Comeback Defines Big Ten Brawl

Rough sledding, Spartan resiliance characterizes slugfest in Spartan Stadium, where MSU pulled out an incredible 25-24, last second victory over Wisconsin.

EAST LANSING -- Javon Ringer lost over 10 pounds. Mark Dell sat the game out with a bum knee. Backups like Chris D. Rucker, Dwayne Holmes and Deon Curry stepped in to fill important roles. And "Whitey" shined again.

Michigan State faced serious adversity and got gashed on the ground by Wisconsin but found a way to win the game anyway, 25-24.

Perhaps hungover from the emotional victory last weekend against Michigan and with a depleted star running back in Ringer, who aquired a virus last Sunday and subsequently found himself playing at 192-pounds, the first three quarters of the game seemed to point toward a disapointing MSU loss to one of the Big Ten's cellar dwellars.

But these are not the same old Spartans.

It began with the play of Blair White, who followed his impressive performance last week with an encore of 7 catches for 164 yards.

After MSU fell down by eleven, "Whitey", the senior and former walk on, pulled in a 41-yard pass and lit a fire in the offense. Soon after, White drew a pass interferance in the endzone which led to a 2-yard touchdown for Javon Ringer.

"Blair White had a tremendous week of practice, so we felt he could pick up the slack there and he was able to do that," offensive coordinator Don Treadwell said after the game. "He is just continuing to play with confidence and it's nice to establish that back-to-back."

His play at wide receiver was all the more vital considering the number of dropped passes, at least eight by a conservative count, that plagued the Spartans all afternoon.

On defense, tackling seemed to be an issue, although such criticism must be tempered when one considers the bulk of Wisconsin's backfield: running backs P.J. Hill and John Clay weigh over 235-pounds and fullback Chris Pressley carries nearly 260-pounds.

In total, the Badgers gained 281-yards on the ground while MSU only had 25.

"I don't think we tackled very well," defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi said. "That's one of the things I said at halftime. I said, 'guys, we're kind of sitting back and waiting to see what happens and we need to go and tackle the guy."

In the end, the game came down to booting a field goal, and Brett Swenson, who went 4-4 on the afternoon, came through in the clutch with a 44-yarder with 7 seconds to go in the game.

"I knew he would get it up," head coach Mark Dantonio said, "I knew he was focused and I knew that he would just do his job."

The victory, which puts MSU at 8-2 overall, may just be a program shifting event.

"We're so proud of our kids, so proud," Treadwell said. "They just kept hanging and believing."


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