Spartans snatch Big Ten playoff spot from Hawkeyes Game Recap
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Freshman L.J. Scott kept powering forward with his late lunge for a touchdown with 27 seconds left in the game sent the Spartans to the playoffs beating Iowa Hawkeyes 16-13 in Saturday night in the Big Ten championship game. Scott commented post game by saying, “I was just trying to make a big play for my brothers,” Scott said. “We knew what we had at stake.”
Going into the Big Ten Championship game with a record of 12-1, Iowa season ended in bitter disappointment, while the Spartans celebrated as players and fans alike sprinted unto the field in joyous celebration. The Spartans won their second Big Ten championship in three years and both against opposing teams with unbeaten season records. Cook and teammates are now looking forward to winning their first college national title since 1952. This ambition was echoed in Cook’s statement “We wanted to come back and win a championship, it’s awesome, man.”
Despite a sore shoulder Cook played an awesome game, although he seem to get hurt a couple of times during the game which unsettled him until the end. He completed 16 of 32 passes for 191 yards with no touchdowns and only one interception. Due to his game antics and poise, Cook was named MVP in contribution to a methodical 82-yard drive that consumed 9 minutes, 4 seconds and essentially sealed Iowa’s fate.
Leading the Spartan offence, Cook orchestrated play after play against a tough Iowa defence that did not concede a touchdown score. With this win, Michigan State heads into the postseason with utter confidence… coach Mark Dantonio speculated, “Our football team knows how to win. We can play it out, we don’t count ourselves out. When some things aren’t going so well, we keep playing as evidence by the game.”
Iowa’s defence was outstanding but disappointed both the team and fans with their inability to stop Scott in very last seconds of the game. In turn, the Spartans forced the Hawkeyes to settle for only three field goals before putting together that last-ditch drive. Losing quarterback Beathard mentioned after the game, “It’s tough, you’ve gone all season long and haven’t experienced what it’s like to lose a game. Every time we’ve been in the locker room after a game it’s been exciting. It’s just tough because losing a game like that when it’s that close, it’s hard to handle.”
After taking a 6-3 halftime lead then giving it away with two field goals in the third quarter, Beathard opened the fourth with a perfect 85-yard TD pass to Tevaun Smith to make it 13-9. But for all of the talk about the league’s two best quarterbacks going head-to-head, this game ended with a decidedly old-school flavor. Scott ran 22 times for 73 yards against a stingy defense that stopped Michigan State on four consecutive snaps inside the Iowa 5 in the final two minutes. On the fifth try, Scott stood up, spun away and finally put away the Hawkeyes. Dantonio went on to mention “He’s a load. I felt like if he found a crease he’d get more, as it got down inside the 10-yard line, pound it, take the game and the clock, which I think is a big thing. We got the game and the clock. We did it slowly and methodically.”