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Football: Irish fall to Spartans in OT

Eric Prister and Laura Myers | Sunday, September 19, 2010

As Michigan State kicker Dan Conroy lined up to attempt a 46-yard field goal to send the game into a second overtime, he was preparing to make his first field goal try of the night. He never got that chance.

Instead, holder Aaron Bates rolled to the left and threw a touchdown to tight end Charlie Gantt, propelling the Spartans to a 34-31 overtime victory over the Irish in Spartan Stadium.

“I kind of saw it coming,” sophomore linebacker Manti Te’o said. “I saw the placeholder go up to No. 24 and tell him something, and something clicked in my head. When does the holder ever go up and talk to somebody? But I just went down and tried to block a field goal.”

In the first overtime possession, Notre Dame was held to a field goal.

“It came down to one play, and Michigan State executed that play. We did not,” Irish coach Brian Kelly said. “A game that went back and forth. Hard fought game. We came up short. I don’t have much else to say.”

Notre Dame (1-2) held a 28-21 lead after junior quarterback Dayne Crist connected with junior receiver Michael Floyd for a touchdown early in the fourth quarter. But the Irish failed to further the lead, and Michigan State (3-0) answered with a touchdown six minutes later.

The two teams traded the football for the remainder of regulation.

Crist finished the night 32-of-55 passing for 369 yards and four touchdowns. Floyd scored two of those touchdowns, and caught six passes for 81 yards.

Sophomore receiver Theo Riddick led all players with 10 receptions for 128 yards. He also scored a touchdown.

Spartans quarterback Kirk Cousins was 23-of-33 for 245 yards and two touchdowns. The Irish defense sacked Cousins four times.

Crist and Floyd each lost a fumble during the game, and Crist threw an interception in the second quarter. The Irish also had seven penalties for 70 yards.

“We’re always going to look back and think ‘What if we made a play here or there, or executed a little better,’ ” Crist said. “What would have happened?”