3. Fourth-and-4 conversion vs. Michigan (2021)
I promised Reed bullying another helpless corner for this next slot, and here we are. In one of the best matchups between Michigan and Michigan State in recent memory, the Spartans faced a fourth-and-four situation. Instead of trying a check down, Thorne threw the ball to a tightly covered Jayden Reed.
With 2022 first-round draft pick Dax Hill closing in, Reed maintained his focus and came down with the ball as he fell to the Spartan Stadium grass. Reed popped up with the ball, giving Michigan State football a first-and-goal, where the Spartans promptly scored from Kenneth Walker III plowing the ball in.
This game, along with this year’s matchup against Illinois, were some of the hardest matchups for Reed. Jayden Reed was covered by Dax Hill, a Bengals first-rounder, and D.J. Turner, a borderline first-rounder this year. Additionally, Payton Thorne faced pressure from Aidan Hutchinson (No. 2 overall last year), Mazi Smith (projected late-first to mid-second round this year), and David Ojabo (No. 45 overall last year). Naturally, this made it a bit hard for Reed to get the ball, but he still came through with an impressive 80 yards on six catches.
For a longer breakdown, here is a link to my article on this play from last summer.
Reed finished his three-year Spartan career with two wins against the Wolverines, and he also contributed a two-point conversion later in this game to help guide the Spartans to victory. In the biggest of games, Reed will shine.