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MSU defeats Iowa 16-13 in dramatic fashion, likely advances to College Football Playoff

December 5, 2015
Senior defensive end Shilique Calhoun holds up the Big Ten championship trophy on Dec. 5, 2015 at the Big Ten championship game against Iowa at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. The Spartans defeated the Hawkeyes 16-13.
Senior defensive end Shilique Calhoun holds up the Big Ten championship trophy on Dec. 5, 2015 at the Big Ten championship game against Iowa at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. The Spartans defeated the Hawkeyes 16-13. —
Photo by Alice Kole | and Alice Kole The State News

MSU football defeated Iowa in dramatic fashion in the Big Ten Football championship game, 16-13. A touchdown from freshman running back L.J. Scott from 1-yard out with 27 seconds remaining clinched the victory.

The Spartans advance to 12-1 on the season and likely clinch themselves a spot in the College Football Playoff.

The atmosphere at Lucas Oil Stadium shifted toward Iowa on the first play of the fourth quarter.

This is because the play was also the first touchdown of the game and because it was an 85-yard reception -- the 2015 Spartan fans’ biggest fear.

Iowa junior quarterback C.J. Beathard threw the pass to senior wide receiver Trevaun Smith and he took it the distance. The Hawkeye’s took the lead 13-9 just over 10 seconds into the fourth quarter.

MSU’s next possession stalled, and when Iowa got the ball back with 12:14 left, its first play was another shot deep, which was not completed but warranted a defensive holding call on the Spartans.

The Hawkeyes caught on. They were the team to break the code and turn this downhill deadlock into an advantaged schematic. But though the Spartans defense bent, they did not break.

And when MSU got the ball back, it proved to have a trick up its sleeve as well. Counters, misdirections and a wildcat offense caught Iowa over pursuing and added a needed wrinkle to the offense. Then, senior wide receiver Aaron Burbridge did what he does.

After a Burbridge catch that was overturned by review, he caught a third-down rocket from fifth-year senior Connor Cook and held onto the ball through two big hits.

Freshman running back LJ Scott continued the Spartans’ late-striving drive with runs that put MSU in makeable third-down situations.

And with 2:09 remaining in the game, a media timeout gave both teams a chance to game plan as MSU had the ball at the Iowa 10-yard line for a second-and-seven.

Scott carried the ball for five yards, bringing the ball to the 5-yard line, and Iowa called its first timeout as MSU faced a third-and-two.

Scott carried the ball for no gain, giving MSU a fourth-and-two with 1:59 remaining and Iowa called its second timeout.

Cook carried for an undetermined amount of yards and the chain gang measured -- it was first-and-goal for MSU from the Iowa 3-yard line.

Scott carried, was literally flipped forward and downed at the 1-yard line with the clock winding under a minute.

Scott carried for no gain and MSU called a timeout with 33 seconds left.

The next play was miraculous, as Scott had contact made on him short of the goal-line, but he spun and stretched the ball across the line without fumbling to score the go-ahead touchdown with 27 seconds left.

MSU took the lead 16-13.

Iowa’s desperation drive began with a fumble by Beathard for a loss of major yardage. The Hawkeyes rushed the line and spiked the ball, leaving them five seconds on the clock.

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It didn’t happen.

The Spartans rushed the field and defeated Iowa, 16-13, to take the Big Ten championship and likely advance to the College Football Playoff.

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