Oct. 21, 2013
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State senior linebacker Max Bullough has been named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week, the conference office announced on Monday.
Bullough recorded a season-high 10 tackles in Michigan State's 14-0 win over Purdue, with two resulting in losses including a 7-yard sack that produced a fumble that senior Denicos Allen recovered and returned 45 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter. Bullough reached double-figure tackles for the seventh time in his career. This marks the first Big Ten weekly honor for Bullough in his career.
"Max Bullough is a controlling figure for our defense," said MSU head coach Mark Dantonio. "He's a blitzer and a tackler, but most importantly, he's a leader and communicator. Game in and game out, Max does his job. He knows it's his responsibility to fill the gap, and when he does, the ball bounces outside so the outside linebackers and safeties can make the tackle. Max is physical and firm in the gap, but he also does a good job at scraping off the block and making the tackle."
MSU's defense recorded its first shutout since 2011 (44-0 over Florida Atlantic) and its first against a Big Ten opponent since 1999 (34-0 at Northwestern). The Spartans limited Purdue to three first downs, 7 rushing yards (10 carries) and 113 total yards in the second half. MSU has held all seven of its 2013 opponents below 100 yards rushing, as Purdue managed 66 yards on 34 carries (1.9 avg.).
"Max Bullough had a very productive game against Purdue," said linebackers/special teams coach Mike Tressel. "Max spent much of the game playing on the other side of the line of scrimmage. He ran through blocks and made plays.
"Max made a game-changing play early in the second quarter, with a sack resulting in a fumble that Denicos Allen returned for a touchdown. In the NFL, one out of every six sacks results in a fumble, and that's our defensive mentality. So it was great to see Max cause the fumble and Denicos capitalize by scoring the TD.
"There's no question that Max runs the show on the field. He gets all 11 guys on the same page. It doesn't show up on the stat sheet, but Max regularly puts guys in positions to make plays. So he might not get credit for the sack or tackle for loss, but he put his teammate in position to make that play."
Bullough ranks third on the team with 42 tackles (6.0 avg.), including 6.5 for losses (17 yards), which is tied for the team lead and ranks tied for eighth in the Big Ten. He also ranks second on the team with seven quarterback hurries.
Michigan State (6-1, 3-0 Big Ten) returns to action Saturday, Oct. 26 to face Illinois (3-3, 0-2) in Champaign, Ill., at 3:30 p.m. ET. The game will be televised on ABC (ESPN2 reverse mirror).