Saturday, November 1, 2008

Maybe outplayed, but definitely not out-toughed (Michigan State 25, Wisconsin 24)

I just returned from Spartan Stadium. I don't have much time to write, but I will be adding to this later. The first three hours of the game were "ho hum," but the last half- hour or so was the best half-hour (certainly the most surreal half-hour) I've ever spent at an MSU football game. Wow!

I'm finally returning to this post, and all I have to say is that there is truly something special going on with this Michigan State football team. They may not be the most talented team in the Big Ten, but they are certainly the guttiest and most determined.

As I wrote earlier, I was actually at Spartan Stadium for this game. Through most of it I was thinking that, as usual, I had selected the wrong game to attend. Wisconsin's beefy offensive line was blowing our defense off the line of scrimmage, and the Badger's outstanding tandem of tailbacks, P.J. Hill and John Clay, were running all over the field. Little did I know that the Badgers' (and their head coach's) lack of discipline, coupled with the Spartans' resiliency, would lead to the most dramatic finish I've ever witnessed at Spartan Stadium.

Here's an interesting side note to the game:

Our seats were in the west upper deck. Seated directly behind us were, as my wife referred to them, the "Brady Bunch": a mom and dad and their two sons (one who was probably 15 and the other about 11) who were clearly witnessing their first MSU football game. They were four of the most relentlessly cheery, guileless people I'd ever encountered (particularly the mom and dad). As it turns out, their eldest child, a daughter, is a freshman at State and they had come to East Lansing for the weekend to pay her a visit (and attend a football game). It was so funny to hear these MSU football "virgins" react to what was going on during the game. When the Spartan Marching Band took the field for their pre-game show, the mom and dad were beside themselves with joy and amazement, "Oh wow!!! Look at that! They're so precise! How do they do that? They must have to try out for this band!" I wish I'd written down everything they said during the game, because their comments were priceless. The mom made the cardinal sin of calling Michigan State "Michigan," the youngest son wanted to know why the smokestack next to the Stadium had the letters "M.S.C." (someone behind them explained the history of the school). Anyway, I'd like to think that this naive foursome brought some magic with them into the stadium!

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