Smith: ND's charges a "cock-and-bull" story

"You listen to some 'cock-and-bull' story and you change it, and now you make it a no-call after a kid gets hit out of bounds like that? That's wrong," --Michigan State head coach John L. Smith

EAST LANSING - Michigan State head coach John L. Smith became animated and a little irritated when asked about the series of events that sent Drew Stanton head long into the Notre Dame bench and precipitated a sideline skirmish between the two teams.

Spartans quarterback Drew Stanton was hit hard out of bounds by Irish safety Chinedum Ndukwe which drew a flag by the Big Ten officiating crew.

Seniors Matt Trannon and Kyle Cook then went into the Notre Dame sidelines to defend his quarterback precipitating a skirmish in which two things are alleged to have happened:
* Notre Dame head coach Charlie Weis was slapped by a MSU player.
* A Notre Dame student coach or manager shoved two MSU players from behind.

He feels that the Notre Dame manager might have been subject to a suspension. "From our situation (being a member of the Big Ten conference), the league would probably step in and do something and suspend one of them. They don't have a league so who knows what's going to happen, but that's probably what would have happened had it been us doing that," said Smith referring to the manager's action.

When asked about what Notre Dame alleged, Smith said "I'm not going to contend that anybody's lying, but you take a look at the film. You make your own decision. You can see it clearly, the whole deal."

The tape clearly shows someone from the Notre Dame staff shoving Javon Ringer and then a second Spartans player before a melee of pushing and shoving ensued.

Smith was asked why he was so irate after the incident. Television replays caught him slamming his hat onto the ground repeatedly while yelling at the sideline officials.

"I was upset because I thought the official didn't handle the call right. I'm going to stick up for our guys and I thought our guys - they didn't throw a punch in the whole deal," he explained.

After Stanton was sent flying into the Notre Dame bench, officials threw the flag and initial indications where they were going to hit the Irish with a 15-yard personal foul penalty, but when Trannon, center Kyle Cook and the Spartans offensive line got involved in a skirmish, the officials changed the call to offsetting penalties.

"Their quarterback's head is under the (Notre Dame) bench and they're over there to protect him and get him out of there," said Smith who then went on to explain his anger.

"I thought the call was wrong. You listen to some 'cock-and-bull' story and you change it, and now you make it a no-call after a kid gets hit out of bounds like that? That's wrong," asserted Smith. "In my view, our officials made the call wrong at the end."

Since Notre Dame is not part of a conference in football, they are not subject to any discipline except that which is self-administered. It should be noted that Big Ten officials were used in the game as they are whenever Notre Dame plays a Big Ten team. This is the reason Smith referred to them as "our" officials.

The fallout from this one is that the bad blood that existed after the flag-planting incident a season ago in South Bend and Weis guarantee to alumni this summer will continue to exist.

Don't expect Smith and Weis to exchange any greeting cards this off-season.


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