Michigan State wide receiver Courtney Hawkins couldn't have picked a better time to have a coming out party.
With the Spartans' potent ground attack sputtering, Hawkins emerged with his best game of the season, making several big plays as No. 22 Michigan State beat the 21st-ranked Trojans 17-16 in Monday's John Hancock Bowl."This was my first national television game since being hurt," said Hawkins, who dislocated a shoulder in the third game of the season. "It feels great to be back."
Hawkins caught six passes for 106 yards, including an acrobatic 41-yarder on third down to keep alive a scoring drive in the third quarter.
"I've seen him do it for two years now," Spartans quarterback Dan Enos said. "When you throw it up he has a great chance of catching it."
Southern Cal coach Larry Smith said Hawkins and two crucial turnovers did in the Trojans.
"There were a lot of turning points," Smith said, "but the turnovers and missed scoring opportunities hurt us most."
Michigan State (8-3-1) capitalized on a costly Southern Cal fumble and interception for its third victory over the Trojans in three years.