The inaugural Big Ten Championship Game set the bar pretty high for future B1G Championship Games.
A wild, back-and-forth affair between Wisconsin and Michigan State looked like it was going to come down to the wire, just like their first meeting this season back in October, which was ultimately decided on a last-second Hail Mary.
Unfortunately, there was somewhat of an anti-climactic finish in this one due to a running into the punter penalty called on MSU, preventing the Spartans from getting the ball back with a little over two minutes remaining while trailing by three. The penalty gave the Badgers a first down and, with the Spartans having no timeouts left, allowed Russell Wilson to take a knee a few times to run out the clock.
The penalty, enticed by a little diving by the punter, wiped out any chances of a similarly exciting last-second finish and a long Keshawn Martin punt return that would've given the Spartans first-and-goal from inside the five.
Despite the ironic finish, a game decided by kickers won't (and shouldn't) take away from the amazing preceding 58 minutes. The instant-classic saw over 800 yards of offense, 81 points and seven touchdowns from two players. It was exactly how one would expect acalled championship game to play out, of course.
The Spartans were forced to punt on their last possession after a completion to Keshawn Martin was overturned following a review. Martin made an unbelievable effort, attempting to stab his left toe inbounds, but replays showed Martin's same foot simultaneously landing out of bounds (according to the head referee). Instead of a first down in Wisconsin territory, the Spartans punted on fourth down from their own 39.
The Spartans looked like they were going to get the ball back with over two minutes left after stopping Montee Ball on a third-and-five run, but the running into the punter penalty all but ended the game and punched the Badgers' ticket to Pasadena.
The fallout of this heartbreaking loss for Michigan State will be like pouring salt in the wounds, as it will likely drop the Spartans below Michigan, who they beat earlier this season, and land them a bid to the Outback or Insight Bowl.