July 8, 2013
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State senior linebacker Max Bullough and senior cornerback Darqueze Dennard have been named to the Chuck Bednarik Award Watch List, the Maxwell Football Club announced on Monday. The award is given to the collegiate defensive player of the year.
Michigan State is one of just two Big Ten schools (Ohio State) to have at least two players on the Bednarik Award Watch List.
Bullough and Dennard were previously named preseason first-team All-Big Ten selections by Athlon Sports and Phil Steele's College Football Preview. In addition, Bullough earned preseason All-America honors from both publications (second team - Phil Steele; third team - Athlon Sports), while Dennard garnered third-team preseason All-America recognition from Phil Steele.
Bullough, who also has been named to the Lott IMPACT Trophy Watch List, is a three-year letterwinner who will be entering his third season as Michigan State's starting middle linebacker in 2013. The Traverse City, Mich., native has 223 tackles, including 21 for losses (77 yards) and 6.5 sacks (41 yards), in 40 career games. Bullough has started every game at middle linebacker since the beginning of the 2011 season (27 consecutive games), a streak that ranks tied for longest on the Spartan defense (strong safety Isaiah Lewis; defensive end Marcus Rush).
A first-team All-Big Ten selection by the coaches and a second-team pick by the media in 2012, Bullough led the team in tackles for the second-straight year with a career-high 111 stops (51 solo, 60 assists), which ranked ninth in the Big Ten (8.5 avg.). He also ranked second on the team and tied for ninth in the Big Ten with 12.5 tackles for loss (45 yards), and in conference games, he ranked fourth in the league in tackles (76; 9.5 avg.).
A semifinalist for the Butkus Award a year ago, Bullough produced at least a half tackle for loss in each of the last eight games and tied for the team lead with nine tackles in the 2012 Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl vs. TCU. He was named recipient of the team's Outstanding Underclass Back Award (defense), Biggie Munn Award (most inspirational player) and Iron Man Award (strength and conditioning).
The 6-3, 252-pound Bullough registered a team-high seven stops at Minnesota and recorded eight tackles against Northwestern, with one tackle for loss (2 yards). His half sack (combined with junior defensive end William Gholston) against Kain Colter resulted in a 1-yard loss and a safety in the first quarter.
Bullough reached double figures in tackles for the fourth time in 2012 and sixth time in his career, with 10 stops against Nebraska.
Bullough recorded nine tackles while setting career highs for both tackles for loss (2.5 for 15 yards) and sacks (2 for 14) in Michigan State's 16-13 overtime victory at No. 25 Wisconsin, as the Spartans recorded their first win in Madison since 2001 while snapping the nation's second-longest active home winning streak at 21 games. MSU limited Wisconsin to 19 yards rushing (37 carries) - nearly 182 fewer than its season average.
He posted 10 stops, a career-high two pass break-ups and recorded his first interception of the season at Michigan.
Bullough recorded 11 stops against Iowa and posted a season-high 12 stops against No. 14 Ohio State to go along with two pass break-ups and a forced fumble.
The 5-11, 188-pound Dennard was a first-team All-Big Ten pick by the coaches and a second-team selection by the media in 2012. He tied for the team lead in interceptions (3), pass break-ups (7) and passes defended (10), and ranked sixth on the team with a career-high 52 tackles, including 3.5 for losses (5 yards).
In the regular-season finale at Minnesota, Dennard recorded an interception, a pass break-up and three tackles, including a 1-yard loss, as the Spartans defeated the Gophers to become bowl eligible for a school-record sixth consecutive season.
The Dry Branch, Ga., product tied his career high in tackles with seven stops against Northwestern and tied his career high with two interceptions vs. No. 21 Nebraska; his 30-yard interception return against the Huskers in the third quarter set up MSU's third TD of the game.
Dennard posted four tackles, including a half tackle for loss, at No. 23 Michigan and had four stops and two pass break-ups vs. Iowa. He collected six stops, including a 2-yard loss, vs. No. 20 Notre Dame. In the season-opening win over No. 24 Boise State, Dennard recorded a career-high three pass break-ups, produced five tackles and matched his career high with 26 production points against the Broncos.
Dennard has 102 tackles and 16 passes defended (six interceptions, 10 pass break-ups) in 30 career games, including 26 starts.