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Wednesday, October 21, 2015


Great play to finish the game against Michigan, but I'm tired of hearing it called a "miracle", how about you? UM fans everywhere are claiming that "Sparty was lucky", but at this point, I'm willing to draw a line in the sand on that point.

"Luck" was not involved in the final play against Michigan.

It was a 10-man punt-block play and the punter bobbled the snap. That's all. Is that "luck"? If so, what about the passes that were dropped by MSU receivers, wasn't that also "lucky" for Michigan? I even saw Connor Cook stumble and fall down on one play without being touched. Wouldn't that also be an example of "luck", in favor of the Wolverines? Wasn't it "lucky" for UM that the MSU punt returner stepped away from a punt that subsequently rolled for 80 yards? Why no discussion of that kind of "luck"?

When Mark Dantonio chose not to attempt field-goals twice in the game, and came away empty-handed, was that "luck" in favor of the home team, or was that a DECISION MADE BY A COACH?

That last play has been microscoped and dissected countless times, and the more we watch it, the more we see the design and execution of the play on both sides. Michigan State players got their hand (or hands) on the ball or the punter, and influenced how the ball moved when it came out of the punter's control. Other players were then in position to recover and return the ball. Is that "luck"? It looked like a play to me, one where coaches made the play-call and players executed the play, and it keeps looking like it every time I see it.

Mark Dantonio was asked by CBS-Radio about the "surprising win" by his team over Michigan, and he challenged that depiction on the spot. When you think about it, what would be "surprising" about the higher-ranked team that was undefeated and had won six of the last seven games in the series actually winning the game? Not much, right? But the sports-media-driven narrative about Jim Harbaugh over the last 10 months has hypnotized many people into believing that he could actually take his first-year team into the four-team run-off in January. Any thing that stops that train is now viewed as improbable, or even in this case, "lucky".

If Harbaugh led Michigan to the B1G Title
this season, it would be "a miracle".

To do something like that, he would need a lot of "luck".

But for a punt-block team to return a fumbled-snap 38 yards is simply a great play. Luck had no special part in that sequence.


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  1. Excellent. I wrote something similar to Bill Dunphy the day after the game, but it didn't stick for some reason. Their was an actual strategy involved by both teams and coaches on that play (and plays leading up to that point). MSU's strategy worked and the players executed. How about MSU forcing the punt by stuffing 3 run plays that were designed to burn clock? In addition, the last play does not stand alone. It stands within the context of the "drive", the game, the sport, and the people involved. Funny how UM never loses, they only run out of time, only in this case they can only wish time would have run out.

    1. You left out... whine and make excuses.

    2. On further review, it was more than a bad snap and a bobbled ball. The Up Back protection was attrocious. The left UB was overwhelmed by 4 Spartan rushers. The middle UB took out a rusher and blocked him towards the sideline past the right UB who just stood and watch 3 Spartan rushers race through the gaping hole created at the center of what was supposed to be a wall.


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