Wolverine placekicker Brendan Gibbon ended four years of frustration, as his 38 yard field goal with five seconds left ended a four game losing streak to in-state rival Michigan State. UofM finally beat MSU 12-10 on an otherwise beautiful fall day in Michigan. The win puts the Wolverines in first place in the Big Ten’s Legends division. With the lose, MSU drops to 1-3 in conference play and is all but eliminated from making a return trip to the Big Ten Championship game. Once again, the Spartans found a way to come up just short of victory.
Despite holding the potent Michigan offense to four field goals and never allowing them to reach the end zone, the Spartans lost another close one. MSU has lost three conference games by a total of six points, one in overtime. While the defense was once thought to be elite, it has continually shown the inability to make the plays necessary at the end to secure a win. Likewise the offense has dropped multiple opportunities to keep the ball out of the opponent’s hands for a final game winning or as in the case against Iowa, game tying drive.
For fans and players alike the last few weeks have been incredibly difficult to watch, as the Spartans are always a few plays short of victory. This Saturday was no exception. The four key plays (or plays missed) from the loss against the Wolverines in order are:
- 0:18 seconds left in game: 2 and 11 for Michigan at the MSU 41: UofM QB D. Robinson completes to WR Drew Dileo for 20 yards; sets up game winning 38 yard field goal.
- 5:48 to go 4th Quarter: With a chance to force Michigan to have to score a touchdown, MSU offense has it 1st and goal at the UofM six. On first down Maxwell overthrows TE Derek Hoebing. After two Le’Veon Bell rushing attempts, MSU settles for FG.
- 3:34 to go 3rd Quarter: After the defense did another excellent job of forcing a “3 and out” and to boot a horrible punt by UofM, Spartans start with great field position, with the ball on their own 48. Three plays later on 3rd and 4 from the UofM 46 Maxwell overthrows an open receiver and ends up with an interception by Jordan Kovacs. The game at that time was 7-6 Spartans. A good MSU drive could have put MSU up 14-6.
4. 3:07 4th Quarter: With a chance to win the game, MSU offense gets the ball on their own eight yard line and up 10-9. Only needing to make two or three first downs to seal the victory, the Spartan offense can’t muster more than five yards and ends up with another three and out ; thus not only leaving UofM with plenty of time on the clock but also giving them very good field position to start from.
Coach Dantonio constantly talks about football games coming down to a few plays and being prepared to make those key plays when they are in front of you. Starting with last year’s lose to Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship game, the players have been in position to make those plays. It’s the execution they lack. If they don’t get it corrected soon, a few more plays are going to result in Coach Dantonio’s first ever losing season at MSU.
About the Author
Written by Andre' Wiegand
A life long Michigan State University Spartan fan! My grandfather played on the Spartan O-Line back in 1951 and my family has been Spartan fans since. 1999 M.S.U. graduate (JMC). Currently live in Grand Rapids, MI with my wife and two sons.