For the first time since 1999, Michigan State has a win over Ohio State. The Spartans took advantage of an inept Buckeyes offense to grind out a 10-7 win, their first in Columbus since 1998.
Ohio State only managed 178 yards of total offense against an MSU defensive front that yielded just 34 yards rushing and notched nine quarterback sacks.
Braxton Miller threw for 57 yards on 5-of-10 passing before getting pulled for Joe Bauserman. The senior played marginally better than his freshman teammate, getting 87 yards on 7-of-14 passing and the Buckeyes’ lone touchdown. But by then, the Spartans had what turned out to be an insurmountable 10-0 lead.
Kirk Cousins threw for 250 yards and a touchdown on 20-of-32 passing for Michigan State. He didn’t take great care of the football, however, throwing two interceptions and losing a fumble.
Receiver B.J. Cunningham was the offensive standout for the Spartans. He hauled in nine receptions for 154 yards and MSU’s lone touchdown. On a day when both teams struggled to score points, Cunningham provided a much-needed weapon to put something on the scoreboard.
The running game wasn’t much help, unfortunately. What Ohio State couldn’t do on offense, they made up for on defense by shutting down MSU’s rushing attack. The Spartans generated only 74 yards rushing. Le’Veon Bell led the team with 49 yards on 14 carries. Edwin Baker added 37 yards on 12 rushes.
Michigan State lost its chance to become the first team to shut out Ohio State since 1993 when Bauserman hit Evan Spencer for a 33-yard touchdown with 10 seconds remaining in the game. The Buckeyes attempted an onside kick after the score, but it was recovered by MSU.
Though this hardly looks to be a typically strong Ohio State team, a win in Columbus is big for Michigan State and it was surely meaningful for Mark Dantonio, who was the Buckeyes’ defensive coordinator from 2001-03. Beating one of the Big Ten’s traditional powers is an excellent way to begin conference play, especially with upcoming games against Michigan, Wisconsin and Nebraska over the next four weeks.
The Spartans are off next week before hosting Michigan on Oct. 15 and trying for a fourth straight win over the Wolverines.