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Going the Distance (and then some).

Discussion in 'Thread Archive' started by -4-, Jul 21, 2011.

  1. -4-

    -4- Walk On

    May 25, 2011
    Michigan State pulls out Double-OT win in Morgantown to get back on track.

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    Coming off of an ugly loss in last week's home-opener against North Carolina State, the Michigan State Spartans had to find a way to forget their poor performance if they wanted a chance against a dangerous West Virginia Mountaineer team this week. The Spartans came out with a completely different attitude and competed all the way through the non-conference showdown.

    The Spartans struck pay-dirt first in the second quarter after a showcase of defenses in the first. Running back Edwin Baker began the fun, taking a toss play 25 yards untouched for the opening score.

    The Mountaineers answered right back with a scoring drive of their own. Geno Smith was the catalyst for WVU all game long, and it was no different on this drive. Smith demoralized the Spartan defense with his accurate arm and deadly feet. And on a third and short from the 39-yard line of MSU, Smith struck for his first of many touchdowns, hooking up with stud wideout Tavon Austin for the score. MSU safety Trenton Robinson had a shot at the interception but went for the knock-down instead. Robinson did just that, but the ball fell right into the waiting arms of Austin in the back of the end zone, and the score was knotted at 7.

    With two minutes left in the half, the Spartans had one more shot before the half. MSU rode the one-two punch of LeVeon Bell and Edwin Baker all the way down the field, before scoring with under ten seconds left on a 3-yard TD Pass from Kirk Cousins to BJ Cunningham.

    Nothing changed with the start of the second half, and the back-and-forth struggle continued. Both team found a horse and rode it. The Mountaineers' hopes continued to lie solely in the hands of Geno Smith, while the Spartans relied on their one-two punch in the backfield.

    Despite moving the ball effectively for much of the game on offense, it wasn't until late in the third quarter when the Mountaineers threatened again. After a William Gholston sack, West Virginia was left with a third and goal form the MSU fifteen. But the down and distance didn't faze Smith as the Junior hooked up with Brad Starks for a game-tying fifteen yard score.

    The slugfest continued into the fourth quarter, with both teams constantly threatening but unable to punch it in. But, with under two minutes remaining MSU finally capitalized. Although having a poor day through the air, Kirk Cousins managed to throw his second touchdown on the day connecting with an open BJ Cunningham in the end zone to make it 21-14 late.

    After a big kick return by Tavon Austin, the Mountaineers offense took back to the field with a minute and a half to go 50 yards. The Mountaineers slowly but surely creep deep into MSU territory with the clock ticking down. But, with a first and goal from the two, William Gholston stepped up big and made a huge stop in the backfield, knocking WVU off the front porch. And after two incomplete passes, the Mountaineers were stuck in 4th and goal from the MSU 4-yard line. West Virginia called their final timeout to think it over as the game rode on this one play.

    After the timeout the Mountaineers came out in a surprising formation and forced the Spartans to burn a timeout. The chess match on the doorstep continued, as this time WVU came out in a 5-wide formation. But, when the play took place, the Mountaineers surprised the entire stadium by running a QB draw. Geno Smith found a hole and walk right into the end zone, sending the game to OT.

    West Virginia won the OT toss and elected to go on defense first. But, MSU was ready to go on offense. The Spartans scored quickly on a two-play drive. But, the touchdown play wasn't without a little luck as Kirk Cousins didn't see the corner sitting on the route and threw right at the Mountaineer D. Luckily for the Spartans the ball sailed right through the outstretched arms of the defender and right into the hands of Keshawn Martin for a walk-in 13-yard touchdown.

    The Mountaineers came right back with a little luck of their own. On third and goal from the 12, Geno Smith threw a pass to the end zone for Stedman Bailey, but the ball was knocked into the air after a big hit. But once again, Tavon Austin was in the right place at the right time as the ball fell right into his lap and the Mountaineers sent the game to a second overtime.

    In the second overtime, the Mountaineers weren't so lucky. On the second play of their possession, Geno Smith took off on a pass play, but ran right into the heart of the MSU defense. Linebacker Max Bollough laid the wood on the QB and the star fumbled. William Gholston fell on the loose ball to end the possession.

    MSU cautiously pounded the ball at the West Virginia defense, and kicked a field goal on fourth down for the double-overtime win.

    Next week the Spartans open Big Ten play against Purdue.

    Players of the Game

    Offense- Geno Smith, QB, WVU: 22/29 259 yards, 3 TD, 93 RYDS, TD

    Defense- William Gholston, DE, MSU: 5 TKL (3 Sacks, 5 TFL) , Fumble Recovery

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