Michigan State tops Wisconsin in double overtime 34-28

EAST LANSING, MI – Quarterback Payton Thorne threw a 27-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Jayden Reed in the second overtime on Saturday to lift Michigan State to a 34-28 victory over Wisconsin.

The win snapped a four-game losing streak for the Spartans (3-4, 1-3 Big 10 Conference). It’s the first loss for interim Wisconsin coach Jim Leonhard, who replaced Paul Chryst two weeks ago.

The game-winning throw was set up after Michigan State’s Jacoby Windmon stripped Braelon Allen of the ball on the first play of the second overtime and Dashaun Mallory threw the ball away on a defensive tackle. Three plays later, Thorne hit Reed in the right corner of the end zone with the game-winner.

“They took their (linebacker) to the edge,” said Thorne, who completed 21 of 28 passes for 265 yards. “We really haven’t seen that look all day. So I think he’s probably coming, and even if he’s bluffing, maybe they’re bringing something from the other end that the play we called isn’t great.”

Thorne continued, “I saw (Reed) was there, he looked like he had one coverage. So I said screw this, let’s protect this thing and throw and go into the end zone. He did a great job coming down with the ball .”

On the first play of the first overtime, Reed threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Keon Coleman at the goal line, giving the Spartans a 28-21 lead.

“Things have been tough this year,” said Reed, who also had nine catches for 117 yards. “But I think you can see that we’re a caring team.”

Wisconsin’s Graham Mertz tied the game when he connected with Chimere Dike for 25 yards.

“We’re really proud of our guys, just the way they stuck together, handled adversity, responded to adversity, blocked the noise,” Michigan State coach Mel Tucker said. “We had a very good focus of intent today as a football team .”

After Michigan State took a 21-14 lead, Mertz marched the Badgers 52 yards to tie the game at 21 with 2:04 remaining on his 3-yard touchdown pass to Keontez Lewis.

On the ensuing possession, the Spartans had a chance to win the game in regulation by driving to the Badger 29-yard line. However, a poor 37-yard field goal forced receiver Bryce Barringer to throw a pass that was intercepted by John Torchio.

Trailing 14-7 at halftime, Michigan State’s Elijah Collins tied the game at 14 with 54 seconds left in the third quarter when he capped an eight-play, 97-yard drive with a 1-yard run. Tight end Maliq Carr led the march when he caught a 72-yard pass and was picked off by Kamo’i Latu at the Wisconsin 12.

Thorne threw a 29-yard pass to Coleman with 7:23 left to give the Spartans a 21-14 lead. The drive was held up by two pass interference penalties, including one on fourth-and-4 from the Badgers’ 44-yard line.

Allen put the Badgers (3-4, 1-3) on top 7-0 when he capped their first drive with a 1-yard plunge over the mound on fourth-and-1. He accounted for 31 of Wisconsin’s 63 yards on the drive.

Michigan State tied the game at 7 with 20 seconds left in the first when Wisconsin transfer Jalen Berger broke free for a 12-yard touchdown. The score was set up after Windmon intercepted Mertz at the Badgers’ 12-yard line.

Allen, who finished with 123 yards, gave Wisconsin a 14-7 lead on another 1-yard run early in the second. He started a 75-yard drive with a 34-yarder before running out.

“Tonight is a great battle,” said Leonhard. “Obviously, it hurts how this one ended. I would never question the effort of our guys tonight. They put it all out there. Unfortunately, we didn’t execute as well as we needed to until the second half. Obviously in the second overtime. That’s the difference in the game.”


Wisconsin: The Badgers’ defense gave up 389 yards, its most since allowing 539 yards to Ohio State on Sept. 24. Wisconsin will need to improve its pass defense against Purdue to avoid a two-game losing streak.

Michigan State: After giving up an average of 528.5 yards over the last four games, the Spartans played one of their best defensive games of the season. Michigan State gave up just 283 yards to Wisconsin, including just 131 passing yards.


Wisconsin: Hosts Purdue on Oct. 22 in a key Big Ten West game, then has an off week.

Michigan State: Has a bye week and then hits the road on Oct. 29 to play Michigan.

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