Naquan Jones pierced Michigan’s offensive line early. So did his linemate, Jacob Slade. The two former backups were starring as starters for Michigan State football at defensive tackle.

Behind them, however, the Spartans are learning just how much depth they have at defensive tackle.

Sophomore Dashaun Mallory got the only sack by either team Saturday in MSU’s 27-24 upset of Michigan in Ann Arbor. His interior partner, redshirt freshman Jalen Hunt, showed strength to shed blockers and speed to chase after quarterback Joe Milton.

That gives the Spartans a fearsome foursome even after the graduations of Raequan Williams and Mike Panasiuk.

“When you can rotate four guys inside, you can keep guys fresh,” first-year coach Mel Tucker said during his Tuesday news conference. “And then they can play hard each and every snap. And when they need a blow, then you can get them out and get another guy in and you don’t drop off. That’s very important, to see guys develop in a way that we feel confident that we can have a solid rotation inside.”

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