Spartans take down Ohio State, dash Buckeyes' title hopes
Indianapolis, IN (SportsNetwork.com) - Mark Dantonio pointed to his players and to the Michigan State fans.
"I said a long time ago," the Spartans coach cried out, "you will be the ones."
Nearby was quarterback Connor Cook.
"We're the ones," Cook said after taking the microphone down on the field at Lucas Oil Stadium. "We're going to the Rose Bowl."
And Ohio State? That's not so clear, but the Buckeyes won't be playing for a national championship after losing for the first time in nearly two years.
Cook passed for 304 yards and three touchdowns Saturday night and the No. 10 Spartans scored 14 straight points to beat the No. 2 Buckeyes 34-24 in the Big Ten Championship Game.
Michigan State's No. 1 defense bent, but didn't break, giving up 24 straight points to Braxton Miller and the Buckeyes before holding them scoreless for almost a quarter and a half to finish the game.
The Spartans (12-1) scored the last 14 points on Cook's 9-yard touchdown pass to Josiah Price and Jeremy Langford's 26-yard run after the Buckeyes (12-1) -- pulled out of the quicksand by Miller's legs -- had taken the lead.
Michigan State will play in the Rose Bowl on New Year's Day for the first time since 1988 after ending Ohio State's 24-game winning streak and dashing the Buckeyes' hopes for a spot in the BCS Championship Game. The Spartans will play Stanford, which defeated Arizona State on Saturday for the Pac-12 championship.
The Buckeyes' first loss under Urban Meyer couldn't have come at a worse time. After moving to No. 2 in the BCS standings this week, they were one win away from playing Florida State for the national championship.
"I really wanted these guys to experience something special and I think they will," Meyer said. "I think they'll get invited to a very good bowl game and when they do, they'll face a good Buckeyes team."
They were stifled by the Spartans until Miller broke free for a 48-yard run in the second quarter, leading to a touchdown and opening the floodgates for one of the nation's top offenses.
Miller was just 8-of-21 passing for 101 yards and a touchdown, but he rushed for a game-high 142 yards and two scores. Carlos Hyde rushed for 118 yards for the Buckeyes and Langford led Michigan State with 128 yards.
Cook's other touchdowns passes went for 72 yards to Keith Mumphery and for 33 yards to Tony Lippett early in the game. He was named the game's Most Valuable Player.
The Buckeyes, kept from the postseason last year because of NCAA sanctions, will find out Sunday which BCS bowl they will play in.
The Spartans, who won the Legends Division, made it through the conference undefeated and won their last nine games since losing at Notre Dame on Sept. 21.
Miller's 8-yard touchdown run inside the left pylon and 6-yard score in the capped a 24-0 run by the Buckeyes and gave them a seven-point lead in the third quarter.
Michigan State followed with Michael Geiger's 44-yard field goal. And after a Buckeyes punt, Macgarrett Kings' 48-yard catch-and-run -- it could have been longer but for a penalty -- and a pass interference on Ohio State set up Cook's 9-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open Price in the left side of the end zone for a 27-24 Spartans lead with 11:41 remaining.
Ohio State blocked a punt, taking over at the Michigan State 47, but couldn't convert a 4th-and-2 play when linebacker Denicos Allen wrapped Miller up near the sideline.
Langford's 26-yard touchdown run followed, giving Michigan State its 10-point lead with 2:16 remaining, and Ohio State got one first down on a Miller run before the quarterback threw incomplete on fourth down.
The Buckeyes' 24-game winning streak was a school record and the longest in the country. Their last loss before Saturday came Jan. 2, 2012, to Florida in the Gator Bowl -- dubbed the "Urban Meyer Bowl" for the former Gators and incoming Buckeyes coach.
The Leaders Division-champion Buckeyes ran nine plays in the first quarter and didn't have a big gain until Miller's 48-yard run.
While Ohio State spun its tires early, the Spartans built a 10-0 lead two when Cook found Mumphery behind Corey "Pittsburgh" Brown near the right sideline and the receiver raced untouched for a 72-yard score two plays into the second quarter.
Earlier, Michigan State converted a fourth down during a 6 1/2-minute drive to open the game and settled for a 40-yard field goal from Geiger.
One possession after Mumphery's touchdown, Lippett scored on a 33-yard catch in the right side of the end zone to make it 17-0.
On a momentum-turning play, Miller scrambled right, split a pair of tacklers and deked another Michigan State defender on his 48-yard run that set up Corey "Philly" Brown's leaping 20-yard touchdown catch.
Later, Miller hit Jeff Heuerman for a 36-yard gain to set up Drew Basil's 28- yard field goal on the final play of the first half, getting the Buckeyes within 17-10 at the break.
Michigan State beat USC in the 1988 Rose Bowl. The Spartans could still have gone to Pasadena with a loss if Ohio State made the BCS Championship Game ... The Spartans lost to Wisconsin in the inaugural Big Ten championship game in 2011.
12/08 03:24:19 ET