Sitting on my porch with my dog Dash, all I could do was shout “Are you kidding me” when the Michigan State Spartans pulled off a flawless fake field goal in overtime to beat the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame. It was near midnight and I’m standing up, shouting at my TV and Dash doesn’t even wake up. It was classic! I loved it.
People are already saying it was the gutsiest call of the year. The play: “Little Giants”.
Aaron Bates, MSU’s Punter, is the holder for field goals, but he is also a former high school quarterback. The Spartans set up for the OT field goal to tie ND and take it in to a OT2, and I’m a little nervous. Dan Conroy is a perfect 12-12 in his first season, and he kicked three long ones (41, 46, 50) last week, but still, this is an overtime-game-winning-against-Notre-Dame kick. Can he handle this pressure? Apparently, we will need to find out another time because after the snap, Bates stands up and cocks his throwing arm while Charlie Gantt breaks through the line and heads for the end zone. Gantt is W I D E O P E N and Bates executes a clean, easy throw right in to his awaiting hands. Textbook. Awesome. Beautiful. 29 yards later, it was all over. The look on Brian Kelly’s face was pure “what the… what just happened… oh… yep… we just lost.”
Turns out the pass was supposed to go to Le’Veon Bell, who was covered. During practice, Gantt was never even thrown the ball. Gantt was wide open, Bell was covered, so Bates locked on and Gantt took it home.
It was a good game even without the Hollywood ending. The Irish dominated the Q1 and MSU responded in Q2. After the half, both offenses came out firing and at the end of regulation, it was tied at 28-28. MSU won the OT toss and elected to start on defense. ND kicked a field goal to go up 28-31. And you know what happened next.
Overall, the Spartans looked good.
The running game was not quite as potent, but still Edwin Baker had 90 yards and a TD and Le’Veon Bell rushed for 114 yards and a TD. I really think Le’Veon has huge potential. Larry Caper was back this week, but wasn’t very effective against the Irish. Overall, running up the gut was not effective against the Irish, but when Bell or Baker got past the line, good things happened.
Kirk Cousins went 23-33 for 245 yards with one pick and two TDs. That’s a nearly 70% completion percentage! Take away the totally unnecessary end zone pass that was picked off (reminds me of 2009, but it was in Q1 instead of Q4 for the game) and Kirk was pretty much amazing. He was sacked four times, but most of the game, the o-line provided adequate protection.
Notre Dame looked good but not great. The offense is coming together nicely and the pass attack is formidable. Running, not so much. And, like the Spartans, the Defense needs to continue to improve. I like the direction they are going in, and I like Coach Kelly. Good luck to the Irish for the rest of the season. I still wish they could have beaten Michigan. The Irish have a bit of work to do to get out of the 1-2 hole they find themselves in, but they can do it. Go Irish!
Speaking of Michigan, the Wolverines won against U-Mass 42-37, but they didn’t look quite as unstoppable. In fact, they looked quite stoppable, and U-Mass put some fear in them. Michigan’s offense continues to look terrific with one-man-show Denard Robinson racking up 345 yards, but the defense wasn’t quite iron-clad. Looking forward to the MSU-Michigan game October 9th in East Lansing, I know two things:
- If Denard Robinson stays healthy, Michigan will score. I wonder if RichRod has nightmares about Denard getting injured? If he doesn’t, he should.
- MSU will score against Michigan’s defense, no question. I’m not saying it will be easy, but it will happen.
It should be one heck of a game.
Take a day off Spartans, and enjoy. You are 3-0 for the first time since 2007. You have beaten the Irish three times in the last four years. You have Northern Colorado at home next week for your last non-con game. One week at a time. Play smart. Play tough. But maybe not too many of these heart-attack finishes.