as the media swarmed in to talk with the Michigan State players. Spartans head coach Mark Dantonio opened the post game press conference by noting, “I thought, obviously defensively, we played an outstanding football game. They made a couple of plays but weren’t able to run the ball. There was a great play by Darqueze Dennard, turning them away at the end when they could’ve gotten two eight-point scores to tie it up at 22. When you look at things statistically, it’s pretty one-sided and that’s the way we like them.”…On the strengths of the defense, the coach stated, “I think that we’ve grown. We’ve been good for three years, when you’ve got some of the other guys that have played for us. On a good pass rush we bring pressure. We’re not afraid to bring pressure. We’ve got a good scheme, but it’s the players who make plays. Ultimately, Darqueze Dennard makes the play of the game, turning them away. It gets a lot closer if they score right there, but it sort of changes everything.”…The defensive senior captain was then questioned by the press, as Dennard talked about the team’s performance being the best by the squad this season, “I definitely think it is. We basically lived in the backfield; the front seven did a great job stopping the run, basically contained Devin Gardner. We just did a great job stopping them, containing them, and making plays when they were there…Asked about his thoughts on stopping Michigan’s Jeremy Gallon, the cornerback said, “We just had to make some changes. They kind of hid him for a minute. We just went to the sideline and made some changes, some great sideline adjustments by Coach Narduzzi and Coach Barnett do. We just made the adjustments and went out and played…Asked about his fourth quarter interception, he replied, “I think it was a little bit of both. You have to give credit to the defensive line and the linebackers getting pressure. He threw it hot because the defensive was pretty much back in the backfield. It was my turn and I made the play. I just made it.”…Asked for his thoughts on the importance of the defensive line today stopping Devin Gardner, the defensive leader stated, “It was very critical. He is a good player, watching his past games on film. He did a great job on the ground and doing it in the pass. We knew coming in we just had to stop him. He was the key to the offense. He basically just runs the offense and we knew we just had to stop him. If we stop him we pretty much win the game.”…Head to Head Competition-WR#21-Jeremy Gallon (5:08-184)…The cornerback held the receiver to one reception, causing a fumble on the play that U-M recovered for a 1-yard loss; and WR#86-Jehu Chesson (6:03-196)…The cornerback held the receiver to no catches… Dennard Game Impact…Rerouted his opponent away from five passes, posting three third-down stops, including one for a loss, as he allowed 1-of-9 tosses targeted into his area (11.11%) to be completed for minus one-yard, no touchdowns and no first downs, as he caused a fumble, made a pair of touchdown-saving tackles and had one interception vs. the passing game…Added three hits, including two on third-down plays vs. the ground game…Also made three stops inside the red zone, including two on goal-line snaps…

Team Defensive Impact-Michigan State allowed 15-of-30 passes to be completed (50.00%) for 216 yards, no touchdowns and one interception, as the opponent generated 168 yards on a total of 59 plays (2.85 yards per attempt).

 

Nebraska…Michigan State all but locked up a spot in the Big Ten championship game, and the 14th-ranked Spartans didn’t even need their nation-leading defense at its best to do it.

Their senior cornerback recorded just one solo tackle, but the MSU “Air Traffic Controller” rerouted six receivers away from potential pass completions, three coming on third-down snaps…With Nebraska turning over the ball five times and quarterback Connor Cook directing a game-breaking drive in the fourth quarter, the Spartans won, 41-28, to take a two-game lead in the Legends Division with two games to play. “Green Gatorade never tasted so good,” Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio said, taking a big swig before addressing reporters. “You’ve got an opportunity to come up with five turnovers. That’s tough to lose a football game when that happens,” he said…In the second quarter, after

Sam Burtch had beaten MSU safety Kurtis Drummond on a wheel route for a 32-yard touchdown late in the first quarter, Dennard was making sure the slot receiver did not come up with another big play on a post pattern, jamming the Husker along the right sideline as quarterback Tommy Armstrong’s toss to his teammate failed to meet its mark.  When fellow cornerback Trae Waynes failed to get a jump on a toss down the right side of the field, Dennard angled over and “bumped” Quincy Enunwa to knock the flanker off stride, resulting in a third-&-8 incompletion that forced Nebraska to punt the ball away…

Dennard was supposed to have a classic battle with the Huskers’ top receiver during this contest, but the Nebraska coaches wisely kept an injured Kenny Bell (groin sprain) away from the All-American cornerback’s area as much as they could. Still, Dennard, who had fallen down on the play, managed to get up and reroute the split end away from a hurried deep pass attempt along the right sidelines from Armstrong at the Nebraska 35, as Bell also tripped and fell trying to avoid the Spartans defender on the play. Michigan State would blitz on third-&-8, but Armstrong fired the ball away quickly to Bell for a seven-yard gain, as Dennard engulfed the receiver, spun Bell around and flung him to the ground violently to prevent the first down. The tackle brought the fans to their feet, as Dennard’s motion caused Bell to fly back close to ten yards before his limp body came to a halt. The Huskers had no choice by to bring their punt team back out to kick the pigskin away…In the final frame, knowing time was running out for Nebraska to mount a challenge and down 34-21 with 7:50 left in the contest, Armstrong took the snap from center, dropping back and uncorked a bomb down the middle of the field, but Dennard was blanketing Quincy Enunwa so tight, the receiver could not get a proper turn to look the ball in. The MSU cornerback, using a move usually only seen executed by a grizzled veteran, used his inside arm to slap the Husker’s outside arm out of the way inside the MSU 10-yard line, preventing what would have certainly been a touchdown if Enunwa had managed to secure the ball. Both cornerback and receiver would hit the turf, as the ball bounced just a few inches away from the Nebraska flanker’s out-stretched arms. Enunwa had to leave the field, tugging on his hamstring as he limped towards the sidelines. Armstrong would again foolishly challenge Dennard on the next pass play, but the ball went out of bounds, as Bell wanted nothing to do with the cornerback who was closing on the receiver, not mounting any attempt from Bell to get to the toss. Sticking tight to Sam Burtch on a third-&-10 snap, Armstrong did not step into his throw and it was tipped. Dennard tried to make the interception, but could not secure the ball as the incompletion led to another Nebraska punt. Michigan State would then march down field on their next possession for another score, increasing their lead to 41-21 to seal the victory…Head to Head Competition-WR#80-Kenny Bell (6:01-187)…The cornerback held the receiver to one reception for seven yards; and WR#18-Quincy Enunwa (6:02-225)-The MSU defender held the receiver to no catches…Dennard Game Impact…Rerouted his opponent away from six passes, as he posted three third-down stops, and made one touchdown-saving tackle, allowing 1-of-7 tosses targeted into his area (14.29%) to be completed for seven yards, no touchdowns and no first downs, as he posted one stop inside the red zone vs. the passing game… Team Defensive Impact-Michigan State allowed 17-of-32 passes to be completed (53.13%) for 210 yards, three touchdowns and one interception, as the opponent generated 392 yards on a total of 64 plays (6.13 yards per attempt).

 

Northwestern…Safety Kurtis Drummond had a pair of interceptions and Dennard also came up with a pass theft in a 30-6 victory that not only gave Michigan State eleven victories for the third time in their last four seasons, but also secured them a berth in the Big Ten title game. The senior cornerback also posted a season-high nine tackles (5 solos) that included one stop behind the line of scrimmage. Three of his hits prevented potential touchdowns…”Winning this game, knowing we locked up going to Indianapolis, is a great feeling,” Dennard said…The Wildcats’ first possession for the day produced a 22-yard field goal, as Northwestern settled for three points after that 13-play march was stalled when Dennard prevented Tony Jones from getting under a third-&-goal pass from Trevor Siemian…Midway through the second stanza, Siemian avoided the MSU pass rush and tossed a screen pass to Kyle Prater, but the flanker went down at the line of scrimmage for no gain after Dennard delivered an explosive hit on the Wildcat near the right sidelines…

Throughout the 2013 season, opponents have found “famine” when throwing the ball into the areas covered by the Michigan State cornerback tandem of Dennard and Trae Waynes, but in recent weeks, those offenses have “feasted” when targeting those throws in the territory where the Spartans’ safeties are occupying. With Northwestern using a stacked formation, Dennard covered Tony Jones on the left side, but both MSU safeties bit on a head fake from Dan Vitale and the slot receiver pulled in a screen pass and was “off to the races.” Somehow, Dennard raced down the field and caught up with Vitale, tackling him from behind at the Michigan State 8-yard line to prevent a touchdown. On the next snap, Treyvon Green took a handoff and bounced outside around his right tackle, only to be met by Dennard, who brought the ball carrier down for no gain on first-&-goal at the Spartans’ 8-yard marker. Green was slow to get up after that teeth-rattling hit and had to leave the game. Two plays later on third-&-goal, Siemian rolled out and fired the ball into the left corner of the end zone, but Dennard denied Jones entry and the pass hit the hill, bringing out the kicking team for a 20-yard field goal, salvaging some points from that 69-yard, 7-play series with 1:52 left before halftime…When split end Christian Jones took a short pass and escaped a missed tackle by safety Kurtis Drummond, Dennard angled to the receiver and tripped up the Wildcat near mid field early in the third frame…With five minutes left in that quarter, fans had to ask themselves, “When will quarterbacks ever learn?” By now, you would think their coaches would be well-advised to not attempt any passes into Dennard’s “No Fly Zone,” but Northwestern had to learn that lesson the hard way. Siemian fired a deep pass along the left side of the field for intended target, “X” receiver Mike McHugh. In a picture perfect glide to the ball, Dennard lifted off the ground like a plane on takeoff, twisting his body in the air to turn around, catch the ball and come down for a perfect landing 36 yards from the line of scrimmage at the MSU 14, killing a potential touchdown drive…After assisting strong safety R.J. Williamson to stop Tony Jones on an underneath pass near midfield, Dennard sniffed the check-down two plays later, taking down Jones in the backfield for a 3-yard loss…In the post-game press conference, the Bronko Nagurski Trophy was asked about how it feels to be Legend Division champions and Dennard replied, “It feels good. There is a lot of hard work that we put in through the offseason and all the work we put in this season. Winning this game and knowing we’re going to Indianapolis is a great feeling. This is just a great feeling. We knew then (during media days) what type of team we had. During the summer, we had to mold each other. We had to get closer than we were and finish games. It’s a great feeling right now, seeing it all come together. Seeing all of our goals in front of us is just a great feeling.”…On defensive adjustments at halftime, the cornerback noted, “We made a lot of adjustments. The coaches do a great job of giving us adjustments and finding out what the other team is doing to beat us and finding out how to stop it. It’s a great job by the coaching staff. We know what our coaches can do. We just play off what they say.”…On the impact of Northwestern quarterback Kain Colter’s injury for the defense, he said, “It changed a lot. He can do a lot of things for their offense. He plays quarterback but also receiver and running back as well. When he was out, it was kind of a plus for us because we knew their backup is pretty much a passing quarterback. We knew that, and he wasn’t as dangerous as Colter at running the ball. When Colter went out, we knew what we had to deal with. It was good for us overall.”…On success in Big Ten play, the Georgia native firmly stated, “After the loss to Notre Dame, we all took great things. We didn’t take the negatives out of the game. We made adjustments toward the end of the season. I think we all made adjustments and we all knew what we were playing for. The Big Ten season is a lot more serious. A non-conference game can’t stop us from going to Indianapolis. We knew all of our goals were still in front of us. We didn’t dwell on that loss. We got focused and took it one game at a time. That’s how we ended up here.”…Head to Head Competition-WR#6-Tony Jones (6:00-201)…The cornerback held the receiver to one catch for a 3-yard loss; and WR#21-Kyle Prater (6:05-220)…The Spartan held the receiver to one reception for zero yards… Dennard Game Impact…Rerouted his opponent away from four passes, posting three third-down stops, including one for a loss and another that stopped a receiver at the line of scrimmage for no gain, adding two touchdown-saving tackles, as he allowed 3-of-13 tosses targeted into his area (23.08%) to be completed for zero yards, no touchdowns and no first downs vs. the passing game…Added one touchdown-saving tackle vs. the ground game…Also made four stops inside the red zone, including three on goal-line snaps…Team Defensive Impact-Michigan State allowed 27-of-46 passes to be completed (58.70%) for 239 yards, no touchdowns and three interceptions, as the opponent generated 319 yards on a total of 72 plays (4.43 yards per attempt).

 

Minnesota…Thanks to Dennard matching his season-high nine tackles (7 solos) that included a QB pressure and a pass deflection, the Spartans (11-1, 8-0) finished a perfect Big Ten Conference regular season schedule for only the third time, topping the Gophers, 14-3. MSU also went undefeated in conference play in both 1965 and 1966, when they only had to play seven conference games…Led by their senior standout, the Spartans’ top-ranked defense forced three turnovers and kept the Golden Gophers out of the end zone, repeating a formula that brought Michigan State within a win of the Rose Bowl…Dennard prevented Minnesota from opening the contest with a big play, as he chased down Marcus Jones and tackled the Gopher on a game-opening 32-yard kickoff runback…Early in the second quarter, Minnesota brought out their punt unit after Dennard deflected a third-&-12 deep pass by Mitch Leidner, as the cornerback elevated at the last second, did a perfect spin and knocked the ball out of the reach of “Z” receiver K.J. Maye…The “Air Traffic Controller” was needed for ground support later in the second stanza and he came up big on a goal-line play. Tailback David Cobb took a handoff at the MSU 8, following a trio of blockers for what appeared as a certain touchdown. Even though he was knocked down on the play, Dennard managed to reach out with his hand and trip up the ball carrier at the one-yard line. Cobb would get up and shake his head, yelling at his blockers for letting the MSU cornerback prevent him from reaching the end zone…After Drew Wolitarsky powered through attempted arm tackles by both of the Spartans safeties, it was Dennard who came across the field and shoved the tight end out of bounds after a 15-yard pick-up…With 2:14 left in the contest, Dennard first rerouted Donovahn Jones away from a third-&-10 throw from Mitch Leidner and on fourth-&-10, with Minnesota opting to again pass, the corner-back exploded into the backfield and flushed the quarterback out of the pocket, forcing Leidner to throw off-balanced for another incompletion. MSU would take over and run out the game clock…In the post-game press conference, Spartans defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi talked about how much of an impact the seniors that will be leaving the program after the season will have on the defense; “We are losing some great players. No doubt about it. We lose a lot but we’ll worry about that in spring ball. When you have Max Bullough, Denicos Allen, Isaiah Lewis, Darqueze Dennard you have a good bunch. We lose a lot but we have some great depth behind them for the future.”…Dennard then answered questions for the scribes gathering. Asked about staying focused on this game, he said, “We did a great job throughout the week. We focused on Minnesota and basically found out their tendencies and got ready to play the game. I think everybody – offense, defense, and special teams – were all in on this game, weren’t looking forward, and we all had great focus coming in.”…On holding Minnesota to three points when they had multiple chances to score a touchdown, Dennard responded, “Every time they get down there, the whole defensive mindset we get is they don’t score. We don’t want them to score three points, we were mad they scored three points off us. When they get down there, the whole defense just gets ready to focus even more and give great detail to all we need and just go out there and make plays…On first thoughts on Ohio State, he stated, “It’s just another opportunity. They’re a great team obviously. We had them last year, they got us by one point. We know what we can do, we know we’re a lot better in all aspects of the game this year and I think we all are ready to go.”…On finishing out this week and the possibility of a BCS bowl, the senior replied, “As a whole, I think we shouldn’t really worry about the whole BCS bowl. We’ve got to put all our time into Ohio State, watch film and dedicate ourselves this week and really try to find out what they do, whatever the players do. And find out what they do the best and try to take it away from them. Coach (Narduzzi) and the rest of the coaching staff are going to do a great job game-planning them, we’re just going to come in focused and ready to play…On being the underdog next week vs. Ohio State, he said, “We’re always the underdog. I think every person on this team we love being the underdog, we love being counted out because we all know what we all can do. Throughout this season we’ve been counted out, they didn’t think we would be this good. I think we all just take it personal and play with an even bigger chip on our shoulder. Coming in Saturday, we’re going to be ready to go.”…On returning to the Big Ten Championship game as an upperclassmen, Dennard smiled and said, “From my experience, just telling the young guys how it felt and you don’t want to have that feeling that I had. Everybody that played in the game will pretty much do the same thing, telling the young guys we need to focus up. Be in the film room, ask questions. Ask as many questions as you can and go out there and perform in practice and have a great game come the Big Ten Championship.”…On what next week’s game vs. Ohio State will mean, he noted, “It’s all on the line. Just knowing all the hard work we put in through the offseason and we’re finally here. Just how close we are. That’s enough energy right there, we all spent throughout the summer running those gassers and lifting all those weights and just knowing we’re there. We set our goal, we’re at our goal right now and it’s right there. Everybody is ready to go.”…On fellow cornerback Trae Waynes’ two interceptions, like a “proud pappa,” Dennard beamed, “It’s a great relief for me because I’ve been telling these guys since he got here, I’ve been watching him and I told them he’s going to be the best corner to ever play here. Just seeing him get those picks, I told him throughout this week, `you’ve got to get an interception on my senior day, you got to get one.’ When he got the first one I was excited and I sat on the bench and told him `when you get an interception, they come in bunches.’ And then get got another one. It’s a great feeling for me, I know it’s a great feeling for him.”…Head to Head Competition-WR#4-Donavahn Jones (6:03-192)… The cornerback held the receiver to one catch for eleven yards…Dennard Game Impact… Rerouted his opponent away from four passes, posting three third-down stops and another on a fourth-down snap, as he allowed 2-of-9 tosses targeted into his area (22.22%) to be completed for 13 yards, no touchdowns and one first down vs. the passing game… Added one touchdown-saving tackle, one stop-for-loss and took down one ball carrier at the line of scrimmage for no gain, adding one fourth-down tackle vs. the ground game… Also made one goal-line stop and added one tackle as a member of the kickoff coverage unit…Team Defensive Impact-Michigan State allowed 9-of-25 passes to be completed (36.00%) for 125 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions, as the opponent generated 249 yards on a total of 75 plays (3.32 yards per attempt).

 

Ohio State (Big Ten Conference Championship Game)…In a game for “all the marbles,” the Spartan “Air Traffic Controller” came up with timely big plays, making touchdown-saving tackles vs. both the run and pass, causing a fumble and delivering a pair of third-down stops as Michigan State rallied from a seven-point third-quarter deficit by scoring the final 17 points to upset number-two ranked Ohio State, 34-24, and deny the Buckeyes a chance to play for the BCS national championship. “I think we heard people talk bad about us all year. This wasn’t the first week where we heard people say negative things about us as an offense or as a football team,” Michigan State quarterback Connor Cook said after throwing a 9-yard touchdown pass with 11:41 left to give the Spartans a 27-24 lead. “I think we were underdogs in the majority of the games we played this year. It really didn’t affect us.”…The victory would see the Spartans book their first Rose Bowl trip since the 1987 season. Michigan State’s victory eliminated Ohio State from their quest to play for the national title, as the BCS clash would now feature Auburn taking on Florida State for the title…To the Buckeyes, this was a deflating night. “You know it’s going to haunt all of us, I imagine, for a little while,” OSU head coach Urban Meyer said. “But that’s part of the game.” It was a game that almost defied logic. Ohio State came into the game with the nation’s longest winning streak (24), had not lost under Meyer in two seasons and had one of the nation’s most productive offenses and underrated defenses. Still, Dennard made sure the younger Spartans would not be intimidated…The second half of the contest saw the senior cornerback and Thorpe Award winner join up with safety Kurtis Drummond in preventing a touchdown, as they came from the right side of the field to tackle Braxton Miller after the OSU quarterback bolted around the left corner on a bootleg for a 24-yard gain before the defensive backs hauled him down at the MSU 22-yard line…Miller would connect on an 11-yard pass to Devin Smith two plays later, but Dennard reached his hand around on the play and jarred the ball away from the split end, causing a fumble…On their next possession, Miller tried to connect with Smith on a third-&-10 deep pass, but there was Dennard again, going up and over the pass catcher to knock the ball down and prevent a possible score, as OSU was forced to punt…Miller tried to bolt from the pocket on another bootleg, but this time, Dennard was there to take the quarterback down at the line of scrimmage for no gain on a fourth quarter series that ended with another Buckeyes punt, because the cornerback used his exceptional leaping ability to win a jump ball battle with Evan Spencer, knocking down that third-&-6 toss…Perhaps it was fitting that the best cornerback in college football would do what he does best during Ohio State’s desperate final possession – deny any receiver an opportunity to get to the thrown ball. He first jammed Smith on Miller’s sideline toss and on the next snap, he mirrored Spencer down the field on Miller’s final heave, which failed to meet its target deep into MSU territory…

Head to Head Competition-WR#9-Devin Smith (6:01-198)…The cornerback held the receiver to one catch for eleven yards, but caused his opponent to fumble the ball at the MSU 8-yard line on the play; and WR#6-Evan Spencer (6:02-206)…The Spartan held his opponent to no catches…Dennard Game Impact…Rerouted his opponent away from two passes and deflected two other tosses, posting three third-down stops and one touch-down-saving tackle, as he allowed 1-of-5 tosses targeted into his area (20.00%) to be completed for 11 yards, no touchdowns and one first down vs. the passing game…Added one touchdown-saving tackle, taking down one ball carrier at the line of scrimmage for no gain, adding one stop inside the red zone vs. the ground game…Team Defensive Impact-Michigan State allowed 8-of-23 passes to be completed (34.78%) for 101 yards, one touch-down and no interceptions, as the opponent generated 374 yards on a total of 63 plays (5.94 yards per attempt).

 

2012 SEASON

Dennard was named All-American first-team by The NFL Draft Report after a spectacular junior campaign that saw the “field” cornerback also receive All-Big Ten Conference first-team honors from the league’s coaches, Phil Steele, ESPN.com and College Football News, adding second-team recognition from the Big Ten’s media…Recipient of the team’s Jim Adams Award (unsung hero – defense)…The junior started all thirteen games, despite playing most of the season with a September injury that would later be diagnosed as a sports hernia…Finished sixth on the team with 52 tackles (34 solos) that included 3.5 stops for losses of five yards…Tied for second on the squad with seven pass deflections, adding three interceptions for 49 yards in returns…The junior established his position as one of the best “shutdown” cornerbacks in college football, as opponents were only able to complete 18-of-91 passes targeted into his area (19.78%, the lowest pass completion percentage for any starting defensive back in the FBS) for 151 yards, no touchdowns and just ten first downs, as those receivers averaged 8.39 yards per catch and 1.66 yards per pass attempt…Dennard not only defended ten tosses, he rerouted or jammed his pass coverage assignments away from 49 other throws, registering 32 third-down stops and two more on fourth-down snaps, in addition to delivering three touchdown-saving tackles, one stop-for-loss and one other hit that leveled a receiver at the line of scrimmage for no gain vs. the aerial attack…Provided 20 of his hits vs. the running game, producing three stops-for-loss, one more that leveled a ball carrier for no gain, five touchdown-saving tackles and one third-down hit while limiting those rushers to just 30 yards (1.5 ypc) vs. the ground attack…Recorded 22 of his tackles inside the red zone, making six of those plays on goal-line stands…Posted two more hits for the kickoff coverage unit, including a touchdown-saving tackle vs. Minnesota…Did not allow any receiver to catch a pass in each of the Eastern Michigan and Minnesota games, as he also limited his opponent to only one reception in each of the Central Michigan, Ohio State, Indiana, Iowa, Wisconsin and Nebraska clashes.

 

2012 SEASON GAME ANALYSIS

Boise State…In the season opener, Dennard deflected a career-high three passes, in addition to making five tackles and causing an interception to guide the Spartans to a 17-13 victory over one of college football’s most explosive offenses…Thanks to the junior cornerback, victory was assured when Dennard dragged down Shane Williams-Rhodes after the slot receiver took a reverse and was heading to the end zone, only to get caught from behind by the Spartan defender at the MSU 9-yard line…On second-&-goal, he did not let flanker Mitch Burroughs get to a pass tossed by Joe Southwick and BSU settled for a 23-yard field goal…He knocked a Kirby Moore pass out of the hands of Matt Miller to begin second quarter action, rerouting Miller away from another toss before ending that series when his blitz caused Southwick to put up an ill-advised third-&-8 pass that was picked off by MSU’s R.J. Williamson in the end zone for a touchback…Dennard forced a Boise State punt in the fourth quarter after he deflected a third-&-10 throw and with six minutes left in the contest, he killed the Broncos’ last-ditch series when he broke up a fourth-&-2 South-wick attempted pass and the Spartans would then run out the clock…In the post-game press conference, Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi talked about Boise State’s offense, noting, “They took a couple shots late in the fourth quarter. They hit one on Johnny Adams earlier and then they came back to Darqueze Dennard. But I trust him every time and that’s a low set ball. They got interference one time. One look at the tape and you can see that. I think they get nervous and just want to throw it the next time there is the same type of coverage. We expect that, we press them to take shots and I have confidence in our corners.”…Head to Head Competition-WR#20-Mitch Burroughs (5:09-193)…The cornerback held the receiver to two catches for 20 yards…Dennard Game Impact…Rerouted his opponent away from four passes and deflected three others, as he caused an interception via a QB pressure and allowed 3-of-11 tosses targeted into his area (27.27%) to be completed for 22 yards, no touchdowns and three first downs. He recorded three third-down stops and another on a fourth-down snap vs. the passing game…He registered five of his stops inside the red zone, including two on goal-line snaps…Also posted one touchdown-saving tackle vs. the ground attack…Team Defensive Impact-Michigan State allowed 15-of-32 passes to be completed (46.88%) for 169 yards, no touch-downs and one interception, as the opponent generated 206 yards on a total of 56 plays (3.68 yards per attempt).

 

Central Michigan…In a 41-7 rout, Dennard delivered five tackles…CMU’s first series for the day ended with a punt, thanks to the “field” cornerback rerouting Titus Davis away from a third-&-4 Ryan Radcliff pass attempt…He sent Zurlon Tipton to the sidelines with a chest contusion after flattening the ball carrier at the line of scrimmage for no gain on a second quarter carry…Another Chippewas punt came after Dennard stopped Davis a yard short of a first down after a third-&-9 grab to begin second half action…Head to Head Competition-WR#81-Jerry Harris (6:01-187)…The cornerback held the receiver to no catches for zero yards…Dennard Game Impact…Rerouted his opponent away from two passes, as he allowed 1-of-6 tosses targeted into his area (16.67%) to be completed for three yards, no touchdowns and one first down. He recorded three third-down stops vs. the passing game…He also took down one ball carrier at the line of scrimmage for no gain vs. the ground attack…Team Defensive Impact-Michigan State allowed 17-of-38 passes to be completed (44.74%) for 173 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions, as the opponent generated 245 yards on a total of 60 plays (4.08 yards per attempt).

 

Notre Dame…The MSU offense never got going in a 20-3 loss, but Dennard produced six solo tackles, including one behind the line of scrimmage…On four different pass attempts, he denied flanker T.J. Jones any chance of catching the ball, including one on a third-&-12 snap to force an Irish punt in the fourth frame, as he also dragged down tailback Theo Riddick for a 2-yard loss on a rushing attempt during that possession…Earlier in the game, he delivered a touchdown-saving tackle when he was MSU’s “last opportunity” to chase down speedy tailback Cierre Wood on a end around that appeared to be a certain touchdown before the cornerback “saved the day”…Head to Head Competition-WR#7-T.J. Jones (5:11-191)…The cornerback held the receiver to one catch for nine yards; and WR#87-Daniel Smith (6:04-215)…The cornerback held the receiver to no catches for zero yards…Dennard Game Impact…Rerouted his opponent away from five passes, as he allowed 2-of-9 tosses targeted into his area (22.22%) to be completed for 18 yards, no touchdowns and no first downs. He recorded two third-down stops, including one inside the red zone vs. the passing game…He also posted one touchdown-saving tackle vs. the ground attack…Team Defensive Impact-Michigan State allowed 14-of-32 passes to be completed (43.75%) for 178 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions, as the opponent generated 300 yards on a total of 66 plays (4.55 yards per attempt).

 

 

 

 

 

Eastern Michigan…Dennard followed with four tackles, spending most of his day covering up for missed tackles by his fellow Spartans…Twice he had to assist in taking down 255-pound tight end Garrett Hoskins on pass plays before ending the first half by tripping up Javonti Greene on a third-&-25 carry that netted ten yards, leading to an EMU punt…He collided with Donald Scott on a fourth quarter pass play, causing the “X” receiver to drop the ball…The 190-pound junior cornerback then showed his moxie, shoving Hoskins back off the line of scrimmage to take the tight end off his route on a third-&-3 toss with less than five minutes to play…With the game clock showing 1:58 remaining in the contest, Dennard put on his “special teams hat” and crushed Tyler Allen on a 25-yard kickoff return…Head to Head Competition-WR#3-Dustin Creel (6:02-207)…The cornerback held the receiver to no catches for zero yards…Dennard Game Impact…Rerouted his opponent away from two passes, as he allowed 0-of-4 tosses targeted into his area (00.00%) to be completed for zero yards, no touchdowns and no first downs. He recorded two third-down stops vs. the passing game…He also posted one touchdown-saving tackle and one third-down hit vs. the ground attack, along with delivering one tackle as a member of the kick-off coverage unit…Team Defensive Impact-Michigan State allowed 13-of-26 passes to be completed (50.00%) for 137 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions, as the opponent generated 183 yards on a total of 55 plays (3.33 yards per attempt).

 

Ohio State…Dennard did all he could to insure victory, as he played mostly in the box, making a key touchdown-saving tackle after he stopped QB Braxton Miller from reaching the end zone on a 20-yard bootleg, but the Buckeyes would later rally to hand the Spartans a 17-16 loss…Dennard Game Impact…Rerouted his opponent away from one pass, as he allowed 1-of-2 tosses targeted into his area (50.00%) to be completed for six yards, no touchdowns and no first downs vs. the passing game…He also posted one touchdown-saving tackle vs. the ground attack…Team Defensive Impact-Michigan State allowed 16-of-23 passes to be completed (69.56%) for 179 yards, one touchdown and one interception, as the opponent generated 383 yards on a total of 67 plays (5.72 yards per attempt).

 

Indiana…Dennard managed three solo tackles, but was charged with a roughing-the-kicker penalty…Late in the first quarter, he collided with Hoosier receivers on back-to-back pass plays, with those wide-outs dropping both tosses, including one on a third-&-10 snap. But, on the ensuing punt, he was flagged, giving Indiana renewed life and QB Cameron Coffman quickly fired a 38-yard pass to Kofi Hughes in front of Dennard…Head to Head Competition-WR#13-Kofi Hughes (6:02-211)…The cornerback held the receiver to one catch for 38 yards…Dennard Game Impact…Rerouted his opponent away from four passes, causing receivers to drop two throws, as he allowed 1-of-6 tosses targeted into his area (16.67%) to be completed for 38 yards, no touchdowns and one first down. He recorded one third-down stop and another on a fourth-down snap vs. the passing game… He also recorded one hit inside the red zone…Team Defensive Impact-Michigan State allowed 33-of-48 passes to be completed (68.75%) for 282 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions, as the opponent generated 317 yards on a total of 67 plays (4.73 yards per attempt).

 

Iowa…Dennard almost had a pair of interceptions, but he could not secure either tosses, resulting in deflections instead, as he also made four tackles…He sniffed out a screen pass midway through the first quarter and upended Ray Hamilton at the line of scrimmage for no gain on a third-&-2 toss, forcing the Hawkeyes to punt…In the third frame, he went up and came down with a third-&-3 James Vandenberg pass, but dropped the ball, leading to an Iowa punt…On Iowa’s next series, Dennard was credited with a touchdown-saving tackle after he raced from the opposite side of the field to stop tailback Mark Weisman on a 31-yard scamper…In the first overtime frame, he tackled Greg Garmon at the MSU 11-yard line after a 2-yard carry and then rerouted the running back away from a third-&-6 pass attempt and Iowa settled for a 27-yard field goal…Iowa would kick a 42-yard field goal in the second overtime stanza to seal their 19-16 win after Dennard was credited with a pass break-up after failing to intercept a third-&-9 toss…After the game, Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi talked about the missed opportunities by his secondary, “On that same drive, I think (the deep pass) was in pretty good position. It was a heck of a throw. I think (Darqueze Dennard) was in good coverage, just like the one in the overtime in the end zone where he’s got a chance to pick it, it’s the same route, and he’s got great coverage and it could’ve ended right there. So we had opportunities to get off the field on defense and we didn’t get it done.”…Head to Head Competition-WR#6-Keenan Davis (6:03-219)…The cornerback held the receiver to one catch for six yards…

Dennard Game Impact…Rerouted his opponent away from five passes, as he stopped one receiver at the line of scrimmage for no gain, made four plays inside the red zone and allowed 1-of-9 tosses targeted into his area (11.11%) to be completed for six yards, no touchdowns and no first downs vs. the passing game…He also posted one touchdown-saving tackle vs. the ground attack…Team Defensive Impact-Michigan State allowed 19-of-36 passes to be completed (52.78%) for 134 yards, no touchdowns and one interception, as the opponent generated 257 yards on a total of 70 plays (3.67 yards per attempt).

 

Michigan…Facing their interstate rivals, Dennard was credited with four tackles that included a stop-for-loss, but the Spartans lost to the Wolverines, 12-10…A screen pass to Vincent Smith was snuffed out when Dennard tackled the slot back for a 1-yard loss and on third-&-goal, he denied Roy Roundtree the opportunity to catch Denard Robinson’s toss in the end zone. Michigan would then settle for a 24-yard field goal to conclude that 77-yard, 11-play first quarter drive…After Drew Dileo eluded MSU cornerback Johnny Adams on a flag pass, Dennard closed in on the receiver, preventing a touchdown after he brought the Wolverine down after a 35-yard pick-up. On third-&-6, he prevented Devin Gardner from snaring Robinson’s deep pass and Michigan would follow by kicking a 48-yard field goal…Roundtree was again denied room in his route by Dennard, failing to pull down a third-&-10 pass, leading to a UM punt after the first series of the second half…

Midway through the third quarter, Dennard repeated his press coverage, driving Round-tree away from another third-&-10 attempt to again force a Michigan punt…The junior jammed Wolverine receivers on consecutive plays, including on a third-&-22 toss from Robinson to Jeremy Jackson, as the UM punt team then came back on the field with 3:07 remaining in the contest…Head to Head Competition-WR#21-Roy Roundtree (6:00-182)… The cornerback held the receiver to no catches for zero yards…Dennard Game Impact… Rerouted his opponent away from six passes and recorded a touchdown-saving tackle, as he allowed 2-of-9 tosses targeted into his area (22.22%) to be completed for eight yards, no touchdowns and one first down, adding six third-down hits, including one on a goal-line play vs. the passing game…Team Defensive Impact-Michigan State allowed 14-of-30 passes to be completed (46.67%) for 163 yards, no touchdowns and one interception, as the opponent generated 326 yards on a total of 62 plays (5.26 yards per attempt).

 

Wisconsin…Dennard made only two tackles, but both came on crucial third-down snaps in a 16-13 triumph…On a late second quarter series, he prevented receivers from getting to back-to-back passes, including rerouting Jordan Fredrick away from a third-&-10 toss to bring out the Badgers punt team…He would kill another possession in the fourth frame that resulted in another Wisconsin punt when he rerouted Jared Abbrederis away from a third-&-8 Danny O’Brien throw…Head to Head Competition-WR#45-Jared Abbrederis (6:02-188)…The cornerback held the receiver to no catches for zero yards; and WR#9-Jordan Fredrick (6:03-217)… The cornerback held the receiver to no catches for zero yards…

Dennard Game Impact…Rerouted his opponent away from four passes, as he made two third-down stops and allowed 1-of-5 tosses targeted into his area (20.00%) to be completed for seven yards, no touchdowns and no first downs vs. the passing game…

Team Defensive Impact-Michigan State allowed 14-of-22 passes to be completed (63.64%) for 171 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions, as the opponent generated 190 yards on a total of 59 plays (3.22 yards per attempt).

 

 

Nebraska…Dennard picked off two passes and had what appeared to be an interception that he ran back for a touchdown, but that play was then negated by a MSU penalty. He also recorded four tackles in a hard-fought 28-24 loss…He ended the game-opening Husker drive, forcing the opponent to punt after he rerouted Quincy Enunwa away from a Taylor Martinez third-&-10 pass attempt…When Martinez bolted past the Spartans front seven, it was Dennard who came to the rescue with a touchdown-saving tackle after the Huskers quarterback had gained 59 yards to the MSU 4-yard line with that bootleg. On the next snap, he stopped Ameer Abdullah on a second-&-goal carry at the 2-yard marker…Late in the third stanza, he made a sensational stab to intercept a Martinez toss that he advanced 30 yards to the Nebraska 38, setting up a Spartans drive that ended with tailback Le’Veon Bell running into the end zone for a touchdown…Later in the fourth frame, Martinez lobbed a second-&-goal pass that Dennard picked off at the MSU 4-yard marker, racing the length of the field for what he thought was a touchdown, but the play was ruled dead at the Spartans 20-yard line and brought back due to a MSU personal foul penalty against fellow cornerback Johnny Adams…The clock showed 1:20 left in the contest, as Dennard jammed Abdullah to prevent the ball carrier from catching a third-&-10 pass from Martinez, but Nebraska managed to record a first down on the next play and a pass interference penalty called on Dennard kept that drive alive until Martinez hit Jamal Turner with a game-winning 5-yard pass with six seconds left in the contest…”Maybe one of the toughest games I’ve experienced here,” Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio said. “I thought we had every opportunity to win the football game. Whether that plays out on the field, whether that’s some kind of way, I’m not sure how at times.”…In the post-game press conference, Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi talked about the final pass interference call; “There are a lot of calls I would like to take a look at. I got a look at it up there; didn’t look that good from up there, but who am I to judge? It didn’t look good.”…On Dennard’s interception return for a touchdown that was called back due to Johnny Adams’ penalty; “Talk about taking it out of the kid’s hands and putting it into someone else’s. It was a heck of a return by Darqueze. We said we were going to score today and we thought we did. We got late flags 25 yards from the ball. We will see it. I don’t know what the problem was, but I guess you are not allowed to block on defense. You can only block on offense. Players play. Coaches coach. The officials try to officiate the best they can. I guess they saw it that way, from the booth I didn’t see it that way.”…Record Watch-Only seven other players in school history have recorded more interceptions in a game than Dennard’s pair of thefts. The last time a Spartan had more interceptions in a game was John Miller, who set the school record with four thefts vs. Michigan in 1987…

Head to Head Competition-WR#18-Quincy Enunwa (6:02-217)…The cornerback held the receiver to no catches for zero yards; and WR#80-Kenny Bell (6:00-188)…The cornerback held the receiver to no catches for zero yards…Dennard Game Impact…Rerouted his opponent away from five passes, as he recorded three third-down stops and made five plays inside the red zone, including three on goal-line snaps, as he allowed 1-of-8 tosses targeted into his area (12.50%) to be completed for four yards, no touchdowns and no first downs vs. the passing game…He also posted one touchdown-saving tackle vs. the ground attack…Team Defensive Impact-Michigan State allowed 16-of-36 passes to be completed (44.44%) for 160 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions, as the opponent generated 473 yards on a total of 76 plays (6.22 yards per attempt).

 

Northwestern…It was another “close, but no cigar” game for the Spartans, as the Wildcats prevailed to take down MSU, 23-20, as Dennard registered seven tackles (5 solos) with a stop for a loss and a pass deflection…He tripped up Mike Trumpy in the backfield for a 1-yard loss on a late first quarter rushing attempt…In the fourth quarter, he was credited with a touchdown-saving tackle. Dan Vitale slipped past MSU cornerback Johnny Adams and free safety R.J. Williamson, but Dennard came off his coverage assignment to stop the slot back after a 41-yard reception to the Spartans 23. Later on that 8-play series, he jammed Trumpy on a pass attempt that was intended for the Wildcat in the end zone and Northwestern eventually settled for a 27-yard field goal…Head to Head Competition-WR#6-Tony Jones (6:00-188)…The cornerback held the receiver to three catches for 28 yards…

Dennard Game Impact…Rerouted his opponent away from three passes and deflected another, recording one touchdown-saving tackle and making four stops inside the red zone, as he allowed 3-of-9 tosses targeted into his area (33.33%) to be completed for 28 yards, no touchdowns and two first downs vs. the passing game…He also posted one stop-for-loss vs. the ground attack…Team Defensive Impact-Michigan State allowed 26-of-43 passes to be completed (60.47%) for 246 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions, as the opponent generated 303 yards on a total of 70 plays (4.33 yards per attempt).

 

Minnesota…Dennard led a spirited Spartans defense that forced a season-high four turn-overs, all interceptions (two by Johnny Adams; one each by Dennard and R.J. Williamson), as the four turnovers equal the most in a game for MSU under head coach Mark Dantonio and was also the first time MSU has had four interceptions in one game since September 24th, 2011, vs. Central Michigan…The junior added a pass deflection and a tackle behind the line of scrimmage among his three solo hits, as the game marked the fourth time this season that Michigan State’s defense did not allow a touchdown (vs. Boise State, Central Michigan, Michigan, Minnesota). MSU’s defense had surrendered only fifteen touchdowns to date, entering post-season action…Twice on the opening series of the second quarter Dennard rerouted receivers away from pass attempts, including one on Phil Nelson’s third-&-8 toss that was followed by a Minnesota punt…On their next series, Dennard raced into the backfield to take down slot back/hybrid quarterback MarQuis Gray on a rushing attempt for a 1-yard loss…He prevented his coverage assignments from getting to three thrown balls on a third quarter series that ended with a 48-yard field goal after the junior prevented Brandon Green from snaring a third-&-10 throw…Another third quarter march ended after Dennard batted down a third-&-7 Nelson pass intended for Derrick Engel…In the final frame, Dennard helped out the kickoff coverage unit, making a touchdown-saving tackle when he crashed into Troy Stoudermire on a 46-yard runback…He would then end that possession by intercepting Nelson’s pass at the MSU 40, setting up a scoring drive that was capped after Le’Veon Bell ran for an 8-yard touchdown to give the Spartans a 26-10 lead with 7:25 left in the contest…Head to Head Competition-WR#1-Brandon Green (6:00-189)…The cornerback held the receiver to no catches for zero yards; and WR#14-Isaac Fruexhte (6:03-207)…The cornerback held the receiver to no catches for zero yards…Dennard Game Impact…Rerouted his opponent away from four passes and deflected another, adding an interception to set up a scoring drive, in addition to making one touchdown-saving tackle and three third-down stops, along with one hit inside the red zone, as he allowed 0-of-7 tosses targeted into his area (00.00%) to be completed for zero yards, no touchdowns and no first downs vs. the passing game…He also posted one stop-for-loss vs. the ground attack and registered one touchdown-saving tackle for the kickoff coverage unit…Team Defensive Impact-Michigan State allowed 13-of-30 passes to be completed (43.33%) for 92 yards, no touchdowns and four interceptions, as the opponent generated 96 yards on a total of 49 plays (1.96 yards per attempt).

 

Texas Christian (Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl)…Dennard closed out his junior campaign with three tackles in a 17-16 triumph…He prevented Brandon Carter from running under a third-&-5 pass play in the first frame and later bumped Carter, causing the flanker to drop an easy toss in the second stanza…Dennard would reroute Carter away from two other throws in the second half, forcing a TCU punt after he denied the Horned Frog any chance of pulling down a third-&-15 toss with 5:59 remaining in the game…He then sealed the victory by leading a Spartans defense that turned the screws so tight that the game all but ended on quarterback Trevone Boykin’s desperation throw for an incompletion on fourth-&-17 at his own 23. “We knew when the offense was driving the ball, we were telling each other, `It’s going to be on us to stop them,’” said Dennard. “And that’s what we wanted the whole time. Every game this season it came down on us, and this time we played very well and executed.”…Head to Head Competition-WR#3-Brandon Carter (5:11-171)…The corner-back held the receiver to one catch for seven yards…Dennard Game Impact…Rerouted his opponent away from four passes and caused a receiver to drop one toss, making two third-down stops as he allowed 2-of-6 tosses targeted into his area (33.33%) to be completed for 11 yards, no touchdowns and no first downs vs. the passing game…Team Defensive Impact-Michigan State allowed 13-of-29 passes to be completed (44.83%) for 201 yards, no touchdowns and one interception, as the opponent generated 288 yards on a total of 59 plays (4.88 yards per attempt).

 

2011 SEASON

Dennard took over “field” cornerback duties, starting eleven games…Injuries would sideline the All-Big Ten Conference honorable mention (by the league’s media) for the Minnesota (concussion) and Northwestern (ankle) clashes, but he still managed to record 42 tackles (30 solos), a stop for a 5-yard loss, three pass deflections and gained 38 yards (for a touchdown) on three interception returns…Also blocked a field goal vs. Wisconsin, as he paved the way for a squad that led the league and ranked fourth in the nation in total defense (274.38 ypg), helping the Spartan secondary that ranked ninth in the FBS in pass defense (175.77 ypg)…In the two games that Dennard was out of action, the defense gave up their second- and third-highest yardage totals for the season (415 vs. Minnesota; 370 vs. Northwestern)…Had 62 passes targeted into his area, as the opposition caught 21 of those tries (33.87%) for 298 yards, one touchdown and sixteen first downs, as he posted eighteen third-down stops, three touchdown-saving tackles and rerouted/jammed his coverage assignments away from 30 of those throws…Also excelled vs. the ground game, as he made fifteen tackles vs. ball carriers, limiting them to 17 yards (1.13 ypc) while making two third-down hits and four touchdown-saving tackles…Delivered ten of his stops inside the red zone and made four tackles for the special team coverage units (three vs. kickoffs; one vs. punt)…The sophomore was named to the Yahoo Sports All-Bowl Team for his performance vs. Georgia in the Outback Bowl.

 

2011 SEASON GAME ANALYSIS

Youngstown State…Dennard opened the season as the Spartans’ full-time starter at the “field” cornerback position, recording six tackles (4 solos) with a pass deflection in a 28-6 triumph…He wasted little time “getting into the action,” as he assisted middle linebacker Max Bullough in tackling Andre Stubbs on a 4-yard reception, which was the game’s fourth play from scrimmage…He later jostled Pat White on a third-&-10 second quarter pass play, causing the split end to drop the ball, forcing YSU into a punting situation…He also made a sensational tackle when he drilled Stubbs on a 13-yard kickoff return that saw the opponent needing to be helped to the sidelines by the Penguins training staff…The first half also saw Dennard go up and over Christian Bryan to knock down another pass…

The second half began with Dennard denying Bryan a chance to get to one toss and on third-&-5, he did likewise when Kintrell Disher tried to snare that throw…Disher did catch a 15-yarder in front of the sophomore defender during a late third quarter series, but on third-&-7, Dennard jammed the flanker and Youngstown State again punted…Head to Head Competition-WR#2-Christian Bryan (5:10-182)…The cornerback held the receiver to one catch for four yards; and WR#82-Kintrell Disher (6:04-202)…The cornerback held the receiver to one reception for 15 yards…Dennard Game Impact…Rerouted his opponent away from four passes and deflected another, as he allowed 3-of-9 tosses targeted into his area (33.33%) to be completed for 26 yards, no touchdowns and two first downs. He made three third-down stops and registered three hits inside the red zone vs. the passing game…He also posted one solo tackle as a member of the kickoff coverage unit…Team Defensive Impact-Michigan State allowed 17-of-35 passes to be completed (48.57%) for 126 yards, one touchdown and one interception, as the opponent generated 254 yards on a total of 69 plays (3.68 yards per attempt).

 

Florida Atlantic…Dennard delivered just a pair of solo tackles, but one stopped tailback Willie Floyd for no gain on a late second quarter rushing attempt…Head to Head Competition-WR#2-DeAndre Richardson (6:02-182)…The cornerback held the receiver to one catch for eight yards; and WR#83-Marcus Cunningham (6:00-187)…The cornerback held the receiver to no catches for zero yards…Dennard Game Impact…Rerouted his opponent away from two passes, as he allowed 1-of-3 tosses targeted into his area (33.33%) to be completed for eight yards, no touchdowns and one first down vs. the passing game…Team Defensive Impact-Michigan State allowed 6-of-13 passes to be completed (46.15%) for 26 yards, no touchdowns and no interceptions, as the opponent generated 48 yards on a total of 33 plays (1.45 yards per attempt).

 

Notre Dame…Dennard deflected one pass and again came up with a pair of tackles… After he rerouted Michael Floyd away from one pass attempt, he won a jump-ball battle with the All-American flanker to deflect a Tommy Rees pass in the second stanza…Floyd would later snare a 33-yarder in Dennard’s territory, but he would prevent a possible score on the next snap, as he broke off his assignment to chase down tailback Jonas Gray on a 13-yard scamper…Head to Head Competition-WR#3-Michael Floyd (6:03-224)…The cornerback held the receiver to one catch for 38 yards…Dennard Game Impact…Rerouted his opponent away from one pass, as he allowed 1-of-3 tosses targeted into his area (33.33%) to be completed for 38 yards, no touchdowns and one first down vs. the passing game… Also made one touchdown-saving tackle vs. the ground attack…Team Defensive Impact-Michigan State allowed 18-of-26 passes to be completed (69.23%) for 161 yards, one touchdown and one interception, as the opponent generated 275 yards on a total of 58 plays (4.74 yards per attempt).

 

Central Michigan…For the third consecutive game, Dennard posted two tackles, both coming after pass plays by CMU in the first quarter…In the second stanza, the Chippewas punted after the cornerback had jammed Cody Wilson on a third-&-7 pass play…He would deny Wilson an opportunity to get to a pair of other pass attempts before the end of the contest…Head to Head Competition-WR#11-Cody Wilson (5:10-189)…The cornerback held the receiver to one catch for 11 yards…Dennard Game Impact…Rerouted his opponent away from three passes, as he allowed 1-of-5 tosses targeted into his area (33.33%) to be completed for 38 yards, no touchdowns and one first down, recording one third-down stop vs. the passing game…Team Defensive Impact-Michigan State allowed 12-of-33 passes to be completed (36.36%) for 91 yards, one touchdown and four interceptions, as the opponent generated 112 yards on a total of 51 plays (2.20 yards per attempt).

 

Ohio State…In a hard-fought 17-16 loss, Dennard produced his first career interception, as he also collected four tackles (3 solos)…The sophomore was caught out of position on a 33-yard reception to Chris Fields, but two plays later, he stepped in front of the flanker to secure a Braxton Miller pass for an interception with 7:39 left in the first half…With 4:24 remaining in the contest, Dennard went into “overdrive,” as reserve quarterback Joe Bauserman targeted the Spartan’s territory on five-straight passes. After Verlon Reed caught the first of those tosses for 14 yards, Dennard systematically rerouted Reed away from each of the next two throws, then, did likewise to Fields before jamming T.Y. Williams on a third-&-10 attempt that failed to meet its target…Record Watch- Michigan State allowed just 178 yards of total offense to Ohio State, the fewest for a Spartan Big Ten opponent since Northwestern had 151 in 1999…The Spartans held Ohio State to 35 yards rushing, the fewest for a Spartan Big Ten opponent since Michigan had 28 yards rushing on October 3rd, 2009…Head to Head Competition-WR#80-Chris Fields (6:00-180)…The cornerback held the receiver to one catch for 33 yards; and WR#9-Verlon Reed (6:00-195)…The cornerback held the receiver to one reception for 14 yards…Dennard Game Impact…Rerouted his opponent away from five passes, and intercepted another, as he allowed 3-of-8 tosses targeted into his area (37.50%) to be completed for 51 yards, no touchdowns and one first down, recording two third-down stops vs. the passing game…
Also made one tackle inside the red zone and delivered one third-down hit vs. the ground attack…Team Defensive Impact
-Michigan State allowed 12-of-25 passes to be completed (48.00%) for 143 yards, one touchdown and one interception, as the opponent generated 178 yards on a total of 64 plays (2.78 yards per attempt).

 

 

Michigan…Dennard assisted on two tackles and deflected a pass…He twice prevented Junior Hemmingway from catching passes, including one on a halfback option play before the Spartan broke up a Denard Robinson third-&-10 pass play that was intended for split end Jeremy Gallon, leading to a Wolverines punt during that second quarter series…With a little over two minutes left in the first half, another UM punt was the result of Dennard denying Gallon space needed to haul in Robinson’s third-&-8 throw…In the third frame, he assisted Max Bullough in bringing Robinson down on a bootleg and then jammed a pair of receivers on pass plays, including rerouting Kevin Grady out of the action on a third-&-18 Robinson attempt, leading to yet another Michigan punt…Head to Head Competition-WR#21-Junior Hemmingway (6:01-222)…The cornerback held the receiver to no catches for zero yards; and WR#10-Jeremy Gallon (6:01-222)…The cornerback held the receiver to no catches for zero yards…Dennard Game Impact…Rerouted his opponent away from five passes and deflected another, as he allowed 0-of-6 tosses targeted into his area (00.00%) to be completed for zero yards, no touchdowns and no first downs. He also recorded three third-down stops vs. the passing game…He registered one touchdown-saving stop vs. the ground attack…Team Defensive Impact-Michigan State allowed 12-of-31 passes to be completed (38.71%) for 168 yards, one touchdown and one interception, as the opponent generated 250 yards on a total of 67 plays (3.73 yards per attempt).

 

Wisconsin…Dennard “saved the day” for the Spartans, who held on for a 37-31 decision, as the sophomore not only posted six tackles (4 solos), but made the play of the game…

In the second quarter, quarterback Russell Wilson raced past MSU second level defenders on an option run and appeared to have a clear lane to the end zone. Dennard came out of his assigned area and chased the speedy passer down after a 16-yard pick-up. The UW drive would stall and the Badgers tried to salvage some points from that second quarter 8-play, 80-yard march by attempting a 30-yard field goal. Dennard did his best “Superman” impersonation, leaping high into the air to block the kick that MSU recovered at their 8-yard line. The Spartans would then convert that turnover into a score, as QB Kirk Cousins fired a fourth-down 35-yard pass that “X” receiver B.J. Cunningham hauled in for a touch-down that gave Michigan what would eventually prove to be their game-winning points…

In the third quarter, Dennard appeared on the field with the punt coverage unit, where he stopped Jared Abbrederis on an 8-yard runback…After Abbrederis snatched a 20-yard Wilson pass in front of Dennard, the cornerback “climbed all over” the receiver on the next pass play, causing the Badger’s sure-handed target to drop the ball. On third-&-6, tailback Montee Ball came out of the backfield and tried to haul in a swing pass, but Dennard had the ball carrier pegged and hit him cleanly, as the pigskin slipped out of Ball’s grasp and Wisconsin then punted…Head to Head Competition-WR#4-Jared Abbrederis (6:02-182)… The cornerback held the receiver to three catches for 35 yards…Dennard Game Impact… Rerouted his opponent away from two passes and posted one touchdown-saving tackle, as he allowed 3-of-6 tosses targeted into his area (50.00%) to be completed for 35 yards, no touchdowns and four first downs (one was a penalty). He also recorded two third-down stops vs. the passing game…He registered one touchdown-saving tackle and had one stop inside the red zone vs. the ground attack…He blocked one field goal and assisted on a tackle as a member of the punt coverage unit…Team Defensive Impact-Michigan State allowed 14-of-21 passes to be completed (66.67%) for 223 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions, as the opponent generated 443 yards (most allowed by MSU in 2011) on a total of 62 plays (7.15 yards per attempt).

 

Nebraska…Dennard registered six tackles (5 solos), but was penalized twice and left late in the game after suffering a head injury…Late in the first quarter, blown assignments by the MSU defensive line and linebackers allowed Tim Marlowe to break into the open field on a rushing attempt. The tailback was about to cross the goal-line plane, but as if he was “dropped out of the sky,” there was Dennard to deliver a violent collision that crushed the ball carrier at the MSU 1-yard line…Perhaps that was the hit that would affect Dennard in the second half. After the teams came out of the tunnel after halftime, he was flagged for a personal foul after flushing QB Taylor Martinez out of the pocket, resulting in a 15-yard penalty…On the next Nebraska possession, he was called for pass interference, leading to another 15-yard being tacked on to the end of the play…Head to Head Competition-WR#80-Kenny Bell (6:01-181)…The cornerback held the receiver to one catch for 19 yards; and WR#84-Brandon Kinnie (6:03-227)…The cornerback held the receiver to one catch for 19 yards…Dennard Game Impact…Rerouted his opponent away from two passes, as he allowed 2-of-4 tosses targeted into his area (50.00%) to be completed for 31 yards, no touchdowns and four first downs (two were penalties). He also recorded two third-down stops and made three hits inside the red zone vs. the passing game…He also registered one touchdown-saving tackle vs. the ground attack…Team Defensive Impact-Michigan State allowed 7-of-13 passes to be completed (53.85%) for 80 yards, one touchdown and one interception, as the opponent generated 270 yards on a total of 71 plays (3.80 yards per attempt).

 

Minnesota…Due to a head injury late in the Nebraska contest, the coaches decided to not play Dennard vs. the Gophers…Even though the Spartans held on for a 31-24 decision, the sophomore’s absence was felt, as the defense gave up 415 yards, the second-highest total an opponent generated vs. MSU in 2011…The Gophers’ 295 aerial yards were the most that the MSU secondary was charged against in any game during the campaign.

 

Iowa…Dennard returned to the lineup, but his time on the field was brief, as he made two tackles before suffering an ankle sprain trying to cover Marvin McNutt on a pass play. The receiver caught the ball for a 30-yard gain before being tackled by Dennard.

 

Indiana…Dennard tested his sprained ankle, but left the game in the first quarter and did not return to the contest.

 

Northwestern…Dennard sat out the Wildcats game due to an ankle sprain that he suffered two weeks earlier vs. Iowa…Much like when he was sidelined vs. Minnesota, his absence was felt…The Spartans gave up 370 yards in total offense, the third-highest game output by an opponent vs. MSU in 2011…The 253 passing yards gained by the Wildcats was the third-highest total that the Michigan State secondary allowed during the season.

 

Wisconsin (Big Ten Conference Championship)…Still not fully recovered from his ankle injury, Dennard was still a “welcome sight” for the rest of his teammates when he stepped on to the field for the Spartans’ second encounter vs. the Badgers, with the Rose Bowl berth on the line, this time…He delivered a season-best seven tackles (5 solos) that included a stop behind the line of scrimmage, also coming up with a crucial hit that prevented a potential touchdown…Dennard made his presence felt from the start, hitting Montee Ball with a rib-rattling tackle on the game’s first play from scrimmage…When Nick Toon slipped past MSU cornerback Johnny Adams after catching a wheel route from Russell Wilson, the Badger was “off to the house,” but Dennard angled to the receiver, bringing Toon down at the MSU 6 to prevent the score…Later in the second quarter, Wilson flipped a pass to Ball in the backfield, but the 185-pound Dennard “out-muscled” 333-pound All-American offensive guard Kevin Zeitler and collided with Ball in the back-field for a 5-yard loss…The start of the second half again saw Dennard race past Zeitler to clobber Ball in the backfield on a third-&-1 rushing attempt for a 9-yard loss, as the tail-back would flip the ball to Wilson. The MSU cornerback turned and chased the QB and tackled him after another 9-yard loss, but behind Dennard were a slew of flags – Spartans defensive tackle Jerel Worthy was called for jumping offside, negating what was the play that decided the outcome of the game. Wilson would end that drive by hitting receiver Jared Abbrederis with a 42-yard touchdown toss and Wisconsin would pull out a 42-39 victory to earn a Rose Bowl berth. MSU would have to settle for an Outback Bowl invite…

Head to Head Competition-WR#4-Jared Abbrederis (6:02-182)…The cornerback held the receiver to three catches for 65 yards, including a 42-yard touchdown…Dennard Game Impact…Rerouted his opponent away from two passes, as he allowed 4-of-6 tosses targeted into his area (66.67%) to be completed for 60 yards, one touchdown and three first downs. He also recorded two third-down stops, made one touchdown-saving tackle and had one stop behind the line of scrimmage vs. the passing game…He also assisted on a stop-for-loss and tallied one third-down hit vs. the ground attack…Team Defensive Impact-Michigan State allowed 18-of-25 passes to be completed (72.00%) for 219 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions, as the opponent generated 345 yards on a total of 62 plays (5.56 yards per attempt).

 

Georgia (Outback Bowl)…Dennard helped spark a second half rally, as he tied a school bowl record with a pair of interceptions, returning one for a touchdown to give MSU a 33-30 decision over the Bulldogs. He also chipped in with four tackles while allowing only one of ten passes targeted into his area to be completed, for a 9-yard gain…The Spartans were limited to two first downs and just 72 yards total offense to trail 16-0 at the half. Quarter-back Kirk Cousins finally got them on track after the first of Dennard’s two interceptions set up a nine-play, 48-yard drive that tailback Le’Veon Bell finished with an 8-yard touch-down run…The sophomore had his “hand in the cookie jar” all day, as he brought the crowd to its feet after he torpedoed Sanders Commings on an early first quarter 13-yard return of a short kickoff. Dennard would be flagged for pass interference on the ensuing drive, but after twice rerouting his assignments away from second quarter pass plays, he was primed for an incredible final thirty minutes of action…Bell would score on the ground after Dennard had picked off an Aaron Murray pass near midfield just 1:34 into third quarter action…Later in that frame, he beat receiver Malcolm Mitchell for a jump ball, returning that pass theft 38 yards for a touchdown…Cornerback Johnny Adams missed an assignment on another Murray deep toss that Tavarres King hauled in and was on his way to the end zone. Dennard would not let the Bulldog get that six points, tackling the split end at the MSU 11 after a 53-yard advancement…Another deep pass by Murray in overtime failed to find its target, as Dennard refused to let Mitchell get under the throw…In the post-game press conference, Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio talked about his team rallying behind Dennard’s big plays to pull out a victory; “We talked at halftime, I guess it was 2-0 for most of the first half, but they had a couple of explosive plays late in the first half and go up 16-0. We just talked about if you want it you’ve got to take it back; keep believing. Just believe. And that’s what our guys did. We came back in the second half and I thought just started playing well, starting playing a little bit better, tough to run on but we made plays and found a way. Darqueze Dennard’s interception for a touchdown and his other interception really stopped them when they were coming out one time and got the ball down there. But two picks and came up with some fumbles. Great individual effort by Rashad White at the end of the game with the block, but our defense played outstanding I felt throughout the entire game.”…On Dennard’s performance, the head coach smiled and said, “Two big picks, again, resilient. He responded. He’s originally from Georgia and this was a big game for him. Two big interceptions, one for a touchdown led to our defense scoring. You know, if your defense can score, great things are going to happen for your team.”…Record Watch-Dennard etched his name into the team record book, as he tied the MSU bowl record with his two interceptions. He joins John Matsock (vs. UCLA, 1954 Rose Bowl), John Miller (vs. Southern California, 1988 Rose Bowl) and Mike Iaquaniello (vs. Hawaii, 1989 Aloha Bowl and again vs. Southern California, 1990 Sun Bowl)…His 38 return yards rank second on the school bowl game record chart behind John Matsock (67 yards vs. UCLA, 1954 Rose Bowl)…Head to Head Competition-WR#26-Malcolm Mitchell (6:01-184)…The cornerback held the receiver to one catch for nine yards…Dennard Game Impact…Rerouted his opponent away from four passes, intercepting two others, including one that he returned for a touchdown while also recording one third-down stop and a touchdown-saving tackle. He allowed 2-of-10 tosses targeted into his area (20.00%) to be completed for 13 yards, no touchdowns and no first downs vs. the passing game…He also recorded one stop as a member of the kickoff coverage unit…Team Defensive Impact-Michigan State allowed 20-of-32 passes to be completed (62.50%) for 288 yards, two touch-downs and two interceptions, as the opponent generated 339 yards on a total of 71 plays (4.77 yards per attempt).

 

2010 SEASON

As a true freshman, Dennard appeared in six games, lining up behind Johnny Adams at “field” cornerback for the Notre Dame, Northern Colorado, Wisconsin and Michigan contests before taking over starting duties at “Boundary” cornerback vs. Illinois and Northwestern, but a knee injury would sideline him for the Spartans’ final five clashes…

Finished with eleven tackles (8 solos) that included a 2-yard sack, two stops for losses of four yards, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery…Two of his stops came as a member of the kickoff coverage unit…The opposition completed 4-of-13 passes targeted into his area, good for 24 yards, as he delivered a pair of touchdown-saving tackles, along with five third-down stops, along with rerouting/jamming his coverage assignments away from five of those throws…Posted one of his two tackles behind the line of scrimmage vs. the ground game, adding one touchdown-saving hit.

 

2010 SEASON GAME ANALYSIS

Notre Dame…After sitting out the Spartans’ first two games, Dennard made his collegiate debut in the third quarter, where he recorded his first career tackle, taking down Cierre Wood on a 19-yard kickoff return.

 

Northern Colorado…Dennard did not record any tackles, but was penalized twice in the fourth quarter…After the game, Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi noted, “We played a lot of second team guys out there. Darqueze Dennard had two penalties, which I am glad he had them this week as opposed to maybe next week. I do not think they were flagrant, some careless penalties that we cannot have as we enter the Big Ten Conference.”

 

Wisconsin…Midway through the second quarter, Dennard slipped past the wedge to tackle James White on a 21-yard kickoff return.

 

Michigan…Dennard played vs. the Wolverines, but did not record any tackles.

 

Illinois…Pressed into action due to injuries and suspensions that decimated the depth in the secondary, Dennard shifted from his backup “boundary” position to earn his first career start, taking over “field” cornerback chores…In his starting debut, he responded with five tackles (3 solos), including one behind the line of scrimmage…After MSU QB Kirk

Cousins put Michigan State ahead to stay with his long touchdown pass in an eventual 26-6 triumph, Illinois answered with a 39-yard pass to A.J. Jenkins, but Dennard forced a fumble at the end of the play and recovered the ball. The Spartans would march 63 yards during the ensuing drive and converted that turnover into a 32-yard field goal…Earlier in the game, the Illini’s first points for the day was the result of a 21-yard field goal, as they salvaged some points from a 66-yard, 13-play drive that stalled when Dennard rerouted Jenkins away from a third-&-goal toss from QB Nathan Scheelhaasse…A screen pass from the Illini quarterback to Mikel Leshoure resulted in the tailback being taken down for a 2-yard loss when Dennard was quick to recognize the second quarter play developing…”I thought they were probably playing the best in the Big Ten and maybe in the country, and that rang true today,” Scheelhaasse said in the post-game press conference, in regards to the Michigan State defense. “We put ourselves in a position where we were able to compete with them and able to do some things. We just didn’t capitalize at the right time.”…Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio discussed his confidence level in his defense to make game-changing plays; “Well, we are coming up with turnovers and any time you are getting turnovers, good things are going to happen. Sometimes they come in bunches and I think it’s a confidence thing. You start to get turnovers; you start to develop that attitude that they are going to happen for you. Last year, how many did we have right now? I think we might have twelve interceptions, I’m not positive. We are playing well. In fact, (Darqueze) Dennard played a nice game, for a true freshman stepping out there. Certainly Marcus Hyde and Johnny Adams and Trenton Anderson played very well.”…

Defensive Coordinator Pat Narduzzi was then asked his thoughts on how Dennard stood up to the challenge of today’s game; “The guy is a playmaker. He got picked off – he and Trenton (Robinson) bumped into each other on that pass but the guy continues to make plays. Then he knocks the ball out, causes a turnover, a big play, the guy never quits on the ball and makes plays. That is what he has done all along, and if he did not get picked on that play he would have made a play. That is what cornerbacks do – make plays on balls. That was his first start. That is a puppy out there playing field corner in Big Ten football game. He was not in there against Florida Atlantic or Western Michigan, he was in there in the Big Ten Conference lining up against Big Ten receivers playing football. We have got ourselves another corner we know for sure.”…Fellow cornerback Johnny Adams

Chimed in when he remarked on Dennard’s debut starting performance; “Darqueze is a great player, we knew he was going to go out there and have a good time, have fun and make plays.”…Dennard was then asked what was going through his mind before the game; “What was going through my mind was not to be nervous and just play my techniques, listen to my teammates and play ball.”…On whether he was nervous; “I wouldn’t say I was nervous. I was anxious since Monday when they told me I was going to play. It feels good to be a part of this great defense.”…On his forced fumble and fumble recovery; “What happened was that me and Trenton [Robinson] ran into each other. I was just trying to make a play and make sure he didn’t score, and I knocked the ball out.”…

Head to Head Competition-WR#8-A.J. Jenkins (6:01-188)…The cornerback held the receiver to one catch for 12 yards and caused his opponent to fumble the ball after a 39-yard grab to set up a Michigan State scoring drive from the turnover…Dennard Game Impact…Rerouted his opponent away from four passes, as he allowed 2-of-9 tosses targeted into his area (22.22%) to be completed for 10 yards, no touchdowns and one first down. He recorded four third-down stops and another on a goal-line snap, in addition to making one touchdown-saving tackle vs. the passing game…He also registered another touchdown-saving hit vs. the ground attack…Team Defensive Impact-Michigan State allowed 15-of-27 passes to be completed (55.56%) for 141 yards, no touchdowns and three interceptions, as the opponent generated 255 yards on a total of 69 plays (3.70 yards per attempt).

 

Northwestern…In what would be his final appearance during his freshman campaign, Dennard earned his second career start, as the “field” cornerback delivered four solo tackles in a 35-27 decision…Missed assignments in zone coverage by the MSU safetiesa left “superback” Charles Brown uncovered and the Wildcat pulled in a third-&-10 toss from Dan Persa to race towards the Spartans’ end zone. Dennard saw the opponent get free from his MSU teammates and put on the “burners” to chase Brown down after a 28-yard gain to prevent the score early in the fourth quarter…Northwestern mounted a last-ditch drive with 1:07 left in the game, but Dennard slipped into the backfield and sacked the QB for a 2-yard loss. On the next snap, Persa’s pass was intercepted by MSU linebacker Eric Gordon and the Spartans ran out the remaining 44 seconds remaining in the contest…

Head to Head Competition-WR#17-Rashad Lawrence (6:02-191)…The cornerback held the receiver to two catches for 14 yards; and WR#5-Sidney Stewart (6:00-188)…The corner-back held the receiver to no catches for zero yards…Dennard Game Impact…Rerouted his opponent away from one pass, as he allowed 2-of-4 tosses targeted into his area (50.00%) to be completed for 14 yards, no touchdowns and one first down. He recorded one third-down stops, in addition to making one touchdown-saving tackle vs. the passing game…He also registered a tackle-for-loss vs. the ground attack…Team Defensive Impact-Michigan State allowed 19-of-30 passes to be completed (63.33%) for 215 yards, no touchdowns and one interception, as the opponent generated 385 yards on a total of 77 plays (5.00 yards per attempt).

 

Iowa, Minnesota, Purdue, Penn State and Alabama (Capital One Bowl)…Dennard missed the final five games of his freshman season due to a knee injury.

 

 

INJURY REPORT

2010 Season…Dennard sat out the team’s final five games vs. Iowa (10/30), Minnesota (11/06), Purdue (11/20), Penn State (11/27) and Alabama (1/01/11) due to a knee ligament sprain.

2011 Season…Dennard did not play vs. Minnesota (11/05) due to a concussion and later suffered an ankle sprain vs. Iowa (11/12) that would prevent him from taking the field two weeks later vs. Northwestern (11/26) after first trying to play in the Indiana (11/19) clash.

2012 Season…Suffered an injury early in the schedule (September), but played the entire schedule. The injury was later diagnosed as a sports hernia and the coaches decided that they would not let him participate in 2013 spring drills, in order for him to fully recover.

During those drills, Dennard was forced to stand and watch on the sidelines. “It’s been very hard to watch,” the cornerback said during April camp. “Being a competitor, I want to go out there and play.” The fact that the sports hernia actually occurred last September, by Dennard’s estimation, serves as evidence of his competitive nature. “I thought it was just a pulled groin, and that was like September,” said Dennard, who played through the injury. Sitting out the spring gave Dennard an opportunity to see the game differently. “I think there have been some mental repetitions,” the team captain stated. “I’m trying to be a student of the game. I’ve been watching more film and finding the little things I can work on in my game. This opportunity has also given me a chance to talk to all of my team-mates, and get to know them better and become a leader. I don’t think it adds pressure — pressure comes when you aren’t prepared. I feel like I always have a target on my back. I keep a chip on my shoulder. I’m going to stay humble and work hard.”

2013 Season…Sat out spring camp as a precaution, as the coaching staff wanted to allow Dennard to fully heal from a sports hernia that he played with after first suffering the injury early during the 2012 September schedule…Left the field briefly after a helmet-to-helmet collision with MSU safety Isaiah Lewis vs. Iowa (10/05), but returned to action one play later…Suffered a right shin contusion when a teammate fell on his leg during the fourth quarter of the Indiana clash (10/12), but continued to play.

 

AGILITY TESTS

4.42 in the 40-yard dash…1.51 10-yard dash…2.48 20-yard dash…3.97 20-yard shuttle…

10.81 60-yard shuttle…6.79 three-cone drill…37-inch vertical jump…10’-4” broad jump… Bench pressed 225 pounds 19 times…31 ¼-inch arm length…9 1/8-inch hands…75 1/8-inch wingspan.

 

HIGH SCHOOL

Dennard attended Twiggs County (Jeffersonville, Ga.) High School, lettering in football, basketball and track…The two-way performer as a defensive back and wide receiver for gridiron head coach Dexter Copeland, Dennard received just a two-star prospect status from Rivals.com as a 170-pound senior…Lettered all four years in football…First began to receive postseason accolades during his junior season in 2008, as he earned Atlanta Journal-Constitution and GSWA All-State honors as a wide receiver, leading the Middle Georgia Class A region in total receptions (61), receiving yards (923) and touchdown catches (17). That year, he hauled in a career-best 18 tosses for 255 yards vs. Wilkinson County and also featured seven grabs for 118 yards vs. Wilcox County…As a senior in 2009, Dennard led the Cobras to an 11-2 record, capturing the Class 2A Region title, as Twiggs County scored 468 points and gave up just 119. The two-time All-State selection on offense, he was also named to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution All-State team as a defensive back. The Georgia Sports Writers Association awarded him honorable mention All-State accolades at defensive back, along with receiving All-Middle Georgia recognition as a kick returner…During his senior season, Dennard pulled down 40 passes for 502 yards and eleven touchdowns to guide his squad to the state quarter-finals. On defense, he returned two of his nine interceptions for touchdowns, adding 50 tackles. He also scored twice while averaging 27.2 yards as a punt returner, picking up Class A Super 11 Team honors from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Georgia High School Football Daily…At the conclusion of his Cobras’ career, Dennard played in the 2009 Georgia Athletic Coaches Association North-South All-Star Game, where he scored on a 48-yard reception in the third quarter…Lettered in basketball for coach Dwayne White…In track, he recorded a top time of 10.88 in the 100-meter dash at the 2010 Georgia High School Association 2010 Outdoor Championships. He would finish second in that event during the final heat, clocking at 10.933.

 

PERSONAL

Communications major…Son of Lisa Curry…Born 8/10/91…Resides in Dry Branch, Georgia.

About Hondo S. Carpenter Sr.

View all posts by Hondo S. Carpenter Sr.
Hondo S. Carpenter, Sr. is the founder and publisher of SpartanNation.com and all of the family of services. The idea was birthed when overseas he ran into a Spartan not native to the United States who was wearing his Green and White proudly. He is dedicated to bringing you the latest and greatest information about Michigan State and Detroit Sports News every day. He resides in the Mid Michigan area. Follow Hondo on twitter here: @hondocarpenter.


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