Matt Coghlin was 0-3, an uncharacteristic and heartbreaking string of missed field goals for the Spartan kicker.
Spartan Collins scored a 9-yard touchdown for Michigan with 8:37 on the clock, putting Michigan State ahead 7-3. The pressure was on now on the Sun Devils, up against a Spartan brick wall they could not go over, around, or through.
By any guess, the Spartans should have won. They had 404 total yards to Arizona’s 216, 23 first downs to Arizona’s 14, and 1 turnover to 0.
Joseph Stalin once said quantity has a quality all its own (this is reference to the large Red Army during WWII).
But old Uncle Joe would have swallowed his pipe had he seen the Devils later drive 75 yards downfield for a touchdown squeaked out by Sun Devil Eno Benjamin. And while those 75 yards accounted for a third of Arizona’s total yardage, those 75 yards counted heavily.
Sometimes quality need not be quantified.
A grueling game between the proverbial unstoppable force (Arizona State) and immovable object (Michigan State, particularly its first-rate defense) resulted only in a 41-yard field goal by Sun Devil Christian Zendejas at 3:40 in the first half.
Otherwise, both teams were scoreless until the fourth quarter. And then things got rolling.
It became a game of minutes, and then seconds. Brian Lewerke threw a 25-yard pass to Darrell Stewart Jr for a first down at the Arizona 24-yard line with only 50 seconds on the clock.
Coghlin’s third and final 42-yard field goal attempt—which would have tied the game with 6 seconds on the clock—was nullified because Michigan State had too many men on the field. Coghlin kicked again from 5 yards further back and missed.
Call this particular drama ‘Twelve Disorderly Men,’ the result of a Spartan defense that seemed disorganized, bemused, and hacked by game’s end.
Spartan coach Mark Dantonio remains at 109 career victories for now. He did not pass Go and collect a historic 110th win.
And Michigan State is now 2-1, while the Sun Devils are 3-0.