After looking subhuman through its first six games of the season, No.4 Wisconsin looked like mere mortals in its first road test of the season, seeing all three faucets of its game implode in the second quarter only to come back and have a Hail Mary with four seconds left lead to its 37-31 heartbreaker to No.15 Michigan State at Spartan Stadium.
For the second straight year, the Badgers suffered their first loss at Michigan State, effectively ending its national championship aspirations, because Wisconsin couldn't play a clean game on the road against the Spartans, failing to win in East Lansing for the fourth time since 2002.
Clicking on all cylinders early after its first two drives hit the red zone and resulted in 14 points, an interception, a safety, a blocked field goal and a blocked punt for touchdown saw Michigan State score 23 unchallenged points in the second quarter to assume control.
Wisconsin (6-1, 2-1 Big Ten) did trim the lead to 31-24 with just over seven minutes left and senior quarterback Russell Wilson atoned for a number of poor decisions. Despite two interceptions and a number of missed throws that could have led to touchdowns, Wilson led UW to two scores in the fourth quarter to tie the score at 31.
Being greedy with his three timeouts, Head coach Bret Bielema used all of them to try and get the ball back for his offense. The decision backfired, as Michigan State completed a Hail Mary that wide receiver Jared Abbrederis failed to knock down and Keith Nichol caught at the goal line and wrestled into the end zone with no time on the clock.
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11 plays, 80 yards, 6:12 TOP, 8:48 left
Jacob Pedersen 9-yard pass from Russell Wilson (Philip Welch kick)
Key Play: After keeping the ball on the ground for the first five plays on the game's first drive of the game, it was the play-action pass the suckered another opponent. On third-and-4, Wilson caught Michigan State in a blitz and Pedersen was wide open for the easy score.
3 plays, 30 yards, :51 TOP, 7:42 left
Montee Ball 9-yard run(Philip Welch kick)
Key Play: Getting their first chance to respond, the Spartans get a taste of their own medicine, as linebacker Mike Taylor delivers a furious hit, popping the ball loose from running back Edwin Baker and giving UW the ball at the 30.
Key Play: Michigan State turned up the blitz and Wisconsin couldn't handle it. After Ball lost three yards on the opening carry, Wilson was in the tackle box when he threw the ball away to avoid two blitzers.
4 plays, 72 yards, 1:41 TOP, 11:22 left
Keshawn Martin 34-yard run (Dan Conroy kick)
Key Play: The Spartans, and the crowd, are right back in the game, after Martin gets the second pitch on the double reverse and has a convey into the end zone.
16-14 Michigan State
8 plays, 80 yards, 4:35 TOP, 1:20 left
B.J. Cunningham 35-yard pass from Kirk Cousins (Conroy kick)
Key Play: After great tackling turns third-and-1 to fourth-and-2, terrible tackling leads to UW's first deficit, as three Badgers failed to bring down Cunningham.
23-14 Michigan State
Blocked punt by Kyler Elsworth by Bennie Fowler in end zone (Conroy kick)
Key Play: Everything that could go wrong has gone wrong for Wisconsin in he second quarter. Michigan State brought the house on a punt block and were rewarded, as Elsworth's block went back roughly 30 yards into the end zone where MSU jumped on it.
23-17 Michigan State
8 plays, 58 yards, 3:19 TOP, 8:29 left
FG Philip Welch 33
Key Play: Replaying the opening minutes of the first quarter, the play-action pass got Wisconsin moving forward. After hitting Abbrederis for 21, a dump pass to Ball went for 22 yards and got UW down to the MSU 19. The drive could have gone for more, but Wilson missed an open Pedersen on third-and-6 that would have been a touchdown.
31-17 Michigan State
13 plays, 80 yards, 7:34 TOP, 10:58 left
Martin 15-yard pass from Cousins (Cunningham pass from Cousins)
Key Play: On a big third-and-10 on the UW 15, the Badgers got exactly what they wanted when Cousins completed a pass over the middle. What they didn't get was good defense. Martin cut to the outside, Cromartie took a bad angle and tons of missed assignments appears to have buried the dagger in Wisconsin.
31-24 Michigan State
3 plays, 43 yards, :30 TOP, 8:10 left
Russell Wilson 22-yard run (Welch kick)
Key Play: A little bit of redemption for Wilson, who rolled out to his right, unleashed a wicked pass fake that fooled the strong safety and Wilson beat everybody else to the goal line for the quick score UW needed.
8 plays, 87 yards, 3:02 TOP, 1:26 left
Montee Ball 2-yard pass from Wilson (Welch kick)
Key Play: Buying time by scrambling out the pocket, Wilson was running for his life and threw the ball for Nick Toon, who came back for the pass for a wide-open 42-yard gain, getting UW down to the 15.
37-31 Michigan State
9 plays, 78 yards, 1:26 TOP, 0:00 left
Keith Nichol 44-yard pass from Cousins
Key Play: Bielema tried to get greedy by calling all of his timeouts to get the ball back. It didn't work. Cousins' Hail-Mary pass was whiffed on by Abbrederis, hit a MSU player in the chest and was caught by Nichol at the goal line. Taylor tackled him, but Nichol wrestled his way into the end zone to shock the Badgers.
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