The stage was set for an epic battle between the Big 10’s best: Ohio State versus Michigan State in a showdown that would send one team to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. As an underdog in this one, number 10 Michigan State decided early that they weren’t going to mess around with the number two Buckeyes.
The Spartans jumped out to a 17-0 lead and, early on, it looked to be a dominant and convincing performance by the green and white. Connor Cook, after a Spartan field goal, hit Keith Mumphery for a 72-yard touchdown to put them up 10-0. After that, Cook then hit Tony Lippett for a 33-yard score.
Halfway through the first quarter, everything was just dandy if you were a fan of “Little Brother.” Defensively, the Spartans had been rock solid all year long and one of the best groups in all of college football. But, Braxton Miller and his Buckeyes weren’t about to lay down and die that easily.
Behind a 20-yard touchdown pass to Philly Brown and a field goal just before halftime, the Buckeyes came within a touchdown. As the third quarter began, this was clearly a different game for Ohio State. Miller ran in two more touchdowns as the Buckeyes scored a total of 24 unanswered points and led 24-17 with 5:36 to go in the third quarter.
The fourth quarter, though, belonged to Sparty. Cook tossed another touchdown to a wide open Josiah Price after an impressive drive to put his team up 27-24. A late fourth-down stop by the Spartans captured the ball back and Jeremy Langford sealed the deal with just over two minutes to go as he scored on a 26-yard dash.
Just like that, the Spartans are headed to Pasadena and get to play in the Rose Bowl behind the MVP performance of their quarterback. Cook finished the game with 304 yards and three touchdowns.
At the same time, they spoil the hopes of the Buckeyes and their desire to play for a BCS National Championship.
Now, the National Championship race gets a little muddy. Will Auburn get a shot to win it all after their upset over Alabama? That’d be a safe bet if you were looking for a fill-in after the Buckeyes’ loss. The only thing that’s a guarantee right now, is that Ohio State won’t be there due to a huge victory by the Spartans.