To beat Alabama, one must shut down Derrick Henry. The Heisman Trophy-winning running back has been running over defenses all season, and his 90 total carries over the past two games were nothing short of a smash-mouth clinic.
Michigan State is well aware of Henry’s exploits; Defenders Riley Bullough and Jon Reschke sent Henry friendly messages after he won the Heisman.
But the Spartans’ words became a little more combative this week.
“We are going to have to hit him harder – harder than we’ve ever hit anyone else,” Reschke told 247Sports.com‘s Mike Wilson. “It’s a challenge we are accepting.”
Defensive coordinator Mike Tressel preached a similar message.
“We need to prepare for a 15-round fight and we need to prepare to take blows and deliver blows right up to the very end,” he said. “That has to be our mindset. It has to be our mindset that we are going to need to want to tackle and want to tackle physical every single snap.”
Henry had an SEC-record 1,986 rushing yards and 23 rushing touchdowns this season. In addition to the Heisman, he took home several other major awards following the SEC Championship game.
Alabama and Michigan State meet in the Cotton Bowl national semifinal on Dec. 31.