Friday, December 13, 2002
No. 20 Michigan State 27, No. 18 Notre Dame 21
EAST LANSING, Mich. -- Jeff Smoker connected with Herb Haygood on a 68-yard touchdown pass with 1:48 left as No. 20 Michigan State beat No. 18 Notre Dame 27-21 on Saturday.
The Spartans (3-0) have beaten Notre Dame (2-2) four years in a row. It's the longest losing streak the Fighting Irish have had against a team since Miami beat them four times between 1983-1987.
Smoker threw a perfect pass to Haygood on the fourth-and-10 play after turning the ball over twice in the final 13 minutes -- a fumble at Michigan State's 12 and an interception at the 2.
Notre Dame was stopped on a fourth-and-1 at Michigan State's 3 after the first turnover, but was able to convert the second into a go-ahead touchdown.
Julius Jones' 2-yard touchdown run put Notre Dame ahead 21-20 with 7:59 left, one play after Anthony Weaver's interception. Jones gained 126 yards on 26 carries.
Michigan State's T.J. Duckett had 26 carries for 141 yards and a touchdown.
The Spartans have won nine-consecutive games at home, while the Irish have lost eight straight on the road.
Smoker completed 12 of 24 passes for 181 yards with two touchdowns and one interception.
Notre Dame's Gary Godsey, who rotated with Matt LoVecchio in the second half, was 4-of-15 for 20 yards with one touchdown and one interception.
Notre Dame did not complete a pass in the second or third quarters and didn't have a first down over the same period until there was less than a minute left in the third.
The Irish took a 7-0 lead on their second possession on Godsey's 6-yard pass to Jason Murray. Jones broke through a huge hole and ran 56 yards on the first play of the drive.
Duckett tied it midway through the second quarter on a 6-yard run. Duckett had six carries for 47 yards during the 10-play, 65-yard drive.
A personal foul against Notre Dame's Rocky Boiman, who hit Smoker late after he was already sacked on a third down, kept the Spartans' next scoring drive alive. David Schaefer kicked a 50-yard field goal to give Michigan State a 10-7 lead with 1:29 left in the half.
Schaefer made a 36-yard field goal midway through the third to put the Spartans ahead 13-7. Cedric Henry intercepted Godsey's pass and returned it 10 yards to Notre Dame's 35 to set up the score.
The Spartans went ahead 20-7 on their next possession on a 10-yard pass from Smoker to Travis Wilson on a play-action pass.
Notre Dame answered with a touchdown on the ensuing possession. Jones capped a 68-yard drive with a 2-yard run to cut Notre Dame's deficit to six.
|Notre Dame's Julius Jones breaks away for a 56-yard gain to the Michigan State four-yard-line to set up a Notre Dame touchdown.|