Scott Reed - Spartan Digest

Michigan State offensive lineman Benny McGowan could tell the Spartans just ran a big play against Notre Dame.

For offensive linemen there is a small window of gratification when the thing you’ve worked for all week happens. For Michigan State fifth-year senior Benny McGowan, that happened when Gerald Holmes raced 73-yards for the Spartans final points in their 36-28 win over Notre Dame. But while fans watched Holmes reach the goal line, McGowan knew quickly the play was a home run.

Finger tips in the ground, faces pointed directly at the target they are about to unload on.  The life of an offensive linemen is one of being hidden behind large face mask, poor nicknames and boos when a quarterback is sacked.

For Michigan State Spartans offensive lineman Benny McGowan, a lack of respect just means he and his brother in arms must be tougher mentally and physically.

Saturday night in Notre Dame Stadium, McGowan and his fellow Spartan offensive linemen showed their resolve despite coming off a bye week.

“One thing that we always preach coming off a bye week is toughness,” said McGowan.  “I think that we were able to establish a run game early and that this helped our momentum.”

While McGowan and those lined up next to him opened holes and protected quarterback Tyler O’Connor, he knows others make the engine run smoother and help in keeping their quarterback protected.

“I think we were able to come off the ball, be tough and establish our game,” he said.  “I think it came down to us watching a lot of film as Notre Dame is a great defense and they run a lot of different stuff up front.  It was also about us just studying, coming together watching film together and just knowing what to do.

“All the wide receivers and running backs were doing a great job on the perimeter.  First off, they were doing a great job blocking which is nice to see guys on the outside carrying that much.  But they were working hard and getting open and it just comes down to us giving Tyler time.”

As for the biggest play made by the Spartans on Sunday night, McGowan may not have seen Gerald Holmes raced 73 yards for the Spartans final touchdown of the night but knew the play was a keeper.

“That was nice to see,” he said.  “I was actually engaged in my block.  I just heard there was a slight difference in the crowd noise.  When it’s everybody (cheering), I know it was a Notre Dame play.  When it was like a loud yell, but it wasn’t like the whole stadium, I was like, oh that’s us.

“But I was blocking somebody and I just heard that yell, so I knew it was us.  So I looked and just saw Gerald running down the field and it’s just a great feeling knowing we opened that great hole for him and he hit it hard and just took it down the field.”

McGowan and his big buddies received praise from the Spartans coaches as well as from running back L.J. Scott following the game.

"They were really good tonight," said Scott who rushed for 98 yards and a touchdown.  "We had to get in a rhythm and we surely did.  I give all my credit to those guys up front."

The Spartans offensive line will need another big performance on Saturday when Wisconsin comes to East Lansing for a noon kickoff.


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