That was a great game. I knew the Spartans could win, but didn’t want to talk about it. I didn’t even really want to think about it. I knew they could but I just didn’t know if they would. I felt the same way for the B1G Championship Game back in 2013. Sometimes you just need to keep quiet, pull for your guys and let it all play out.
Michigan State remains the only B1G team to beat Ohio State in the Meyer era. Urban Meyer is 2-2 against the Spartans and 29-0 against the rest of the B1G. MSU just ended a 23 game winning streak which. Back in 2013 we ended their 24 game winning streak. It’s just a little thing we Spartans like to do for the Bucks.
Oddly enough, we never held a lead in this game. It was tied three times, and the Bucknuts had the lead twice, but MSU never had the lead. The FG sailed good as time expired. Even more odd, the same is true for the Michigan game.
In a nutshell, Michigan State dominated the line of scrimmage on both sides, which basically shut down the OSU offense and slowly wore down and pushed over the OSU defense. It was methodical, it was intentional, and it was effective. MSU outplayed and out-coached OSU, plain and simple. Take away a few huge errors on State’s part and the score probably wouldn’t even had been this close, but that’s just speculation.
No Connor Cook. That scared the shit out of me. But it was also sideways freezing rain so the passing game was going to be limited anyway. Tyler O’Connor and Damien Terry are fine QB’s albeit with limited game experience. They stepped in with confidence and ran the show. It wasn’t high-flying by any means, but it was solid. The Spartans ended up with 294 yards of total offense; two TDs and a winner of a FG. 17 points never felt so good.
Although the pass numbers aren’t spectacular or even really good, keep in mind that the weather was terrible. O’Connor was 7/12 for 89 yards and a TD. Terry, before going out with an ankle injury, was 1/4 for two yards. Both QBs ran the ball when needed and both came up with eight carries for 25 yards. Nice symmetry.
The running backs were heroes as they ran in the face of a solid and formidable Buckeye defense, and they did it time and time again. It wasn’t always pretty but Pound Green Pound was the game plan and over the long haul it worked as the Spartans netted 203 yards on 51 carries. Gerald Holmes ran hard and often, especially in the first half getting 14 carries for 65 yards and a TD. LJ Scott took over later in the game with 13 carries for 58 yards including a 20-yarder late that help sustain momentum and extend the final drive. R.J.Shelton ripped of a nice 19-yard run too. All of the MSU backs ran low, hard and with great purpose.
The Spartan receiver corps made the best of a bad situation with eight receptions for 91 yards. Aaron Burbridge was doubled and blanketed most of the game but still managed four catches for 62 yards. Big boy Trevon Pendleton only had one catch, but it was big one for a 12-yard TD.
Shout out to the Michigan State offensive line, those guys blocked, protected and fought hard all day. Kudos Spartans!
Plain and simple, the Spartan Dawgs kept the Bucks offense off of the field; OSU time of possession was 21:50. The Spartan defense held Ohio State to only five first downs total. Most impressive of all, Michigan State held Ohio State to only 132 yards of offense, that is the least productive of any Urban Meyer coached offense at any school he has coached at. Basically, the Spartans shut the Bucknuts down. All day.
The defense was awesome. Shut the front door awesome. Montae Nicholson had eight tackles, Jon Reschke had six including one sack for a big loss, and Darien Harris had six also. Riley Bullough, Craig Evans and Demetrious Cox all had four tackles. Everyone seemed to be zoned-in and playing heads-up. Great communication and cooperation. That’s the kind of defense that made Michigan State what it is today.
The secondary didn’t really get too much of a challenge as Ohio State rarely tried throwing the ball downfield. The weather may have had a lot to do with that. I think MSU benefitted from the storm, but hell, the Spartans had to play in it too.
“I fucking drilled it!” is what kicker Michael Geiger shouted on the radio following his 41-yard winner of a field goal.
How about that. No, there wont be any FCC fines, that’s not how they roll. But boy was Geiger fired up.
He ran the length of the field doing this crazy pointing / Pete Townsend windmill kind of thing while screaming his head off. It was magic. Magic enough to make us forget the 43-yarder he missed in the first half. Hell, we’ll take it.
Less exciting and awesome was Macgarrett Kings Jr. flubbed punt return which resulted in a turn-over giving OSU the ball on the six yard line, which then resulted in a TD. This can’t happen. I’ll just say it was terrible weather and maybe the ball was tough to see and track? Maybe? It was painful.
I just can’t say enough about how well the Spartans played facing some crazy adversity. Kudos to the coaching and to the team execution. Michigan State now controls their own destiny in terms of the B1G and the CFP. Keep winning Spartans, and some really good things will happen.
Next up is Penn State in East Lansing. The Lions are not great this year, but they aren’t terrible either. They certainly aren’t to be take lightly. PSU is 7-4 and 4-3 in the B1G. It will be Senior Day at Spartan Stadium which is always a good thing. Let’s hope Connor Cook is back in the captains chair steering the ship, but if not I feel that O’Connor can build off of the Ohio State win. Let’s finish strong Spartans and lock in that spot in Indy. 11-1 would be nice. Real nice.
As a final thought, how about Lee Corso going 0-3 by not picking the Spartans this year. Corso picked Oregon, Michigan and Ohio State on the three ESPN College Gameday appearances by Michigan State. Corso has been awful this year on his picks so we should all fade him on his picks. Not so fast…