Michigan State has had two weeks to get over a heartbreaking loss in Ann Arbor.
Ohio State is fresh off a physically grueling defeat at Penn State.
The Big Ten rivals will be looking to get back in the win column and maintain their respective spots in the national rankings when the 16th-ranked Spartans visit the No. 10 Buckeyes.
John Goss just missed a potential game-winning 37-yard field goal in overtime on Oct. 1, leaving the Spartans (4-1, 1-1 Big Ten) with a 34-31 loss to archrival Michigan and knocking them from the ranks of the undefeated.
“I have no excuses for how I did,” said an emotional Goss, who also missed a 23-yard kick in the fourth quarter. “I feel bad for letting my teammates down.”
Michigan State quarterback Drew Stanton completed 20 of 30 passes for 282 yards with a touchdown and an interception as the Spartans’ Big Ten-leading offense continued to produce, racking up 488 total yards.
Michigan State leads the conference in rushing, passing, scoring and total offense, but is ranked just seventh in scoring defense.
“It hurts, it hurts real bad, and it should hurt,” Michigan State coach John L. Smith said. “I hope the players feel it and I hope they don’t forget the feeling. It’s tough, but we’ll bounce back.”
The Buckeyes (3-2, 1-1), on the other hand, own the best defense in the conference, allowing just 13.6 points and 238 yards per game, but their anemic offense was unable to get the job done in Saturday’s 17-10 setback to resurgent Penn State.
“Well, we got behind in the count and allowed them to pin their ears back and they did a good job with that,” Ohio State coach Jim Tressel said. “When you’re behind the count against a veteran secondary and a veteran front, you give them a better chance.”
Tressel knows his defense will be put to the test Saturday as the Spartans come in averaging 560 yards and 46 points per game.
“Michigan State does a great job in a lot of phases,” he said. “You know, I think the heartbeat, in some ways, of our group is that quarterback Stanton does a great job throwing the ball and an excellent job running the football. He has a great grasp of what they’re trying to accomplish.”
Spartans defensive end Clifton Ryan is glad the Spartans had an extra week to prepare for the Buckeyes.
“It’s a good thing because we can look back at our first half of the season and see what we’re doing well and see what we need to improve on,” he said. “We can get guys rested up.”
Ohio State leads the all-time series 23-12, and has won 12 of the 19 games played in Columbus.
The Buckeyes have won three in a row in the series overall, including a 32-19 victory last year in East Lansing.
Michigan State’s last win in Columbus was a 28-24 victory in 1998.