Senior quarterback Kirk Cousins struggled against a typically stout Georgia defense, which yielded just 79 rushing yards on 29 carries and intercepted Cousins three times, but hit Keith Nichol for a seven-yard touchdown to complete a second-half rally and give the Spartans the lead with 8:22 to play. Down seven in the final two minutes, Cousins drove the Spartans 85 yards for Le'Veon Bell's one-yard touchdown that forced overtime.
Spartans head coach Mark Dantonio, whose bowl losing streak ends at four, said Monday's win over a quality SEC opponent established Michigan State as an elite program, Matt Charboneau of The Detroit News reports.
"It's a big win against an SEC team that won its division, was 10-2 in the regular season," Dantonio said. "I think again it points toward us becoming an elite program in this league. There is not a football team we can not play with and not win against. We've beaten every football team in the Big Ten Conference in the last four years, so the standard has been set by the seniors."
For Georgia senior cornerback Brandon Boykin, who had 183 all-purpose yards, recorded a safety, and scored on a 92-yard punt return and 13-yard touchdown reception, Outback Most Valuable Player honors was no substitution for ending his college career with a loss, reports Joey Johnston of The Tampa Tribune.
"Honestly, I don't care about accolades,'' Boykin said. "I remember how I felt in that locker room and I'll remember that the rest of my life. Getting the MVP will symbolize how hard I tried to play. I gave it my all, no regrets. But I wanted a victory.''