Tom Fornelli/CBS Blogger
MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY – After finishing the 2011 season with a 33-30 triple-overtime win over Georgia in the Outback Bowl, Michigan State was considered a serious contender for a Big Ten title in 2012, thanks in large part to a hellacious defense. Unfortunately for the Spartans, losing so many key players on offense was just too much to overcome. Even though Michigan State’s defense allowed only 16.3 points per game (9th in the nation) and 4.33 yards per play (4th), the Spartans offense could only manage 20.3 points per game (109th). A great defense can only do so much.
At Their Best. In late October Michigan State went to Madison, Wisc., looking for a bit of revenge for last year’s loss in the Big Ten Championship. The Spartans got it, too, despite a lackluster performance for most of the game. In the closing minutes Michigan State would put together a 12-play, 75-yard touchdown drive to tie the game with just over a minute left. In overtime, after Wisconsin had to settle for a field goal on its first possession, Maxwell found Bennie Fowler for a 12-yard game-winning touchdown pass.