Wednesday, September 23, 2020

No love for the Irish; MSU claims fifth straight win over Notre Dame, 17-10

September 22, 2001

South Bend, Ind. - The MSU football team beat Notre Dame for the fifth straight time Saturday, marking only the third time the Irish have lost more than four in a row to one team.

MSU was also the first to do it, beating Notre Dame eight straight times from 1955-63. Southern Cal did it from 1978-1983.

“It’s a really difficult loss,”Notre Dame head coach Bob Davie said.“They won the game. They made enough plays and executed enough of them to win.”

Senior quarterback Ryan Van Dyke tossed freshman wide receiver Charles Rogers a 47-yard strike to scored the winning touchdown with 7:51 to go in the game, ending a 10-10 tie that had lasted since before halftime.

But the Spartans didn’t have much time to celebrate.

After senior kicker David Schaefer made his second extra point of the game, junior guard Paul Harker collapsed on the sidelines, seizured and was rushed to the hospital via ambulance.

Harker had come off the field with a stinger in his shoulder earlier in the touchdown drive.

He is in stable condition and will spend the night at St. Joseph Hospital in South Bend, said MSU assistant athletics director John Lewandowski.

Harker’s condition isn’t serious, Williams said after the game.

“From what I understand he’s gonna be fine,”Williams said.

After Harker was carted off the field, Notre Dame had two attempts to re-tie the game, but both attempts were futile.

With four minutes left, the Irish drove the ball down to the MSU 21-yard line before they were forced to shoot for a field down on fourth and six. But they tried for the fake, handing the ball of to kicker Nicholas Setta.

MSU sophomore linebacker Mike Labinjo wouldn’t have it, and rolled in for the quick tackle, foiling that plan and driving Setta back for a loss of three.

Back with the ball, MSU went four plays and out, and Notre Dame made one last attempt to tie the game with 1:53 remaining.

But on the first play of the series, MSU junior cornerback Broderick Nelson intercepted a pass from Irish quarterback Matt LoVecchio, returned it 25-yards to the Notre Dame 7-yard line and sealed the Spartan win.

The game was the first for both Notre Dame and MSU since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. A pregame ceremony honored the victims of the attacks.

The 80,795 fans waved American flags, sang the national anthem and listened to a tear-jerking prayer by Notre Dame President Rev. Edward A. Malloy.

MSU head coach Bobby Williams said this has been an emotional week for his team, as many players and coaches have ties to the tragedy.

“There is no question that this was a tough week for our program,”Williams said.“Several of our players were deeply affected because they were either from that area or knew people who were lost in the attack.”

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