Central Michigan ‘kicks’ Spartans 29-27Published 11:16am Sunday, September 13, 2009
EAST LANSING – It’s not like it hasn’t happened before, but there were not many people who thought it would happen to this Michigan State football team.
What is it you might ask?
Central Michigan, from the Mid-American Conference, upsetting the Spartans, who are picked by many to contend for the Big Ten Conference championship this season.
The Chippewas erased the memory of last week’s 19-6 loss to Arizona with a thrilling upset of Michigan State Saturday afternoon in front of a sold out crowd at Spartan Stadium.
Central Michigan rallied from a 27-20 deficit with less than a minute to play to stun Michigan State 29-27 on a 42-yard Andrew Arguila field goal as time expired.
Down by seven, Chippewas’ quarterback Dan LeFevour, who became the MAC’s all-time leader in total offense, found Paris Cotton for an 11-yard touchdown pass with 32 seconds left to play.
On the ensuing kickoff, Arguila executed the on-side kick to perfection and Bryan Anderson recovered the ball as it hopped over the head of the Michigan State return team near mid-field.
LeFevour drove the Chippewas into field goal range, but Arguila missed on a 47-yard attempt.
Before the Spartans could begin celebrating and breathing a sigh of relief, they learned that an off sides penalty and Central Michigan would get another shot from five yards closer.
Arguila didn’t miss and the Chippewas had another dramatic upset of Michigan State at Spartan Stadium.
“I can’t say enough about Andrew Arguila,” Central Michigan coach Butch Jones said. “He made two extremely pressure-filled kicks, on the onside kick and on the last second field goal. It seemed like an eternity, I think it took 20 minutes to make a five-second kick.”
The celebration that followed the kick must have been an eerie reminder to the Spartan faithful of years gone by, although Michigan State had won the previous four meetings with the Chippewas.
Central Michigan has now won two straight against the Big Ten and has four victories over the conference all-time.
LeFevour, who is one of the best quarterbacks in the country, finished the game going 33-of-46 for 328 yards and three touchdowns.
Earlier in the game, LeFevour surpassed Marshall’s Byron Leftwich as the MAC’s all-time yardage leader as his 12-yard scoring strike to Kito Poblah moved him beyond the old record of 12,084.
LeFevour finished the day with 12,166 yards.
Michigan State led 10-3 after one period of play and 17-10 at the intermission.
The Spartans tacked on a field goal in the third quarter to take a 20-10 advantage into the final 15 minutes of play.
Central Michigan outscored Michigan State 16-7 in the fourth quarter to pull off the upset.
“Well obviously we are very disappointed, but I would like to congratulate Central Michigan because I think they played an outstanding game,” Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio said. “It was a very emotional game, and they hung in there from the start. As they continued to hang in there, I think they continued to get stronger mentally. I think LeFevour played an outstanding game – even though we pressured him, he got in the right plays a lot of time, did a nice job moving around, and he also threw the ball well.”
Central Michigan finished the game with 418 yards in total offense compared to just 316 for the Spartans.
Michigan State quarterbacks were a combined 16-of-26 for 215 yards.
Dantonio said that his team must learn from this loss, put it behind them and get ready for the next opponent, which just happens to be a road game against Notre Dame, a 38-34 upset loser to Michigan on Saturday afternoon.
“You find out things about your leaders in times of crisis, and I believe we will be strong,” he said. “We have to get ready to focus on Notre Dame, and it doesn’t get any easier from here because then we have Wisconsin and then Michigan at home. We have to get ready to play, and put this behind us and move forward while learning from the mistakes we made. We will find out a little bit about our chemistry, about our senior leadership and about our other leaders. This is not the time to panic so we are moving forward from here.”