Wisconsin running back Montee Ball scores the decisive touchdown against… (Mike De Sisti / McClatchy-Tribune )
Reporting from Indianapolis -- The Big Ten Conference should adopt a new motto: We can't win a BCS title game, but we ain't boring.
Fans sitting at the 50-yard line of this wild inaugural Big Ten championship game could sue the league for whiplash.
And fans sitting in the Wisconsin section might want to check their hearing after the Badgers twice rallied from eight points down to claim a thrilling 42-39 victory, and a Rose Bowl berth, before a non-sellout crowd of 64,152 at Lucas Oil Stadium.
In sharp contrast to the SEC title-game punt-fest dominated by LSU, Wisconsin and Michigan State combined to produce 816 yards.
They combined for four trick plays — three planned, one on the fly — and all of them worked perfectly.
One involved a 5-foot-8, 176-pound holder (Michigan State's Brad Sonntag) taking a snap and sprinting in for a two-point conversion. It gave Michigan State a 22-21 lead, its first of the night.
The Spartans got the opportunity when Kirk Cousins hit Keith Nichol — he of the Hail Mary catch in the first meeting between these teams — for a short pass. Rather than get pushed out of bounds by two defenders, Nichol lateraled to B.J. Cunningham, who took it the final seven yards, leaping home for a score.
Wisconsin's game-winning drive began with 8 minutes 20 seconds to play.
On fourth and six from the Michigan State 43, Russell Wilson scrambled to his left and fired across his body, and Jeff Duckworth caught the ball in a crowd.
Montee Ball took it seven yards on the next play, giving him four touchdowns on the night and 38 for the season, one shy of Barry Sanders' NCAA record set in 1988 with Oklahoma State.
A whirling Wilson hit Jacob Pedersen on the conversion to give the Badgers a 42-39 lead with 3:45 to play.
Michigan State got the ball back, and Cousins hit Keshawn Martin on a pass for a first down. But it was overturned by replay.
Wisconsin took over with 2:51 to play and gave it to Ball three times for seven yards, forcing Michigan State to use its final two timeouts.
The Badgers punted, and Martin took it back inside Wisconsin's five-yard line.
But Isaiah Lewis, coming off the edge, had charged into punter Brad Nortman, drawing a five-yard penalty for running into the kicker. It was enough for a Wisconsin first down, sealing the victory and drawing boos from Michigan State fans.
Ball rushed for 137 yards in 27 carries. He also showed he can pass the pigskin.
With the score 7-7 and Wisconsin facing third and two from the Michigan State 41, Wilson pitched to Ball, who fired a spiral across the field to his quarterback. It was a replay of their Oct. 15 connection against Indiana that got Wilson a touchdown reception.
This one went for 32 yards to the Michigan State nine. And two plays later, Ball scored from six yards.
Ball scored on another six-yarder to put the Badgers up 21-7, but Michigan State took command in a dominating second quarter. The Spartans outscored the Badgers 22-0 and outgained them 208 to minus-four.