Irvin paces Spartans’ attack

by Todd Zolecki

As a prized recruit from Florida, Sedrick Irvin could have played football just about anywhere. Considered the state’s top talent, the tailback received scholarship offers from some of the nation’s top programs.
He narrowed his decision to two schools: Michigan State and Tennessee. Unable to make up his mind, he did what any athlete would do in a consequential decision.
He flipped a coin. Best out of three, of course.
The first two tosses came up tails, which happened to represent Michigan State. Congratulations Coach Nick Saban, you just landed yourself an extremely gifted running back.
Minnesota experienced Irvin’s talents Saturday at the Metrodome. He paced the Spartans to a 27-9 victory on the strength of his legs.
He carried the ball 32 times for 154 yards with one touchdown. From his first carry to his last, Irvin never stopped running hard, punishing the Gophers’ defense on every play.
“It was extremely easy,” he said. “Our offensive line took control and we ran pretty hard. We did all right.”
Actually, they did extremely well. Minnesota barely touched the ball in the second half.
Irvin has dominated before. During his senior season at Miami (Fla.) High School he scored 29 touchdowns and rushed for 1,129 yards.
Not too bad. Irvin’s numbers aren’t quite the same this season, but he’s definitely made an impact at Michigan State. In his first collegiate game he scored four touchdowns against Purdue.
And with Irvin and Duane Goulbourne, who is actually the Spartans No. 1 tailback, Saban knew what he had to do against Minnesota.
“Our goal and objective going into this game — I think we did it because we felt we had to — was making it into as boring a game as possible,” he said. “We wanted to run the football and keep it away from their offense.”
He accomplished both. The game did not prove to be very memorable. Most fans left the game in the fourth quarter, and the Spartans dominated the game clock in the second half. Michigan State ran 56 times and passed only 16 times in the game.
Goulbourne experienced cramps in the first half. That’s when Irvin stepped in. He racked up 125 of his total yards in the second half. Suddenly, the freshman felt like he was back in high school.
“Coming out of high school I was used to carrying the ball my senior year,” he said. “I just had to run hard. I knew we had to control the ball. If I could make the big run, I had to make it.”
Irvin loves to make the big play. And he likes getting the call to carry even more.
“The more plays I get the better I am,” he said. “That’s my opinion. The more carries I get the more I think I can do because I’m getting more of a feel for it. But hey, I’m behind another great back. Only time will tell.”
Talent on the football field runs in the Irvin family. Sedrick’s cousin, Michael Irvin, is the controversial wide receiver for the Dallas Cowboys. One wouldn’t know by looking at Sedrick that the two are related. He doesn’t wear purple suits and gold chains like his cousin.
The closest Sedrick comes to wearing gold is the gold in two of his front teeth. He’s not as flamboyant as Michael either. In fact, the freshman thought he might have a tough day against the Gophers’ defense.
“I thought it was going to be real difficult because the defensive coordinator (Tim Rose) makes things real difficult for the offense,” he said. “I think our offensive line picked up everything pretty well and we did a good job.”
Gophers coach Jim Wacker couldn’t find a plan to stop Irvin.
“Well if we did it didn’t work,” he said. “He’s one of the top backs in the country. He’s just an unbelievable young talent.”