Buckeyes hold on against MSU 17-16Published 9:56am Sunday, September 30, 2012
EAST LANSING – Saturday marked the opening day for conference play in the Big Ten and the marquee match-up was the No. 20 Michigan State Spartans against the No. 14 Ohio State Buckeyes.
The showdown certainly lived up to its billing with Ohio State getting a thrilling 17-16 victory in Spartan Stadium.
In the end, the game played out as most people predicted, a low scoring defensive confrontation that was decided by less than a touchdown.
For their part, the Buckeyes wasted very little time getting things started offensively. They drove 75-yards in just under three minutes and using only eight-plays that resulted in a one-yard Jordan Hall touchdown run and a 7-0 lead for the OSU.
The Spartans would respond with a scoring opening drive of their own driving the ball 50-yards and ending with a 34-yard Dan Conroy Field goal.
Both defenses would end up taking over the remainder the half as neither team scored again until Conroy knocked home an impressive 50-yard field goal at the 11:00 mark in the third quarter.
After a 26-yard field goal from Buckeye kicker Drew Basil made the score 10-6 in favor of the Buckeyes, what had been a stout defensive battle suddenly saw both sides’ trade touchdowns on long passing plays.
First, embattled Spartan quarterback Andrew Maxwell hit Keith Mumphery on a 5-yard out route which Mumphery took another 24-yards while dragging nearly the entire OSU secondary with him into the end zone.
Shortly thereafter, Buckeye quarterback Braxton Miller found a wide open Devin Smith for a 63-yard touchdown strike to put OSU back on top 17-13 heading into the final quarter.
Up by four points and moving the ball with relative ease midway through the fourth, it seemed as if Ohio State was poised to put the dagger in the Spartans’ game hopes.
However, after an official review showed that Miller fumbled away the ball deep in MSU territory and a defensive holding penalty on fourth down kept the ensuing Spartan drive alive, Conroy added his third field goal of the day, this one from 48-yards out, drawing State to within one with seven minutes left in the game.
Ultimately, it came down to whether or not Michigan State’s offense could make the big play it had been lacking and put together a game-winning drive with three minutes left in the game.
Unfortunately for the Spartans, there season long struggle on offense continued as they were forced to punt, giving the Buckeyes the opportunity to procure one first down and the win, which they did.
Miller’s 305-yards of total offense, which consisted of 136 yards on the ground and 179 yards and one touchdown through the air was the primary driving force behind Ohio State’s offense.
Although Maxwell had a superb performance himself, going 22-of-42 for 269 yards with a touchdown for the Spartans, the Buckeyes crippled MSU’s offense by limiting running back Le’Veon Bell to just 45 yards on the ground.
Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio said he was proud of his team’s effort and was still positive that big things could still be in store for the Spartans this season.
“I liked our effort and thought we performed better in some situations. But credit Ohio State. Whenever they needed a play they made it,” he said. “We have to remember that our goals are still right in front of us. We can still win the Legends division, go to the Big Ten championship game and possibly beyond.”
That quest will begin next Saturday as the Spartans head to Bloomington to take on the Hoosiers.
Ohio State 7 0 10 0 – 17
Michigan State 3 0 10 – 3
OSU – Jordan Hall 1 run (Drew Basil kick)
MSU – Dan Conroy 34 field goal
MSU – Conroy 50 field goal
OSU – Basil 26 field goal
MSU – Keith Mumphrey 29 pass from Andrew Maxwell (Conroy kick)
OSU – Devin Smith 63 pass from Braxton Miller (Basil kick)
MSU – Conroy 48 field goal