The No. 16 Georgia Bulldogs faced off against the No. 17 Michigan State Spartans on Sunday in the 2012 Outback Bowl in Tampa, Florida. The end result was a wild, triple-overtime affair that saw Michigan State come from behind and ultimately emerge victorious, 33-30.
The first half of the game was all Georgia, as the Bulldogs racked up a 16-0 lead on a safety, an 80-yard touchdown pass from Aaron Murray to Tavarres King and a 92-yard punt return from Brandon Boykin.
The third quarter was all Michigan State as Le'Veon Bell had an 8-yard rushing touchdown and Darqueze Dennard grabbed a Murray interception and returned it for a pick-six. The fourth quarter opened with the Spartans only down 16-14.
In the fourth quarter, a 32-yard field goal by Blair Walsh pushed the Georgia lead to 19-14. Just 96 seconds later, the Spartans completed a four-play, 59-yard drive when Kirk Cousins completed a touchdown pass to Keith Nichol from seven yards out. A two-point conversion failed, but the Spartans took the lead for the first time in the game, 20-19. The Bulldogs answered back with a touchdown pass of their own, from Murray to Boykin from 17 yards out to once again take the lead, 27-20. The Bulldogs took over again on an interception, but were unable to move the ball and run out the clock and the Spartans got another chance to tie the game. They succeeded this time, when Bell pushed through with a goal-line touchdown to knot the game at 27-27 and send it to overtime.
The Spartans were able to take the first possession in first overtime, but the Bulldogs held them to third down and Bacarri Rambo then grabbed an interception to take control and have their first opportunity to score and potentially end the game.The Bulldogs went for a 42-yard field goal attempt on third down of their possession, but missed wide right, sending the game to a second overtime.
The Bulldogs had first possession this time, but the Spartans defense pushed them back to a 4th-and-15 situation and had to attempt a 47-yard field goal into the wind. This time, Walsh hooked it in to take the 30-27 lead and forcing the Spartans to score a touchdown in order to win. The Bulldogs defense was able to force the Spartans to try for a 35-yard field goal on 4th and 3. The snap was bad, but the kick was good, sending the game to third overtime, tied 30-30.
The Spartans took over first on offense in the third overtime, knowing that both teams have mandatory two-point conversion attempts following touchdowns for the rest of the game. Keshawn Martin dropped a third-down pass with an open route to the end zone, giving Dan Conroy yet another field goal attempt. A delay of game penalty on Michigan State made it a 28-yard attempt, but the kick was good, giving the ball to Georgia with the Spartans ahead 33-30.
Georgia quarterback Murray was sacked on third down of the Bulldogs possession, resulting in a 47-yard field goal attempt to keep Georgia alive. Walsh's kick was blocked, resulting in a 33-30 Michigan State win.