Monday, June 17, 2024

Snap judgment

Glory in the blink of an eye

November 5, 2001
Sophomore center DeMarco Monroe waves the MSU flag as he and teammates celebrate defeating Michigan 26-24 on Saturday.

The No. 22 MSU football team was one second away from watching No. 12 Michigan celebrate after Saturday’s 26-24 thriller.

Even though MSU (5-2 overall, 3-2 Big Ten) lost in similar fashion at Northwestern on Sept. 29, senior tight end Chris Baker doesn’t pity the Wolverines (6-2, 4-1).

“I don’t sympathize with them at all,” Baker said. “Not at all, I’m glad they feel like that, they need to feel like that sometimes.”

But junior tailback T.J. Duckett, who killed U-M’s Rose Bowl hopes by catching the game-winning touchdown with zero seconds left on the clock, said he almost felt bad for his intrastate rival.

“I don’t think anybody really needs to feel like this,” Duckett said. “But I’m happy it wasn’t on our end.”

And MSU was in winning position because of sophomore quarterback Jeff Smoker.

Two plays before Smoker found Duckett in the end zone, the Spartans faced second and goal from the 3-yard line with 17 seconds to go and no timeouts.

Smoker rolled right, but was tackled at the 2-yard line, leaving 12 seconds on the clock. But Smoker wouldn’t let the clock reach zero as he gathered the offensive line and spiked the ball - halting the clock at :01.

And that second proved to be the difference.

“I was just jumping up and down,” Duckett said. “I couldn’t say anything, I was just jumping waving my hands - I couldn’t talk, I couldn’t do anything


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