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It wasn't just Michigan State, Ohio State and Michigan fans interested in the outcome of Saturday night's Spartans-Buckeyes game.

It appears the rest of the nation cared, too.

ESPN announced Sunday that the game drew a 7.0 rating, which makes it the most-watched college football game of the season, across all networks that have carried games.

To the surprise of most, MSU, without starting quarterback Connor Cook, beat Ohio State 17-14, on a last-second, 41-yard field goal by Michael Geiger.

MSU's defense limited Ohio State to just 132 yards of offense, its fewest since 2004.

The game also drew the best ratings for a 3:30 game on ABC since 2006. The top markets for the game were Columbus (42.0), Dayton (30.7), Cleveland (28.5), Detroit (26.0) and Cincinnati (17.9).
Online, at WatchESPN, viewers streamed more than 24.7 million minutes.

The Michigan-Penn State game drew a 4.1 rating, making it the highest-rated noon game this season, across all networks.

MSU's victory, of course, could have major implications on the College Football Playoff.

If MSU beats Penn State in the regular-season finale, it will meet Iowa in the Big Ten championship game. A win in Indianapolis is likely to secure MSU, ranked No. 6 in both polls released Sunday, a spot in the four-team playoff.

The Spartans have signature wins over teams ranked eighth (Ohio State), 12th (Michigan) and 18th (Oregon) in this week's  Associated Press poll. The Spartans also beat Air Force, which is just outside the top 25.

tpaul@detroitnews.com

twitter.com/tonypaul1984

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