Bulldogs Pull Off Michigan State Miracle
Updated Sep 13, 2003 21:44:01
EAST LANSING, Mich. – Louisiana Tech saved its best for last Saturday as the Bulldogs pulled off a miraculous 20-19 come-from-behind win before a sellout crowd of 73,227 at Spartan Stadium.
The Bulldogs moved to 2-1 with the win while Michigan State fell to 2-1 in the first meeting ever between the two schools.
Trailing 19-7 with 2:31 remaining, it looked like Louisiana Tech on the way to its second loss of the season. Instead, the Bulldogs came away with one of their biggest wins ever.
Quarterback Luke McCown directed the Bulldogs on a 9-play, 63-yard drive culminating with a four-yard scoring strike to Julius Cosby with 1:09 left in the contest. The touchdown was a career-first for Cosby.
Freshman defensive back Dez Abrams recovered the ensuing onsides kickoff, and the Bulldogs were back in business at their own 45 yardline with 1:05 remaining.
The Bulldogs were facing a third-and-goal with eight seconds remaining as McCown rolled right and found D.J. Curry in the end zone for an 11-yard touchdown to go up by one point. Tech downed the PAT attempt to prevent the possible 2-point defensive conversion and then kicked the ball out of bounds to give the Spartans one last chance for a 65-yard pass with two seconds remaining.
Silence filled the air throughout most of Spartan Stadium as Damon Dowdell’s Hail Mary attempt hit the ground and the Tech sideline burst into jubilation to celebrate the comeback win.
Tech senior receiver Shawn Piper turned in personal bests of 10 receptions for 171 yards along with his first career touchdown on a 76-yarder. The reception was also a career-best for the former walk-on from DeRidder, La.
After giving up 234 yards of offense and 12 first downs in the first quarter, the Louisiana Tech defense stiffend and kept the Bulldogs close, allowing only 5 first downs and 127 yards of offense over the final three quarters of play.
Michigan State would only tally four field goals over the final three quarters, despite five turnovers by the Tech offense.
Michigan State struck first on its second possession of the contest as the Spartans marched downfield on a 10-play, 89-yard drive culminating with Jaren Hayes’ 2-yard scoring scamper at the 5:41 mark of the first quarter.
Louisiana Tech struck back 26 seconds later as quarterback Luke McCown hit a streaking Piper down the left side for the 76-yard score to tie things up at 7-7.
The defenses took over from there, and while Michigan State made several excursions into the red zone from that point on, the Bulldogs bent but didn’t break, allowing Spartans kicker Dave Rayner to hit on four of seven attempted field goals before Tech’s shocking comeback win.
McCown completed 35-of-61 passes on the day for 436 yards and three touchdowns.
The Bulldogs picked up 497 total yards while holding Michigan State to 361 and managed to overcome five turnovers despite the fact that the Spartans didn't commit any turnovers.
Tech begins Western Athletic Conference play next Saturday as the Bulldogs remain on the road to take on Fresno State in a 9 p.m. CST contest at Bulldog Stadium in Fresno, Cal.