Michigan State vs. Wisconsin: Spartans' OT Win Keeps Bowl Hopes Alive

Darin PikeContributor IOctober 27, 2012

Oct 27, 2012; Madison, WI, USA;  Michigan State Spartans quarterback Andrew Maxwell (10) throws a pass during the third quarter against the Wisconsin Badgers at Camp Randall Stadium.  Michigan State defeated Wisconsin 16-13.  Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-US PRESSWIRE

The Michigan State Spartans still cling to bowl bid aspirations following a 16-13 OT win against the Wisconsin Badgers. The loss snapped a 21-game home winning streak.

Both sides played great defense, but the offensive play can only be described as ugly for much of the game.

The Badgers were moving the ball well early. Quarterback Joel Stave was 9-of-11 passing for 127 yards in the first half, but Wisconsin only managed seven points on a 31-yard touchdown pass to Jacob Pedersen.

Stave was sacked by William Gholston on the opening play of the second half and left with a shoulder injury.

Joel Stave comes out of the locker room with his left arm immobilized in a sling. Doesn't do interviews, but says he really aches #Badgers

— Benjamin Worgull (@TheBadgerNation) October 27, 2012

The Badgers offense couldn't find life with Danny O’Brien under center, and the Spartans sputtered almost the entire game.

The key word is "almost." It was as if a different offensive unit took the field for the Spartans' final drive in the fourth quarter. 

Their 12-play, 75-yard drive tied the game at 10 and forced overtime.

The Badgers kicked a field goal, allowing the Spartans to grab the win with a 12-yard touchdown pass from Andrew Maxwell to Bennie Fowler.

If Michigan State is going to make a push for a bowl game, they'll need to remember how they found their offense on Saturday night. Their defense will keep them in games, but they still need to score.

They host Nebraska next week, which will be a challenge. But they should be able to grab a win in one of their final two games.

The Spartans host Northwestern (7-2, 3-2) on Nov. 17th and play at Minnesota (5-3, 1-3) the following Saturday.

Both games should be challenging, but a win should get them into a bowl game. The Big Ten will struggle to fill its standard allotment of bowl invitations as two of the top teams aren't eligible. 

All six teams in the Legends Division could be bowl-eligible, but Wisconsin looks like the only team from the Leaders bracket that will play after the Big Ten Championship Game.


Darin Pike is a writer for Bleacher Report's Breaking News Team and a Featured Columnist covering the NFL and Seattle Seahawks.