Michigan State's 34-24 victory over Ohio State in Big Ten Championship knocks OSU out of BCS title picture.
INDIANAPOLIS — When the streak died – at the Michigan State 37, a little less than six minutes left, as Braxton Miller was stuffed short on fourth down by Michigan State's Denicos Allen – so did Ohio State's bid for the national championship, and the final BCS controversy.
Michigan State's 34-24 victory against Ohio State in the Big Ten championship undoubtedly set off celebrations all over the South. Auburn almost undoubtedly will face Florida State for the crystal football on Jan. 6. The official announcement comes Sunday night.
BOX SCORE: No. 9 Spartans 34, No. 2 Buckeyes 24
HIGHLIGHTS: How the top 25 fared
And after winning 24 consecutive games since Urban Meyer's arrival, Ohio State didn't even win the Big Ten to show for it. That crown, and the accompanying berth in the Rose Bowl, goes to the Spartans, whose only loss was close, to Notre Dame. But for that, Michigan State (12-1) would've been unbeaten, and the Big Ten team embroiled in the BCS controversy.
Instead, there is none.
Auburn coach Gus Malzahn got home in time to see last possession of the Big Ten Championship but didn't see fourth-down stop."We listened to it," Malzahn told USA TODAY Sports.
Malzahn said he wasn't anxious. "We had a huge win," he said. "To be honest with you I thought that was enough. But somehow things work out."
Ohio State will undoubtedly land a BCS at-large berth. But the Buckeyes (12-1) had expected more. They overcame a 17-0 deficit with 24 consecutive points, but couldn't sustain the momentum.
Michigan State retook the lead early in the fourth quarter when Connor Cook connected with freshman tight end Josiah Price on a 9-yard touchdown pass, completing an eight-play, 90-yard drive. A few minutes later, facing fourth-and-2 at the Michigan State 38, Miller ran right – a play similar to one he'd scored a touchdown going the other direction – but was stopped after 1 yard by Allen.
The Spartans took over with 5:41 left – and put it away on Jeremy Langford's 26-yard burst up the middle with 2:16 left, which pushed the lead to 34-24.
As the third quarter began, with Michigan State ahead 17-10, a mass email from Auburn's media relations department hit inboxes everywhere. Subject: "Auburn Football Résumé."
About five minutes later, the politicking seemed necessary. Ohio State, which had trailed 17-0 in the second quarter, pulled into a tie with Michigan State. And when Miller rolled into the end zone on a quarterback sweep from 8 yards out, it felt more like the Buckeyes had already pulled ahead.
That didn't come until later. But it didn't last. Neither did the streak. Or the BCS controversy.