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MSU vs. UM: Our 16 favorite parts about “The Play”

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Does anyone remember this play? We kind of do.

NCAA Football: Michigan State at Michigan Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

We all know what happened. Most of us can still recite the call verbatim. Few of us will ever forget where we were when this play happened.

Two years after Jalen Watts-Jackson housed arguably the most exciting touchdown in college football history, we still revel in it. And for good reason – it still makes us smile and still makes their fans salty.

They’ll be bitter about blog too, saying we’re looking in the past. You’ll then see those same people point out their wins and titles in the pre-face mask era about 15 minutes later too. It’s clockwork, really.

They can call it a fluke win despite the Spartans outplaying them in almost every facet of that game for all 60 minutes. They can call it a fluke play even though their own coach set them up for failure right from the get-go. They can only call it a fluke because, well, cold-hard reality is hard for them to grip onto sometimes. I mean, they were that close to one of their most celebrated wins in the last five years, sandwiched somewhere between Alabama beating MSU and Clemson beating OSU on the College Football Playoff stage they’ve never even been close to playing in.

It’s tough to have that ripped away, apparently.

So, as our Spartans return to the scene of history this weekend, let’s take a 2,304th look at the clip. ROLL THE FILM:

Let’s look at our 16 favorite parts.

1. What happened before the play.

Thumbs up, Des.

2. The $9 million-per-year head coach trotting his gunners out there with no MSU return man in sight. That’s even after a timeout. Genius move, chief. Not like 11 Spartans were clearly dialed into ripping the head off your punter. Make sure that imaginary return man is locked down.

3. The long snapper getting blown up. (Yelling head emoji) WEIGHT ROOOOM.

4. The white jerseys instantly outnumbering the blue jerseys because, you know, there are gunners ready to blow up the invisible return man.

5. The botched snap.

6. The “Should I dive on the ball? No, I think I’ll bicycle kick this one,” thought of the punter.

7. Jermaine Edmondson’s great blocking downfield. That guy tried to take Edmondson down harder than...uhh…Edmondson trying to take down Draymond Green.

8. The cut back inside at the 10 yard line. I remember screaming at the TV to get out of bounds to try a field goal. Thank goodness he couldn’t hear me from 50 miles away.

9. The groans from the fans as they realize they’re in the midst of watching arguably the craziest finish in football history. Or maybe they were groaning because the invisible return man broke away from the gunners for a big gain? Whatever they were looking at, they weren’t happy watching it.

10. Jake Butt not being fast enough to make the play that would’ve held Jalen Watts-Jackson out of the end zone.

11. Sean McDonough’s voice crack heard ‘round the world.

12. Khaki Jesus’ adolescence “so this is what an IPA tastes like?!” face after realizing he and his punt team absolutely blew it.

13. The two perfect reactions in one frame. In the middle, the “in your face” reaction. On the left, the “I simply did not just witness that…did I?” reaction. Both are *kisses fingers* perfect.

14. The boss who just tucked his hat away with zero emotion like he read the script before the game happened. It looked like it wasn’t even one of the five craziest things he saw that day.

15. The players scattered out throughout the celebration. Some pile on Watts-Jackson. Others triumphantly look into the crowd. A handful run straight to the Spartan family and fans section. No one knew what to do in that moment except just celebrate.

16. What happened after. A triumphant win at Ohio State. Bludgeoning Penn State at home. A grind-it-out win against Iowa in the Big Ten Championship Game (for blue and yellow fans that have made it this far – that’s the game where the best team in each division plays each other). An appearance in the College Football Playoff (for those still confused, in order to get in you have to be one of the four best teams in the nation – again, a foreign concept). And, of course, a memory to last a lifetime.

Go Green.