Sunday, December 6, 2015

#5 Michigan State defeats #4 Iowa to clinch a birth in the College Football Playoff in the 2015 Big Ten Championship Game

It was a hard hitting game on both sides, but Michigan State senior WR #16
Aaron Burbridge took over the game on a final 22 play, 82-yard, 9:09 drive.
Indianapolis, IN -- Iowa (12-1, 8-0) fell to Michigan State (12-1, 7-1), 16-13, Saturday at Lucas Oil Stadium at the 2015 Big Ten Championship game in the closing seconds of the game. The loss was Iowa's first this season and snapped a 12-game win streak. when Michigan State RB L.J. Scott scored on a third down play of a goal line stand, with 27 seconds remaining.

Iowa redshirt DE freshman #40 Parker Hesse pressuring MSU senior QB #18
Connor Cook in another tight, low scoring ball game between the schools.
The game set a Big Ten Championship game attendance record of 66,985. The Hawkeyes-Spartans game was the fifth Big Ten Championship Game at Lucas Oil Stadium. The Spartans played in three of the first five games, winning two of three games.

MSU freshman RB #3 LJ Scott dives in for a touchdown during final half minute of
the fourth quarter of the Big Ten Conference football championship game against the
Iowa Hawkeyes at Lucas Oil. Scott was a huge part of the final drive for the Spartans.
Michigan State scored a one-yard rushing touchdown with 27 seconds left in the fourth quarter. It capped a 22 play, 82-yard, 9:09 drive. The final drive was similar to the final drive of the 2009 Iowa-Michigan State game, where the Hawkeyes scored on a final fourth down play to win in East Lansing, 15-13. The length of the drive Saturday was one of the most defining drives in Big Ten history. Both games were extreme defensive games, with each team getting touchdowns in the fourth quarter.

Iowa senior WR #4 Tevaun Smith provided the Hawkeyes with a touchdown
reception on the opening play of the fourth quarter on a 85 yard bomb from
C.J. Beathard. It was the longest play of the season for the Hawkeyes' offense.
Iowa trailed in the fourth quarter for the first time this season, 9-6, but regained the lead 11 seconds into the fourth quarter on an 85-yard touchdown pass from junior QB C.J. Beathard to senior WR Tevaun Smith.

Iowa junior QB C.J. Beathard has lead Iowa to a 13-1 mark, as a starting QB,
dating back to one start in the B1G season opener, last year.
Iowa led 6-3 at the half. It was the lowest points scored by either team in the first half this season. The Hawkeyes have led at half in 12 of 13 games (Iowa State).

The Hawkeyes ran just 16 plays in the second half. Michigan State ran 52 plays. 

MSU sophomore DT #4 Malik McDowell signals possession during the first quarter
against  the Iowa Hawkeyes in the Big Ten Conference football championship game at Lucas
Oil Stadium. After a reception by Iowa TE Henry Krieger Coble, the Hawkeyes fumbled.
Michigan State scored a field goal on its opening possession. It marked the first time Iowa trailed at any point in the game since Nov. 7 at Indiana. It was only the third time this season Iowa allowed points on its opponent's opening possession (three field goals). Iowa fumbled the football on its first series against Michigan State.

 Stat Comparisons
 First Downs2013
 Rushing Attempts-Yards46-17424-52
 Passing Yards191216
 Passing (Comp.-Att.-Int.)16-33-118-27-1
 Total Offense79-36551-268
 Time of Possession36:3823:22
 3rd-Down Conversions10-of-203-of-12
 4th-Down Conversions1-of-10-of-0
 Iowa Statistical Leaders
 C.J. Beathard18262161
 Derrick Mitchell, Jr.4146.00
 Tevaun Smith511022.01
 Jordan Lomax7-31000
 Michigan State Statistical Leaders
 Connor Cook16321910
 L.J. Scott22733.31
 Aaron Burbridge56112.20
 Drew Harris4-5900

Both teams scored three points in the first quarter, both off turnovers. The Hawkeyes have outscored their opponents 71-23 in the first quarter.

Michigan State senior QB #18 Connor Cook was challenged by the hard hitting
Hawkeyes and solid defensive play in the secondary. However, after one huge
successful reception for a first down, he leaned on the running game at the end.
Michigan State intercepted Iowa in the end zone in the second quarter. It was Iowa's first interception in 155 pass attempts.

The win by Michigan State was the first back to back wins over Iowa, since 1977 and 1978, in the final two years of coach Bob Commings, Jr. at Iowa. Michigan State beat Iowa in 2013 in Iowa City, 26-14. As mentioned, the Big Ten Championship Game on Saturday resembled the 2009 game in many aspects, but the Spartans were the victors this go around.

Hawkeye Individual Highlights

The Iowa offense found themselves on the sidelines for most of the 2nd half.
Hawkeye QB C.J. Beathard lost for the first time in 14 career starts. He was the only quarterback in school history to win his first 13 career starts.

QB C.J. Beathard's 85-yard touchdown pass to WR Tevaun Smith was Iowa's longest play from scrimmage this season. The touchdown came on Iowa's second play of the drive, the first play of the fourth quarter. It is Iowa's eighth touchdown drive of two plays or fewer this season.

Iowa senior WR #4 Tevaun Smith found the early going very challenging against the Spartans.
WR Tevaun Smith caught five passes for 110 yards. It is he is second 100-yard receiving game of the season (North Texas, 115). Smith has 1,483 career receiving yards, 19th all-time.

Iowa sophomore MLB #43 Josey Jewell tackling MSU junior TE #11 Jamal
Lyles in the first quarter. Jewell's interception lead to Iowa's early FG.
Sophomore MLB Josey Jewell recorded an interception on Michigan State's second possession. It was his third interception of the season, and Iowa's 18th. Iowa kicked a field goal following the interception.

Senior punter #16 Dillon Kidd, holding senior PK #1 Marshall
Koehn on one of his first half field goals against MSU.
Senior PK Marshall Koehn scored seven points today to move into a tie for 13th place (David Hudson) on Iowa's all-time scoring list (166 points). Koehn kicked field goals of 24, 43 yards. He is 8-of-10 on field goal attempts 40-yards or longer.

Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz fell to 7-7 against MSU over his 17 seasons, with the loss.
Iowa redshirt freshman LB Aaron Mends and sophomore LB Bo Bower were credited with a second quarter sack that forced Michigan State to attempt a 52-yard field goal (missed wide left). It was Mends' first career sack.

Iowa junior WR #89 Matt VandeBerg was held in check on Saturday against
Michigan State. He did go over the 60+ reception mark though for the season.

Iowa junior WR Matt VandeBerg had two receptions for 14 yards. He has 61 receptions for 639 yards this season, both career highs. He is the 41st player in program history with 600 yards receiving in a single season. Of those 41, only nine had 60 or more receptions.

Michigan State elected to defer against Iowa

Mark Dantonio is now 4-4 against Iowa, in his ninth season at Michigan State.
Michigan State won the toss and deferred to the second half. Iowa received the opening kickoff for the 10th time this season. In 17 seasons as Iowa's head coach, Kirk Ferentz and the Hawkeyes received the opening kickoff in 172-of-213 games (104-68). Iowa has started the game on defense in 41-of-213 games under Ferentz (23-18).

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