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Michigan State got a penalty because 2 guys wore No. 22 on the same play

You can’t do that.

Michigan State crushed woeful Rutgers on Saturday, stopping a seven-game losing streak and extending the Scarlet Knights’ epic struggles against teams from Michigan.

The Spartans should be happy. They’ve had a miserable year, and it’s good to see college football teams have good moments. But they’ll deserve to make fun of themselves in the film room this week for a penalty they got in the fourth quarter.

The Spartans drew a 5-yard flag for having two players wearing No. 22 on the same play. This penalty almost never gets called, because there’s almost never reason to call it. But it’s absolutely the correct ruling. The Spartans were guilty, with running back Delton Williams and receiver Paul Andrie on the field at the same time:

From Rule 1, Section 4, Article 2 of the NCAA’s football rule book:

All players shall be numbered 1 through 99. Any number preceded by zero (“0’’) is illegal. ... No two players of the same team shall participate in the same down wearing identical numbers.

You’re allowed to have multiple players with the same jersey number. Most college football teams do, actually. It’s kind of funny, and as long as you don’t put them on the field at the same time, confusion is minimal — usually happening when an official scorer announces that some punter caught a touchdown pass, or something like that. Everyone can laugh about it.

In this case, so can Michigan State. For that, the Spartans can thank the fact that they were playing Rutgers.