Sequels are never better than the original right?
Don't tell that to Wisconsin and Michigan State. The two teams, who in October, played arguably the best game of the 2011 college football season, followed it up with another epic battle Saturday in the Big Ten Championship.
"To win the first ever Big Ten Championship game is pretty awesome," said Wisconsin quarterback Russell Wilson. "One-hundred years from now people will look back and say, 'Who won that game? Who won that first ever game?,' and it's Wisconsin."
A month-and-a-half after losing to the Spartans on a Hail Mary in East Lansing, the Badgers punched their ticket to the Rose Bowl with a 42-39 win and did so with almost as much drama.
The Badgers jumped out to a 21-7 lead in the first quarter. Montee Ball helped his team build the 14-point advantage with a pair of six-yard touchdown runs. He finished the first 15-minutes with 105 of his 140 total rushing yards.
But just as they did in the first meeting, Michigan State erased the double-digit deficit by halftime. The Spartans scored 22-straight in the second quarter, including two touchdowns (30, 7) by senior wide receiver B.J. Cunningham.
The second one involved some improvisation. MSU quarterback Kirk Cousins completed a pass to Keith Nichol who was running out of bounds but before he did, he pitched it to Cunningham who finished the play in the end zone.
The Spartans then scored a two-point conversion on a fake extra point and added a Le'Veon Bell touchdown on the next drive to take a 29-21 lead into the mid-game break.
"I talked about it at halftime. For whatever reason, we don't play well in the second quarter against Michigan State," said Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema. "We survived it, [I said] let's go out and convert to score, get a stop on defense, and make things happen, and that's exactly what happened."
Wisconsin quickly regained moment. On the Badgers first possession of the second half, Wilson tossed his second touchdown, a 42 yard strike to Jared Abbrederis, to trim Michigan's State's lead to 29-28.
B.J Cunningham, who during the game broke Andre Rison's school record for career receiving yards, caught his third score late in the third quarter to push Michigan State's lead back to eight.
In the final frame, Wisconsin went back to its workhorse. Montee Ball scored his third touchdown on a five-yard shuffle pass from Wilson. Dan Conroy gave Michigan State a 39-34 lead on a 25-yard field goal with 8:28 to play and then the Badgers put together the drive of their season.
Wisconsin drove 64-yards in eight plays, highlighted by a 36-yard completion on fourth and six from Wilson to Jeff Duckworth. Ball capped the series off with his fourth trip to the end zone from seven yards out.
"That was my only shot really," Wilson said of the fourth down throw. "I just gave it a shot. I knew he'd come down with it once I put it up in the air. It's a pretty spectacular play."
Michigan State had one last chance to take get the ball back, but Isaiah Lewis was flagged for running into the kicker on fourth-and-three with under two minutes left, giving Wisconsin a first down and a sealing the Badgers second consecutive trip to Pasadena.
"I told them let's go for the block. Obviously not telling to layout on the block punt and not rough them. I don't know if he hit him," said Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio. "It's a game of inches. This football game is so close. You can't squeeze two fingers together sometimes, it's that close. This is very apparent this game was much like that."
The Spartans have won 10 games in back-to-back season, but don't have a Rose Bowl visit to show for their success. Wisconsin and Ohio State were awarded BCS births last season after sharing the conference title with Michigan State who played Alabama in the Capital One Bowl.
At 10-3, the Spartans again appear to be outsiders for shot at BCS game.
"It's tough. It's tough to deal with it, because you're going to replay a lot of things in your mind because you are so close." said Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio. "Thirty-nine points should warrant a victory. But we were playing a good football team with a high-powered offense as well, so, here we go."
Wisconsin got revenge against the Spartans, now they have another bit of payback on their minds in the Rose Bowl.
The Badgers (11-2) lost to TCU in last year's game and are determined to capitalize on this opportunity.
"You prepare so hard. Last season we prepared so hard just to make it there, and then to come up short, man, it was definitely heartbreaking and tough," said Wisconsin defensive back Aaron Henry. "But to go back to the Rose Bowl and try to cap this thing off right, man, it's a feeling that's going down in history. We're never going to be all of us in the same room at once. It's definitely something special."
- Sandusky Posts Bail, Placed Under House Arrest; Wife States Support
- Big East Adds 5 New Programs Starting in 2013
- Illinois Names Tim Beckman New Football Coach
- Oregon State Freshman Football Player Fred Thompson Dies
- Ohio Economy Could Benefit with Urban Meyer Hiring at Ohio State
- LSU and Alabama Set for a Rematch in BCS Title Game
- Baylor's Griffin and Stanford's Luck Headline Heisman Finalists
- Alabama's Trent Richardson Favorite to Take Home Heisman?
- Former Syracuse Assistant Basketball Coach Fine Won't Face New York Charges
- New Sex Abuse Charges for Ex-Penn State Football Assistant Sandusky
- Paterno Had Business Deal with Second Mile Charity Board Members
- Linebacker U Products
- Southern Miss Football Coach Larry Fedora to Take Over at UNC
- Western Kentucky Rewards Coach Taggart with Four-Year Pact
- Football Factories or Learning Centers?
- Mathieu, Hilliard Spark LSU to Rout of Georgia in SEC Title Clash
- Defense, Ground Game Lead No. 3 Oklahoma State Past Rival Oklahoma
- Wisconsin Wins Round Two over Michigan State; Smell Roses Again
- Austin Davis, Southern Mississippi Crush Houston's BCS Dream
- Moore Leads Boise State to Rout of New Mexico
- UAB Set to Name Garrick McGee New Football Coach
- Oregon Romps to Pac-12 Title Game Win Over UCLA
- West Virginia Clinches Share of Big East Title, Keep BCS Bid Alive
- College Hoops Teams Capitalize on NBA Void
- Texas A&M, Football Coach Mike Sherman Part Ways After 6-6 Season
- Sex-Crime Groups Receive $1.5 Million Pledge from Penn State
- Ohio State Freshman QB Braxton Miller Shines on Big Stage
- New Sandusky Accuser Alleges Sex Abuse from Ex-Penn State Assistant
- Mike Leach to Take Over as Washington State Football Coach
- Urban Meyer Takes Over Ohio State Saying All the Right Things
- Urban Meyer Set to Become New Football Coach at Ohio State
- UCLA Dismisses Football Coach Neuheisel
- Turner Gill Out as Football Coach at Kansas
- Ron Zook Dismissed as Football Coach at Illinois
- Syracuse Assistant Basketball Coach Fine Fired Amid Child Molestation Allegations
- Case Against Syracuse Assistant Bernie Fine Takes Twist with Phone Call Revelation
- With Help of Luck, Stanford Downs Notre Dame
- Alabama Makes Case For BCS Title Game Spot With Rout of Auburn
- Quarterback Kellen Moore Directs Boise State to Victory vs Wyoming
- Urban Sprawl: Ohio State Falls to Michigan; Rumors Spread About Meyer Taking Over
- Denard Robinson Steers Michigan to Victory Over Ohio State
- Bernie Fine Probe Accelerated; Authorities Search Syracuse Assistant's Home
- Tyrann Mathieu Punt Return Sparks LSU Past Arkansas
- Houston Blows Out Tulsa To Keep BCS Dream Alive
- Nebraska Runs All Over Iowa
- Freshman Linebacker Hayes Pullard Coming Up Big for USC
- Big East Can't Lure BYU Football Into Fold
- Urban Meyer Denies Another Report Tabbing Him as New Ohio State Coach
- Sandusky's Bail Could Be Revoked, Could Be Jailed
- Michigan Enters Showdown With Ohio State Looking for 10th Win
- Arizona Hires Rich Rodriguez as New Football Coach
- Purdue Football Looks to Regroup After Hangover Loss
- Upset Saturday in College Football: OK State, Oregon, Oklahoma, Clemson Fall
- Syracuse Assistant Basketball Coach Bernie Fine Denies Sex Assault Accusations
- Ohio State and Urban Meyer May Have Mutual Interest For Coach Position
- AJ McCarron's Three TD Passes Power Alabama Over Georgia Southern
- Penn State Edges Ohio State to Move Within Win of Big Ten Title Shot
- James Vandenberg Tosses 3 TDs: Iowa upends Purdue
- Columbia University Marching Band Banned From Final Game of Season, Given Reprieve
- Joe Paterno has Treatable Form of Lung Cancer
- Coach K takes 903 from NYC; Sets Wins Mark as Duke tops MSU
- Key Files Missing From Jerry Sandusky's Charity
- McQueary's Story Adds Twist To Penn State Scandal
- Penn State Coach Mike McQueary Says He Stopped Alleged Sandusky Assault
- Sandusky Denies He's a Pedophile in TV Interview
- Big Ten Takes Paterno's Name Off Championship Trophy
- Giants Preparing for Ailing Vick and Eagles
- Weeden Throws Five TDs; Oklahoma State Demolishes Texas Tech
- Nebraska Holds Off Penn State on Emotional Day at Beaver Stadium
- Purdue Tops Ohio State in Overtime Thriller
- Duke's Coach K Captures 902nd Career Win
Copyright © 2011 AHN -- All Rights Reserved