Diamond Leung | email@example.com
on September 16, 2012 at 6:00 AM
EAST LANSING — Michigan State failed to score a touchdown at home for the first time in 21 years, and the second time in the Mark Dantonio era.
With a Heisman Trophy candidate at running back and a junior at quarterback, the Spartans didn’t reach the red zone once. A highly-regarded defense couldn’t come up with a takeaway.
Fans streamed out of Spartan Stadium before the end of a rivalry game, having seen a 15-game winning streak there ended.
So was this Notre Dame loss an aberration? The question caused Dantonio to raise not only his voice, but also expectations of his team even in dreary defeat.
“I don’t view it was an aberration,” Dantonio said. “What do you mean by aberration? I’ve said all along rankings are for people drinking the kool-aid. That was after two games. We were going to find out who we were this week. We found out a little bit who we were. We’re going to respond, and we’re going to move forward. That’s how we’ve always done things here, and that’s how we will continue to do things here. We will right the ship.
“People have praised us and said we’ve done this, and we’ve done that. Now they’re going to say it’s an aberration. I guess I’ve learned a new word. It is what it is. We’ll start fresh, and the main focus will be what are we going to do now? How do we respond?”
Moments later, Dantonio’s players accepted responsibility for their actions. Wide receiver Bennie Fowler acknowledged not looking in a pass into his hands that was dropped and would have been a touchdown. Linebacker Max Bullough, who had an interception overturned on replay, said he missed on opportunities to make game-changing plays and called the game an “eye-opener.”
“This,” star defensive end William Gholston said, “should never happen to our defense.”
Gholston had lost containment on Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson’s 6-yard touchdown run. Another top NFL prospect, cornerback Johnny Adams, committed pass interference and still couldn’t stop John Goodman from hauling in a 36-yard touchdown pass.
Notre Dame went right at a defense that had previously not surrendered a touchdown and beat the Spartan Dawgs. A Michigan State team ranked 10th and was for a week given the title of the Big Ten’s flag bearer was soundly defeated.
“This game has a way of defining you,” Dantonio said. “It has a way of bringing you back down to earth. We got a taste of humble pie, I guess.”