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The spartan legions of Michigan State invaded Ann Arbor last Saturday with all the ferocity of the ancient conquerors of Doris and Laconia. They struck quickly and powerfully. When it was over, the defending forces of the University of Michigan, which had been ranked sixth in the nation by the Associated Press poll, lay smitten 35-6, their worst beating in 22 years. Michigan State thus established itself as the only football power to be spoken of in the same breath with Oklahoma.
There was glory in football, too, last weekend, and a 19-year-old lad from Poughkeepsie, N.Y. received a lion's share of it. He was Montfort Stickles, who made the Army-Notre Dame game the most exciting of the season by kicking a 28-yard field goal with six minutes to go to give Notre Dame a nerve-pricking 23-21 victory.
The kick was the climactic moment for the 95,000 frenzied spectators in Philadelphia's Municipal Stadium. They had been on tiptoe since the beginning of the fourth period when Notre Dame's comeback was frustrated by this same Monty Stickles. He had missed the vital try for the extra point which would have tied the score at 21-21, and he had missed it at point-blank range.
His miracle from 28 yards out—and miracle it was, for he had never before attempted a field goal—was too much for taut nerves. Pandemonium broke loose. After the pandemonium the miracle was explained by Stickles:
"What happened was this," he said. "We took a time-out. It was fourth down and we had about eight to go for the first. I was resting and Bronk Nagurski—I think it was Bronk—came into the game. He comes up to me and he says, 'Coach says kick a field goal.' He gave me the kicking tee, then he says, 'Coach says keep your head down.' I didn't feel nervous or anything, even after missing the third conversion—the one that would have tied the score. I was just overconfident on that one. Well, the ball comes back, and Williams sets it up nice and fast and I boot it. The angle was good and the ball just made the right side of the crossbar by about three or four feet. Thing that bothered me was I didn't think those goal posts were wide enough. No kidding, looked real narrow. Somebody goofed."
Stickles, a bull-like 6-foot 4-inch, 220 pounder, held his head back and pressed a handkerchief to his nose. He talked to the ceiling. "Caught an elbow. Won't stop bleeding."
Presently he lowered his gaze.
"It's a funny thing, me kicking that field goal. First place, I never kicked one before. Second place, it was that boot that beat Army and I almost went to West Point. Yep, Coach Blaik had me up there several times looking the place over. I wanted to go there, too. I grew up about 20 miles away and I always liked the Point. They wouldn't take me, though. I couldn't pass the physical. Bad eyes, they said. Well, I guess I could see pretty good today, huh?"
His father, Montfort Sr., stalked in. They shook hands. "When I saw you were going to try the field goal," he said, "I said to your mother, he's going to be a hero or a bum."
He smiled, turned to the other players and said: