The Michigan State football team continued its woes against ranked opponents this season as the Spartans fell to Ohio State in crushing fashion, losing 38-3 Saturday night.
MSU has now been outscored 128-10 against the three ranked teams they have faced this year. There has been no sign of improvement in big games, and against the Buckeyes was no different.
“Our third top ten team that we’ve played this year, and I was out there and I was like you know, we got a ways to go,” Interim head coach Harlon Barnett said. “We got a little ways to go, regardless of all the adversity and all that. You see what teams in the top ten, what they look like, how they play.”
The score got out of hand quickly as Ohio State took a 35-3 lead into halftime. Led under center primarily by redshirt freshman quarterback Katin Houser, Michigan State’s offense failed to generate hardly any offense downfield, a trend that has been evident in many games this season. Houser completed 12 passes on 24 attempts for just 92 yards.
Freshman quarterback Sam Leavitt has seen extended amounts of action in the past four games, but didn’t take snaps against the Buckeyes. Leavitt didn’t check into the game against Ohio State however, and the only quarterback that took snaps behind Houser was redshirt junior quarterback Andrew Schorfhaar.
“Right now we’re looking to go with Katin all the way,” Barnett said. “Sam was trying to preserve the redshirt. Not something major happens, you know what I mean, but that’s what we’re trying to do.”
Regardless of the quarterback decisions, MSU’s offense couldn’t move the ball and that has been a theme for a good portion of the team’s games this season. The Spartans only gained 182 yards compared to Ohio State’s 530.
On the defensive side of the ball, there wasn’t much positive to take away either. Michigan State suffered a blow before the game as sophomore defensive back Dillon Tatum was ruled out due to injury, leaving the secondary room very thin. Barnett later added that Tatum’s injury will rule him out for the rest of the season, leaving the Spartans with less flexibility in the passing game on defense.
As a result, MSU struggled arguably the most dominant wideout in all of college football this season, Buckeye junior wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr.. Harrison Jr. torched the Spartans’ secondary, catching seven passes for 149 yards and two touchdowns, including a third touchdown that came on the ground from a jet sweep that fooled the defense for the first score of the game.
Injuries haven’t helped Michigan State all year long, but the experience of the roster is changing each week. The loss against the Buckeyes marks the Spartans’ seventh, likely eliminating the team from bowl game contention as well.
“Guys should go out there and compete and try to get better,” Barnett said. “Throughout the course of the week in practice, and then we go out there and play Indiana and Penn State. So now you're competing and you're contending for personal pride, just pride in your performance.”
MSU will have one more chance against a top ten opponent this season, facing No. 10 ranked Penn State on Nov. 24.
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