I'm still in shock.
That stunned look on Andrew Maxwell's face after the winning touchdown? That was the look I had, and I'm sure I'm not alone.
Go figure this MSU team would be the one to break Wisconsin's 21-game home winning streak. The team that lost to Iowa at home two weeks ago did it, 16-13 in overtime (box score). Heck said before the game he could live with the Notre Dame, Ohio State and Michigan losses, but that Iowa one hurt. I think this makes up for it.
The Spartans stole a game, but it's about time one of these went their way. Six of MSU's nine game have been decided by four points or less, and they were two missed field goals from being 6-2 heading into Saturday's game. A Legends division crown isn't impossible, but the No. 1 goal now is just to make a bowl game, and the win over Wisconsin was a huge step to that. One win against Nebraska, Northwestern or Minnesota will do that. I'd say it's very likely, but you never know with this team.
Dan Conroy went 1-for-1 with a 34-yard field goal. I would have liked to seen MSU attempt that long FG after the blocked punt and backward drive, but I'm not the one paid to make the decisions.
Mike Sadler averaged 38.7 yards on seven punts, including three inside the 20. Wisconsin was able to return one punt, and it went for 34 yards.
I'm not totally sure why Bell is returning kicks. For all of Nick Hill's struggles in other places, his kick returning has typically been very solid. Bell had one return for 21 yards, Hill had one for 29.
The punt return numbers are hilarious. Andre Sims Jr. returned two for one yard. The blocking there continues to be terrible. But that blocked punt fiasco resulted in, according to the box score, one return for Marcus Rush for 15 yards, Denicos Allen picked up one yard without a return, while Johnny Adams picked up six yards without a return, since he fumbled it. What a mess.
(Go to the 20:10 mark of this video. I promise you won't regret it)
The good news is that a bowl game looks much more likely. Although the last three games are winnable, they would have looked less so sitting there with a 4-5 overall record and 1-4 in the Big Ten.
I didn't necessarily question the fight of the Spartans entering Saturday, although I did have my doubts if they were to fall behind big early. But instead of letting the season spin out of control, the defense has responded with two incredible performances, helping the Spartans split what we figured were their two toughest games at the beginning of the season. You can't give enough credit to this team, especially that side of the ball, for not packing things in the way so many pre-Dantonio MSU teams did.
There are plenty of positive signs for 2013, but let's get out of 2012 feeling good, first.
Now we move to November, where MSU is 13-3 under Dantonio (compared to 2-11 under JLS, plus a loss at Hawaii in December). Dantonio likes to say November is for contenders. MSU likely won't be contending for a conference title, but they're still fighting for a bowl berth, a good bowl berth and the perception that the program has only tripped up, instead of taking a step back.
(Now let's go cry about the Tigers)