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>>caption: KEYSHAWN MARTIN (#82)
RAN AWAY FROM HE BADGERS FOR A
74-YARD TOUCHDOWN TO PUT STATE
AHEAD TO STAY<<
@ SPARTAN STADIUM:
Minus head coach Mark Dantonio
again, the Michigan State Spartans
opened their Big Ten conference
football season with a 34-24 victory
over visiting Wisconsin.
Both teams had entered the contest 4-0 in non-con play. State is now 5-0
for the first time since 1999.
Spartan QBack Kirk Cousins tied his career-high of three touchdown passes
while RBack James White scored twice on the ground for the Badgers.
Dantonio, who suffered a mild heart attack after the overtime win vs Notre
Dame two weeks ago, had planned to be in the coaches box on the eighth floor
of the suite level. However, Thursday night a blood clot was discovered in
Dantonio's leg during a routine follow-up exam and he was again hospitalized.
The MSU release did not detail in which leg the clot had occured. Clots are not
uncommon following a cardiac catheterization procedure, which Dantonio
underwent hours after his heart attack.
The final score might not indicate it, but MSU won primarily because of an
aggressive, efficient defense. The Spartans allowed Wisconsin only 3-of-11
third down conversions. The defenders of Sparta also held star Badger RBack
John Clay to 80 rushing yards and no scores, snapping his two nation's-best
streaks of 10 straight games of at least 100-yards and a TD or more in each.
State also beat Wisconsin at its own time-of-possession game. Michigan State
played keepaway by holding onto the ball for 36:24 to only 23:36 for the Badgers.
Only a trio of MSU turnovers, two of them leading to scores, kept Wisconsin
in the game in the 1st-H.
Dan Conroy's 36-yard field goal was the lone 1st-Qtr score for a 3-0 MSU lead.
However, with State driving to perhaps go up 10-0, Cousins was intercepted by
Badger CBack Antonio Fenelus at the Wisconsin 17 late in the opening quarter.
That produced an 8-play/74-yard touchdown drive to put Wisconsin ahead 7-3 just
31-sec into the 2nd-Qtr on a 16-yard White run.
Just three plays later, Cousins completed a 9-yard pass to WR Keith Nichol for
a first down, but Nichol was stripped of the ball by Wisconsin CBack Niles Brinkley
and the fumble was recovered by Badger FS Aaron Henry at MSU's 33-yard line.
Wisconsin could gain just 1-yard on the next three plays, but the turnover had
put the visitors in position for a wind-aided 49-yard FG by Philip Welch for a 10-3
Conroy inched the Spartans closer at 10-6 with his second 36-yard FG. Then,
just 2:14 later, Keyshawn Martin sped to a 74-yard punt return touchdown (his
first collegiate career punt-ret-TD) that had State back on top 13-10 with 8:11 left
in the 2nd-Qtr.
Michigan State's next possession was a daring 9-play/69-yard drive which ended
as Mark Dell hauled-in a video-confirmed 8-yard TD pass from Cousins in the left back
corner of the end zone with only 23-sec showing on the clock for a 20-10 halftime
margin. This drive was kept alive by a 4th-&-1 gamble at the Badger 48-yard line when
State faked inside and pitched outside to Le'Veon Bell for a 23-yard gain to the
Wisconsin had to go only 47-yards in 3-plays on its first drive of the 2nd-H.
White turned the corner on the open right side and out-raced everybody for
his second touchdown, a 34-yard rush to make it 20-17.
Michigan State had a drive stall on a failed 4th-&-1 run just shy of the goalline,
but MSU's defense held the Badgers to a 3-&-out and State regained the ball at its
own 49. Three runs mixed with three passes (all to tight ends) got the Spartans into
the end zone this time on a 1-yard strike from Cousins to Charlie Gantt. With but
2-sec to go in the 3rd-Qtr MSU had restored its 10-P bulge at 27-17.
The comfort zone lead didn't last long. Wisconson responded to go 70-yards in
11-plays to reach the end zone on a straight up-the-middle throw from Badger QBack
Scott Tolzien to TE Jacob Pedersen covering 12-yards. That put the score at 27-24.
The pendulum swung again. Cousins hooked up on a 3rd-&-11 pass play to
Larry Caper that covered 35-yards. State then went to the run, but a personal
foul penalty on Dell at the Wisconsin 11-yard line stalled he drive. A 6-yard Caper run
got the ball to just short of the Badger 1-yard line to bring about 4th-down. The Spartans
gambled again and converted this time on a Cousins to B.J. Cunningham flip-pass for a
34-24 lead with 2:43 to play. The Spartans went 15-plays and 84-yards in a clock-eating 7:57.
Wisconsin's last-ditch drive ended at MSU's 32-yard line on a 14-yard, 4th-down
pass completion which fell three yards shy of a 3rd-&-17 conversion.
Cousins was 20-of-29 for 269-yards with 3-TDs and two INTs (one on a tipped ball).
Cousins' favorite target was Bell who caught six balls for 92-yards. Edwin Baker rushed
18 times for 87-yards, Bell 16 times for 75-yards and Caper (mostly kept in reserve until the
last TD drive) had three carries for 22-yards with MSU netting 175 ground yardage.
Tolzien had only 87 passing yards until Wisconsin's final failed drive. He finished 11-of-25
for 127-yards. White carried 10 times for 98-yards, Clay 17 times for his 80-yards and
Wisconsin's 165 rushing yards were 10 less than State's.
MSU INT-H-COACH DON TREADWELL: "Without question, a big game... big plays at clutch
times being made on both sides of the ball...Our defense stepped right up and you could just
sense it every time they went out...You can see our offensive players respond to that...
On the last [4th down attempt] yes. I will take credit or responsibility for anything because
we had some doozies as well...Our kids wanted to go for the win and we were moving in that
direction, so a lot of that was behind it."
MSU QB KIRK COUSINS: " It was tough when I threw that first pick, knowing we had a field
goal [if MSU had retained the ball], it was disappointing. We had to keep our body language
up and show that we weren't done, and there was a lot of football left to be played. Our
character really showed today the way we fought through anything that came against us,
we just kept pushing and kept playing...We have had that [last touchdown] play in since
camp, and I have called for it now probably three or four times. I wanted it against Florida
Atlantic, it didn't get called. I wanted it against Western Michigan, and it didn't get called.
I guess that this was the moment to have it...Fortunately it worked, and we called it at the
MSU WR/KR/PR KEYSHAWN MARTIN: " I knew I was going to have a little room and when I
caught [the punt for his return TD]. I saw the whole middle was wide-open. I credit that to
the [blockers]. They did a great job of watching them outside, and from there I showed off
my feet a little bit...There's no greater feeling, especially if it's a long one. You just feel
good about yourself; it boosts up your confidence...This was a statement game right here.
Just to the rest of the Big Ten that we're coming and coming hard and that we're fighting
for the Big Ten Championship."
MSU LB GREG JONES: "Guys just went about it as business as usual. It felt like the intensity
picked up, it was against Wisconsin, a big game, and it was the Big Ten opener. Guys on the
offense really played their butt off. I don't think anyone doubted anything with Coach
Dantonio not being there."
MSU LB ERIC GORDON: "We worked really hard this last week on stopping the run...John
[Clay] is a big guy and I thought we stopped the run pretty well today...Third downs, we've
had problems this year up to know. I thought we did a great job, we call it our 'money down.'
We just focused down and made plays and made things happen. I was really proud of our
team for that."
MSU CB CHRIS L. RUCKER: "I think this is the best we've played in a while...We've got a
veteran team and we've got great team leadership."
WISCONSIN H-COACH BRET BIELEMA: "Three third downs and a fourth down [on State's
last scoring drive]. We thought we had some calls we talked about in the huddle. Then they
hit us on the critical fourth one in the end zone that ultimately decided the football game."
WISCONSIN RB JOHN CLAY: "They know what's our strength. They started loading the box.
They tried to stop the run game."
@ BLOOMINGTON, IN:
Michigan QBack Denard Robinson ran over the left side to reach the goalline for a
4-yard TD with just 17-sec remaining to pull out a wild 42-35 win at Indiana Saturday.
The Hoosiers scored first, refused to fold and the game was tied five times before
Robinson delivered victory for the visitors.
Robinson ran 19 times for 217-yards and two touchdowns and was 10-of-16 passing for 277-
yards and three scores, becoming the first player in FBS history to have a pair of 200-rushing/
200-passing yards games in the same season.
Roy Roundtree had a 32-yard TD pass reception, Kevin Koger a 3-yard TD grab, Junior
Hemingway a 70-yard TD catch and Vincent Smith a 56-yard TD rush for the Wolverines.
Robinson's first touchdown rush was UM's first score, a 70-yard scamper.
Indiana QBack Ben Chappell was a busy 45-of-64 for 480-yards and three touchdowns to
set IU single game records for completions, attempts and yardage.
Tandon Doss caught 15 balls for 221-yards and Damarlo Belcher 10 for 91-yards and a TD.
Hoosiers RBack Darius Willis had two touchdown runs and one TD catch. Indiana took the
early 7-0 lead on a Duwyce Wilson 5-yard TD reception.
Michigan had 574-yards of total offense and IU 568. Indiana ran 98 offensive plays
and UM just 45.
It was the Big Ten opener for both teams. Michigan remained perfect at 5-0, setting up
next Saturday's Ann Arbor showdown vs Michigan State. Indiana suffered its first loss to dip
UM H-COACH RICH RODRIGUEZ: "We don't consider any run with Denard to be conservative.
We had him run toward the middle of the field so that if he did not score, the field goal was
going to be an extra point [to win the game]. But Denard, being Denard, he saw a crease and
was able to score."
UM WR JUNIOR HEMINGWAY: "They gave us too much time on the clock. We didn't panic.
We kept our poise [on the last TD drive]."
UM DT MIKE MARTIN: "“We have a lot of work to do [defensively]...We have to get back to
the drawing board."
IU H-COACH BILL LYNCH: "[Robinson has] got speed, he's got awareness, he's got instincts,
and he's a very, very good passer as well. You can see it on film, getting ready for him, but on
the field you sense the same thing."
@ ADAMS FIELD:
Wayne State recovered from a huge pre-halftime mistake to rally after the
intermission and defeat Northern Michigan 26-18 on Warriors Homecoming
Wayne took an early 10-0 lead, were still ahead 10-9 in the closing moments
of the half and were driving toward a possible score. However, Lake Orion, MICH
native Edwin Knobllock took advantage of pressure created by an NMU blitz and
intercepted a Micky Mohner pass on the grandstand side of the field. The LBacker
returned the ball 70-yards for a go-ahead Northern Michigan touchdown with 19-sec left
in the 2nd-Qtr. NMU failed on a 2-pt conversion try, but still held a 15-10 halftime
WSU's defense more than compensated for Mohner's mistake by registering
four INTs on NMU QBack Carter Kopach, two of those by Wayne SS Jeremy Jones.
Wayne went ahead twice in the 2nd-H at 16-15 on Mohner's 36-yard TD pass to Donald
Brown (2-pt conversion failed) and to stay at 19-18 via a Stef Terleckyj 20-yard field goal.
Wayne State improved to 4-1 overall, its only loss away. Northern Michigan dipped to
3-2. Both teams are 3-1 in GLIAC play.
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