Ohio State vs. Michigan State: Buckeyes Hold Off Spartans in Close Win

Steven Gerwel@Steve_GerFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 29, 2012

In one of the key matchups of the afternoon, No. 14 Ohio State traveled to No. 20 Michigan State in a Big Ten showdown between two highly competitive teams. The Buckeyes were able to defend their perfect record in a 17-16 victory over the Spartans.

In the previous two weeks, Ohio State faced California and UAB and probably allowed those games to be closer than they should have been. As a result, it certainly needed a big win against a ranked team.

The Spartans suffered a 20-3 loss to Notre Dame two weeks ago and were hoping for an encouraging win in order to get their season on track, but they fell short.

We still need to see the Buckeyes against more legitimate opponents before any definite conclusions can be made, but they are certainly looking like a team that should be taken seriously.

It's a great start for Buckeyes and an amazing start for head coach Urban Meyer, who accomplished a rare feat, according to ESPN (via Twitter): 

Urban Meyer is trying to become 3rd Ohio State coach to start 5-0 in 1st season with Buckeyes (Carroll Widdoes, 1944, Earle Bruce, 1979)

— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) September 29, 2012


Braxton Miller Leads the Way Once Again

Quarterback Braxton Miller is one of the most dynamic players in all of college football and has been the key to Ohio State's offense, both through the air and on the ground.

Miller, sometimes an erratic passer, finished 16-of-23 for 179 yards and a touchdown, while he also coughed up one interception.

On the ground, Miller carried the ball 23 times for 136 yards, but the Spartans were able to keep him out of the end zone.

Entering today's game, Miller was responsible for 1,195 of the offense's 1,708 yards on the season.

While Miller is the star of the team, the Ohio State defense cannot be ignored.

Michigan State quarterback Andrew Maxwell was able to gain 269 yards through the air, but the Buckeyes defense held the Spartans to a pathetically low rushing total of just 34 yards.

It's difficult for any team to win when it cannot consistently move the chains.

So while Miller is key, the Buckeyes have been a very solid defensive team in 2012, at least at times.

Up next, the Buckeyes will take on No. 22 Nebraska in another Big Ten matchup, while Michigan State will take on Indiana.