MSU’s Tyson Smith Gets Pick-Six in Return From Stroke

The first couple of weeks of the college football season are typically full of blowout games resulting from lopsided matchups.

One of last Saturday’s most inspiring highlights happened in a game that wasn’t close between a big-name Big Ten team and one from the bottom half of the MAC.

Michigan State was beating Bowling Green 28-3 in the third quarter when Spartans junior cornerback Tyson Smith intercepted a pass by Falcons quarterback James Morgan and ran it back 38 yards for a touchdown. It was the knockout blow in State’s 35-10 victory.

Smith didn’t make a particularly amazing catch, and he didn’t have to juke or run anybody over on his way to the end zone.

So what was so special about this pick-six?

It’s that Smith did it during his first official football game field since he suffered a stroke last November.

Two days after Michigan State’s 2016 season ended with a loss at Penn State, Smith was having a severe headache. An MRI revealed that he had suffered a stroke. Memory loss and a lack of energy followed. According to an article in Michigan Live, Smith, a psychology major, believed there was a 70 percent chance he would never play football again.

Smith was eventually cleared by doctors to resume his career and rejoined the Spartans in July.

A part-time starter as a sophomore last season, Smith didn’t start against Bowling Green. He didn’t make any tackles or pass breakups, but his pick-six was replayed on highlight shows throughout the weekend. It was also his first interception and first touchdown since arriving at Michigan State.

“The feeling when I just stepped on the field was more than football, it was a blessing to see that I’m still me,” Smith was quoted by Michigan Live. “I felt normal, I didn’t know for sure if I was normal, but it’s just a blessing.”

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