This week's Hangover for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish is doing things a little differently. Usually this feature highlights a few different players, coaches, plays, moments, or whatever — it's a grab bag of thoughts.
Not this week. Not after what I witnessed.
Shaun Crawford, a fellow proud son of OHIO, is a PLAYMAKER. Plain and simple, all he does is MAKE PLAYS.
Shaun Crawford's stat line for the season:
- 7 tackles
- 2 interceptions
- 2 break ups
- 4 passes defended
- 2 fumble recoveries
- 1 forced fumble
It's impressive. It's probably the best stat line (after 4 games) you'll see from a defensive back that isn't technically a "starter." Quite simply:
Shaun Crawford. Good things happen when he is around the football. ALL THE TIME.— Irish Illustrated (@PeteSampson_) September 24, 2017
I could go on about what Shaun Crawford has meant to the Irish defense this season, but then I would be doing him the same injustice I think he's getting today.
I'll explain ...
Notre Dame kicked the ever-living shit out of the Michigan State Spartans. We have video evidence of shit-kicking, and it's irrefutable. It was 38-10 with about 3 minutes left in the game, so lets quit acting like it was actually a 38-18 game.
The problem with such a lopsided win in a rivalry game, is that all the big moments and big plays get lumped into one big steaming bowl of awesome noodles that we slurp up at 3:38 in the morning after pretending we were closer to 21 than 41 at the local club.
WE LOVE ALL OF IT. But our love of it all is misplaced for the moment that changed the night. Say you were at Columbia Street West in Fort Wayne, and instead of settling into the front part of the bar for some St. Francis University hipster meeting, you wandered into the back and heard that local ska/funk/punk/soul band and it changed your entire life. (You met a real and lovely girl.) This only happened because your buddy was like, "hey man, I'm going to say 'hi' to Jim, the bass player."
This is the Shaun Crawford moment. Shaun wants you to follow him to the back part of the bar so you can see more than dead asses sitting around (and because he knows Jim and Jim is a good dude).
The biggest moment of the win over Sparty wasn't Julian Love's interception return, and it wasn't any touchdown scored at any time — it was the touchdown that was denied by a split-second and a half of an inch by Shaun Crawford.
Crawford's strip of LJ Scott at the goal line was THE BIGGEST PLAY of the game. Notre Dame was leading 21-7 with just under six-and-a-half minutes left in the first half. A touchdown there would have made the game 21-14, with an entirely different trajectory for the second half of the game.
Because of that strip and recovery by Crawford, Notre Dame seized momentum and drove the ball down the field and scored again to increase the lead to 28-7 at the half.
What sounds better? 21-14 or 28-7? WHO KNOWS? It could have devolved into 21-17 or 21-21. It's not like we haven't seen that movie before.
Because Shaun Crawford is a super-hero disguised as the best damn nickel back in the USA (and Canada for that matter), the Irish pretty much cut the throats of the Spartans halfway into the game, and made it GAME OVER.
Shaun Crawford helped his team win a rivalry football game on Saturday night because he is a playmaker who doesn't quit playing. This feeling is incredible — almost as incredible as Crawford.