Did Michigan State Coach Plan to Take Sack VS Irish?


Michigan State’s successful winning touchdown off a fake field goal try broke the heart of many Notre Dame fans last week. It affected the heart of Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio, too.


The El Paso-born coach had a mild heart attack and was hospitalized the Sunday after the Spartans’ 34-31 victory last week. The 54-year-old coach needed surgery to put a stent in a blocked blood vessel leading to the heart.

He’s expected to be okay but there were some anxious moments for his relatives here in El Paso. He’s the nephew of Rosemarie and Fred D’Antonio although spelling of the last name is different. (Coach Dantonio’s parents, Justin and

Maryann, moved to Ohio when he was just a tot).  Luckily for the Spartans, they have an easy opponent this week, Northern Colorado, so coach Dantonio’s replacement, offensive coordinator Don Treadwell,

should have no trouble filling in for him.


THERE HAS been speculation that the Spartans’ winning touchdown against Notre Dame was not a spur of the moment decision but was planned even before the third down.  Here’s how some believe it happened: The Michigan State quarterback was so slow to get rid of the ball on third down it’s believed he took a deliberate sack.

That sack, so the speculation goes, gave the Michigan State receiver more room to run past the defenders and catch the ball for a touchdown.  Coach Dantonio isn’t talking. I tried to get hold of him by phone but his doctor

advised him to take it easy for a couple of weeks and he wasn’t ready to give an interview when I called.

However, his uncle Fred in El Paso says he believes that’s what really happened.   “I wouldn’t be surprised at all,”  he says. 


TRIVIA Question: What Major Leaguer has led off a game with a homerun the most

times? Answer at end.


MARISA BAUTISTA. Remember that name. She hasn’t received much publicity but she seems to have a bright future ahead of her.  Playing for Gadsden High School she won the New Mexico state golf championship

two years in a row. And just recently at the age of 19 she won the New Mexico

State Amateur title.  She’s the daughter of Anthony Country Club pro Joe Bautista and the sister of

assistant Santa Teresa Country Club pro Miguel Bautista.  What a family!


BUTCH HENRY, one of the greatest pitchers ever to come out of El Paso, led the balloting for induction into the El Paso Baseball Hall of Fame by a huge margin this year. It was heart-warming to see the ex-Eastwood High star and former Major Leaguer get his due.  It was also heart-warming to see Joey Pennies finish second in the balloting.

The former UTEP baseball great is one of the most popular athletes in the history of El Paso, not just because of his ability to hit a baseball but because of his all-around talent.   As I wrote many years ago, “Joey plays all

sports.   And he plays them well.” What’s more, he has been a successful high school coach and involved in charitable and religious causes.


OTHER WORTHY inductees to the El Paso Baseball Hall of Fame this year will include two umpires and another former UTEP baseball great. The umps, both highly regarded by players, are Shawn Lehigh and Gilbert De L Rosa. The other

former UTEP star is Frank Del Toro, who, like Pennies, also became a successful high school coach.

The induction banquet will be held Oct. 26 at the Lancers Club at 3135 Trawood Drive beginning at 6 p.m.

You should be there to honor these super sports figures. It’s easy to get tickets. You may call El Paso Baseball Hall of Fame president Bob Osborne at 598-7211, any board member or go to the Hall’s website,      www.elpasobaseballhalloffame.org


ANSWER TO trivia question: Ricky Henderson.


Veteran sports journalist and author Ray Sanchez welcomes suggestions for his column. Contact him at (915) 584-0626, by e-mail at rayf358@yahoo.com or online at www.raysanchezbooks.com