LeSueur looks to create better memories at Spartan Stadium

Updated: October 27, 2003, 5:25 PM ET

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Jeremy LeSueur knows he could have prevented the clock-stalling finish two years ago at Michigan State.

The game never would have been in doubt in the final second if Michigan's cornerback hadn't grabbed Charles Rogers' face mask on a fourth-and-16 at midfield to give the Spartans a first down.

"It was on my shoulders," LeSueur said. "It made me sick."

On the final play, Jeff Smoker lobbed a 2-yard touchdown pass to T.J. Duckett as time expired to give Michigan State a 26-24 win.

To make the play possible, officials ruled that one second was left when Smoker spiked the ball, after scrambling for 1 yard with about 10 seconds left. Replays appeared to show that the final second remained on the scoreboard for more than one second.

When LeSueur watched the tape of his costly penalty after the game, he was stunned.

"I didn't even know I held on to his face mask as long as I did," he said. "Honestly, I can't even explain it."

LeSueur is determined to leave Spartan Stadium with better memories on Saturday after No. 11 Michigan (7-2, 4-1 Big Ten) plays No. 9 Michigan State (7-1, 4-0) for first place in the conference and bragging rights.

The Spartans have won two straight and four of five at home against the Wolverines.

On Saturday, LeSueur will do his best not to think about his costly penalty from 2001.

"If I get caught up in trying to make up for what I did two years ago, I'll get away from what we're trying to do as a defense and a team," he said. "After that game up there, people were saying, 'You shouldn't be playing,' or 'You won't play no more.' But I kept my head up."

Linebacker Carl Diggs recalled telling LeSueur the loss was not his fault.

"He just made a mistake," Diggs said Monday. "There were a lot of things in that game that kept us from winning."

LeSueur played one of his best games Saturday to help Michigan beat Purdue 31-3.

He made six tackles, including a sack, broke up two passes and forced a fumble. The 6-foot-1, 200-pounder has intercepted two passes this season and broken up seven.

Michigan coach Lloyd Carr, who refused Monday to talk about the last game at Michigan State, was quick to praise the season LeSueur has had.

"He's playing as well as you could ask a cornerback to play," Carr said.

Michigan receiver Jason Avant said practicing against LeSueur makes playing against opposing cornerbacks easier.

"He anticipates well because he's been there a long time," Avant said. "He has quick hips and he's usually faster than the receiver he goes up against."

LeSueur's career is wrapping up well after four troubled seasons.

He tore two knee ligaments against Notre Dame in his first college game in 1999. The injury allowed him to redshirt as a freshman and be eligible to be a fifth-year senior this season.

Despite being one of the highest-rated recruits in the country, the first Michigan football player from Mississippi did not become a regular starter until last October when teammate Zia Combs had a career-ending neck injury.

About four months after LeSueur made the mistake at Michigan State, he made one off the field when he was arrested for soliciting a prostitute. He pleaded no contest to the charge, which was dismissed after six months of probation.

"I was just out messing around and it's easy to get into stuff when that happens," LeSueur said. "Some things are easy to get into and hard to get out of. Sometimes what happens over two seconds can stay with you for years."

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index