Michigan State’s win in Big Ten title game is bad for conference
BY SETH GRUEN December 7, 2013 11:42PM
Michigan State’s Jeremy Langford (128 yards) sprints past Corey Brown for a 26-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter that iced the game. | Michael Conroy/ap
Bowling Green 17 14 0 16 — 47
N. Illinois 7 6 7 7 — 27
BGSU—Beck 28 pass from Johnson (Tate kick), 12:27.
NIU—Brescacin 14 pass from Lynch (Sims kick), 9:08.
BGSU—FG Tate 26, 6:49.
BGSU—Moore 36 pass from Johnson (Tate kick), 2:32.
NIU—FG Sims 51, 14:51.
NIU—FG Sims 45, 11:22.
BGSU—H.Jackson 22 pass from Johnson (Tate kick), 5:39.
BGSU—Bayer 12 pass from Johnson (Tate kick), :13.
NIU—Lynch 8 run (Sims kick), 12:23.
BGSU—FG Tate 52, 14:50.
BGSU—Tra.Greene 6 pass from Johnson (kick blocked), 10:17.
BGSU—Tra.Greene 16 run (Tate kick), 2:44.
NIU—Lynch 2 run (Sims kick), :14.
TEAM STATS BGSU NIU
First downs 27 29
Rushes-yards 40-181 42-235
Passing 393 219
Comp-Att-Int 21-27-0 21-40-2
Return Yards 37 0
Punts-Avg. 1-48.0 1-42.0
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 0-0
Penalties-Yards 8-60 4-20
Time of Possession 34:26 25:34
RUSHING—Bowling Green, Tra.Greene 26-133, Johnson 10-33, Moore 1-11, Hopgood 1-5, Houston 1-1, Team 1-(minus 2). NIU, Lynch 26-126, Stingily 12-74, Lewis 4-35.
PASSING—Bowling Green, Johnson 21-27-0-393. NIU, Lynch 21-40-2-219.
RECEIVING—Bowling Green, Bayer 7-124, H.Jackson 6-58, Moore 4-145, Tra.Greene 2-23, Beck 1-28, Joplin 1-15. NIU, Brescacin 6-71, Lewis 6-37, Spencer 5-63, Williams 2-23, Beebe 1-20, Stingily 1-5.
Aug. 31 at Iowa W, 30-27
Sept. 14 at Idaho W, 45-35
Sept. 21 vs. E. Illinois W, 43-39
Sept. 28 at Purdue W, 55-24
Oct. 5 at Kent State W, 38-24
Oct. 12 vs. Akron W, 27-20
Oct. 19 at C. Michigan W, 38-17
Oct. 26 vs. E. Michigan W, 59-20
Nov. 2 at Massachusetts W, 63-19
Nov. 13 vs. Ball State W, 48-27
Nov. 20 at Toledo W, 35-17
Nov. 26 vs. W. Michigan W, 33-14
Dec. 6 vs. Bowling Green L, 47-27
Updated: January 9, 2014 6:29AM
INDIANAPOLIS — Fans of the Big Ten outside the state of Michigan should be hushed silent. And even some from inside the state, depending where more hatred is directed.
The mourning can begin as the conference again can only watch the BCS championship as Michigan State beat Ohio State 34-24 on Saturday at Lucas Oil Stadium, jettisoning the Buckeyes from title contention.
Even commissioner Jim Delany had to be rooting for the Buckeyes deep down, right? He should be entitled to ditch impartiality after watching another conference take home the crown for seven consecutive seasons.
Those who wash down their biscuits and gravy with SEC-flavored Kool-Aid have to be grinning ear to ear with “I told you so” at the tips of their tongues.
Michigan State took a 17-0 lead, dishing Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer his first look at adversity since he took over the program last season and won all 24 games.
But Meyer was outcoached by arguably the most underrated team in the country.
“It’s going to haunt all of us, I imagine, for a while, but it’s part of the game,” Meyer said.
Michigan State had just about every advantage. Other than a Big Ten championship, the Spartans had little to play for. You could pencil them in to play in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1 regardless of whether they won or lost. All Michigan State needed to do was keep it close.
So it was expected that the Spartans would come out the looser of the two teams.
The Michigan State defense that has led the country for 12 straight weeks was relentless in its pressure of Buckeyes quarterback Braxton Miller.
Ohio State rallied and scored 24 straight points. At that point, the Buckeyes looked like a team that should play for a championship.
Miller was as exciting as any player in the country, dazzling with his improvisational ability. On a broken play from his own 18-yard line, Miller looked every bit as fast as any of the Heisman-worthy quarterbacks when he scampered 48 yards, setting up Ohio State’s first score three plays later.
“We stayed with the plan,” Spartans coach Mark Dantonio said. “Obviously you have to adjust and alter things. I thought once they got to 24 we obviously stiffened.”
The bias against the Big Ten will cause people to overlook a Spartans team that should be considered among the best. It’s a shame, because Michigan State has beaten all nine of its conference opponents by double digits for the first time in its history.
Geography doesn’t dictate how good the Spartans are. Saturday did.
Regardless, Michigan State will ignore that and celebrate in East Lansing through the weekend. Every other fan in the Midwest should lament the death of another potential national champion.