Brian Lewerke, MSU offense flash progress during spring game, despite the Spartans not showing many of their offseason fixes, April 13, 2019. Chris Solari, Detroit Free PressCONNECTTWEETLINKEDINCOMMENTEMAILMORE
This is the sixth and final in a series previewing three offensive and three defensive players off-the-radar who are critical to Michigan States success in 2019.
EAST LANSING — Mike Panasiuk gets plenty of attention as a stalwart at defensive tackle.
But his little brother, Jacub, continues to develop on the edge of Michigan State’s defense. And the Spartans need him to take that next step to becoming a consistent and dominant pass rusher to ease the burden on fellow defensive end Kenny Willekes.
Defensive coordinator Mike Tressel called the younger Panasiuk “a difference-maker” a year ago as he shook off an early injury to start 11 of his 12 games and play 426 snaps. With 25 games and 46 tackles already as a junior, Panasiuk also could be the key to elevating MSU’s dominant run defense into legendary status.img itemprop="url" src="https://www.gannett-cdn.com/presto/2018/10/20/PDTF/17e19f78-cf8e-44ae-a85a-8391f7fda4d3-msuum_102018_kd-31.jpg?crop=1983,1669,x199,y53&width=540&height=&fit=bounds&auto=webp" alt="Michigan's Ben Mason is tackled by Michigan State's Jacub Panasiuk, right, and Joe Bachie, left, Oct. 20, 2018, at Spartan Stadium." width="540" data-mycapture-src="https://www.gannett-cdn.com/presto/2018/10/20/PDTF/17e19f78-cf8e-44ae-a85a-8391f7fda4d3-msuum_102018_kd-31.jpg" data-mycapture-sm-src="https://www.gannett-cdn.com/presto/2018/10/20/PDTF/17e19f78-cf8e-44ae-a85a-8391f7fda4d3-msuum_102018_kd-31.jpg?width=500&height=394"">>
Michigan's Ben Mason is tackled by Michigan State's Jacub Panasiuk, right, and Joe Bachie, left, Oct. 20, 2018, at Spartan Stadium. (Photo: Kirthmon F. Dozier, Detroit Free Press)
When he’s good
Though there was talk before he arrived, and early in his college career, about sliding next to his brother at defensive tackle, Jacub Panasiuk has shown enough quick-twitch ability to get past opposing offensive tackles. His four QB hits were second to Willekes’ 12 as an All-American for the Spartans in 2018.
That ability showed in the second quarter of the opener against Utah State. Panasiuk and his brother ran a stunt, with Jacub showing agile footwork to shift behind Mike to an open lane in the interior of the line. As defenders bounced outside with Mike, Jacub darted unfettered and blasted QB Jordan Love to force a fluttering pass that was intercepted by Khari Willis.
More on possible breakout Spartans:
Jacub got hurt later in that game, essentially missing the next two before returning against Central Michigan. He got a tackle for a loss in that game, then split a sack of Northwestern’s Clayton Thorson with his brother a week later. Andrew Dowell got the initial pressure to flush and stagger Thorson, then Mike pushed through low around his feet as Jacub fought through a block take down the QB from high.
Jacub’s breakout game came against Michigan, a career-high eight-tackle performance in which he showed the ability to play fundamentally sound on the edge as the Wolverines attempted to avoid Willekes.img itemprop="url" src="https://www.gannett-cdn.com/-mm-/7e9cf57951b34808d7bb029729e11732e28a3500/c=167-0-2834-2000/local/-/media/2018/11/17/USATODAY/usatsports/37a976d0606d4ef382d23f4afb1ce28f.jpg?width=540&height=405&fit=crop" alt="Michigan_St_Nebraska_Football_51783.jpg" width="540" data-mycapture-src="https://www.gannett-cdn.com/media/2018/11/17/USATODAY/usatsports/37a976d0606d4ef382d23f4afb1ce28f.jpg" data-mycapture-sm-src="https://www.gannett-cdn.com/-mm-/4044b1e7645488621f157de466cf1a990870caa2/r=500x333/local/-/media/2018/11/17/USATODAY/usatsports/37a976d0606d4ef382d23f4afb1ce28f.jpg"">>
Nebraska quarterback Adrian Martinez (2) fumbles the ball for a turnover after a tackle by Michigan State defensive end Jacub Panasiuk (96), during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Lincoln, Neb., Saturday, Nov. 17, 2018. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik) (Photo: The Associated Press)
Against Nebraska, The 6-foot-3, 257-pound Panasiuk showed how MSU would love for him and Willekes to work in tandem together off the edge. Willekes came at QB Adrian Martinez from his right side to get his feet moving, then Panasiuk zoomed in from the opposite edge and blasted Martinez from his blindside. That jarred the ball loose — a textbook strip sack taught by Chuck Bullough during his first year as defensive ends coach — and Willekes collected the fumble to set the Spartans up in scoring territory.
In his four-tackle performance against Oregon in the Redbox Bowl, Panasiuk blew past Ducks tight end Ryan Bay to get in the face of QB Justin Herbert, then wrap him up as Raequan Williams yanked him down from the ground.
But it was not just about getting to the QB for Panasiuk. He also displayed patience and read recognition on plays that don’t necessarily show up in the stats. That included chasing Thorson on a pair of rollout passes two plays apart, deflecting one and hurrying the other. And again at Nebraska, he did not bite on a Martinez play-action fake and used his length to disrupt the passing lane for an incompletion on a screen.img itemprop="url" src="https://www.gannett-cdn.com/presto/2018/10/06/PDTF/aa3cca18-7fd4-4375-ab67-c61003757c2b-10062018_msu_2ndhalf-14.jpg?width=540&height=&fit=bounds&auto=webp" alt="Michigan State defensive end Jacub Panasiuk reacts after a play against Northwestern during the second half at Spartan Stadium, Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018." width="540" data-mycapture-src="https://www.gannett-cdn.com/presto/2018/10/06/PDTF/aa3cca18-7fd4-4375-ab67-c61003757c2b-10062018_msu_2ndhalf-14.jpg" data-mycapture-sm-src="https://www.gannett-cdn.com/presto/2018/10/06/PDTF/aa3cca18-7fd4-4375-ab67-c61003757c2b-10062018_msu_2ndhalf-14.jpg?width=500&height=333"">>
Michigan State defensive end Jacub Panasiuk reacts after a play against Northwestern during the second half at Spartan Stadium, Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018. (Photo: Junfu Han, Detroit Free Press)
When he struggles
There were games in which Panasiuk’s production was minimal, notably against Big Ten champion Ohio State’s stout offensive line. Some of that came from his own defensive linemates taking over, some of it from quick drop-and-throw passing attacks, some from playing typically only on first and second downs. And some of it comes from Panasiuk still being a work-in-progress, 19 years old in just his second collegiate season.
However, Panasiuk’s technique appears sound and on the rise. Increasing his point-of-attack shock to overpower heavier offensive tackles will be an area he needs to show more to become a more complete pass rusher who can finish sacks beyond just getting to the QB. That comes with added age, bulk and reps.
More on MSU:
Jack Camper and Drew Beesley provided depth to give Panasiuk rest at the physically demanding position, and Brandon Bouyer-Randle gave MSU a third-down speed rusher in its Delta package. However, the Spartans need Panasiuk to up his production and stay healthy, especially with Willekes coming off a broken leg.
MSU hopes those two can form the type of sack-seeking tandem on the edge that Shilique Calhoun and Marcus Rush were during two Big Ten championship runs. If they can, it will have a trickle-backward effect and make it harder to throw against the Spartans’ already-stingy run defense.
Source : https://www.freep.com/story/sports/college/michigan-state/spartans/2019/07/11/michigan-state-football-jacub-panasiuk-2019-preview/1696648001/1925