In their biggest game of the year, the No. 8 Michigan State Spartans were the come back kids as they defeated to the No. 5 Baylor Bears, 42-41, erasing a 20 point deficit. Michigan State was able to send defensive coordinator, Pat Narduzzi, out on a winning note as they came back in a thrilling fashion against Baylor to kick-off the new year.
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Michigan State got ahead of the Bears early, thanks to a touchdown run Jeremy Langford, who totaled 67 total yards on their first drive.
It didn’t take long for the Bears to respond, as Petty connected on a 49-yard touchdown pass to receiver KD Cannon. Then again to receiver Corey Coleman as Baylor took a 24-14 leading going into the half.
The first half wasn’t very kind to the Spartans following the two scores. They struggled slowing down Baylor’s offense, allowing 298 total yards, including a Cotton Bowl record, 240 passing yards by Baylor’s quarterback, Bryce Petty.
One of the few bright spots for the Spartans was running back, Jeremy Langford, who rushed for 116 yards and a touchdown in the first half and finished with 162 yards and three touchdowns.
The onslaught continued in the second half for Baylor as the continued to rack up the yards through the air, as Bryce Petty finished with a Cotton Bowl record, 550 yards and three touchdowns on what is normally a good Michigan State defense. In fact, it was very easy to forget Baylor had a running back on the roster, as they finished with zero rushing yards.
Aside from their first two drives, Michigan State looked outmatched and unprepared as Baylor was able to do what they wanted, for the majority of the game.
It wasn’t until late in the fourth quarter where Michigan State made their run. Touchdowns by Langford and Josiah Price brought them to within six, with just fewer than five minutes to play. After a trip to the sidelines by defensive coordinator, Pat Narduzzi, the Spartan defense woke up and began to play like their usual selves. Getting after Petty, disrupting his rhythm.
Although junior quarterback, Connor Cook, struggled early, he finished with 314 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. Thanks to a blocked field goal attempt, he was able to lead his team into the end zone with 17 seconds left to play, connecting with receiver Keith Mumphrey to seal the game.
This win marks the fourth consecutive bowl win for the Spartans.