Michigan State took 9:04 off the clock with a 22-play drive that not only ended with the game-winning touchdown, but also left Iowa without enough time to mount a response. The result: Spartans 16, Iowa 13, and Michigan State will qualify for the College Football Playoff as champions of the Big Ten Conference.
The drive began at the MSU 18-yard line with Iowa ahead 13-9.
It ended with the Spartans snapping six running plays inside the Hawkeyes' 10-yard line, consuming precious time before punching in the game-winning score on a 1-yard run on third down by LJ Scott.
Despite winning the game's MVP award, MSU quarterback Connor Cook struggled for much of the night, completing just 16 of 32 passes for 191 yards without a touchdown and one interception. He converted the Spartans' last first down with an option keeper inside the 5-yard line, however, on a fourth-down play that kept the series alive. Cook is among the top senior quarterbacks in college football.
The Spartans' defense allowed just 52 rushing yards to Iowa on 24 carries.
Michigan State's semifinal opponent in the playoff will be announced Sunday by the CFP selection committee. If ACC champion Clemson retains the No. 1 seed and Michigan State replaces Iowa at No. 4, the Spartans will face the Tigers in one semifinal.