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COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Notre Dame holds off Michigan State, 33-30

Interception in the final minute thwarts Spartans' comeback.

September 20, 2009|Associated Press

SOUTH BEND, IND. — Kyle McCarthy saved Notre Dame from another last-minute loss, one play after Michigan State cut the Fighting Irish a break.

Jimmy Clausen threw for 300 yards and a 33-yard touchdown to Golden Tate with 5:18 left and McCarthy's interception secured Notre Dame's 33-30 victory over the Spartans on Saturday.

One play before McCarthy picked off Kirk Cousins' pass at the four with 57 seconds left, Michigan State's Larry Caper slipped through the Irish defense and was all alone in the back of the end zone. But Cousins overthrew what would have been a go-ahead touchdown, reminiscent of Tate Forcier's game-winning pass the week before at Michigan.

"After last week, how bad everybody felt in a very similar situation in the ending of the game, to make a play to change the outcome in favor of us, I'm really, really happy for those kids in there," Coach Charlie Weis said.

The Irish held on to beat the Spartans in Notre Dame Stadium for the first time since 1993 but lost star wide receiver Michael Floyd to what may be a broken collarbone.

Cousins was 23 for 35 passing for 302 yards for Michigan State, which was held to 105 yards rushing.

Cousins said he simply made a bad decision on the interception. "I needed to throw the ball away or take a sack, anything to throw the ball away," he said.

Armando Allen ran for 115 yards and a touchdown and threw for another out of a wildcat formation, and Nick Tausch kicked field goals of 22 and 46 yards for the Irish (2-1), though he missed an early extra point.

Blair White caught a pair of touchdown passes and Caper ran for two more as the Spartans (1-2) lost for the second straight week. It was the second time in the last nine meetings that the home team won.

Late in the third quarter, Irish defensive tackle Ethan Johnson blocked an extra point after Caper scored from seven yards out to cut Notre Dame's lead to 26-23.

"Probably the play of the game. If everything else unfolds as is, we're kicking the field goal to win," Michigan State Coach Mark Dantonio said.

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