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Rutgers' upset bid of Michigan State ends in unfortunate fashion

Oct 10, 2015; Piscataway, NJ, USA; Rutgers Scarlet Knights quarterback Chris Laviano (5) gets off pass as he is rushed by Michigan State Spartans defensive lineman Lawrence Thomas (8) during the first quarter at High Points Solutions Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim O'Connor-USA TODAY Sports

Oct 10, 2015; Piscataway, NJ, USA; Rutgers Scarlet Knights quarterback Chris Laviano (5) gets off pass as he is rushed by Michigan State Spartans defensive lineman Lawrence Thomas (8) during the first quarter at High Points Solutions Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim O'Connor-USA TODAY Sports

Rutgers football has endured a rough season on and off the field so far in 2015, but the Scarlet Knights nearly scored one of the biggest upsets of the season with No. 4 Michigan State in town Saturday night.

Then they spiked the ball on fourth down in the final seconds while trying to force overtime.

It was a tough way to end a hard-fought game for Rutgers, which led the Spartans 14-10 at the half and later rallied from a 10-point deficit to tie the game at 24 with 4:21 left in the fourth quarter.

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Michigan State answered, though, as Connor Cook led a 10-play, 76-yard drive for a go-ahead touchdown scored by freshman tailback LJ Scott on a 3-yard run with 0:43 to play.

Along the way, Cook hooked up with R.J. Shelton for an amazing third-down conversion.

That set up a desperation drive that ended with Rutgers quarterback Chris Laviano taking a sack on third down then hurrying the offense to the line only to run a play that would turn the ball over on downs anyway.

In his postgame press conference, Rutgers interim coach Norries Wilson took the blame for the late-game gaffe.

"At the end of the game, the clock management is 100 percent on the guy in charge and I'm the guy in charge," Wilson said. "So I mismanaged the situation. Chris Laviano did what he was told to do and I told him the wrong thing. So don't think that he screwed it up."