It just takes two words to put a smile on a Spartan's face. Those two same words will bring a grimace to a Badger's face. It's simple: Hail Mary!
It is defined as a very long forward pass made in desperation with only a small chance of success, especially at or near the end of a half. (And yes, wikipedia is my source. I am a college student after all)
For Michigan State, it was exactly that. With 0:04 seconds on the clock and a tie ball-game, the Spartans had the ball at the 44-yard line. Kirk Cousins dropped back and heaved it deep. The ball was tipped out of the end-zone and eventually caught by Keith Nichol. He was tackled and downed at the 1-yard line...game over.
Or so we thought. Michigan State thought they had crossed the the goal and won the game. Wisconsin thought they had stopped him short and won the game. And after further review, the officials got it right and the Spartans were victorious.
For Wisconsin, they were on the wrong end of another long pass in the closing seconds the very next week against Ohio State. Two words and two long passes may have kept Wisconsin out of the National Championship Game but that's why America loves this game. It can turn on a tipped pass, a toss of desperation and a bit of luck - you never know.
Try it. Ask a Spartan fan about a hail mary and (very politely) ask a badger fan about a hail mary. You'll get responses at the opposite ends of the spectrum.
So with that, this game has a little extra meaning. The Badgers want to prove that the Spartans got lucky and the Spartans want to prove that they are, in fact, the better team. Expect a very intense game. Expect a very close game. And in the end, don't be surprised if it comes down to a Hail Mary!