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The Good, The Bad, The Random in Michigan State win over Wisconsin

Plenty of good and just a little bit of bad as we look back on a victory for MSU.

NCAA Football: Wisconsin at Michigan State Dale Young-USA TODAY Sports


Michigan State defeated Wisconsin in double overtime by a final score of 34-28.

What an exhausting game that was for everyone involved from the players to the fans (yes, let’s make this about us, too). We’ve got a lot to get to, so let’s get the party started.


GOD, IT FEELS GOOD TO BE WRITING THIS AFTER A WIN. Just awesome to enjoy a victory beer on Saturday instead of a sad beer — it hits a little different. There’s still plenty to go for bowl eligibility, but this was a nice start and a great way to get off the skid in front of a great homecoming crowd.

Jayden Reed and Keon Coleman are both That Dude. The late-game strategy of “OH YEAH, THAT’S RIGHT! We have two dynamic receivers, let’s just send one up for them” paid off in spades for both overtime touchdowns. And on top of that, Reed joins a very fun group!

Credit needs to be given to both Payton Thorne and the offensive line — two groups that have been hearing louder and louder criticism during this losing streak. The offensive line did as good of a job as they’ve done all season in pass protection, letting Wisconsin only get two sacks and three quarterback pressures. Thorne was sharp as well, especially in the second half, and also had that clutch scamper on third-down-and-8 during what should have been the game-winning drive. Regardless, his second half was poised and he looked like the Thorne of old.

And let’s talk about the best defensive game in what seems like 17 years at this point. Holding the Badgers’ passing game to just 131 yards and keeping the run game in check to the tune of 152 yards. It helped massively to have safety Xavier Henderson and defensive tackle Jacob Slade back, and scooting Jacoby Windmon back to linebacker was a great decision. Is it early to say things are fixed? Yes. Was part of this because Wisconsin quarterback Graham Mertz is, well, Graham Mertz? Also yes. BUT ARE WE GOING TO ENJOY IT AND HAVE AT LEAST A GLIMMER OF HOPE MOVING FORWARD? ABSOLUTELY YES.

WE’RE NOT DONE TALKING ABOUT WINDMON YET. He had 11 tackles, two tackles for loss, the game-deciding forced fumble and an interception to give Michigan State’s offense another chance in the red zone. The Spartan offense stalling out at the 1-yard line was a deflater on the previous drive, but Windmon breathed life back into his team with that crucial interception, which eventually led to an MSU touchdown from Jalen Berger. And, in general, he just looked comfortable at that linebacker position, too.

Between Slade, Simeon Barrow Dashaun Mallory, Zion Young, Brandon Wright and Derrick Harmon, the defensive line looked strong all game. Three sacks, six quarterback hurries and stuffing the run game to the tune of 3.9 yards per carry gets this unit into the bye week with confidence.


Here, you can choose what word we’ll use for the end of regulation. A) Alarming, B) Mind-Numbing, C) Inexcusable, D) Painfully hilarious. Mel Tucker could not have orchestrated the end of regulation worse in his ode to John L. Smith. Even before rushing the field goal team on the field in fire drill fashion, how about just the idea to run the ball and essentially settle for a ~50 yard field goal? Mel, we can’t even count on extra points to be made...why are we getting comfortable with a 50-yard game-winner?

And on third down, where a pass completed beyond the sticks stops the clock momentarily...why are we going with a pass behind the line of scrimmage?

That was a complete calamity, and MSU is beyond lucky it didn’t eventually cost them the game.

Michigan State racked up a Century Club worth of penalties, hitting 102 yards worth. A bulk of those came in the first 20 minutes of the game, including Michigan State defensive lineman Michael Fletcher nuking Wisconsin running back Braelon Allen on a late hit well after the play was over, too. Against all odds, that didn’t hurt MSU in the long run.

Tied game. Third-to-last drive of regulation. Big spot. And MSU opts to...hand the ball off twice to their third running back. SHOCKING to see those two plays go for a combined one yard. No offense to Jarek Broussard, but not only was back-to-back inside runs a bad idea, but to do it with guys not named Jalen Berger or Elijah Collins had me wondering if point shaving was on the table (kidding).


Man, did yesterday live up to the hype or what? Great matchups all over the board, and nearly every one of them delivered. Tennessee downs Alabama in what is probably the Game of the Year. Utah pulls out a gutsy win against USC in the final minute. TCU stays in the Big 12 driver’s seat with a great comeback over Oklahoma State. Our Spartans win in a thriller. And even the undercard games had some sizzle. Stanford downs Notre Dame. Texas hangs on to avoid a crushing loss to Iowa State. Illinois looks Indy-bound. It was a dream day of college football.

Keon Coleman isn’t just a great receiver. He’s just a great person that’s looking out for everybody.

If you’re going to write a story about a single play, is it too much to ask that you actually watch the play? Apparently not, according to this.

Yeah...a fake field goal...yeah, that’s what it was...that sounds better than “complete zone-out by the coaches at the end of the game.”


Let’s do some bowl projections, because apparently that’s back on the table?

CBS Sports: Quick Lane Bowl vs. Kent State (uhh, sure)

247Sports: Guaranteed Rate Bowl vs. Baylor

Never have I been more excited about the Quick Lane Bowl than I am right now. Give it to me. Let’s embrace this.