Every so often, former Michigan State cornerback Darqueze Dennard thinks back to the one time he got to take the field with his distant third cousin, current Patriots corner Alfonzo Dennard.
Back in 2011, Alfonzo, then a senior star at Nebraska, and the Cornhuskers got the best of the Spartans with a 24-3 victory. Darqueze, then a sophomore, had a strong showing with six tackles, but he was left wishing he had played a game more like his older cousin.
Alfonzo provided the lockdown stops, breaking up three passes in Nebraska’s win.
“He outshined me that game,” Darqueze recalled. “I’m looking forward to doing the same the next time we play.”
That game was more than two years ago — long before Darqueze blossomed into the 2013 Jim Thorpe Award recipient, given to the best cornerback in the county. Dennard, a unanimous All-America selection, finished his senior season with four interceptions and 10 pass breakups, anchoring a shutdown defense that led the Spartans to a 13-1 record and a Rose Bowl victory.
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