Today is exactly a long month until the Michigan State football season. Today, the grizzled veterans Drew Beesley and Jacub Panasiuk highlight the series.
Welcome back and today marks the 20th edition of this series and moment No. 31 in the Michigan State football series. Now, I might not have an award to give you for making it this far, but I hope you can settle for the rare defensive highlight instead.
No. 31: Drew Beesley’s strip-sack of D’Eriq King
Why No. 31?
D’Eriq King had a bad day against Michigan State, with multiple turnovers to the Spartan defense from both fumbles and interceptions. Additionally, he was injured on this outing. Rough time for the Miami quarterback. This play wound up giving the Spartans an extremely short field and led to a touchdown, adding further insult to the actual injury.
This play was exciting and a part of Miami’s fourth-quarter collapse. After scoring a touchdown and forcing a Spartan punt, Miami gave the ball away on this play, which quickly brought the game back to two possessions in favor of the green and white. After this play, the Spartans would score three more touchdowns while Miami only scored a field goal. This led to a scoring flurry for the Spartans that kept them unbeaten after their first true test.
When watching this play, it appears the offense forgets that No. 86 in green and white is an opposing player. Drew Beesley faces no rush and is in the backfield and pancaking King before the quarterback can get a pass off, with the tackle and tight end running after him. The ball bounces back and the lack of whistles confuse the offense, allowing Jacub Panasiuk to recover the ball and rumble for a few yards.
Panasiuk and Beesley were a force all of last year. While not racking up gaudy stats and numbers, these two played with grit and gave their all each second they were on the field. As a result, they had plays like this to highlight their final season as Spartans. Beesley’s walk-on to starter and star story is not mentioned as much as a Kenny Willekes or even a Kyler Elsworth, but his contributions to the Spartan defense for multiple years must be mentioned.
Panasiuk also put up impressive stats but also does not receive the credit he is due. Panasiuk had a phenomenal year for the Spartans, with seven sacks last season. Considering it all but doubled his career total, this cannot be understated.
Statistically, this play would be the only forced fumble of Beesley’s 2021 season. However, it would be his second sack of the day. For Panasiuk, this would be one of his two fumble recoveries on the season, the other of which has an article in a few weeks.
While fitting my main criteria for a dynamic and exciting play, I have this play a bit farther down in my rankings due to the situation. King played sloppy football most of the game, and Michigan State scored 21 points in the fourth quarter from 13, 75, and 23-yard drives. It is my belief that the Spartan conditioning led to these scores.
With King playing injured and looking so for multiple quarters, I have to move this down my list. Without this fumble, a win might not be as easy as it was, but still quite manageable for the Michigan State football team. If the Spartans had trailed on this play, it might have ranked much higher. But since I judge on the real play and not hypotheticals, here it stands.
Today marked one of three straight days of Miami moments if you would like a hint for tomorrow.