There are heartbreaking losses, and there is what happened to the Michigan State Spartans Saturday in East Lansing.
Despite a dominant defensive performance, the Spartans lost 10-7 to the Arizona State Sun Devils. It was the first loss of the year for MSU and the second loss in as many years to ASU.
Michigan State had a chance to send the game to overtime in the final seconds of regulation. However, after Matt Coghlin appeared to make the game-tying kick, the points were taken off the board due to 12-men on the field for the Spartans. After moving back five yards, Coghlin missed the next attempt, his third miss of the game, as the final seconds ticked off the clock.
It should have been a day to celebrate the Spartans defense. They held Airzona State to just 214 total yards and only 76 yards on the ground. But on the Sun Devils final drive of the game, the Spartans were unable to get off the field, allowing an 11-play, 75-yard touchdown drive to retake the lead with 50 seconds to play.
The game-winning touchdown was set up by a 40-yard pass from ASU freshman QB Jayden Daniels to Brandon Aiyuk to the MSU 25. But the Spartans defense still had an opportunity to get a stop.
Michigan State’s defense stood strong on the next three plays following the long pass play, setting up a fourth-and-twelve after a false start penalty with 1:23 to play. That’s when MSU used its last timeout to prepare for the fourth-down attempt.
With eight players dropping back, Daniels got out of the pocket to the right and converted for a 15-yard first down run.
ASU converted another third down before running back Eno Benjamin stretched just far enough for the ball to cross the goal line on first-and-goal from the one. The extra point gave MSU a chance to tie with 50 seconds on the clock and no timeouts.
Brian Lewerke, who finished with a respectable 291 yards through the air on 24-38 passing, ran for 11 yards on the first play of the drive. The Spartans offense was bailed out three plays later with a pass interference call on third-and-long. On the next play Lewerke hit Darrell Stewart Jr. over the middle for 25-yards to the ASU 24. After spiking the ball, MSU had a 42-yard attempt to tie the game.
Coghlin had missed twice earlier in the game. Both misses came in the second quarter, first from 47-yards, then from 31. The second of which was moved back five yards due to delay of game before the attempt.
The junior kicker took the field in the final seconds with a chance to fix everything that had happened earlier in the game. With no timeout to set up the field goal unit, the players rushed onto the field, the snap came on time and Coghlin made the kick. However, in the rush, a twelfth man lined up for MSU.
Moved back another five yards, Coghlin pulled the ball wide-right with zeros on the clock.
Despite their inability to do much on the scoreboard, the offense put up some respectable individual numbers. Elijah Collins ran for 75 yards and the only touchdown of the game for MSU, coming in the fourth quarter. It was the freshman’s first career touchdown. Stewart lead the team in receiving yards with 121 on nine catches, including a highlight reel one-handed grab to get the Spartans out of the shadow of their own end zone.
The loss puts MSU at 2-1 on the season. They hit the road next week for the first time, opening Big Ten play against Northwestern in Evanston.