Michigan State found itself down 10-3 following a Wisconsin field goal with six minutes left. The defense had played great all day as the Spartans were able to accumulate five sacks, but the offense continued to struggle. Michigan State fans were expecting the same old offense that they have seen all game as well as all season, but someone changed it up. I am not sure if it was Mark Dantonio, Dan Roushar or maybe even Andrew Maxwell himself, but the Spartans spread it out.
The new look offense worked for Michigan State as Andrew Maxwell completed 8 of 9 passes on the game tying drive. Maxwell was also able to scramble for a first down, something that coaches and fans have hoped to see from him. Wide receiver’s Tony Lippett, Keith Mumphery, Bennie Fowler and Tight end Dion Sims all caught a pass on the tying drive as Michigan State spread it out and spread it around.
The Spartans won the toss in overtime and the defense held the Badgers to a field goal. A confident Maxwell came onto the field down 13-10 knowing that a touchdown wins the game. That touchdown came on a beautiful back shoulder pass to Bennie Fowler. The timing was perfect and MSU had broken Wisconsin’s 21 game home win streak as well as their streak of 40 straight home victories over unranked opponents.
Michigan State’s defense was also able to shine in Madison. The defense held Wisconsin to 19 rushing yards. This is a Wisconsin team who ran for 346 yards in two games against the Spartans last season and 804 in their two games prior to Saturday. The 19 yards rushed for is the lowest total for the Badgers in 5 years.
That small rushing number had a lot to do with the 5 sacks that Michigan State compiled throughout the game, two from middle linebacker Max Bullough. Will Gholston was also able to get a sack on freshman quarterback Joel Stave, which ultimately resulted in a broken clavicle for the quarterback. Gholston finished the game with 4 ½ tackles for loss as he was all over the field.
Michigan State still (somehow) has a chance at the legends division. I could explain to you how, but the chances are slim and we can save that for next week if the Spartans beat Nebraska. At least Michigan State is back into the picture of this race, and must build off of the win in Madison and dare I say implement the spread more often?
Andrew Maxwell looked extremely confortable in the game tying drive as well as overtime, and to continue their success Michigan State must cater towards his strengths. Maybe it is running out of the shotgun, which seemed to give Andrew more time in the pocket, or maybe it was having a receiver exploiting the middle of the field? I am not sure, but something was clicking. Offensive coordinator Dan Roushar must figure out what was working and add it to the game plan.
-Le’Veon Bell broke the 1,000 yard mark for the season
-The loss was Wisconsin’s first home loss since 2009
-Michigan State will host Nebraska at 3:30 Saturday