Wednesday, January 29, 2014
Best B1G games of 2013: No. 5
By Brian Bennett
We're continuing our countdown of the top 10 games from the Big Ten in 2013. Remember that we're taking into account the stakes in the game, the excitement level, the quality of the performances and the atmosphere.
All of those factors were at play in this next game, with the Big Ten title on the line ...
Jeremy Langford rushed for 128 yards in the Spartans' win over Ohio State.
How it went down: This was the kind of matchup the Big Ten dreamed about when it started a championship game. Ohio State was undefeated and ranked No. 2 and had a spot in the BCS title game waiting if it could win its 25th straight game. Michigan State was ranked No. 10 and probably was going to the Rose Bowl regardless, but the Spartans didn't want to take the back door to Pasadena.
Michigan State looked like the looser team early, racing out to a 17-0 lead early in the second quarter. The Buckeyes' offense then woke up and scored the next 24 points, as Braxton Miller and Carlos Hyde did damage on the ground against the nation's No. 1 rush defense.
Spartans coach Mark Dantonio asked defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi to come down to the field late in the third quarter, and from then on, Michigan State's defense locked things down. Miller was stopped by Denicos Allen on a key fourth-and-2 run in the fourth quarter, a play call that will forever be questioned in Columbus. Jeremy Langford broke off a 26-yard touchdown run with 2:16 left to seal the victory.
Michigan State capped off a 9-0 mark in the Big Ten and clinched its rightful place in the Rose Bowl.
Player of the game: Spartans quarterback Connor Cook recorded his first career 300-yard passing day, going 24-for-40 for 304 yards and three touchdowns and one interception. He and his receivers were able to exploit a shaky Ohio State secondary that became even more vulnerable when Bradley Roby hurt his knee in the second half.
Stat of the game: Ohio State managed just 25 yards in the fourth quarter and did not complete a pass in the final 15 minutes. Hyde had only two carries in the fourth quarter.
They said it: "They made a lifetime moment tonight for all of us," coach Mark Dantonio said.