A second straight trip to Pasadena appears to have cured those ugly October wounds.
In front of 64,152 fans at Lucas Oil Stadium, Wisconsin, trailing virtually the entire second half, broke through with a big fourth-down completion, another Montee Ball touchdown, a big defensive stop and a special teams penalty on Michigan State that sent the Badgers pack to Pasadena with a 42-39 victory over No.11 Michigan State.
After jumping out to a 21-7 lead after the first quarter, No.15 Wisconsin stumbled in the second quarter, seeing the Spartans outscore them 22-0 to take control and senior quarterback Kirk Cousins pick the secondary a part, completing 281 yards and three touchdowns.
But Wisconsin wouldn't be denied again. Down 39-34, Jeff Duckworth reeled in a 36-yard completion on fourth down, setting up junior running back Montee Ball's fourth touchdown of the game, the deciding factor in what turned out to be a wild conference championship.
Wisconsin (11-2) will play No.8 Oregon (11-2) on Monday, January 2nd in the 98th Rose Bowl Game presented by Vizio.
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9 plays, 71 yards, 4:56 TOP, 10:04 left
Jeff Duckworth 3-yard pass from Russell Wilson (Philip Welch kick)
Key Play: On a toss sweep to the left, Montee Ball had a beefy convoy of Travis Frederick, Ryan Groy and Ricky Wagner out in front. Clearing the road, Ball went 26 yards down to the MSU 28.
6 plays, 59 yards, 3:13 TOP, 6:44 left
Edwin Baker 8-yard run (Dan Conroy kick)
Key Play: Once again, tackling has become an issue when the Badgers meet the Spartans. Le'veon Bell had a big hole through the defensive line, but got 26 yards down to the UW 33 by eluding multiple UW defenders.
7 plays, 60 yards, 3:00 TOP, 3:44 left
Montee Ball 6-yard run (Philip Welch kick)
Key Play: After getting slightly criticized for running the halfback pass in a game where it wasn't high stakes, Bielema and Offensive Coordinator Paul Chryst dial up the play again with similar results. On a toss right, Ball set his feet and threw a perfect pass over two defenders to Wilson, good enough for a 32-yard gain down to the MSU 9.
2 plays, 24 yards, :28 TOP, 3:12 left
Montee Ball 6-yard run (Philip Welch kick)
Key Play: Conor O'Neil is making a run at special teams player of the year. On the kickoff following Ball's touchdown, O'Neill put his helmet on a spun-around ball carrier, knocking the football free at the MSU 24-yard line. Jacob Pedersen recovered to get UW great field position.
7 plays, 80 yards, 3:17 TOP, 14:55 left
B.J. Cunningham 30-yard pass from Kirk Cousins (Dan Conroy kick)
Key Play: Getting the quarter timeout to think about a fourth-and-one, MSU dialed up the perfect play. Faking dive and getting Shelton Johnson out of position, Cousins had an easy toss for a score.
22-21 Michigan State
6 plays, 57 yards, 2:42 TOP, 10:21 left
B.J. Cunningham 7-yard run following Keith Nichol lateral after 3-yard pass from Kirk Cousins (Brad Sonntag run)
Key Play: Keith Nichol was dead to rights at the 6-yard line, but he smartly tossed the ball to Cunningham, who was left unguarded by Antonio Fenelus coming over to help with the tackle attempt. Cunningham dove for the goal line and MSU takes the momentum.
29-21 Michigan State
8 plays, 84 yards, 3:57 TOP, 3:26 left
Le'Veon Bell 6-yard run (Dan Conroy kick)
Key Play: On third-and-6, Kirk Cousins continued his dominance, throwing a perfect 28-yard pass to Keshawn Martin along the sideline, a play completed because Martin was smart enough to get his foot down inbounds.
29-28 Michigan State
8 plays, 62 yards, 3:30 TOP, 9:13 left
Jared Abbrederis 42-yard pass from Russell Wilson (Philip Welch kick)
Key Play: Abbrederis picked a great time for his first catch of the evening, taking advantage of miscommunication between the cornerback and the safety to be wide open for the score.
36-28 Michigan State
3 plays, 48 yards, 1:41 TOP, 1:41 left
B.J. Cunningham 44-yard pass from Kirk Cousins (Dan Conroy kick)
Key Play: On a simple crossing route, Cunningham had a wide-open field when Peniel Jean fell down trying to turn around in coverage. The senior wasn't touched on his way to the end zone.
36-34 Michigan State
7 plays, 52 yards, 3:07 TOP, 13:25 left
Montee Ball 5-yard pass from Russell Wilson (pass failed)
Key Play: Wilson made two solid completions to Abbrederis and Pedersen before lofting a pass to Toon in the end zone, a play where the senior drew pass interference to get UW the ball on the 2-yard line.
39-34 Michigan State
10 plays, 52 yards, 4:52 TOP, 8:25 left
FG Dan Conroy 25
Key Play: Just like Wisconsin went back into its play book with the halfback pass, Michigan State used the reverse to gash the Badgers again. Cunningham took the toss around a vacant edge of the field, going 24 yards down to the UW 13.
8 plays, 64 yards, 4:35 TOP, 3:45 left
Montee Ball 7-yard run (Pedersen from Wilson)
Key Play: On fourth-and-6 and UW's season on the line, sophomore Jeff Duckworth adjusted perfectly to a deep pass thrown by Russell Wilson, completing a 36-yard catch down to the MSU 7.
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