Spartans Beat Buckeyes 10-7

Go Buckeyes!

Go Buckeyes!

Ohio State 7 (3-2; 0-1 Big Ten), RV/No. 25 Michigan State 10 (4-1; 1-0 Big Ten)
Oct. 1, 2011
Ohio Stadium
Columbus, Ohio
Attendance: 105,306

COLUMBUS, Ohio - No. 25 Michigan State withstood a late rally from the Buckeyes to escape Ohio Stadium with a 10-7 win Saturday in the conference opener for both teams.

A Big Ten defensive battle was witnessed by 105,306 fans at Ohio Stadium as the Spartans (4-1, 1-0 Big Ten) and their aggressive, blitzing defense limited the Buckeye offense to 178 total yards and sacked the OSU quarterbacks nine times on the day. Ohio State (3-2, 0-1 Big Ten) countered with an inspired defensive performance of its own, forcing three Spartan turnovers while repeatedly rising to the occasion with their backs to the wall.

Despite the best efforts of the OSU defense, the Scarlet and Gray failed to sustain a consistent offensive attack. The Spartans stuffed the Buckeyes on the ground, holding Ohio State to 35 yards on 39 attempts, while freshman Braxton Miller (5 of 10) and senior Joe Bauserman (7 of 14) combined for only 143 yards passing.



Michigan State never trailed, jumping out to an early first quarter lead as Kirk Cousins and B.J. Cunningham connected from 33 yards at the 7:44 mark for a 7-0 advantage.

Ohio State mounted its first significant drive of the game on its first possession of the second quarter. Miller hit sophomore wide receiver Chris Fields for a 33 yard gain to the Spartan 33, but an interception by MSU defensive back Darqueze Dennard squashed the Buckeye threat.

MSU threatened late in the second, but once again came away empty handed. With a first and 10 at the OSU25, Cousins mishandled a ball that sophomore defensive lineman Johnathan Hankins recovered for the Buckeyes at the 38.

The Spartans advanced the ball to the Buckeye 31-yard line on its second drive of the third quarter but stalled once again. In an attempt to extend the lead to two possessions, Dan Conway fell short from 51 yards.

MSU appeared to break the game open near the end of the third. Facing a third and 6 at their own 31-yard line, Cousins found a wide open Cunningham for 52 yards to the Ohio State 17. After Edwin Baker gave the Spartans a first and goal at the Buckeye 5, the Silver Bullets held on three-consecutive plays to set up a fourth down early in the fourth quarter. On the following play, sophomore defensive back Bradley Roby tipped a Cousins' fade pass to Cunningham that C.J. Barnett intercepted in the endzone.

Bauserman entered the game on the following series but was unable to generate any offense, going three-and-out. Michigan State would add a Conway field goal from 50 yards on the next possession to extend its lead to 10.

An interception by Roby at the Ohio State 24 kept the Buckeyes alive with just over four minutes to play. After the teams traded possessions, Bauserman found freshman wide receiver Evan Spencer open in the middle of the field for a 33-yard TD, making the score 10-7 with 10 seconds remaining on the clock. MSU would recover the ensuing onside kick to close the game.


  • Ohio State is 70-24-4 in conference openers since joining the Big Ten in 1913.
  • Ohio State is 55-6 at Ohio Stadium since the start of the 2002 season.
  • Ohio State has 822 wins all-time, the fifth-most among FBS teams.


  • Ohio State fell to 27-13 all-time against Michigan State.
  • Prior to today, Ohio State won the last meeting with the Spartans, 45-7, Oct. 18, 2008 in East Lansing.


  • Evan Spencer's 33-yard touchdown reception from Joe Bauserman in the fourth quarter tied his career high for longest reception. It was Spencer's first career touchdown.
  • Braxton Miller's 33-yard completion to Chris Fields in the second quarter tied a career long. The reception marked a career long for Fields.
  • Fields' 45 receiving yards marked a career high.


  • Ben Buchanan's 10 punts set a career high.


  • Since the beginning of the 2005 season, the Ohio State defense has allowed only 10 100-yard rushers during a span of 81 games and only six since the start of the 2007 season. Both of those marks are the third best among FBS schools during those spans.
  • OSU has surrendered 128 TDs in 81 games since 2005, the fewest in the FBS in this span. TCU is second with 133 allowed in this span.
  • Ohio State held Michigan State to 3-of-14 on third down conversions.
  • Sophomore free safety CJ Barnett claimed a huge interception in the Buckeyes' end zone on a fade attempt by MSU quarterback Kirk Cousins with 14:09 remaining in the fourth quarter. Barnett and Bradley Roby each have two of the Buckeyes' six picks this season.
  • Junior defensive back Travis Howard and senior linebacker Andrew Sweat led the team with a career high 10 tackles each vs. Michigan State.
  • The Buckeyes forced the first turnover of the game with 50 seconds remaining in the second quarter. Sophomore defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins claimed his first career fumble recovery following a fumble by MSU quarterback Kirk Cousins. Hankins notched a career-high six tackles.
  • Since the opening MSU touchdown in the first quarter, the next seven Spartan drives ended on three punts, a fumble, turnover on downs and a missed field goal.
  • The Silver Bullet Defense forced four three-and-outs and claimed two turnovers against the Spartans
  • Sophomore defensive back Christian Bryant notched a career high nine tackles marking the second-consecutive week the Buckeye has had top career performances.
  • Ohio State has only allowed three touchdowns in the second half through the first five games.
  • The Scarlet and Gray have held 67 opponents to 21 points or fewer since the start of the 2005 season - tied with TCU for the most among FBS schools.
  • The Buckeyes have allowed 120 touchdowns from scrimmage since the start of the 2005 campaign - the fewest in the nation among FBS schools in that span.