Then mistakes and penalties pile up.
MSU loses the lead and then the game.
Unfortunately for MSU fans, this scenario has played out far too often - especially in the past few years.
- 2006 - MSU leads Notre Dame 31-14 at half, loses 40-37
- 2005 - MSU leads at Ohio State 17-7 before a major special teams gaffe on the last play of the first half and subsequent second-half collapse to lose 35-24.
- 2005 - MSU leads at Notre Dame 38-24 going into the fourth quarter, gives up 14 fourth quarter points and hang on for a 44-41 win in overtime.
- 2004 - MSU leads at Michigan 27-10 and loses 45-37 in triple overtime.
As Spartan fans know all to well, the loss to Michigan in 2004 and the loss to Ohio State in 2005 were the starting points to humiliating season-ending meltdowns.
This season, after Saturday's collapse against the Irish, MSU has a home game against Illinois before taking on the Wolverines and Buckeyes in the following two weeks.
These Spartans need to show they can withstand the adversity they inflicted on themselves against the Irish and continue to battle as the Big Ten season begins - and after Illinois, it begins with a bang.