Big plays by J.T. Barrett and Ezekiel Elliott were too much for Michigan State’s defense as the Spartans lose to the Buckeyes 49-37.
After heading into halftime trailing by one touchdown, MSU was only able to tack on three points via Michael Geiger field goal in the third quarter. Ezekiel Elliott added a touchdown run late in the third quarter giving OSU a 10-point lead.When Michigan State failed to convert a 4th down late in the third quarter, the Buckeyes responded by adding a Dontre Wilson touchdown to make it a three possession game, putting the Spartans out of reach.
OSU quarterback J.T. Barrett finished the game with 300 passing yards, three passing touchdowns while adding 86 rushing yards. Running back Ezekiel Elliott had 154 yards and two touchdowns.
Michigan State’s Connor Cook finished with over 300 yards, including touchdowns to Keith Mumphery and Josiah Price. Jeremy Langford rushed for 137 yards and three touchdowns.
It was December 7, 2013 when Mark Dantonio donned a Big Ten Champions hat and said, “I’m going to go into the locker room and dance with my players.”
When MSU upset the then No. 2 ranked OSU last year, everything changed. Michigan State had made their case to be considered an elite program.
And on top of that, just weeks ago, they had the best odds from Las Vegas to win a National Title and they were the program that was favored to win a Big Ten Championship.
There was a national stage, ESPN College Gameday in attendance. A win against the Buckeyes on Saturday would move the Spartans closer to a Big Ten Championship and keeps them in the College Football Playoff conversation. A loss means no Big Ten Championship game, certainly no playoff and therefore, no way to improve from the 2013 season.
Just after midnight on Sunday, it was Ohio State dancing in the locker rooms at Spartan Stadium. Ohio State tore down the whole structure built by the Spartans — in their last 336 days since beating Ohio State last year — down in 60 minutes. The Buckeyes were able to get revenge.
Even with a loss in the 2013 Big Ten Championship, OSU still was able to make it to a BCS Bowl game and finished in the top 15 after a loss to Clemson. Michigan State’s postseason is likely to be a lackluster consolation prize.
For Ohio State, the sky’s the limit. A big win against a Top Ten MSU team may springboard them into the playoff conversation. Losses by Notre Dame and Auburn will help their case.
Michigan State must move forward too.
“We’ve got one Big Ten loss, now we got to try not to get two.”, head coach Mark Dantonio said in the post game press conference.
The Spartan’s next two games are against the newest Big Ten members — Maryland and Rutgers. They will later close out the season on Thanksgiving weekend at Happy Valley against Penn State.
Best case scenario for MSU is three wins and an unprecedented collapse by Ohio State will get MSU back into the Big Ten Championship game. Most realistic scenario — MSU wins out, has another ten win season and a bowl win.
After the game, Mark Dantonio spoke about moving forward and how to handle losing.
“This is a game, it’s a disappointment,” Dantonio said. “At the end of the day, we don’t get what we wanted, that’s just the way life is. So we’ll regroup, we’ll move forward. That’s what we always do.”
Michigan State travels to Maryland next week for another night game in what will likely be the battle for second place in the Big Ten East Division.
Bradley Allen is a multimedia journalist for Impact Sports