The Wrap-up (Big Ten Championship Game)

MSU

Play of the game: Opening the second quarter, Michigan State trailed 21-7 and faced a fourth-and-one from the Wisconsin 30-yard line. Mark Dantonio elected to go for it and Dan Roushar called the perfect play. Le’Veon Bell ran to the left and Kirk Cousins faked a pitch in his direction, rolled out to the right and found a wide-open B.J. Cunningham who was running a drag route across the field from left-to-right and took the ball right into the endzone.

Player of the game: Is there any question? Cousins. The senior was 22-of-30 for 281 yards and three touchdowns. He was on target consistently and played with confidence, looking possessed running the offense and having his way throughout the game. He was 4-of-7 on third downs, with three completions for first downs and one of those going for a touchdown. He went 44-for-61 and racked up 571 yards passing against the Badgers in two games, compiling a six-to-one touchdown-to-interception ratio.

Unsung hero: Keith Nichol. He honestly must be the most hated man in Wisconsin. He had his most complete and arguably his best game of the season with four catches for 39 yards,. The highlight being an incredible play in which he took the pass from Cousins and as he was falling out of bounds, lateraled the ball to B.J. Cunningham who leaped in for the score, prompting Gus Johnson to proclaim, “KEITH NICHOL! AWARENESS 99!” Nichol also called a timeout with 1:49 left in the third when Bell went in motion on third and six. The former quarterback read the defense and identified something he must not have liked and it turned out to be a great call as the ensuing play was a 44-yard touchdown from Cousins to Cunningham.

Wisconsin

Play of the game: No brainer. Fourth-and-six from the MSU 43, Russell Wilson extended the play by rolling out and throw downfield to Jeff Duckworth for 36 yards and the first down. Duckworth went over two defenders to make the grab and keep the drive — and the game — alive for the Badgers.

Player of the game: Montee Ball. The Heisman candidate scored four touchdowns, bringing his season total to 38 — one shy of Barry Sanders’ all-time record. He did most of his damage early in the first quarter, running for two touchdowns and making the MSU defense look foolish on his way 105 yards rushing and 33 on a pass to Wilson. He was slowed the rest of the way and finished with 137 yards on 27 carries, but maybe his biggest impact was in both wearing down the MSU defense and opening up some play-action passes for Wilson.

Unsung hero: Duckworth. The little-used sophomore had 12 catches entering Saturday’s game…when he had a career-high three for 53 yards, matching his 2010 season total in receptions and eclipsing his yard receiving total on the 36-yarder alone. He caught the first touchdown of the game — and his career — on a quick slant from Wilson and hauled the game-changing reception late in the fourth.

Wackiest moment: Near the end of the third quarter, Wilson threw a pass that was deflected by William Gholston deflected the pass, but Wilson caught the ball and ran it for a gain on one. Not often that you see a box score in which a quarterback has two receptions.

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Posted on December 4, 2011, in Football and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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