Michigan State vs. TCU: Spartans Pull off Upset in Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl

Emily O'Neill Elmer@emilystormsCorrespondent IIJanuary 2, 2013

TEMPE, AZ - DECEMBER 29:  Kicker Dan Conroy #4 of the Michigan State Spartans celebrates with guard Donavon Clark #76 and offensive tackle Skyler Burkland #70 after kicking a 47 yard field goal against the TCU Horned Frogs during the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl at Sun Devil Stadium on December 29, 2012 in Tempe, Arizona. The Spartans defeated the Horned Frogs 17-16.(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Michigan State Spartans pulled ahead by one point with 1:01 remaining on the clock to win the 2012 Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl. Senior Dan Conroy made the game winning 47-yard field goal, vanquishing the TCU Horned Frogs. The win caps a less than stellar season for the Spartans, whose 6-6 regular season record this year disappointed many MSU fans. 

The season started out promising for Michigan State. After four weeks of play, the Spartans were 3-1, losing only to BCS Championship contender, Notre Dame. 

Agonizing losses followed, with Michigan State losing three of their first four Big Ten matchups. Longtime foe, Ohio State beat the Spartans by a single point, while Iowa won by three, and rival Michigan won by two. 

By the end of the season, not much was expected from the once promising Spartans. TCU was favored to beat Michigan State by 1-2.5 points in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl. 

Down early, Spartan redshirt freshman quarterback, Connor Cook had the longest touchdown drive of the game (14 plays, 90 yards) in the third quarter, cutting the Horned Frogs lead to 13-7. 

The decision to replace junior quarterback, Andrew Maxwell was apparently spur of the moment, Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio told Mike Griffith of MLive.com: "What's going through my mind? I'm not quite sure. I had a feeling on that situation. We had to go with a guy that had moved us a little bit.''

The Spartans rallied late in the fourth quarter. Down by a point with just 2:42 remaining, they took over at their own 25-yard line and drove down the field into kicking range. The game winning field goal was kicked with just 61 seconds left on the clock.

Next season is already looking up for the Spartans, schedule-wise. They will not face Ohio State, Wisconsin, or Penn State, and Michigan will be coming to Lansing to play in Spartan Stadium. With any luck, they will be able to dust off this down-year and return to the success Spartans fans have become accustomed to in recent years. 

Do you think the Spartans will come back strong next year? Tell us in the comments below.