Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi took a subtle swipe at the team’s chief rival earlier this week during a radio interview on Detroit Sports 105.1.
Asked if teams feel pressure to carry the flag for the Big Ten in big early season nonconference games — MSU plays at Oregon on Sept. 6 — Narduzzi acknowledged that’s true.
“I think you do,” he said.
But Narduzzi also said the Spartans can’t look past the opener against Jacksonville State.
“You’re carrying a flag all year,” Narduzzi told Detroit Sports 105.1. “We’re really focusing on Jacksonville State in the opener. You guys might be focused on the big game there the next week, but you can embarrass the conference in your opener, too.
“We’ve seen that happen in the Big Ten Conference — somewhere.
“We don’t intend to do that here at Michigan State.”
Narduzzi clearly was referencing Michigan’s 2007 loss to Division I-AA Appalachian State in Ann Arbor. It was considered one of the greatest upsets in college football history.
Michigan faces Appalachian State again in its season opener Aug. 30 at Michigan Stadium.
Here’s the complete Narduzzi interview, in which he talks about Michigan State’s evolving defense, national championship hopes and his future in East Lansing.