COLUMBUS – On a cold and rainy night down in the Horseshoe, another Ohio State Buckeyes win-streak would come to an end at the hands of a Michigan team.
No, not the much-hated school from Ann Arbor, but the OTHER green-and-white wearing school from East Lansing in the Michigan State Spartans.
One would figure that a 14-point underdog sans it’s starting quarterback—and native Ohioan in Connor Cook—and going with two backup QB’s in Tyler O’Connor and Damion Terry on the road inside the champions den, that it would be a walk in the park right?
Clearly, Sparty had other ideas.
While Ohio State-Michigan State isn’t the end-all, be-all rivalry game that Ohio State and That team Up North is, after defeating the No.2 Buckeyes, 17-14 all but ending Ohio State’s chances of defending their national title, it may be time to give Sparty their due and consider them a new rival, as they proven to be both Ohio State’s and Urban Meyer’s nemesis.
It is common knowledge that Michigan has written the book on spoiling undefeated Ohio State season of years past. Clearly, Michigan state has ripped a couple of pages from it in doing so again Saturday night.
While Meyer’s record of 48-4 is both mind-boggling and impressive, two of those four losses have come at the hands of current Michigan State head coach and former Buckeyes defensive coordinator Mark Dantonio.
Whatever hex that Dantonio has over Meyer worked to perfection again, as Michigan State took away the inside zone-read threat of J.T. Barrett and the now-leaving Ezekiel Elliott, who streak of 15 straight, 100-yard games came to a green and white screeching halt, as he finished with 33 yards on 12 carries. Even more impressive was the high-powered Buckeye offense being held in check to the tune of 132 total yards.
Barrett or Jones, it wouldn’t have mattered on this night as the Buckeyes never seemed to find their proverbial footing against a motivated and driven Spartans team, determined to prove doubters wrong following their controversial loss in Lincoln.
One thing that has been clearly evident since the start of this year is how much Ohio State misses Tom Herman—the current head coach of Houston—as the Buckeyes conservative play-calling left a lot to be desired.
On the banks of the Olentangy, and for the second time in two years, Sparty got the better of Brutus once again, all but extinguishing the much-gloried Buckeyes championship drams of glory.
Michigan State’s gritty impersonation of the rugged war-state of Sparta—just like they did 2,000 years ago in the Peloponnesian War—against Ohio State’s Athens, conquered them on their own gridiron with a relentless display of grit, determination and a ruthlessness that would have made the great Spartan admiral, Lysander proud.
One thing that was clear in the Horseshoe on Saturday is that this is Sparta’s time now.