Michigan State beats Wisconsin in double-overtime thriller


Jayden Reed catches game winning pass in double-overtime against Wisconsin on Oct. 15, 2022 / Photo credit: Sarah Smith

Liam Jackson, Sports Editor

EAST LANSING – Michigan State’s chaotic 34-28 double-overtime victory over Wisconsin was a fitting finish to a Homecoming weekend in which the theme was “Spartans Bring the Magic.”

Wide receiver Jayden Reed began the first overtime period with a passing touchdown to Keon Coleman after a reverse play. Abra. His second act consisted of coming down with an incredible contested catch to end the game. Kadabra.

After Reed’s game-winner, the Spartan bench poured onto the field and celebrated a win. Something Michigan State hasn’t been able to do in over a month. MSU notches its first Big Ten win of the season and moves to 3-4 overall.

“Obviously things have been tough this year,” Reed said. “But we are a team that actually cares. We fight our hardest to go out there and make plays.”

“I’m really proud of our guys,” said head coach Mel Tucker. “Just the way they’ve stuck together, handled adversity, responded to adversity and blocked out the noise.”

Jacoby Windmon started the game at linebacker. He had been playing defensive end all year but played linebacker at UNLV before transferring.

“He (Windmon) has been very unselfish,” Tucker said. “Which has helped our football team.”

The position change did not slow Windmon as he recorded 11 total tackles, a forced fumble, and an interception at the end of the first quarter that set the offense up at the Wisconsin 12-yard line.

The interception gave another transfer, redshirt sophomore Jalen Berger, the opportunity to get a slice of revenge against his former team. Berger took the handoff on a counter and accelerated through the hole. He ran over a Badger defender on his way into the endzone for a 12-yard score. The crowd rose and waved their towels as Berger celebrated with his teammates. A Ben Patton extra point tied the game at seven.

Berger’s touchdown was the only score the Spartans were able to muster in the first half. Wisconsin running back Braelon Allen scored two first-half touchdowns to give his team a 14-7 lead going into the half.

Penalties hampered the Spartans throughout the game. They racked up nine and surrendered 102 penalty yards.

“We need to eliminate some dumb, foolish penalties,” Tucker said. “We have to have more poise and discipline as a football team.”

Michigan State’s offense put together a 97-yard touchdown drive in the third quarter. Maliq Carr’s 72-yard catch and run was the highlight. He broke free in the seam and stiff-armed a defender as he rumbled inside the 15-yard line. Eli Collins capped the drive with a one-yard rush to tie the game. 14-14 was the score as the fourth quarter began.

Palpable energy could be felt inside Spartan Stadium in the fourth quarter for the first time in over a month.

Halfway through the quarter, freshman safety Dillon Tatum dropped a potential pick-six on third down. Tatum made his first career start on Saturday.

On the next play, fellow freshman Germie Bernard was inches from blocking a punt. The two young players nearly flipped the game and the momentum.

Payton Thorne trotted the offense onto the field and led a 65-yard touchdown drive with less than eight minutes to go in the game. Keon Coleman’s 29-yard touchdown reception put the Spartans up 21-14.

Graham Mertz answered back. He led the Badgers on a nine-play, 52-yard touchdown drive that tied the game with two minutes remaining in the game. The Badgers went for it on fourth and goal from the three-yard line and Keontez Lewis found himself wide open in the back of the end zone.

Michigan State had one last chance to win the game at the end of regulation. Thorne successfully led the Spartans into field goal range and Tucker called his last timeout with less than 30 seconds left before a third and two from the Wisconsin 28.

The ensuing play was a screen pass to Reed that lost two yards and kept the clock running. The field goal unit was rushed onto the field and Patton didn’t even have a chance to kick due to a bad snap.

After Michigan State’s trick play touchdown in the first overtime, Mertz threw a pass directly to two MSU defenders. Cornerback Charles Brantley was gifted an interception that would have ended the game, but he dropped it. Wisconsin scored two plays later to force a second overtime.

Keon Coleman catches a TD pass from Jayden Reed in overtime against Wisconsin on Oct. 15, 2022. / Photo credit: Sarah Smith

Michigan State elected to defend first in the second overtime. Windmon promptly forced a fumble that was recovered by Dashaun Mallory and the Spartan offense walked onto the field only needing a field goal to win.

Thorne noticed single coverage on Reed, changed the play call at the line of scrimmage, and the rest is history.

“It feels good to be back on the right side of things,” Thorne said.

MSU has a bye-week next week before traveling to Ann Arbor to face Michigan on Oct. 29.

“We are going to get ready for what’s next,” Tucker said. “And we all know what that is.”