It was the most improbable play and ending in college football. The air was cool, so cool snow flurries started to fall, Michigan fans were jubilant, and Michigan State fans could feel their college playoff hopes slipping away. Before the ball was snapped, you could feel the energy and emotion on the field as the coaches were pacing and the coaches families were huddled together, hand in hand, watching with hopeful eyes. As the ball was snapped, you could hear the clock ticking and feel everyone’s heart just drop.
As for me, I was watching from the sidelines and praying. Yes, it looked as though things were slipping away, but I am not new to this. I know anything is possible.
My name is Chelsea Snyder and I am an aspiring sportscaster. My dad is Mark Snyder, the Special Teams Coordinator/ Linebackers coach at Michigan State. Dad has previously coached at Youngstown, Minnesota, Ohio State, Marshall, South Florida, and most recently Texas A&M, which also happens to be my alma mater.
This is not the first time dad has been to the Big House, as he has been there multiple times during his time coaching at Ohio State. This week I had a chance to catch up with him and hear about the historic play and his first time back to the Big House in almost 14 years (this experience was so amazing, out of all the people I have gotten to interview, this one was the most special).
Snyder said, “Well you know it was kind of like coming home [the Big Ten], obviously I have been in the SEC for the last three years and it was pretty neat to walk back in there and just feel the nostalgia, the tradition of being at the Big House, it was pretty neat”.
A little known fact, Snyder had planned to call this play earlier in the week. He and coach Dantonio were waiting for just the right moment.
“ Well you know we felt like going into the game plan that we had an opportunity to make something with the ranger unit. Did we know it was going to be the all-out block at the end of the game? We didn’t, but you know the kids had belief, we talked about it all week. We had a big meeting Friday night and early Saturday morning. The kids went out and executed and believed in the plan.”
Snyder also talked about the thoughts and emotions he was having as the play unfolded and he saw the redshirt freshman, Jalen Watts-Jackson, score the winning touchdown. “Obviously we all went crazy, great feeling. A range of emotions go through your mind as he is going down the sideline. What a great play by the young man. He works to their sideline away from all the defenders. You know you’re thinking lets get out of bounds so we can kick a field goal and all of a sudden Jermaine Edmondson shows up and blocks the last remaining defender, into the end zone he goes [Watts-Jackson], and the rest is history.”
The celebration after the game in the locker room was pure hype. Coaches & players dancing and singing with the Paul Bunyan Trophy (trust me I was in there, it was awesome).
I asked Snyder how amazing it was to see his players so pumped about the win, “ Well it goes back to belief. You know as a coach, the buy-in factor is what you look for. You want young people to trust you and when they do, typically good things happen for your football team. I am just really excited for these kids.”
Michigan State remains undefeated and prepares for Indiana heading into the weekend.
“We have to keep going it is not over. Indiana is a good football team. I mean they throw the ball around, they’ve got a quarterback who can execute their offense. They will come in ready to play. Our plate will be full this week,” said Snyder.
Michigan State plays Indiana on Saturday at Spartan Stadium @ 3:30 EST, on ABC, ESPN2.
As for me, I will be watching from the sidelines ready for that next miraculous play. Man, I love college football!