INDIANAPOLIS (WWJ/AP) – The Spartans come out on the short end of a high scoring inaugural Big Ten Championship game as No. 11 Michigan State falls to No. 15 Wisconsin Badgers 42-39 on Saturday.
Michigan State (10-3) came back after being down 21-7 in the first quarter, with 22 unanswered points before the half.
Wisconsin (11-2) is now headed to its second straight Rose Bowl.
The Badgers turned the tables on Michigan State, which won the first meeting in October on a last-second Hail Mary pass.
On Saturday, it was the Badgers who scored late, forced a punt and managed to run out the clock when the Isaiah Lewis was called for running into the kicker, giving the Badgers a first down with 1:37 left in the game and Michigan State out of timeouts.
Speaking postgame MSU head coach Mark Dantonio said of the play: “Last play of the game – difficult to stomach, then the way it went down…” But added that, “the toughest lessons usually help you out more in the long run.”
Montee Ball ran for three touchdowns including the decisive 7-yard score with 3:45 to go in the game to give the Badgers the final lead.
Ball ran 27 times for 137 yards and caught a TD pass, giving him 38 touchdowns this season. That’s one short of Barry Sanders’ single-season record.
Kirk Cousins made most of the day work. Only one of his 17 first-half passes hit the ground in the first half, and he wound up 22 of 30 for 281 yards, three touchdowns and one interception.
Dantonio says the Spartans could still be in contention for a BCS game – but that has not been determined yet.
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