As poorly as Michigan State played early, they righted the ship and avoided becoming the topic of negative conversation all week by doomsday naysayers.
Here are the five plays that changed the outcome of Saturday's game:
5. Eastern Michigan's double-pass touchdown from Dontayo Gage to Travis Lewis.
Why important: The Spartans appeared to be in a laugher, jumping out to a 24-3 advantage and had knocked starting quarterback Tyler Jones (Belleville, MI) out of the game, but the trick play stunned the Spartans and briefly swung momentum in favor of the Eagles.
4. T. J. Williams 8-yard touchdown pass from Stanton.
Why important: It stamped Williams as a player who will make a play on a critical third-down possession. It also gave the Spartans an 18-point advantage after having their lead cut to as low as four points.
3. Kicker Andrew Wellock on-sides kickoff.
Why important: EMU still did not have MSU's attention after the double-pass to Travis Lewis resulted in a touchdown to get the Eagles to within fourteen points, but when Andrew Wellock executed a perfect on-sides kick, suddenly the MSU defense realized they'd better get their game face on.
2. Javon Ringer's fumble of the opening kickoff.
Why important: Ringer has been one of the most sure-handed of the Spartans backs but his fumble could not have come at a worse moment. Ringer put the Spartan defense in a hole and it looked as if EMU would be in great position to tie the score, but the Spartan defense stiffened, allowing just three points.
1. Drew Stanton's two-yard touchdown run, capping MSU's 12-play, 78 yard drive.
Why important: Eastern had pulled to within three points after a critical fumble on the opening possesion by Javon Ringer. If MSU doesn't convert, Eastern has a legitimate chance at the upset. Stanton's leadership, decision-making, and play-making shows why the NFL teams want him running their offenses on Sunday.