When Michigan State faked a punt in the fourth quarter against Northwestern on Saturday, it looked eerily familiar to another moment early in the season.
That, of course, was the fake field goal the Spartans executed to perfection against Notre Dame early in the season. That play was called “Little Giants,” but when asked by an ESPN reporter about the newest gadget in the Spartans repertoire, Dantonio came up with another gem.
“Mousetrap,” he said. “We wanted them to take the bait on the cheese.”
And just like that, more trickery fueled another come-from-behind victory for the still-unbeaten Spartans. Down 17 points was a big deficit, and if this was the “Same Old Spartans (SOS),” things may have ended differently.
But they aren’t, and they didn’t. The dream season continues and everybody else is along for the ride. From near-miraculous finishes against programs like Notre Dame to stomping on Michigan in the Big House to having a coach suffer a heart attack, it has been a season full of the unexpected.
Nobody could have scripted what the Spartans are currently experiencing, but they don’t want it to end just yet. Actually, going this far without a loss makes every game that much more magnified. Handily defeating teams and coming back on the road has made Michigan State’s resume that much more complete.
As Dantonio said after the game, all good teams face adversity and overcome trials and tribulations. It is difficult to sustain perfection, or even come close to playing like a champion every single game. What matters is getting the win, and Michigan State is doing just that.
With Iowa being the next game on the schedule—and the entire prospect of reaching the Rose Bowl or a possible BCS bowl game appearance on the line—the Spartans will have to put out their best effort. Waiting until the second half to start playing well won’t cut it against the Hawkeyes.
The season gets more intriguing as the weeks go by, and destiny is squarely in the hands of the green and white—at least in the Big Ten.