Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Outback Bowl: No. 12 Michigan State Spartans 33, No. 18 Georgia Bulldogs 30 (3 OT)

TAMPA — The really frigid stuff that hit the area Monday evening was preceded by a furious, frenetic system originating in East Lansing, Mich.

To be sure, it took time to develop, lacking an initial offensive wallop. But upon reaching full intensity at mid afternoon inside Raymond James Stadium, it rendered the hyped homecoming of Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray to an excruciating Dawg day of winter.

Devoid of timeouts, No. 12 Michigan State forced overtime with a near-flawless touchdown drive in the final two minutes, then outlasted Georgia (10-4) in three extra sessions for a 33-30 Outback Bowl triumph before an audience of 49,429.

Nose tackle Anthony Rashad White's block of a 47-yard Blair Walsh field goal on the final play sealed things and sent the Spartans (11-3) — who hadn't won a bowl game in 10 years — spilling onto the RayJay turf.

"Greatest feeling I have ever felt in college football," MSU defensive end and former Plant City High star Denzel Drone said. "I'm back home, all my people got to watch me play and we had a blast. Three overtimes — best thing that ever happened."

Drone's delirium stood in glaring contrast to Murray's disappointment.

Though initially sharp in his return home, Plant's former state title-winning quarterback threw a pair of costly third-quarter interceptions, the second of which Darqueze Dennard returned 38 yards for a TD to cut the Spartans' deficit to 16-14.

Dennard hails from Dry Branch, Ga.

"It stings," said Murray, who finished with respectable numbers (20-for-32, 288 yards) that included an 80-yard TD pass to Tavarres King that gave Georgia a 9-0 second-quarter lead.

"It is going to hurt to know that we had our opportunities to win this game, but we didn't. Obviously they played a great game and did a great job of not giving in and fighting the whole way, so you've got to give them some credit."

The Spartans, still smoldering from a three-point loss to Wisconsin in the Big Ten title game, had three times as many punts (six) as first downs by halftime against a sleek, aggressive Bulldogs defense.

On their first play from scrimmage at their 2-yard line, Spartans receiver Keshawn Martin took a swing pass from Kirk Cousins but was leveled in his own end zone by cornerback Brandon Boykin.

With less than two minutes to play before halftime, Boykin — the game MVP — returned a punt 92 yards for a TD to give Georgia a 16-0 lead at intermission.

"We just talked about if you want it, you've got to take it back and keep believing, just believe," Spartans coach Mark Dantonio said. "And that's what our guys did."

No drive epitomized that belief more than the last one of regulation. Trailing 27-20 with 1:55 to play and no timeouts, Cousins completed 6 of 8 passes for 64 yards and scrambled for a 20-yard gain before Le'Veon Bell's 1-yard TD with 14 seconds to go.

"That's why Kirk Cousins is who he is," Dantonio said.

Cousins, the winningest quarterback in MSU history, was picked on a pass over the middle by Bacarri Rambo on the first overtime, but Georgia failed to capitalize when Walsh missed a 42-yard field goal.

Minutes later, in one fell swat by White, the Spartans were celebrating.

"I don't even have words for it," MSU safety and former Wharton High star Jairus Jones said. "Oh my goodness, we've been in too many of these, but I love it — every time."

Mich. St. 33

Georgia 30


Outback Bowl: No. 12 Michigan State Spartans 33, No. 18 Georgia Bulldogs 30 (3 OT) 01/02/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, January 3, 2012 9:16am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Aaron Hernandez had severe CTE; daughter sues NFL, Patriots


    BOSTON — Tests conducted on the brain of former football star Aaron Hernandez showed severe signs of the degenerative brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy, and his attorney said Thursday that the player's daughter is suing the NFL and the New England Patriots for leading Hernandez to believe the sport …

    Aaron Hernandez's lawyer says the former New England Patriots tight end's brain showed severe signs of the degenerative brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy. [AP photo]
  2. Bucs' Josh Robinson excited for return to Vikings


    For much of Josh Robinson's four seasons with the Vikings, there was excitement leading up to the arrival of the $1.1-billion U.S. Bank Stadium, which opened last season, just as Robinson signed with the …

    Josh Robinson (26) tackles Chicago punt returner Eddie Royal (19) during a game between the Bucs and Bears in 2016. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  3. For starters: Rays at Orioles, meeting up with ex-mate Tim Beckham


    UPDATE, 6:05: Cash gave both CF Kevin Kiermaier and SS Adeiny Hechavarria a day off, noting they have been playing pretty much everyday. ... That also gave them a chance to look more at two of their younger position players, OF Mallex Smith and INF Daniel Robertson. ... Cash said he was happy for Beckham that he …

    Tim Beckham made a smashing debut with the Orioles, hitting .394 with six homers and 19 RBIs in August.
  4. From the archives: Account of famed Riggs-King match heightens Tampa mob intrigue


    With the Sept. 29 opening of "Battle of the Sexes" — the movie starring Emma Stone and Steve Carrell about Billie Jean King's landmark 1973 tennis win over Bobby Riggs — we thought there might be renewed interest in this 2013 Peter Jamison story from the Tampa Bay Times.

    Emma Stone as Billie Jean King and Steve Carell as Bobby Riggs in "Battle of the Sexes."  [Melinda Sue Gordon, Fox Searchlight Pictures]
  5. It's not a game, but the names are all the same in this football family


    TAMPA — A coach yells across the field into a scrum of blue-and-white clad football bodies at Jefferson High: "Kim Mitchell! Kim Mitchell, come here!"

    These twins are not only identical, but they have almost identical names. Kim Mitchell III, left, and Kim Mitchell IV are  talented football players at Jefferson High with Division I-A college offers. Kim  III wears No. 22 and plays cornerback while Kim IV wears No. 11 and plays safety. (Scott Purks, Special to the Times)