There may be no experience in all of sports like watching Michigan State squeeze the life out of an offensive powerhouse like Ohio State. The Spartans defied the narrative Saturday afternoon, falling behind to the Buckeyes before coming back to win a dramatic Big Ten Championship game, 34-24, in Indianapolis.
Michigan State had the Buckeyes exactly where they wanted them early, leading 17-0 midway through the second quarter via two Connor Cook touchdowns and dominating defensive play. Ohio State came roaring back late in the period with ten quick points, as Braxton Miller found Philly Brown in the end zone and Drew Basil nailed a 28-yard field goal with time expiring.
Miller and Ohio State continued their strong offensive play in the third quarter, as Miller capped off a good drive with his eight-yard touchdown run, tying the game at 17-17 and putting the quarterback at over 100 yards on the ground.
Miller worked his magic again later in the quarter, capping off another Ohio State drive with a six-yard score, giving the Buckeyes their first lead of the game at 24-17. Michigan State responded with their first score of the second half -- Michael Geiger's 44-yard field goal, which made it a four-point game.
The Spartans got the ball back early in the fourth quarter, and moved down the field thanks to three straight Cook completions and one big pass interference penalty against Ohio State. On third-and-eight from the nine, Cook floated a beautiful pass off the play-action to Josiah Price for the nine-yard score and a 27-24 Michigan State lead.
With less than eight minutes to play, Ryan Shazier blocked Michigan State's punt, giving the Buckeyes the ball just beyond midfield in Spartan territory. On fourth-and-1 with under six minutes to play, Denicos Allen brought down Miller behind the line to force the turnover on downs. On the ensuing drive, Jeremy Langford ran 26 yards up the middle for the score to give the Spartans a 10-point lead they would not surrender.
On fourth-and-10 with just over a minute left, Miller's pass fell incomplete, giving the Spartans the win.
Box Score Hero: Connor Cook. Langford may have put the icing on the cake with the touchdown, but the quarterback cemented his place in Spartan lore by completing 24-of-40 passes for 304 yards and three touchdowns.
Rankings Ramifications: Ohio State came into the game ranked second, while Michigan State was ranked 10th. The Buckeyes will fall out of BCS title contention, while the Spartans will likely move up some spots.
But Did They Cover? Michigan State was a 5.5-point underdog, so Ohio State did not cover.
Next Week's Schedule: Michigan State has secured their bid to the Rose Bowl, while Ohio State will now join the litany of at-large teams hoping for a BCS bowl berth.