Sept. 19, 2010
Irish Players Post Game Interviews (Floyd, Rudolph, Crist, Te'o, Riddick)
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State gambled on one play to beat Notre Dame - and it paid off.
Aaron Bates threw a 29-yard touchdown pass to Charlie Gantt on an audacious fake field goal in overtime, giving the Spartans a 34-31 victory over the Irish on Saturday night.
With Dan Conroy lining up for a 46-yard attempt to tie the game in the first overtime, Bates took the snap, stood up and had time to wait for Gantt to come open downfield. Gantt caught the pass for an easy touchdown, giving the Spartans (3-0) the victory and a measure of revenge for a heartbreaking 33-30 loss in South Bend last season.
David Ruffer had given the Irish (1-2) the lead with a 33-yard field goal on Notre Dame's overtime possession.
Bates, the Michigan State punter, lofted the ball perfectly into Gantt's arms for the latest remarkable finish in a series that's been filled with them lately.
Notre Dame took a 28-21 lead with 13:20 to play in the fourth quarter when Michael Floyd caught a 24-yard touchdown pass from Crist behind two defenders in the back of the end zone. Kirk Cousins tied it by scrambling to his right and finding B.J. Cunningham along the right sideline for a 24-yard touchdown with 7:43 remaining.
After a 7-7 tie at halftime, Michigan State began finding more running room. Edwin Baker cut to the left through a big hole, then back to the right through the Notre Dame secondary for a 56-yard touchdown run just 40 seconds into the third quarter.
The Irish needed less than two minutes to equalize, going 74 yards in six plays and tying it at 14 on a 10-yard touchdown pass from Crist to Kyle Rudolph.
The teams then traded 11-play touchdown drives, with the Spartans pushing the Irish off the line of scrimmage and Notre Dame answering with Crist's sharp passing. Le'Veon Bell scored on a 16-yard run for Michigan State, and the Irish tied the game again on Crist's 15-yard touchdown pass to Theo Riddick.
Notre Dame opened the scoring in the first quarter on Crist's 7-yard touchdown pass to Floyd. The Irish led 7-0 in the second quarter and appeared poised to take control after intercepting Cousins in the end zone, but Floyd fumbled after a catch, giving the Spartans the ball at their own 11. The Irish forced a punt and got the ball back in great field position at the Michigan State 27, but Crist threw an interception on the first play.
After that, the Spartans finally started moving the ball, going 94 yards in seven plays and tying the game on a 6-yard touchdown pass from Cousins to Keshawn Martin with 2:22 left in the half.