If Bret Bielma and his Wisconsin Vadgers team stubs anymore toes, they’re not going to have any left.
It was a miraculous win over Mark Dantonio’s Spartan team against their first Top 10 ranked opponent. I would have to say that this is the second best game that I have watched after the “Little Giants” fake field goal play against Notre Dame in 2010. Just due to the fact that the fake field goal was more of a surprise and gutsy call.
The opening possession by the Badgers had me thinking that perhaps the Badgers are a lot better than we gave them credit for. Especially by how much they ran up scores against powder puff teams. Then came our first possession and the Badgers D was able to force a fumble. A sinking feeling my gut soon occurred when Wisconsin was able to capitalize on our turnovers.
But all was not lost. In the second quarter, our Spartans seemed to have settle down. Our defense was able to force a safety, a blocked field goal, and a blocked punt shifted the momentum over to our favor when heading into half time. The start of the second half, it seemed no one could really accomplish anything. It kind of felt like the first quarter all over. Each team feeling each other to see what adjustments the opposing team made.
The fourth quarter started slow but gradually became of heart pounding excitement. With Michigan State up by 14 points at one time, Wisconsin was able to storm back and score 14 straight to tie up the game. With some questionable play clock management by bumbling Bret Bielma, we had enough time to attempt to toss up a prayer. With a miraculous bounce and catch by Nichol, it was originally ruled not a touchdown. Obviously the ruling had to be reviewed.
In the end, the replay booth reviewed the call and called it a touchdown. For the majority, a lot of the Badgers fan agreed with the overruled call. With a few minority, saying that the call should have stayed since the video and freeze frames were “not conclusive”. Some even clamoring that the “ball” is actually the defenders hand.
There are some minority Wisconsin fans who believe that the original non-TD call was correct just because the camera angle isn’t a perfect perpendicular line as shown above or how the referee standing at the goal line was in perfect position to make the correct call. With live action events that are extremely quick, it’s hard for the human eye to keep up. In the end, I think I believe the right call was made. Majority of the Wisconsin fans believe it as well. And amazingly enough, quite a few Michigan fans too.
So what exactly did we learn this weekend against the Badgers?
1. Our patchwork has steadily improved since the Ohio State game. The bye week before the Michigan Wolverines certainly helped.
2. Due to our steady progress of our patchwork offensive line, we are now able to establish a little better run game which was lacking against better teams. This is preventing Kirk Cousins getting pressured into throwing off his back foot and allowing him to make for the most part sound decisions.
3. Narduzzi is slowly but surely, finally getting the players he needs to play his style of defense. You can see the steady improvements throughout this season. I think as a Michigan State fans, majority of us were calling for his head the first few seasons he was here.
4. Wisconsin believes that they were still the better but choked the game away and gave no credit to our defense who forced those errors on their offense. But that’s usually the case with any fan base. Be it Michigan State or any other schools.
5. I think it’s pretty safe to say that we are no longer the “Same ole Spartans” underneath Dantonio. He has instilled a mentality of never giving up and to fight to the last minute. The players have bought into this mentality and it shows with us winning three out of the four games in one toughest stretch in Big 10 football that I have seen. We now need to beat Nebraska at Lincoln and win out the games we are suppose to win.
6. As much as I badmouth Nichol, he was a hero for this game and is a great team player and Spartan.
7. The last is penalties by Michigan State against the Badgers for this game. We are called a “dirty” defense team but with 0/0 penalties against Wisconsin? Dirty program? More like Michigan couldn’t match our intensity last week and had to cry to mommy about how rough we were playing.
Here’s hoping for a win in Lincoln next week and continue our improving play!