Blog Entry

QUICK HITS: Michigan State 33, Georgia 30, 3OT

Posted on: January 2, 2012 5:52 pm

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

MICHIGAN STATE WON: Down 16 at halftime, with only 72 yards of offense to their name, and the parallels between their 2012 bowl performance and their 2011 bowl humiliation vs. Alabama looking unavoidable, the Spartans had to be the only people in Tampa thinking they had any shot of coming back and winning the Outback Bowl. But that belief paid off in spades as Kirk Cousins threw for 300 yards and led State to a thrilling 33-30 comeback win in triple overtime. Dan Conroy went 2-for-2 on OT field goals and Rashad White blocked Blair Walsh's 46-yarder on the game's final play to seal the win.

But Georgia fans will argue that the game never should have reached a third overtime after Cousins was picked off on the Spartans' first OT possession. All the Bulldogs needed was a field goal, but Mark Richt chose to have Aaron Murray kneel on second down to set up Walsh on third down--even though the kick was a full 43 yards and Walsh had gone just 19-of-31 this season. To say Walsh's miss will leave Richt in line for some second guessing is an understatement.

WHY MICHIGAN STATE WON: Richt's conservatism -- not just in overtime, but from the moment the Dawgs took that 16-0 lead -- arguably had as much to do with the Spartan win as anything MSU did. But to focus entirely on Georgia's mistakes won't do justice to the determination and guts of Cousins, who took a ton of hits in the early going and was still up for guiding one of the drives of college football's season late--a 10-play, 85-yard masterpiece that took just 1:35 and sent the game to overtime.

Contrast Cousins' poise with that of Murray, whose precision terrorized the Spartans in the first half and much of the second ... but who went an ugly 0-of-4 in overtime and took the sack that led to Walsh's final blocked attempt. Cousins wasn't always exactly John Elway himself -- he finished averaging just 6 yards an attempt and threw three interceptions -- but his cool down the stretch was what ultimately paced his team to the victory.

WHEN MICHIGAN STATE WON: Not until White's block, but that block was set up by William Gholston's crushing sack on third down.

WHAT MICHIGAN STATE WON: An 11th game for the second straight year, but more importantly, the Spartans snapped a five-game bowl losing streak and earned Mark Dantonio his first postseason victory. It also helped the Big Ten avoid an 0-4 start to the day's slate.

WHAT GEORGIA LOST: Not much in the big picture, really; Richt's 10-2 season and SEC East title has already cooled any "hot seat" talk, and win or lose the Dawgs should still enter 2012 as favorites to repeat as divisional champs. But given the ease of Georgia's schedule this past season (and next), the loss may open Richt up to questions as to whether his team is ready to take the next step and beat the high-caliber teams necessary to win the SEC.

THAT WAS CRAZY: It's a shame we haven't even mentioned Georgia corner Brandon Boykin's day yet: all the senior did in his final game as a Bulldog was score on defense (tackling Keshawn Martin on the Spartans' first play from scrimmage for a safety), special teams (on a highlight-reel 92-yard punt return), and offense (catching a 13-yard touchdown out of the backfield after lining up as a running back.)

FINAL GRADE: This one had everything: huge plays, giant momentum swings, NFL-caliber athletes and quarterbacks, seismic coaching decisions, and a desperate team making a desperate comeback for maximum drama. It doesn't get a lot better. A.

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Since: Dec 1, 2007
Posted on: January 3, 2012 2:51 pm

QUICK HITS: Michigan State 33, Georgia 30, 3OT

Are there any of those left?  I thought they all jumped off the bandwagon and went back to Walmart?

Since: Aug 18, 2010
Posted on: January 3, 2012 12:56 pm

QUICK HITS: Michigan State 33, Georgia 30, 3OT

This was a fun game to watch and MSU deserves a lot of credit for the win.  They never gave up or got down on themselves, even down 16 at half.  UGA seems to be a bad half-time team as of late.  LSU destroyed them in the second half after doing nothing at all for the first 30 minutes on offense, and MSU did virtually the same to them for this game.  Richt is a good coach, but far from a great one.  His kicker had missed 12 times this year, and that is who he chooses to win the game for him.  He did the kicker no favors by having him try from 43 yards.  Richt did not even try to get the kicker closer, and he had two plays to do that.  Terrible coaching.  Put that guy back on the hot seat.  Who did UGA beat that even mattered this year. 

Since: Nov 17, 2007
Posted on: January 3, 2012 8:22 am

QUICK HITS: Michigan State 33, Georgia 30, 3OT



I sincerely hope the Bulldogs and the Spartans do not meet up next year. (My pet goldfish advises me my heart could not take the excitement.)

Go State!     

Since: Sep 21, 2007
Posted on: January 3, 2012 2:18 am

Spartans D dominated

Don't blame a conservative coach.  Georgia rushed 36 times for 67 yeards a 1.9 average.  This day belonged to the Spartans D.  If not for Georgia's 60 and 80 yard bombs they would have been held to 200 yards offense.  Georgia was lucky to make it to OT.  Go State!

Since: Nov 19, 2011
Posted on: January 2, 2012 9:10 pm

QUICK HITS: Michigan State 33, Georgia 30, 3OT

Must be a michigan fan 

Since: Dec 4, 2011
Posted on: January 2, 2012 8:51 pm

QUICK HITS: Michigan State 33, Georgia 30, 3OT

Great game, stupid Coaching job Georgia. Big MO was with you in the 4th and you take a knee?

Since: May 23, 2008
Posted on: January 2, 2012 6:09 pm

QUICK HITS: Michigan State 33, Georgia 30, 3OT

Funny game to watch. MSU showed a lot of heart by not folding.

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