Its a different game than the days of the Silver Bullets...there are a select few elite defenses playing. You sometimes have to look situationally...the defense was huge in East Lansing in the 2nd and 3rd quarters, especially the stand after Dontre's fumble that may have been the turning point in the game (missed Fg, next play TD to CantGuardMike - 10 point swing right there). They admittedly backed off a bit in the 4th which lead to the high score. If only they would have pounced on the easy turnovers that were there, it might not have been that close.
The defense did disappoint on PSU's field goal tying drive, but they also were on the field for the entire second half due to the offense stalling. But in the end, the defense closed out the game.
So while its not lights out yet, but they have shown the ability to change a game. And as some of the pups get experience, it will only improve week to week.