Michigan State Beats Wisconsin On Swenson FG

Jason FunkContributor INovember 1, 2008

The Michigan State football team stayed alive in the Big Ten title race Saturday by stealing a game from the Wisconsin Badgers on Saturday. The Badgers displayed their dominance for 58 minutes of the game. They then proceeded to fall apart as they lost an 11-point with a mere 9:19 seconds left in the game.

Wisconsin's offensive line absolutely worked the front seven of Michigan State, opening up holes as big as US-127 in East Lansing for running backs P.J. Hill and John Clay to glide through. The tandem racked up 217 yards on 34 carries and 2 TD's against the porous defense of the Spartans.

Spartan counterpart and Heisman hopeful Javon Ringer could only muster 54 yards on 21 carries as he was consistently forced to make lateral moves before vertical moves. Aside from this ground domination, the Spartans were able to put themselves in a position to win with some help from penalties on Wisconsin.

The Badgers were penalized an astounding 12 times for a grand total of 121 yards, as opposed to only 2 penalties for 30 yards on the Spartans. The biggest play of the game was deep in the 4th quarter, a 3rd and short for the Badgers, trying to seal the victory as they had a 24-22 lead. The Badgers line opened a gaping hole and Clay ran through it and wasn't tackled until he reached the 4 yard-line. 

That almost certainly would have sealed the game, as Michigan State had no timeouts and the clock was under three minutes. The play was called back on a holding call and Michigan State came up with a stop on the next play to get the ball back with 1:19 reading on the clock.

The Spartans, led by Brian Hoyer, marched down the field with help from Blair White, who had 20 and 32-yard receptions in the final drive, setting up kicker Brett Swenson with a 44-yard FG attempt to take the lead.

Past Spartan teams would have had a bad snap, botched the hold, or just completely shanked the kick, but not this team. Not under Mark Dantonio. Everything was perfect on the kick as Swenson booted the kick right down the middle of the uprights, keeping Michigan State's Big Ten title hopes alive.