Sunday, September 24, 2006

A Tale of Two Teams

It was the worst of times, then the best of times.

That pretty much sums up Saturday night for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.

Early Saturday night it looked as if Notre Dame was on pace to give up 60 points to the upstart Spartans and be embarrassed for the second week in a row. Michigan State jumped out to an early 17-0 lead in the first quarter and all things pointed to being routed for the second week in a row.

That's when Brady Quinn found Rhema McKnight in the end zone for the first time in the evening. The defense holds MSU from scoring and momentum is all of a sudden on the Irish's side, right? Not so fast.

Darius Walker fails to turn around on a pass intended for him in the flat and the ball is brought back to the house, 24-7 Spartans. The scoring wasn't over yet for the half, though. Both teams found the end zone once more a peice, the Irish on a 17 yard pass from Quinn to Samardzija and MSU via Drew Stanton finding Kerry Reed open for a 15 yard score. 31-14 at the half and not looking good.

However, something happened at halftime. Brady Quinn claims "they went and got that other quarterback" during the break. The Irish D starts off with a stand and Quinn found John Carlson for a 60 yard touchdown pass and all of a sudden the Irish are back in it. However the defense failed yet again, allowing MSU to march down field and score at ease, extra point was missed though. 37-21. It stayed that way until 8 minutes left in the 4th.

Shark byten were the Spartans by Jeff Samardzija, who finished with two scores and 113 yards. His second score coming with 8:18 to go in the ballgame, making the score 37-27 after a failed two point try.

Wake up the echoes.

The defense showed signs once again of what they looked like the first two games of this season. Chinedum Indukwe ripped the ball out of Drew Staton's hands giving the Irish the ball in great field position. Two plays later it was Brady Quinn finding Rhema McKnight for the second time in the endzone, on a ball placed perfectly over McKnight's outside shoulder. 37-33 after another missed extra point.

Terrail Lambert then made maybe the play of the year so far by picking off a Drew Staton pass and running it back for six points and an Irish lead. Lambert would pick off a pass on the final drive for Michigan State to seal the 4-37 comeback victory for the 12th ranked Irish.

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