Spartans Fight but Fall Short

Like a heavyweight title fight, Michigan State and Wisconsin duked it out at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison. Despite a tough 37-34 loss to a solid Badger team, the Spartans will hold their heads high, demonstrating toughness and a fighting spirit that nearly took Wisconsin to overtime.

MADISON, Wis. - Like a heavyweight championship fight, Michigan State and Wisconsin traded blow after blow.

First it was P.J. Hill of Wisconsin with a 20 yard run on the Badger's first possession.

Javon Ringer struck back a few series later with a 53-yard run setting up the first Spartan touchdown. He would add a 70-yarder and a couple of receptions over 20 yards as well.

The Badger's Tyler Donovan answered Ringer's heroics with numerous big passes to Travis Beckum throughout the game and a 64-yard touchdown pass to freshman speedster Kyle Jefferson early in the second quarter.

That 64-yard strike, a potential back-breaker, was answered with a roundhouse of Michigan State's own: on their next possession Devin Thomas took a quick-hitting swing pass and turned it into an 80-yard touchdown.

Thomas also contributed on the ground. The coaching staff seemed determined to get him the ball any way possible. He carried the ball, mostly on end-arounds, six times for 62 yards.

The Badgers tried to keep things going on the ground as well. The Spartans anticipated as much, and earlier in the week linebacker Kaleb Thornhill said stopping the run would be a priority.

"The main thing with (P.J. Hill) is to get him stopped before he gets started. Once he gets going, his motor going, he's tough to bring down . . . if we can clog up some holes (we'll) be all right."

While they did limit Hill's big plays, with 22-yards being his longest, the steady dose of him proved to be too much for Michigan State, despite a scheme that often brought 8 to 9 defensive players into the box to jam lanes, just as Thornhill predicted.

Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio will probably never admit to moral victories; however, with the gumption his team showed against a top-10 team in the nation on the road, the day was not a total loss. Michigan State will leave Camp Randall Stadium knowing they can not only play with anyone in their conference, they just might have the moxie to pull off an upset or two as the season unfolds.

Spartan Nation Top Stories