The B1G title game will between Michigan’s two main conference rivals. Sparty and the Buckeyes will face off with one trying to win its first outright B1G title in 20 plus years and the other trying to go to 25-0 and off to Pasadena to play for the National Title.
As a Michigan fan this annoys me to no end. However, as a college football fan it is a fantastic matchup and one with some recent history. As Ramzy at Eleven Warriors pointed out this week, it was in 1998 that an unbeaten Ohio State team lost to MSU in the very first season of the BCS. With the BCS ending this year the Spartan’s have a chance to repeat history and spoil the Buckeyes chance at a National Championship.
I figured there is no better time than now to take a look back at that game. Major differences between then and now is the 1998 game was in the Horseshoe and a regular season game since there was no B1G title game until two years ago. Also this particular MSU team, although coached by Nick Saban, wasn’t very good. Lets take a look at just how this Buckeyes team was upset by Sparty on that day…
Who and When: MSU at #1OSU November 7th 1998 330pm
Announcers: Brent Musburger and Gary Danielson (Neither will be doing the game Saturday)
The Situation: Ohio State was ranked number one in the country and had steamrolled the majority of their schedule. They had wins over ranked WVU, Missouri and Penn State. The only thing that seemed to be in their way of an unbeaten season was Michigan who had upset three unbeaten OSU teams already that decade. Something weird happened though as it was MSU who would show up three weeks prior and actually take them to the brink of disaster.
MSU: QB Bill Burke, RB Sedrick Irvin, WR Plaxico Burress, DLs Dimitrius Underwood and Julian Peterson, DB Renaldo Hill
OSU: QB Joe Germaine, RB Joe Montgomery, WRs David Boston and Dee Miller, LB Andy Katzenmoyer, DBs Antoine Winfield and Nate Clements
The Game: I couldn’t find a highlights with OSU plays so this is a Pro-MSU one. I am sorry for those that want to see Dee Miller highlights
:03: YOU ARE LOOKING LIVE
:17: Not sure which I am more excited to see Jack Arute or John Cooper
:45-1:00: Three MSU field goals. They were down as much as 24-9 in the 3rd Q.
1:38: A fumble on a punt sparks a comeback
1:56: TD Sparty but a failed attempt to go for 2. 24-15 in the 3Q
2:30: Another fumble by OSU as they are starting to crack. Leads to MSU field goal 24-18.
3:27: MSU takes the lead for the first time in the 2nd half on a Irvin TD run 25-24 MSU
4:15: Another fumble by OSU, Germain and company are melting down. Leads to another field goal 28-24 MSU in the 4th Q.
5:10: OSU stuffed on 4th and 1. Running out of time
5:40: Last chance for OSU on 4th down and Germaine throws a pick to Renaldo Hill. Game over, unbeaten season over.
6:40: Nick Saban looks genuinely happy. That is weird.
Fallout from the game: Another unbeaten John Cooper team went down only this time it was to the Spartans and not the Wolverines. OSU would still go on to win out, including beating Michigan but did not get to go to the Rose Bowl. Wisconsin, who they did not play, went on to Pasadena instead. OSU went on to beat Texas A&M in the Sugar Bowl.
MSU would go on to lose two more times and finish the season 6-6 and not go to a bowl game. Clearly this was a major upset and one of Saban’s best individual games he coached. Saban would spend one more season in East Lansing before moving to LSU and the SEC.