MSU, Nebraska pay tribute to late punters Mike Sadler, Sam Foltz

Matt Charboneau
The Detroit News
Nebraska head coach Scott Frost, from left; Gerald and Jill Foltz; Karen Sadler; Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio; Katie Sadler participate in a midfield ceremony honoring late punters Mike Sadler and Sam Foltz.

Lincoln, Neb. — Before the snow started falling and the tempers were flaring, Michigan State and Nebraska took a moment to honor two former greats.

Prior to the game, former punters Mike Sadler and Sam Foltz were honored at Memorial Stadium, the two larger-than-life kickers who were killed on July 23, 2016, in a single-car accident in Waukesha, Wis., as each were in town to work at a kicking camp. Foltz was Nebraska’s punter at the time while Sadler punted for the Spartans from 2011-14.

Members of the Foltz and Sadler families were on hand as well as Nebraska coach Scott Frost, Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio as well as the specialists for each team. A commemorative coin was used before the game that had the image of Sadler on one side and Foltz on the other. Michigan State won the toss by calling “Sadler.”

“The pregame ceremony was touching,” Frost said. “I didn’t know Sam, I know his family well now. I was actually in Western Nebraska with a couple of friends when the news came over on the radio, so I was back in Nebraska when I heard. Boy, everything you hear about Sam is not just how good of a player he was, but how good of a person he was.

“Coach Mark Dantonio said the same thing about the other young man. Lives that end too soon, it’s a tragedy. So, we’re sorry to see that happen, but it was pretty special what they did for him on the field today.”

Flowers were also placed on the field during warm-ups, at the 3 yard-line for Sadler, who wore No. 3, and at the 27 for Foltz.

Saturday’s game was the first time the Big Ten teams have played since the players’ deaths.

Twitter: @mattcharboneau