Urban Meyer and Ohio State’s 24 game winning streak came to and end in Indianapolis on Saturday night with a 34-24 loss to Michigan State. The win caps off a dream season for the Spartans, sending them to their first Rose Bowl since 1988. The loss leaves Ohio State looking back at a 24 game win streak that is now in the past and ends without a BCS title or a Big Ten title.
The Spartans opened the game with a 14 play drive aided by two Buckeye pass interference penalties that led to a 40 yard a field goal. Then the Spartans defense took the field and looked as advertised, forcing OSU punts on the game’s first three possessions. The Michigan State defense keyed in early on Braxton Miller, giving him little room to run the football. While Miller was bottled up early, Michigan State sophomore quarterback Connor Cook let it all hang out. Cook found Keith Mumphrey behind the OSU defense for a 72 yard touchdown to give the Spartans a 10-0 lead and then hit Tony Lippet for 33 yard touchdown to stretch the Spartans lead to 17-0 early in the second quarter.
Trailing 17-0 Braxton and Buckeye offense finally got it going, moving 84 yards on a quick 2:35 drive, capped off by a 20 yard passing score to Philly Brown. Brown got behind the Spartan defense up the seam as Miller put the ball high, back shoulder for Brown to go up and make the catch for the score.
Both defenses then locked in until the Buckeyes got the ball back at their own 36 with 1:23 remaining in the half. After a Miller and a Carlos Hyde run, the Buckeyes had the ball into Michigan State territory at the Spartans 47 with just 13 seconds remaining. Miller then connected with tight end Jeff Heuerman for a 36 yard game down to the Spartans’ 11 yard line. The Buckeyes hurried to the line and spiked the ball with 7 seconds left in the half to set up a much needed Drew Basil 28 yard field goal to cut the Spartan lead to 17-10 at the half.
The OSU offense started the second half getting their running game on track, gashing the Spartans offense for 59 yards on the drive, including an 8 yard Miller touchdown run that knotted the score at 17-17 early into the third quarter.
The next drive saw Connor Cook intercepted by the Buckeyes’ C.J. Barnett. The turnover didn’t amount to points for the Buckeyes, but flipped field position. Both teams would then traded punts with OSU getting the ball at the Spartan 44 yard line. Ohio State capitalized on the great field position and marched in to take their first lead of the game 24-17 on a 6 yard Braxton Miller run with 5:36 remaining in the 3rd quarter.
Michigan State was able to answer the Buckeyes’ score with a 44 yard field goal to bring the game to 24-20 heading into the 4th quarter.
Cook then led the Spartans down the field on a 90 yard drive sparked by a 48 yard pass to Macgarrett Kings Jr. and a crucial pass interference by OSU’s Doran Grant. Three plays later Cook would find Josiah Price for a 9 yard touchdown to give Sparty a 27-24 lead.
Michigan State then attempted an onside kick of sorts that the Buckeyes recovered on their own 41. Sparty would force the Buckeyes three and out, which was followed by the Ohio State’s defense holding serve forcing MSU into a punting situation. While punting from inside their own 25 yard line, Michigan State had the punt blocked by Ryan Shazier who came full force into the Spartan wall of protectors, bulldozed his man, and got a hand on the punt that gave the Buckeyes the ball back at the MSU 47 yard line.
But the Spartans defense were up to the task stopping the Buckeyes on three straight before Urban Meyer elected to go for it on 4th and 2 at the MSU 39 yard line. On fourth down the Buckeyes ran Miller around right end, but he was never able to get the edge and brought down a yard shy of the marker.
Michigan State took over the ball on their own 38 yard line with 5:41 to play and needing to bleed out the clock for a trip to Pasadena. Connor Cook completed a crucial 3rd and 4 with a five yard pass to Tony Lippet at the OSU 34 yard line to put Sparty fully in the driver’s seat. After a Jerry Langford 8 yard run, Langford broke off a 26 yard touchdown run to give the Spartans a 34-24 lead and lock up a Big Ten title.
With the win Michigan State heads to Pasadena to represent the Big Ten in the Rose Bowl against Pac 12 champion Stanford.
The loss for Ohio State snaps a 24 game winning streak and knocks them out of contention for a berth in the BCS National Championship game. Ohio State will more than likely receive an at large bid to a BCS bowl game to be announced on Sunday night.
[Photo: Mike Mulholland/MLive.com]