1. Nebraska punt return TD (2021)
Against Nebraska a few years back, the Spartans struggled mightily. They could not accomplish anything on offense in the second half, not recording a first down until overtime.
Desperate times called for desperate measures, so the Spartans sent out Jalen Nailor and Jayden Reed to field a punt. The hope was that one would attract all the attention, leaving the other free to race down the opposite sideline and score. Unfortunately for the Cornhuskers, that plan worked to perfection. In a badly miskicked directional punt, Reed got the ball with two players to beat in the open field. He accomplished that with no major issue, and raced into the endzone to tie the game up for the Spartans.
Reed had already opened the game with a touchdown on a flea-flicker, and this became his second touchdown and first punt return touchdown in a Spartan uniform. As I mentioned at the start, he accomplished that feat again the next week against Western Kentucky.
Now, how did this save the Spartan season? The Spartans entered the game 3-0 but would start Big Ten conference play with a loss if this return does not happen. Additionally, a shocking loss like this would not do team morale any favors headed into a stretch that included Michigan. Reed prevented the snowball effect here and helped keep the Spartans rolling.
If you would like a longer breakdown of this play, it started my top five for 50 defining plays of Michigan State’s 2021 season.
Reed finished the day with four catches for 59 yards, a rush for two yards, and this punt return touchdown. Without Reed that day, the Spartans fall. With a week left until the draft, all we can do is sit back, relax, and wait to yell at our TV for our team making a mistake by not taking him.
Where do you think Jayden Reed will end up? With the recent news of the Detroit Lions losing a few receivers to suspension and cuts, I see a clear path to the field for him there.