MADISON, WI - NOVEMBER 26: Montee Ball #28 of the Wisconsin Badgers runs for a second half touchdown against the Penn State Nittany Lions at Camp Randall Stadium on November 26, 2011 in Madison, Wisconsin. Wisconsin defeated Penn State 45-7. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
2 Total Updates since December 3, 2011
over 1 year ago Update 0 comments
The Wisconsin Badgers (11-2, 6-2) eschewed their No. 15 BCS ranking for a night and beat the No. 13 Michigan St. Spartans (10-3, 7-1) in a 42-39 thriller.
Wisconsin jumped to an early lead in the first quarter, driving for three quick touchdowns -- two coming on 6-yard runs from Montee Ball, and one coming on a short pass from Jeff Duckworth to Russell Wilson. An Edwin Baker touchdown run for the Spartans put them on the board, but the Badgers held a strong 21-7 lead after the opening fifteen minutes.
Michigan St. responded quickly, though, orchestrating a 7-play, 80-yard touchdown drive early in the second, capped by a 30-yard touchdown bomb from B.J. Cunningham to Kirk Cousins. The Spartans then proceeded to add another 15 points, scoring on a short and rare catch-and-toss and a six yard Le'Veon Bell run.
A successful two-point conversion put the game at 21-29, Spartans leading, going into halftime, and after the teams exchanged touchdown passes in the second quarter, Montee Ball broke the Spartans' 28-36 lead.
In the Badgers' first drive of the final quarter, Ball sliced through the Michigan State defense for his second rushing touchdown. The Spartans responded with a 25-yard Dan Conroy field goal, putting the game at 34-39, but Ball found the end zone again, rushing seven yards through a thicket of Spartans defenders for an eventual 42-39 lead.
After the Badgers were unable to run out the clock late in the fourth quarter, however, the Spartans looked poised for a final drive and a shot at a game-tying field goal with a few seconds remaining on the clock. Punter Brad Nortman booted the ball deep, but Keshawn Martin of the Spartans zipped by the punt coverage team until finally being pushed out in the Wisconsin red zone. The incredible return, however, was wiped away on a running into the kicker penalty called on Isaiah Lewis, giving the Badgers a first down and the chance to run out the clock.
With the win, Wisconsin is now 21-30 all-time against the Michigan State Spartans.
over 1 year ago Update 0 comments
The Wisconsin Badgers and the Michigan State Spartans meet on Saturday night for the first-ever Big Ten Championship game. For a head-to-head series that has seen momentum shift according to home field advantage, as a true road team last one in head-to-head play back in 2002 when the Badgers beat the Spartans 42-24, the excitement only builds for a neutral-field showdown at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, IN.
The staff at SB Nation's Wisconsin Badgers blog, Bucky's 5th Quarter, are focusing in on stopping Spartans QB Kirk Cousins:
The key for UW will be containing MSU quarterback Kirk Cousins, who has made a habit of converting third downs against the Badgers. The senior quarterback has completed 64.3 percent of his passes and boasts a 21-to-6 touchdown-to-interception ratio. He has thrown just two picks in his last seven games.
In response, SB Nation's Michigan State Spartans blog, The Only Colors, doesn't particularly think the Badgers defense has what it takes to stop Cousins and the passing attack:
Wisconsin's pass defense has been ranked tops in the Big Ten by virtue of giving up only 144.5 yards through the air per game. This is my rebuttal. Quick: What do Edward Wright-Baker, Tre Robinson, Taylor Martinez,Braxton Miller, Caleb TerBush, Robert Marve, MarQueis Gray, Nathan Scheelhaase, and the Matt McGloin/Rob Bolden have in common? Those are the quarterbacks other than Kirk Cousins that Wisconsin's faced in conference this season. The Badger defense also faced Northern Illinois QB Chandler Harnish, who must be better than at least half the QBs I just listed. So even though Wisconsin might have the top pass defense in the Big Ten, the degree of difficulty in quarterbacks faced hasn't been too steep.
This is going to be a fun one, so make sure to join in the action and stick with SB Nation throughout the day for updates and more.
Game date, time: 7:00 p.m. CST, Saturday, Dec. 3, 2011.
Location: Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, Indiana
TV channel: FOX
Spread: Wisconsin favored by 10 points
Series history: Michigan State leads, 30-20