Depending on your frame of mind, Michigan State’s 10-7 win in Columbus on Saturday was either a dominant defensive display in hostile territory or a lackluster performance by an underachieving offense against a probable Big Ten cellar-dweller. Either way, Sparty came away with its first victory against Ohio State since 1999.
With respect to the fact that Michigan State was in complete command of this game from the get-go, it is important to keep in mind that this was not your older brother’s Ohio State team. The hit the Buckeyes have taken from the "Tatoo Scandal" is reminiscent of the knockout punch Victor Ortiz took from Floyd Mayweather—neither was ready for it. Ohio State has basically hit the reset button and is in full-fledged rebuilding mode.
This would have been a landmark victory for the Spartans in 2009. In 2011, it really should not be looked at as anything more than a solid road win against a lower-tiered Big Ten opponent (expect the Buckeyes to finish with three conference wins or less).
While Michigan State can certainly rely on arguably one of the nation’s best defenses, there is room for improvement all over the field. The Ohio State game afforded a great look into where the Spartans are right now and where they need to be before taking on the 5-0 Michigan Wolverines in two weeks.