Michigan St. B1G Title Game Loss: Emotionally Devastating


Mark Dantonio

The Michigan State Spartans pulled out all the stops last night, but it jsut wasn’t enough. They out-gained the Wisconsin Badgers in yardage by a wide margin, and took advantage of some trick plays, but it still didn’t yield a W.

Like I said in my B1G Title game preview on Wednesday:

This game has that Mark Dantonio “trickeration” feel. Like they could win the game on a trick play with a cool name like “little giants” (Notre Dame) or “mouse trap” (Northwestern)

Perhaps it’s time to give the nickname “riverboat gambler” to Dantonio after his gutsy 2nd quarter to remember. (After all, he did say at NU in ’10 “I’ve always been a risk-taker.”)

A cajones call on a critical 4th-1 set up one touchdown. Another touchdown on a lateral from Keith Nichol to B.J. Cunningham. Followed by a direct snap to Sontag for a 2-pt conversion that no one saw coming.

In the regular season, MSU outscored Wisconsin 23-0 in second quarter. Last night the gutsy play-calling yielded a 22-0. Odd numbers to arrive at. 45-0 MSU over Wisconsin in the second quarter. The Spartans took control of the game all the way until the final minutes when it all slipped away.

Dantonio needs a nickname, and I vote “Riverboat Gambler.” After all he said it himself in his postgame presser at NU in ’10” “I’ve always been a risk-taker.”

There was also a sweet double reverse in the second quarter; which yielded a 24 yard gain. And even though all the gambles paid off, it still wasn’t enough to pull off the double digit upset. Michigan St belw a two possession lead in the 4th quarter, and two very questionable calls went against them in the final minutes.

“I’m just sick right now, not a whole of things to say right now,” said Spartans receiver Keith Nichol after the game.

If there was a song to describe the Spartans mood after the game it would be “Everybody Hurts” by R.E.M.

“The coaches are just as sick as we are, maybe more sick about it because when you’re coaching, you’re not out there making the calls. Maybe you have calls you wish you can have back, but I saw in the coaches’ eyes the same exact feeling I have,” Nichols continued.

You got to feel for Sparty. 11 wins last year, 10 wins this year- yet no BCS bids to show it. No Rose Bowl trips despite being this talented on being on the cusp.

“I can’t even believe I’m her talking to y’all right now (about the loss), I just can’t believe it ended the way it did,” MSU safety Trenton Robinson said.

“I feel like I’ve been in this position three times since I’ve been her. Three out four years we’ve had an opportunity to be on the big stage and do something great and we blew it,” Robinson added.

“It’s what we came here for- to go to the Rose Bowl, we had an opportunity this year and last year and all of our goals are gone.”

Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net, an official Google News site generating millions of unique visitors. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker, and Fox Sports

A Fulbright scholar and MBA, Banks has appeared on live radio all over the world; and he’s a member of the Football Writers Association of America, U.S. Basketball Writers Association, and Society of Professional Journalists. The President of the United States follows him on Twitter (@Paul_M_BanksTSB) You should too.

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