Spartan fans, this is the article you never wanted to read, I will tell you that right now.
They had it won. They were going to cement their place in Big Ten history. They could smell the roses.
But before we break this loss down, let’s get one thing straight: If you think the refs ruined the game for Michigan State, you should be ashamed of yourself. Do you know who blames refs for their losses? Do you?
Wolverines do, Spartans do not let blaming anyone else but themselves enter their culture.
The refs, as hard as it is to deal with, got their calls right. The ball of Keshawn Martin's foot clearly hit the white chalk of the sidelines. The roughing the punter call was a flop? Sure, but it was a great acting job that punters have been doing for years on end now. You play to win the game, and sometimes you need to throw in an Oscar-winning move to do it.
Before that play is further addressed, let’s take a look at two other plays that put the roses in Wisconsin’s mouths.
The third-worst play of the game didn’t happen at the end, but it sure as hell made a difference on the scoreboard. On the Badgers’ first drive of the third quarter, the Spartan defense had Wisconsin looking at a third and 17, 42 yards away from the end zone. The defensive call was corner blitz with the one and only Johnny Adams. Brilliant play call, absolutely terrible execution.
Russell Wilson was standing their like a scarecrow. Johnny Adams was sprinting at him like a gazelle, but then displayed some of the worst form tackling attempt you could ever fathom. With Wilson not doing as much as shrugging a shoulder, Adams blew right by him, only grabbing his facemask. He should have lit him up like a victory cigar, but instead Wilson tossed not only a first down, but a touchdown.
What was the defining play in Michigan State's loss?
Play number two that made Spartan fans contemplate being Amish for the sole fact of never watching a televised game again is an obvious one; the fourth and six catch by Wisconsin.
If you don’t know the play, you obviously drank the game off. Just as a quick refresher, it was the play where two Michigan State secondary defenders acted the ball was made of razors, refusing to do as little as bat it down. The ball was caught, and the lead was stolen.
Now the Isaiah Lewis penalty that buried the dagger in the heart of Spartan Nation. I think I speak for a number of Spartan fans when I say “what the @#%& were you doing?”
Lewis could have got down on all fours, acted like a dog, bit the ref and it still would have been better than what he did. Wisconsin gets an automatic first down, Michigan State gets a fan base that questions their life decisions.
Now it’s time to put things in perspective with this very question: Does this ruin the season?
It depends on if your glass is half full or half empty. If it’s half full, then it was still a great season. The Spartans won the Legends division, and they got to play in the big game rather than sit on the couch and watch it.
If it is half empty, then this season is destroyed. This was their best shot to go to the Rose Bowl with Ohio State down, and also the fact that this is one of the best Michigan State teams in the past two decades. The opportunity was there, and the opportunity was blown.
All in all, this was a gut-wrenching melt down that Spartan Nation will remember for a long, long time. The Spartan offense played incredible, the front four shut down should be Heisman winner Montee Ball in the last three quarters, but the secondary crumbled like a store bought cookie.
That’s how the game was lost, that’s how the season is seen, and this is now the time for Spartan Nation to move on and look forward to the future.