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No. 5 Michigan St edges No. 4 Iowa for Big Ten title

No. 5 Michigan St edges No. 4 Iowa for Big Ten title

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — C.J. Beathard thought he had come up with another perfect ending Saturday night.

Then the Iowa quarterback watched it all vanish in the last minute of the Big Ten championship game — the undefeated season, his unblemished record a starter and a ticket to the playoffs.

L.J. Scott twisted free from a host of Iowa defenders and lunged across the goal line for a 1-yard touchdown run with 27 seconds left, giving No. 5 Michigan State a 16-13 victory over No. 4 Hawkeyes. The loss virtually assures they will go to a New Year's Day bowl rather a national semifinal.

'It's tough. You've gone all season long and haven't experienced what it's like to lose a game,' Beathard said. 'Every time we've been in the locker room after a game it's been exciting. It's just tough because losing a game like that when it's that close, it's hard to handle.'

Beathard had given Iowa (12-1, No. 4 CFP) a 13-9 lead with a brilliant 85-yard touchdown pass to Tevaun Smith on the first play of the fourth quarter for the game's first touchdown.

'We were confident right up to the last play that we'd make a stop down there,' Ferentz said. 'We've been there before and we've done that. But it's that close and that's how this game was and I think that's how the margin between the two teams is.'

Scott's late lunge almost certainly put Michigan State (12-1, No. 5 CFP) into the College Football Playoff.

'I was just trying to make a big play for my brothers,' Scott said. 'We knew what we had at stake.'

When the Spartans' defense closed it out, Michigan State's players sprinted across the field and into the end zone where they celebrated with a throng of fans hoping for an even longer journey. They'll find out their next destination Sunday afternoon.

By winning his second Big Ten crown in three years — both against previously unbeaten teams — and giving the senior class a record-breaking 43rd career win, Cook and his teammates can turn now their focus to their season-long goal, winning the school's first outright national title since 1952.

Scott ran 22 times for 73 yards against a stingy defense that stopped Michigan State on four consecutive snaps inside the Iowa 5 in the final two minutes.

On the fifth try, Scott stood up, spun away and finally put away the Hawkeyes.

'He's a load. I felt like if he found a crease he'd get more,' Spartans coach Mark Dantonio said. 'As it got down inside the 10-yard line, pound it, take the game and the clock, which I think is a big thing. We got the game and the clock. We did it slowly and methodically.'

With new rankings out, the now No. 6 Hawkeyes were selected on Sunday to play in the 2015 Rose Bowl against No. 5 Stanford on Jan. 1, 2016.

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