After a week of hype and high expectations, the Spartans met their match and then some in Ohio State and impressive frosh quarterback, Terrelle Pryor.
Along with Chris "Beanie" Wells, Pryor and the Buckeyes stiff-armed and steamrolled through the Michigan State defense to open a 28-0 halftime lead. The damage came primarily via OSU's ground game. They amassed 158 yards on the ground after 30 minutes, compared to MSU's 33.
"Pryor played an excellent game," Spartan head coach Mark Dantonio said after the game. "I thought Wells was dominant."
A failure to produce offensively either through the air or on the ground kept the defense on the field for over 19 minutes in the first half. For the game, OSU held the ball for over 10 minutes more than the Spartans.
One bright spot appears to be good depth at quarterback.
In the second half, Kirk Cousins entered the game for Brian Hoyer, who injured his hand late in the first half. The backup QB was a breath of fresh air as he connected on 10 of his first 11 pass attempts and led MSU to its first touchdown of the afternoon.
"I think we're just pleased he was able to come in and do that," offensive coordinator Don Treadwell said. "As back-ups step in and perform well, that's a positive sign. We'll take that as a positive and move forward with it."
But don't expect any funny business at quarterback for Michigan State.
"Brian Hoyer is our quarterback," Dantonio stated. "There's no two-quarterback — there's no quarterback controversy here, he's our quarterback."
Dantonio allowed Hoyer back for a series in the fourth quarter because his senior signal caller convinced him to give it a try. But the risk was too great, Dantonio said, for a team with only two quarterbacks prepared for Big Ten competition.
In the end, the Buckeyes deserve their due for playing to their highest level.
"Give credit to Ohio State, they played an outstanding game," Dantonio said. "Things came together for them today. They had zero turnovers, I didn't see very many mistakes by them offensively or defensively. They tackled in space and they got the ball out."
But after a game like MSU put up against the Buckeyes, removing the bitter taste of defeat will provide an extra bit of incentive for a Spartan program still searching for a signature win under Dantonio. Winning in the Big House would do the trick.
"It's human nature to be down right now," Dantonio said. "You have 24 hours to get over it, move on and man up. We will do that."