Oct. 2, 2010
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Kirk Cousins lofted a 1-yard touchdown pass to B.J. Cunningham on fourth down with 2:43 remaining, icing No. 24 Michigan State's second straight win without coach Mark Dantonio, 34-24 over No. 11 Wisconsin on Saturday.
Dantonio, who had a mild heart attack Sept. 19, planned to return for this game, but the Spartans (5-0, 1-0 Big Ten) announced hours before kickoff that he had been hospitalized again Thursday because of a blood clot in his leg. School officials said his prognosis was excellent.
Michigan State overcame three first-half turnovers to remain unbeaten heading into next week's showdown at Michigan.
With the Spartans leading 27-24 late in the fourth quarter, Wisconsin (4-1, 0-1) couldn't stop them when they decided to go for the touchdown on fourth down near the goal line. Cunningham's touchdown catch capped a 15-play, 84-yard drive that used up 7:57. Michigan State kept the drive alive with a 35-yard screen pass to Larry Caper on third-and-11 from its own 28.
Despite its early turnover problems, Michigan State led 20-10 at the half. Keshawn Martin made it 13-10 at about the midway point of the second quarter, catching a punt at his own 26, running straight up the middle and then veering to his right after crossing midfield. Nobody on Wisconsin was in a position to catch him.
Dantonio's heart attack came immediately after Michigan State's overtime win over Notre Dame in which the Spartans scored the winning touchdown on a fake field goal in overtime. Even without their coach, the Spartans stayed aggressive, going for it three times on fourth down against Wisconsin and converting twice.
On fourth-and-1 from the Wisconsin 48 with about a minute remaining in the first half, Le'Veon Bell took a pitch to the left and raced past the surprised Badgers for a 23-yard gain. The play helped set up an 8-yard touchdown pass from Cousins to Mark Dell with 23 seconds left in the half.
Cousins finished 20 of 29 for 269 yards and three touchdowns with two interceptions.
Wisconsin's John Clay was held to 80 yards on 17 carries, snapping his streak of 10 straight games rushing for at least 100 yards. James White picked up the slack, running for 98 yards and two touchdowns.
White's 34-yard scoring run early in the third quarter made it 20-17, and Wisconsin stopped Michigan State near the goal line on fourth down. But the Spartans' defense got the ball back quickly, and Cousins threw a 1-yard touchdown pass to Charlie Gantt with 2 seconds left in the third quarter.
Scott Tolzien threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to Jacob Pedersen for Wisconsin to make it 27-24 with 10:53 to play.