Michigan State got off to a 2-0 start this season and then laid a dud to Arizona State 10-7. Was it the defense’s fault?

Not exactly. But then, after a 31-10 win over Northwestern the following week, the Spartans allowed 30-plus points in three consecutive games, accumulating a 1-2 record in those games.

In the last two contests, Michigan State has been outscored by Ohio State and Wisconsin 72-10. Not good. And, one can point to the defense not playing up to expectations.

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Earlier this week, Spartans defensive lineman Kenny Willekes — a fifth-year senior — spoke out about how the defense is feeling:

“It’s definitely frustration,” fifth-year senior defensive end Kenny Willekes said after practice on Tuesday night. “You come into the season with high expectations as a defense and then three teams in a row put 30 points up on you.”

Junior cornerback Josiah Scott:

“I feel like throughout preseason and throughout this first couple games, just kind of putting too much pressure on ourselves to be the No. 1 defense and all this stuff like that. So, it’s just really getting back to just having fun and just playing because the last two years we really haven’t been thinking about No. 1 defense, No. 1 defense, and just really kind of been playing and having fun.”

The Spartans face Penn State at 3:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, Oct. 26 at home. The game will be televised on ABC.