INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — L.J. Scott kept lunging forward, stretching the ball over the goal line for a touchdown with 27 seconds and No. 5 Michigan State all but locked up a spot in the College Football Playoff, edging No. 4 Iowa 16-13 Saturday in the Big Ten championship game.
Connor Cook led the Spartans (12-1) on a 22-play drive that set up Scott’s 1-yard run. A half-dozen Iowa defenders tried to stop Scott, but he wouldn’t be denied.
“I was just trying to come through for my brothers,” Scott said.
Iowa (12-1) lost for the first time this season — and just barely.
“We had some shortcomings during the majority of the game,” MSU Left Tackle Jack Conklin said. “And then, right there at the end, we just all got together and said, ‘This is it. We can win the game and go to the playoffs, or go home sad.’ ”
Five times in the final 2 minutes, the Spartans snapped the ball from the Iowa 5-yard line or closer. Finally, after getting bottled up by three defenders on third-and-goal from 1, Scott broke free just long enough to get the ball across the goal line for Michigan State’s only TD.
The 82-yard march wiped out Iowa’s 13-9 lead, which it got on an 85-yard pass from C.J. Beathard to Tevaun Smith.