A field goal? Really?
Look, I don't want to pile on here, not when a guy like Howard Schnellenberger has done so much in his career and for the game. But that was one of the all-time head scratchers in my time covering this beat.
That was "Fast Field Goal," but with a full timeout to consider the decision. By kicking a field goal with 2:50 left, Schnellenberger basically conceded the game. He said he did "what I thought was best." He said he wanted to get his backup QB some work. He also at one point sort of thanked MSU for "not running the score up on us."
But he still had a chance to win! A remote one, but you go for it, you go for two, you try an onside kick, you attempt to win the game. If I'm missing something here, someone please educate me.
Now on to MSU. Impressed? With Dan Conroy, yes. With Edwin Baker, yes. With Le'Veon Bell, yes (other than the freshman moment fumble). With Colin Neely, yes. With a rebuilt offensive line, pretty much, although pass protection suffered some leaks today. With anything else? Not really. A pretty lethargic day from the defense, way too many third-and-long conversions, and way too many instances of receivers getting behind defensive backs (several of which did not end up hurting MSU). And a passing offense that remains disjointed.
"Got to put them away," Mark Dantonio said. "Got to be able to put them away."
How about the crowd? It was more than half full in there once the game got going, an announced crowd of 36,124. Not terribly impressive, but not bad considering how things looked a month ago. Schnellenberger said he was "frankly kind of pleased" with the turnout.
"I'm not worried about the ones that don't come," Dantonio said, "I appreciate the ones that do come, and that's the way I'll always be. So I want to thank them for coming, I thought it was a good environment."
FAU athletic director Craig Angelos said he expects a gross of about $1 million (didn't say what expenses will be) from the game. MSU got a guarantee of $150,000 while FAU kept the gate.
Overall, this is a two-for-one deal. MSU paid $400,000 to FAU for the 2008 game, and will pay $150,000 to FAU when the Owls come to Spartan Stadium next year. Then MSU keeps the gates in 2008 and 2011, obviously. So the finances make sense.
Today's game, especially the way it ended, makes less sense.