EAST LANSING, Mich. — It didn’t take long after Michigan State beat Michigan on Saturday night for Justin Layne’s phone to start blowing up.
Before he even knew it, the Michigan State sophomore cornerback had become an internet sensation. With then-No. 7 Michigan mounting a desperation drive down 14-10 with less than a minute remaining, quarterback John O’Korn got away from pressure on first-and-10 from the 50-yard line and lofted a ball downfield to a wide-open Eddie McDoom at the Spartans 31. It bounced off his hands, which he then put on his head in disbelief after the ball hit the turf at Michigan Stadium.
As McDoom walked back to his huddle, the ABC broadcast caught Layne putting two hands to his neck while looking at McDoom to make sure the Wolverines receiver knew he choked. Little did he know he had entered the GIF hall of fame.
Throw this GIF into the hall of fame pic.twitter.com/R6CVba6e3j
— Philip Lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) October 8, 2017
“I was like, ‘How’d they catch that?’ ” Layne said Tuesday. “It happened in the background. I didn’t expect them to catch that.
“My phone has been crazy about that. I didn’t think it was gonna be that big.”
Layne had a big game with 5 tackles and a forced fumble, yet his caught-on-camera moment was what made the headlines. He shook his head even more when he thought about all the trash he had been talking with McDoom. And the camera picked up that.
In fact, that might’ve been their most tame interaction. When asked what he and McDoom had been jawing about, Layne laughed.
“Nothing that you can say on camera.”
The moment might have raised eyebrows among viewers, but to those on the Michigan Stadium field for that rivalry game, it was par for the course. It’s part of why so many players have said that you can’t truly understand the rivalry until you play in it.
— FanNewsClips (@FanNewsClips) October 8, 2017
“It was just an emotional thing, an in-the-moment thing,” Layne explained.
That emotional response garnered thousands of retweets on Twitter and primarily positive responses for Layne’s gesture. It also attracted a few Michigan fans upset that he had the gall to do it.
Layne isn’t dwelling on it. That’s part of the rivalry. Once Michigan’s Hail Mary attempt had hit the turf and the Spartans had won, the trash talk ceased. He had gotten what he came for.
“That felt great,” Layne said of the win. “It was a lot of relief off our shoulders. It was just great, especially beating Michigan at Michigan. That’s stuff you dream about when you were little.”