Instant Reaction: Michigan State Wins Cotton Bowl 42-41 After Epic Comeback Against Baylor

At the beginning of the fourth quarter, Connor Cook and the Michigan State Spartans were staring at a 20-point deficit against one of the nation's most explosive offenses. 15 minutes and 21 points later, they had pulled off one of the most impressive fourth-quarter comebacks in the history of the Cotton Bowl Classic.

Turning Point:

For the Spartans, everything started with Baylor K Chris Callahan's missed field goal early in the fourth quarter. The 46-yard FG would have put the Bears up by 23, but when he missed and the camera cut to the Michigan State sideline, you could see hope in the eyes of every MSU player. Their very next play was a 50-yard bomb from QB Connor Cook that put MSU deep in Baylor territory, and their touchdown four plays later cut the deficit to 13. From there, the comeback was on.

Michigan State MVP:

Senior RB Jeremy Langford was sensational in his MSU finale, racking up 162 yards and 3 TDs on 27 carries. He shares the honors with QB Connor Cook, though, since Cook's near-miraculous fourth-quarter heroics are what sealed the win for the Spartans.

Baylor MVP:

You really can't blame this one on Bryce Petty. Petty passed for a jaw-dropping 550 yards with 3 TDs and an INT, and he was able to find the gaps in MSU's impressive secondary all day long. On a night when his team rushed for a grand total of -20 yards, Petty was the reason they were in this to begin with.

Stat of the Day:

Baylor passed for 603 total yards today, significantly more than any other team had against MSU this year, but their -20 rushing yards were what ultimately did them in during a more conservative fourth quarter.

What's Next?

Michigan State (11-2) adds another impressive victory to Mark Dantonio's resume, and he's now won his last four bowl games with MSU after losing four straight in his first four seasons with the team. MSU will now turn their attention to the recruiting trail and look for a replacement for defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi, who is leaving to become head coach at Pitt.

Baylor (11-2) had an impressive season, but this loss will definitely sting. The Bears were hoping to replicate TCU's performance against Mississippi (a 42-3 blowout) to show the playoff selection committee what they were missing, but this collapse won't change anyone's mind. With Bryce Petty headed for the NFL and pro teams keeping a close eye on HC Art Briles, this will be a very important offseason for the Bears.

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