In classic Michigan State / Notre Dame fashion, the ball bounces in unusual ways. With Notre Dame having converted their first chance in overtime with a field goal, Michigan State knew where they stood. What happened next will go down in the lore of this rivalry game for years to come.
Having watched Edwin Baker lose two yards on the Spartans first play, you got the feeling the Irish were ready to keep this game tied. On second down the Spartans got some life as Kirk Cousins rushed for 7 yards to the Notre Dame 20 yard line. On 3rd and 5, Cousins could not find any place to go with the ball and was sacked for a loss of nine yards making the next play, Dan Conroy's first pressured kick of his career. No-one knew what was about to happen.
With out hesitation, Mark Dantoino called for the Spartans to run a fake field goal called “Little Giant” for the win. While the play may have been based on the movie of the same name, the play became a “Giant Killer” for Notre Dame.
Aaron Bates spoke with Spartan Digest after meeting with the press and said the following about the play call.
“With Coach D you always have to be ready, he's got some guts, and he plays for keeps. He's playing for the win, he told us the whole game that we we're playing to win. So be ready for some trickery.”
For Bates, the call was what he expected out of his head coach and the reason he and his teammates respect and follow him into battle.
“That is all you can ask out of your head coach. When he respects you and trust you, and does that better than probably anybody in the country and that is why we look up to him as a leader.”
While the play will forever be something Bates and Gnatt will share and talk about, both players know the call was for Le'Veon Bell to get the ball.”
Spartan Digest will have more about this classic battle between the Spartans and Irish that found Michigan State move to 3-0 on the season.
**Photo By Pat Strang**