2. Go-ahead TD catch vs Pitt, Peach Bowl 2021
Jayden Reed’s second-best moment as a Spartan came in the 2021 Peach Bowl. After the Spartans finished the regular season with 10 victories, they accepted a bid to play Pitt in Atlanta. Reed came into the game with a lot to accomplish, as he was only a few yards shy of breaking 1,000 yards on the season. The Spartans also entered without their top weapon of Kenneth Walker III, as the Doak Walker Award winner opted out of the game to focus on draft preparation.
On the first Spartan drive of the game, Reed secured a touchdown, giving the Spartans an early lead. Pitt, however, fought back, leading to this play. With the Spartans down five and less than three minutes left in the game, Payton Thorne dropped back and uncorked a laser to Reed. As I have discussed before, Reed, despite his “smaller size,” bullied yet another corner and elevated over the top, and secured a touchdown catch and the Spartan lead.
This gave the Spartans the go-ahead touchdown, and Cal Haladay’s pick-six a few minutes later secured the game for Michigan State. With the season on the line, Reed played his heart out and rocked Pitt to sleep. Jayden Reed finished the game with six catches for 80 yards (again, the same stat line as his numbers against Michigan), and two touchdowns.
For a longer breakdown, click here. This was moment No. 10 of my 50 defining plays of the 2021 Michigan State football season.
How could a bowl-winning play this impactful not be the top play of Jayden Reed’s career? You see, there is one more, and this is the play that saved the Spartan’s 2021 season.