Spartans Seek to Crush Buckeyes’ Streak in Columbus

EAST LANSING – This Saturday marks the third time ESPN College Gameday will attend a Michigan State matchup. Previously, Gameday arrived on the banks of the Red Cedar covering the Spartans victory over the Oregon Ducks. Then a few weeks ago, Ann Arbor played host to one of the most thrilling games in college football history.

Now, the No. 9 Spartans head  to Columbus to take on the third-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes in the marquee game of the week.

“We have things in place to control our own destiny,” head coach Mark Dantonio told the media at his press conference Tuesday.

“We’re not perfect – we’re 9-1 – but we are in control of our opportunities,” Dantonio added.

This will be the 44th meeting between the two schools with the Buckeyes leading the all-time series 29-14 – including nine of the last 11 games.

It will also be the first visit to Ohio State for ESPN College Gameday since 2010. It marks the 15th time the premier show will be at The Horseshoe, placing them first, tied with Alabama. It is also the 35th appearance for the Buckeyes – also tied with Alabama at second.

Since Urban Meyer has taken over the reigns at Ohio State, he has reinstated one of the most impressive programs in the nation. For a slight second it seemed the Buckeyes would be stuck in quicksand due to the sanctions placed on the team in 2011. Yet with Meyer, the Buckeyes have been writing history.

OSU has won 30 Big Ten regular season games in a row. With their win in Champaign, Illinois last Saturday the Buckeyes passed the most consecutive in conference wins – passing Florida State’s mark of 29 set between 1992-95.

The Bucks are also riding the nation’s longest winning streak: 23 consecutive games under the Buckeyes belt at the moment. This streak is the sixth of at least 15 games in Ohio State’s history, and the third of at least 20 games.

“If you look at Ohio State and what they have accomplished since 2012, it’s amazing. They know who they are, and they execute. And because of those aspects they are extremely successful,” Dantonio said.

Yet, Michigan State is no stranger when it comes to ending streaks.

Two years ago in the Big Ten Championship Game, the Spartans defeated the Buckeyes at Lucas Oil Stadium. Michigan State’s 34-24 win ended the 25-game winning streak. It also marked Urban Meyer’s first loss as the head coach for Ohio State.

“One of the main reasons Shilique (Calhoun) and I came back is because we had some unfinished business. We want to compete for another conference championship, compete for another National Championship,” senior quarterback Connor Cook said.

It will be a true test for Cook and the rest of the Spartans offense to matchup with the second-ranked defense. Ohio State is lead by junior defensive end Joey Bosa, who leads the Big Ten with 12.5 tackles-for-loss in conference games.

Michigan State’s defense is in for a tall task against a very high-potent offense the scarlet and gray have.

Senior defensive end Shilique Calhoun – who anchors the defense up front – will have to inflict his will against a strong running game headed by Ezekiel Elliott.

“Having the opportunity is great and not many people have the chance to go back and play a team that they’ve lost — they had a loss to, so we’re going to take full heed of it and keep moving forward,” Shilique Calhoun said.

The Bucks rushing attack is one of the best in the country. Ohio State has produced a touchdown in 26 consecutive games until the streak was snapped against Northern Illinois University on Sept. 19.

Under Meyer the Buckeyes have notched 49 rushing TD’s in 51 games. The only other contest Ohio State did not score a touchdown under Meyer was the 2013 Wisconsin game when Braxton Miller threw four touchdowns passes in a 31-24 victory.

“They play fundamental football. They will run the football, exploit you with the pass, and beat you with the deep ball. It will be a great challenge for us as we go down there,” Dantonio said.