|Bennie Fowler prepares to make the game-winning touchdown catch. (US Presswire)|
MICHIGAN STATE WON: Last season Michigan State and Wisconsin met twice and produced two of the most exciting, entertaining college football games of the year. On Saturday the two teams met again and put on a performance that was the exact opposite of last season.
Don't get me wrong, things got interesting in the last minutes, but the first 55 minutes of this game was the football version of Chinese water torture. However, Andrew Maxwell would lead the Spartans on a game-tying touchdown drive in the final five minutes and then find Bennie Fowler for a touchdown in the first overtime to pick up the 16-13 win.
WHY MICHIGAN STATE WON: I don't want to take anything away from Maxwell because on Michigan State's last two possessions -- in the fourth quarter and in overtime -- he made all the throws he had to make to move Michigan State down the field. The thing is, though, Wisconsin sure helped him out a bit.
After holding Michigan State to 163 yards of offense all day, the Wisconsin defense started dropping seven defenders into a soft zone. Maxwell picked it apart as the Spartans drove down the field. As a result, the Spartans picked up 100 yards of offense and 13 points on its final two possessions after managing 163 yards and three points on its first 10.
WHEN MICHIGAN STATE WON: When Maxwell's back-shoulder pass to Fowler was caught in the end zone after Wisconsin had to settle for a field goal on its first possession of overtime.
WHAT MICHIGAN STATE WON: Michigan State has no chance to win the Big Ten this season, but this win is still pretty important. Not only does beating Wisconsin on the road feel good for a team that's struggled in 2012, but it moves the Spartans one win closer to bowl eligibility. Had the Spartans lost this game they'd have needed to find two wins against Nebraska, Northwestern and Minnesota. Which wouldn't have been easy.
WHAT WISCONSIN LOST: If you're Bret Bielema and the Badgers you're furious for letting this game slip away. There's no way around that, but as far as what the Badgers actually lose because of this, their spot in the BCS rankings. That's it. Wisconsin is still going to get to the Big Ten Championship since Penn State and Ohio State aren't eligible, so a Rose Bowl berth is still alive.
THAT WAS CRAZY: When you think about Wisconsin you think about giant offensive lines with a cadre of running backs running up and down the field behind them. Well, you didn't see that today. Wisconsin finished the day with only 19 yards rushing. Which is a pretty terrible number, but how much worse does it look now that I've told you they needed 37 carries to get there.
In fact, the teams combined for only 80 rushing yards on 65 carries. I told you at the top that this game wasn't pretty.