Monday, September 20, 2021

No. 6 MSU beats No. 18 U-M on last second overtime goal

September 17, 2017
Junior forward DeJuan Jones (6) dribbles the ball 
up the field during the game against the University of Michigan on Sept. 17, 2017 at U-M Soccer Stadium. The Spartans defeated the Wolverines, 1-0.
Junior forward DeJuan Jones (6) dribbles the ball up the field during the game against the University of Michigan on Sept. 17, 2017 at U-M Soccer Stadium. The Spartans defeated the Wolverines, 1-0. —
Photo by Jon Famurewa | The State News

With 45 seconds left in overtime, No. 6 ranked MSU and No. 18 ranked Michigan were tied. Connor Corrigan had the ball and sent it across the field for defender, Jimmy Fiscus, who headed the ball into the box.

From there DeJuan Jones slid into the box and was able to connect with the ball and bury it into the right side of the net giving the Spartans the win, the Big Bear Trophy and a still untarnished record on the season

“I just wanted to get in the box ... (the ball) was right there,” Jones said. “I couldn’t believe it.”

Head coach Damon Rensing said even with Jones leading the team in goals and being in the starting lineup the past two games, there’s room for the junior forward to improve in the “middle third of the game.”

However, Rensing said Jones can score “all types of goals,” ranging from “special ones” to “knockdown ones.”

“He’s an electric player,” Rensing said.

Jones wasn’t the only one that was electric Sunday afternoon, as both the Wolverines and Spartans were very physical. So physical, that it resulted in U-M defenseman Billy Stevens kicking an MSU player in the face and getting a red card.

Coach Rensing said before the game started, they play the Wolverines with “an edge” and also credited Michigan for playing really well against his Spartans.

“I told them … you gotta be able to relax and execute when you’re on the ball,” Rensing said. “I was very happy with how the guys performed and handled the situation.”

Rensing said “it’s a special thing” to keep the Big Bear trophy in East Lansing.

“It’s an emotional game and rivalry, so I’m very happy for our games to take that bear back on the bus with us,” Rensing said.

Rensing also credited his entire coaching and training staff for Sunday’s win, saying this win wouldn’t have been possible without them.

“We weren’t sure if we were gonna have (Jimmy) Hague, but we had him and he was big,” Rensing said.

The Spartans will have a long break before they have to host No. 3 Maryland on Friday in a match that could have massive implications for the Big Ten Championship race.

Coach Rensing said the one thing his team needs right now is “rest” and plenty of it.

“The tough and the good thing about the Big Ten conference, is if you don’t show up, you’re going to lose,” Rensing said. 

Jones said winning the Big Ten title is MSU’s goal for the season and beating U-M at U-M Soccer Stadium, is a “huge stepping stone” for being successful against the Terps this Friday.

“We just have to keep momentum going,” Jones said.

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