Senior Damon Dowdell started the game and played the first half, rushing for 72 yards on three carries and engineering one touchdown drive to stake the Spartans to a 21-14 halftime lead.
The Spartans pulled out all the stops for a 'must-win' game including wide receiver Aaron Alexander hitting running back Jason Teague on a reverse pass from 30-yards out to give the Spartans the 21-14 halftime margin.
But it was the Michigan State defense stuffing the Badgers four straight times on fourth and goal just before the half. After two unsucessful tries inside the five-yard line, Badgers quarterback John Stocco tried to throw it into the endzone to fullback Matt Bernstein but safety Eric Smith broke up the play. On fourth down, tailback Anthony Davis was stuffed with less than 10 seconds left to play. The play was reviewed by Big Ten officials and upheld.
The Spartans started the second half with an onsides kick which they recovered and then converted into a 9-play, 54-yard drive when Caulcrick plunged in from 1-yard out to put MSU up 28-14.
Junior DeAndra Cobb burst threw the Badgers line and won a footrace with corner Shawn Starks who hit Cobb at the goal line with a questionable low body block but Cobb held on for the touchdown. Cobb had to be helped off the playing field and did not return. His status is unknown but the injury appeared serious.
Teague ended the scoring with a 1-yard plunge, finishing a 7 play, 99 yard drive to give the Spartans the final margin of victory.
The stunning win give MSU (5-5) a shot at a second consecutive bowl appearance. The Spartans go on the road to take on the Penn State Nittany Lions (3-7) in the annual Land Grant Trophy game.
If MSU can defeat Penn State and win in a trip to Hawaii against the Warriors, they will become bowl eligible.