EAST LANSING, Michigan â€” Former Michigan State linebacker Adam Decker will remember his hit on Iowa running back Shonn Greene for the rest of his life.
It was Oct. 4, 2008, and the Spartans were in danger of dropping their homecoming game to the visiting Iowa Hawkeyes.
On 4th and 1 â€” with 2:10 to play, Greene got the call.
Decker knew it was coming. He said he watched tape of the then-unknown back with his teammates, and said he just so happened to be in the right place at the right time.
â€œWe had an idea of what they were going to run,â€ Decker recently told Spartan Nation Radio. â€œWe didnâ€™t want to jump the gun and guess, but we definitely knew Shonn Greene was going to have the ball.â€
Deckerâ€™s homecoming-saving â€œDeckerizationâ€ has been ranked as the No. 1 Spartan football play in the Spartan Football All Access Fansâ€™ Top-10. Spartan kicker Brett Swenson sealed Michigan Stateâ€™s 16-13 victory with a 25-yard field goal.
â€œNext thing you know, we were playing in the Capital One Bowl,â€ Decker said proudly. Michigan State finished its season 9-3, but was defeated 24-12 by Matt Staffordâ€™s Georgia Bulldogs in the bowl.
Some would argue the play on Greene defined Deckerâ€™s career as a Spartan. But they would be mistaken.
It was Deckerâ€™s team-first attitude that made him special, and heâ€™s been called â€œone of the all-time best Spartansâ€ by media members because of his work ethic.
â€œIt was definitely my parents,â€ Decker said when asked where he learned the trait. Decker said he came to East Lansing to be a Spartan â€” like his parents â€” star or not.
Greg Jones eventually earned the starting linebacker job, but Decker had no qualms about giving Jones a shot. Jones went on to reach All-American status and was the Big Ten's Defensive Player of the Year.
Decker told a media member two years ago that he would gladly vacate his position to someone who could give the team a better chance to win.
Ironically, Jones credited Decker for helping him develop into the player he is today.
â€œI have no ill feelings toward him,â€ Decker said. â€œI have nothing but respect for him. He gave us the chance to win the most games.â€
And for Decker, that meant more than anything.
Now that his playing days at Michigan State are over, Decker is pursuing a law degree. He said the courses are tough â€” but not more difficult than learning Michigan State's playbook for the first time.