STARKVILLE – Jaden Crumedy was the only Mississippi State player who knew he got a piece of Louisiana Tech’s last-second, game-winning field goal attempt.
While the fans inside Davis Wade Stadium held their breath, Crumedy was laying on his back and turning to see if his fingers on the kick were enough to keep La. Tech from pulling off an upset win.
Or perhaps he was laying on the ground because he had given his all on the final play after 60 minutes of football.
“Before the ball was snapped, I was tired,” Crumedy said. “I knew we had to do something to change the game and to get the win.”
What Crumedy did was create an immense push through the center of Louisiana Tech’s blockers.
The momentum of the offensive lineman and Crumedy’s MSU teammates crashing down on him wasn’t enough to keep the 6-foot-5-inch, 310-pounder from making a play.
Crumedy stretched out his right hand — leaving no way to brace himself before falling to the ground — and got the top half of his fingers on the kick.
He wasn’t sure that would be enough.
Jacob Barnes’ 46-yard attempt fell about seven yards short after clearly knuckling off the line due to Crumedy’s block, securing a comeback 35-34 win for Mississippi State.
As the celebration ensued, MSU’s players didn’t make a beeline toward Crumedy like you’d expect for a player who just made the game-winning play.
“I didn’t know what happened,” MSU safety Collin Duncan said. “I just started celebrating, and when we got in the locker room they said Jaden got his hand on it.”
Duncan was about 10 yards away from the kicker. Prior to the play, he talked to MSU special teams coach Matt Brock and asked if he could jump and try to block the kick himself.
Brock initially told Duncan it’s safer to stay back in case of a fake, but when they realized there was only time for one play they elected to let Duncan jump.
His jump may have served as a distraction, but the ball sailed well over his head.
Crumedy’s block on special teams was a fitting way to end Mississippi State’s 21-0 rally in the fourth quarter after it was sparked by a 70-yard kick return by Lideatrick Griffin.
For a pair of starters on offense and defense, Crumedy and Griffin led by example the effort Brock preaches on special teams.
Every day of fall camp, Brock announced on Twitter a special teams player of the day — something players said they take seriously.
Crumedy earned the title on Aug. 9 following the team’s third practice.
Crumedy and Griffin earned special teams player of the game honors from Mike Leach in Week 1. Crumedy was also named the tough man player of the game.
“I just go where I can to make the team better,” Crumedy said. “I love to be out there to help the team.”