Sunday, October 28, 2012
Spartan stunner (Michigan State 16, Wisconsin 13)
It's about time the stars aligned in Michigan State's favor, and they did yesterday in Madison. It was an unexpected victory, and an ugly victory (have there been any other kind victories for MSU this season?), but a great victory all the same. It just may have been a season-salvaging victory.
After a litany of three-and-outs, the Spartans saved their best offensive drive of the season for when it mattered the most. it was a masterful 12 play, 75 yard touchdown drive that began with 6:06 left in the game and lasted 4:58. The Spartans tied the game and then won in overtime.
What's particularly mind-boggling about this game-tying possession is how inept the Spartans had been on their previous five possessions of the first half, in which they ran a grand total of 17 plays for 56 yards. But maybe, just maybe, finally making big plays to win a game is the confidence builder this team needs going forward as they face Nebraska, Northwestern, and Minnesota to close the regular season.
Once again, the Spartans' defense was outstanding. They held Wisconsin to only 190 total yards and a minuscule 19 yards rushing. It's a safe bet that MSU's defense will keep them in ever game throughout the rest of the season.
Well, if I seemed like a downer in my last post, I apologize. I really didn't see this coming, but what a pleasant surprise. After what the MSU football team has been through, they deserved it. I thought MSU could keep it a close game, as they have kept every game close this season, but I thought winning in Madison might be asking too much. I was trying to be a realist, not a pessimist. Who, besides perhaps the MSU players themselves, saw the defense dominating Wisconsin in this manner? What MSU fan predicted the offense finally doing just enough to get a victory in a hostile environment in which the Badgers had won 21 consecutive home games? The answer is probably not many.
The leaves are piling up in my yard, so I alternated between raking outside while listening to MSU announcers George Blaha and Jim Miller on the radio, to occasionally coming back inside to watch the game on television. I found that my relatively blase attitude toward the game was helpful, keeping me emotionally balanced through the entire afternoon. I'll have to see if this holds true next Saturday when the Spartans play Nebraska.
For now, I'll enjoy this unexpected MSU win over the Badgers. Outside of Michigan, there are few other teams I enjoy bearing more than Wisconsin.