Notre Dame Football: The Turning Point – Shaun Crawford Strip

EAST LANSING, MI - SEPTEMBER 23: Greer Martini /

Notre Dame proved this year’s team is different with a victory over Michigan State in East Lansing.

On Saturday night, Notre Dame defeated Michigan State, 38-18. The Irish dominated for 4 quarters. Notre Dame turned 3 Michigan State turnovers into 21 points. The contest was never really in doubt. However, the game really turned from a close contest to a blowout on one play.

The turning point occurred in the 2nd Quarter when Junior Cornerback Shaun Crawford stripped Spartan Running Back LJ Scott at the goal-line. With the Notre Dame leading, 21-7, a Spartan touchdown would have made the score 21-14.

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Crawford hustled from the backside and swiped at the ball. Scott bobbled the ball before losing it just before the goal-line. Scott attempted to dive on the football in the end zone but failed to fall on it. Crawford, who made the strip, recovered the ball in the end zone for the touchback.

This play epitomized the difference between the 2017 Notre Dame football team and last year’s squad. This type of hustle and “ball disruptions” are the work of new Defensive Coordinator Mike Elko. Crawford simply makes these plays.

After this point, Michigan State never threatened the Irish again. Following the turnover, Notre Dame scored on a 5-play, 80-yard drive. The drive ended on a touchdown run by Junior Running Back Dexter Williams. The score made the score 28-7 in favor of the Fighting Irish. At that point, the rout was on.

Honorable Mention: Julian Love’s Interception Return For Touchdown

As stated before, the Spartans never really threatened the Irish. Notre Dame scored on a 7 play, 78  yard drive to make the score 7-0. Immediately following that drive, Sophomore Cornerback Julian Love jumped a curl route on 3rd down and intercepted Spartan Quarterback Brian Lewerke’s pass. He then returned the interception 59 yards for the Irish touchdown, making the score 14-0.