Sep 7, 2013
By Steve Grinczel, MSUSpartans.com Online Columnist
EAST LANSING, Mich. - The only way Shilique isn't unique is if there's another defensive end somewhere in America leading his team in scoring with three touchdowns.
Michigan State had all the points it needed to beat South Florida when Shilique Calhoun scooped up a fumble and ran 4 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter. Just for good measure, Calhoun increased MSU's lead to 14-6 in the third quarter with a 56-yard interception return.
The offense added a score in the fourth quarter to complete the 21-6 victory, but Calhoun continued to stand out as the Spartans' most potent scoring threat.
Consider his hat thrown into the ring.
"What I was shouting on the sideline was Shilique for Heisman," said running back Nick Hill.
Calhoun oozes charisma, has a million-watt smile, a marketable name and two more touchdowns to go with his 16-yard fumble return in the 26-13 season-opening win against Western Michigan.
"You don't see too many defensive linemen in the country that have two scoop-and-score fumbles and one pick(-six)," Hill said.
Calhoun wouldn't have pooh-poohed anyone who a month ago would have told him he'd have 18 points two games into the season.
"I definitely would have agreed with that and would have said I look forward to the challenge," Calhoun said. "With my defense, I believe anything is possible."
With just over five minutes gone in the second quarter, defensive tackle Tyler Hoover set up MSU's first score when he knocked the ball out of Bulls quarterback Bobby Eveld's hands while executing a 9-yard sack. Calhoun picked up the loose ball and carried it across the goal line for a 7-0 lead.
In the third quarter, blitzing linebacker Denicos Allen hit Eveld just as he was starting his throwing motion, and the ball launched high into the air right where Calhoun was waiting,
"It was a delicate play that was called," Calhoun said. "As I went to execute the play, I realized the ball was in the air. The first thing I thought of was, `If you catch this, man, you're good. All you got to do is catch the ball.'
"As I caught it, I looked around and was like, `I can make it to the end zone again.' So I was pretty happy and I just want to thank my teammates because without them, none of this would be possible."
Calhoun already has more touchdowns than he scored in high school with two from his tight end position, and the Spartans defense has four touchdowns after scoring none last season.
"He's our running back on defense," said defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi. "Just hand it off to him and let him go. He's a great player. It's the difference between having a guy who makes plays in practice and a guy that makes a play in the game and catches it and finishes it, so it's good to see."
Could Calhoun, the first MSU defensive player to score three touchdowns in a season since middle linebacker T.J. Turner had three in 12 games in 1999, lead the nation in scoring?
"I hope I get the opportunity, but that's to be continued," he said.
If that happens, book the flight to New York.