COLUMBUS, Ohio – In an era of improbable wins, arguably the most unbelievable victory of them all occurred on Saturday when the No. 9 Michigan State Spartans marched into Columbus, Ohio and shocked the No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes, 17-14.
MSU snapped what was previously a 30-game regular season conference winning streak for the Ohio State Buckeyes, not to mention 23 straight overall.
What made the outcome more improbable, the Spartans were without their leader, senior and potential first round pick in Connor Cook, for the first time in 37 games.
No matter for the Spartans and Tyler O’Connor — who stepped in for the injured Cook, and was assisted throughout the day by Damion Terry — who said he was prepared for the moment.
“It is pretty surreal right now,” said O’Connor. “It’s why you come to Michigan State but little did I know it would come right now.”
Despite the worry surrounding the MSU fan base, O’Connor and MSU were confident the whole way.
“I didn’t have any doubt, (about beating Ohio State) I don’t think the other guys did either.”
O’Connor outplayed his counterpart, JT Barrett, as he both threw for and totaled more yards than the man who torched MSU for 300 yards through the air just a year ago.
Realistically it wasn’t just O’Connor, as MSU outplayed OSU in every facet of the game.
The Spartans outgained the Buckeyes, 294-132, while holding them to just five first downs, and an average of 2.9 yards per play.
“Yeah, we lost the line of scrimmage,” said Urban Meyer following his first ever loss in Big Ten regular season play. “We tried inside/outside and they beat us at the line of scrimmage and we were unable to execute in the throw game. That was a very poor performance.”
MSU also out rushed OSU and former heisman candidate Ezekiel Elliott 203-86, while holding Elliott to just 33 rushing yards on 11 attempts — the first time he failed to reach 100 yards on the ground all season.
But none of this was the play of the day.
That came from the junior kicker — who knocked in the game winning 41-yard field goal — and was coincidentally born in Toledo, Ohio
“Ohio State didn’t offer me, and it’s personal,” said Geiger after sending down his home state team in defeat. “I’ll say that was the most important kick I’ve ever made in my entire life. I rehearsed as a kid, over my swingset, ever since I could kick a ball, saying ‘this kick’s too beat Ohio State, this kick’s to beat Ohio State.’”
The Spartan’s (10-1, 6-1 Big Ten) season — and more importantly their dreams — are still alive.
“This football team knows how to win,” said Mark Dantonio. “We’ve got to win one more, that’s a very important game.”
Michigan State takes on Penn State in East Lansing on Saturday, and with a win, the Spartans will represent the Big Ten East Division in the Big Ten Championship game, in Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, Ind. on Dec. 5.
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