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Irish Come Close but Fall, 20-15 : Late Interception Preserves Victory for Michigan State

September 21, 1986|From Times Wire Services

EAST LANSING, Mich. — For the second straight game of Lou Holtz's tenure as Notre Dame coach, the Irish had a chance to pull out a victory in the closing seconds and failed.

Todd Krumm's second interception of the game, with 1:26 left at the Michigan State 20, preserved the Spartans' 20-15 victory over Notre Dame Saturday.

Krumm returned his first interception 44 yards for a touchdown early in the game.

The previous Saturday, Holtz's Notre Dame debut was spoiled by a missed field goal in the closing seconds of a 24-23 loss to Michigan.

"We did not quit," Holtz said of Saturday's loss. "Once again, we've come to the brink and come away empty-handed. And that's all that matters."

Holtz said the Irish never got into the rhythm Saturday. "We were involved in the ballgame, but we just never took off," he said. "We didn't find that offensive rhythm."

While Notre Dame (0-2) did not play consistently on offense, Michigan State (1-1) produced a balanced attack that gained 284 yards. Tailback Lorenzo White rushed for 147 yards in 41 carries as the Spartans beat Notre Dame in East Lansing for the first time since 1968.

"We finally got our running game on track, and I'm happy about that," Michigan State Coach George Perles said. "Offensively, we came up with some big plays, and defensively, we did what we have to. We didn't give up the big play.

"Notre Dame played well, too, but that's the trouble with sports--someone has to come out on the losing end. Someone had to come out of here 0-2, and I didn't want it to be us."

Michigan State opened a 20-9 lead early in the fourth quarter when Dave Yarema threw a 40-yard touchdown pass to Mark Ingram.

Notre Dame took its next possession to the Michigan State 16 with eight minutes left before Tim Brown juggled a Steve Beuerlein pass, allowing Michigan State's John Miller to intercept at the three.

The Irish drew to 20-15 with its next possession when Anthony Johnson ran five yards off tackle for a touchdown. The two-point conversion attempt failed.

Notre Dame mounted a final drive in the closing 2:37, moving to the Spartans' 31. Krumm, a junior cornerback, then stepped in front of Milt Jackson at the 20, grabbed a Beuerlein pass and remained in bounds to secure the victory for Michigan State.

Notre Dame drove down the field after taking the opening kickoff, going 70 yards in 15 plays to set up a 27-yard field goal by John Carney.

Michigan State responded with a 13-play drive to the Irish eight-yard line, but a 25-yard field-goal attempt by Chris Caudell was wide.

Four plays later, Krumm scored after stepping in front of Notre Dame flanker Tim Brown on a sideline pattern and intercepting a Beuerlein pass.

"After I caught the ball, I don't remember the first 20 yards, I'll tell you that," Krumm said. "But when I got to the 20, I realized what was going on. It was an incredible feeling."

About his second interception, Krumm said: "We had to take some chances. I did, and it came out all right."

In the first series of the second quarter, Michigan State defensive end Joe Bergin got a hand on a punt by Notre Dame's Dan Sorenson and gave the Spartans the ball at their 40. The punt went only 25 yards. But a Michigan State drive stalled at the Irish seven, and Caudell kicked a 24-yard field goal to give the Spartans a 10-3 halftime lead.

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