September 21, 2002 - What A Difference A Coach Makes
Squaring up against his alma mater, Willingham took his squad to East Lansing for the season's first true road game. On the opening series, Notre Dame scored with the help of a little trickeration. Former quarterback now wide receiver Arnaz Battle got the ball and then hurled it 30 yards back to now quarterback Carlyle Holiday. Ryan Grant scored a 7 yard touchdown run to put Notre Dame ahead early 7-0. At the end of the second quarter, Shane Walton deflected a pass which Gerome Sapp intercepted back to the Michigan State 28 yard line. Holiday sent the first passing touchdown of the season to Maurice Stovall and the Irish took a 14-3 lead to the locker room. Stovall's catch would be featured on Sports Illustrated the following week.
In the third quarter, Holiday would leave the game with a shoulder injury and walk-on quarterback Pat Dillingham would be forced into action. Notre Dame struggled and MSU was able to score a touchdown behind Jeff Smoker's passing attack. With 1:50 left in the game and facing 4th-and-11, Smoker and his receiver would team up for a spectacular catch at the back of the end zone to go ahead 17-14.
Trailing for the first time all season, it would take 30 seconds for Dillingham to find Battle on a short passing route. Battle would take the reception 60 yards for the go ahead game winning touchdown. Michigan State had one last chance with 1:15 remaining but after a sack and second interception by Sapp, Notre Dame brought home the win.
1 2 3 4 F #12 ND 7 7 0 7 21 MSU 3 0 0 14 17
At 4-0, Notre Dame was off to their best start since 1993. The win was also the first over Michigan State since 1994 (ND-MSU did not play in 1995-96 followed by Bob Davie going 0-5 against the Spartans. Davie later "joked" he didn't know the megaphone trophy existed.).
Keywords: football, michigan state, ty willingham, carlyle holiday, ryan grant, arnaz battle, shane walton, gerome sapp, maurice stovall, pat dillingham, bob davie, megaphone trophy, sports illustrated
Posted On: 2013-09-19 00:15:03 by IrishTrpt07
Edited On: 2013-10-02 05:36:59 by IrishTrpt07
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