INDIANAPOLIS, IN (WKZO)-- After the regular season game ended between the Spartans and the Badgers, the stage was set for the first ever Big Ten Championship in Indianapolis, and the game did not disappoint.
There were no punts in the first quarter, and both teams capitalized on their opening offensive possessions. The only hiccup came from the Spartans, as they fumbled the ball to give another offensive chance to Wisconsin, and they marched the ball to the end zone. 21-7 the advantage for the Badgers after the first quarter.
Kirk Cousins wasted no time in the second quarter,completing a 30-yard touchdown bomb to BJ Cunningham on the opening drive ofthe quarter, pulling the Spartans within 7. The Spartan defense forced thefirst 3-and-out of the game. Cousins and the Spartan offense marched again, scoring in 2:42 on a 7 yard lateral to BJ Cunningham. MSU went for 2, and gotit, taking a 22-21 lead at the 10:21 mark in the second quarter. Le’Veon Belltacked on an extra score to head into the locker room, 29-21.
Seemingly with all of the momentum, the Spartans took theball out of the halftime break, but was stifled by a stingy Badger defense.Russell Wilson completed a pass to Jason Abbrederis who punched it in, pullingWisconsin within one, 29-28. From there, a defensive seesaw took over untillate in the third when Cousins found Cunningham once again for a 44 yardtouchdown. Not only did this expand MSU’s lead, it put Cunningham in the Spartan record book as the top yards receiver in MSU history.
The fourth quarter is where this game cemented itself as aninstant classic. Trailing 36-28, the Badgers drove once again, with a little help from Spartan penalties, punching it in from 5 yards out. A Wilson toDuckworth 2 point try failed. MSU was clinging to a 2 point lead, 36-34. MSUtacked on a 25-yard field goal from Dan Conroy to force Wisconsin to score atouchdown, and they were up to the task once again. Montee Ball scored from 7yards out, and this time Wilson completed the 2 point conversion to giveWisconsin the lead for the first time since the first quarter, 42-39. Kirk Cousins worked from his own 37, with 3:45 left. He appeared to complete a firstdown pass to Keshawn Martin, who toe-tapped the sideline, but the call was overturned. MSU was stalled, and forced to punt. The Badgers were also stalledon their next drive, and punted the ball to Keshawn Martin who returned it allthe way to the Badger 10 yard line. The only problem, the Spartans were smackedwith a roughing the kicker penalty, giving Wisconsin a first down, and a chance to take a knee for the victory.
The Spartans finish with 471 yards of offense. Kirk Cousinswas 22/30, 281 yards, 3 touchdowns and 1 interception. On the flipside, the Badgers finish with 345 yards of offense, 137 coming from Montee Ball. Russell Wilson finished 17/24, 187 yards and 3 touchdowns. Wilson and the Badgers are headed to Pasadena and the Rose Bowl.