The Spartans of Michigan State: Know Your Opponent

Thanks for once again returning for another installment of Know Your Opponent, the internet’s premier destination for Ohio State Buckeyes football analysis. Scroll down for everything you need to be an informed viewer of OSU football: bad jokes, dirty limericks, blatant copyright infringement, and hackneyed takes of all temperature levels. This week – The Spartans of the University of Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan!

You knew it was coming – read here for details on Sparty, Mark Dantonio, Spartan traditions, and a full list of famous alumni. We’ll cover the new stuff this week below.  

Hype Video Hors D’oevre

Stats per

YPG 105th

PPG 110th

YPGA 22nd

PPGA 14th

Michigan State is a very stout defensive powerhouse, as usual, but what these numbers don’t show is that they are ranked #1 in rush defense with less than 75 yards allowed on average. Looks like the Buckeyes’ newly discovered ground game will be put to the immediate test. Good thing we’re a pass-first team this season, which is somehow offensive to many Ohio State fans. Personally, I have zero allegiance to a style of play. I just want victory baby, and I don’t care how I get it.

Record 6-3, 3rd in B1G East

Utah St., W 38 – 31

@ Arizona St., L 13 – 16

@ Indiana, W 35 – 21

Central Mich., W 31 – 20

Northwestern, L 19 – 29

@ Penn St., W 21 – 17

Michigan, L 7 – 21

Purdue, W 23 – 13

@ Maryland, W 24 – 3

Coach – Mark Dantonio


Mascot – Sparty

Look, he’s dressed as a Roman Legionnaire, not a Spartan, but expecting Michigan people to understand a simple thing like accurate mascot clothing is like expecting your dog to clean up its own shit with anything but its mouth. They are just not capable.

Craven Alumni Creature Feature – Larry Nassar

Come on folks, did you really think this one was going to slip by? I’m leery of diving in too deep on the heinous crimes of former MSU athletics and USA Gymnastics physician Larry Nassar as they are truly disgusting, and if you have not heard about them by now, you are lucky, and also why are you reading this? Get off the internet ASAP and return to your healthy, normal life!

Nassar perpetrated a decades-long campaign of molestation upon hundreds of children at both USA Gymnastics camps and MSU, using his position of authority as cover for his crimes. In January, he was sentenced to 80-300 years in prison for 10 counts of sexual assault of minors but is thought to have victimized over 300 at MSU alone. His crimes sparked over 150 lawsuits against him, MSU, and USA Gymnastics. To settle their lawsuits, MSU has agreed to pay $500 million to 332 of his alleged victims at the school.

In August, it was revealed that Nassar was physically assaulted immediately upon being placed in general population at a federal prison in Arizona, requiring his segregation and ultimate transfer to a kinder, gentler facility. I’m one who generally finds the conditions in American prisons to be an indictment on us all and that the entire system is in need of massive reform, if not abolition, but the whole “child molesters are not safe in gen-pop” situation strikes me as just about right.

This is where I would usually dive into how Nassar’s crimes reflect something inherently nefarious about Michigan State, like he was just trying to be the best at something, no matter how grotesque, because he worked at a second-rate university that’s constantly trying to find national relevance in the shadow of its big-footed in-state rival, and has only served to ruin the seasons of actually talented B1G teams, never accomplishing anything worthwhile itself, like how Nassar ruined the lives of countless young people as opposed to doing literally anything else across decades. But I will refrain from making that comparison this week because this topic is nothing to joke around about.

Spartans in the NFL

Brian Allen, C, Los Angeles Rams

Le’Veon Bell, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers

Riley Bullough, LB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Shilique Calhoun, LB, Oakland Raiders

Garrett Celek, TE, San Francisco 49ers

Jack Conklin, OT, Tennessee Titans

Kirk Cousins, QB, Minnesota Vikings

Darqueze Dennard, CB, Cincinnati Bengals

Bennie Fowler, WR, New York Giants

William Gholston, DE, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Joel Heath, DE, Houston Texans

Brian Hoyer, QB, New England Patriots

Tony Lippett, CB, New York Giants

Montae Nicholson, S, Washington Redskins

Domata Peko Sr., DT, Denver Broncos

Josiah Price, TE, Minnesota Vikings

Dion Sims, TE, Chicago Bears

Drew Stanton, QB, Cleveland Browns

Lawrence Thomas, FB, New York Jets

Trae Waynes, CB, Minnesota Vikings

Alright, Cleveland’s own…….Drew Stanton! *checks notes* I see here he was Carson Palmer’s backup for years in Arizona, and given Palmer’s injury history actually saw some playing time in critical playoff situations, to the Cardinals’ detriment. Last year, before Connor Cook was finally shitcanned, every single MSU quarterback since 2003 was on an NFL roster, with only Kirk Cousins as a starter. I believe we all remember Cleveland native Brian Hoyer’s magical time on the Browns as a seat warmer for Johnny Manziel, at this point just another line item on the endless list of comical and depressing Browns screwups since 1999.

Ah yes, Le’Veon Bell. If there ever was a player who made it almost impossible for me to reconcile my ethics and morals with my NFL fandom, it is him. I was 30 seconds late logging into my fantasy draft this year and the algorithm drafted Bell over Todd Gurley, squandering my one shot at #1 overall, which makes me the Cleveland Browns of my league. Of course, I morally support his decision to do whatever he feels is best for his career, but I also really would have loved to have a playable fucking running back at #1 overall, you know? I packaged him in a trade for David Johnson, so it wasn’t a total waste, but I’ve got $50.00 sunk into this league that looks like it’s already been wasted, morals and ethics and free will be damned.

Key Players

Justin Layne, CB, Cleveland, Ohio / Benedictine

Xavier Henderson, S, Reynoldsburg, Ohio / Pickerington Central

LJ Scott, RB, Youngstown, Ohio / Hubbard

Matt Coghlin, K, Cincinnati, Ohio / Archbishop Moeller

Andrew Dowell, LB, North Ridgeville, Ohio / St. Edward

David Dowell, S, North Ridgeville, Ohio / St. Edward

Michael Dowell, S, North Ridgeville, Ohio / St. Edward

Dominique Long, S, Westerville, Ohio / Westerville South

Chase Kline, LB, Chardon, Ohio / Chardon

Josiah Scott, CB, Hamilton, Ohio / Fairfield

Jake Hartbarger, P, Waterville, Ohio / Anthony Wayne

Weston Bridges, RB, Akron, Ohio / Copley

Edward Warinner, LB, Powell, Ohio / Olentangy Liberty

Collin Lucas, FB, Avon Lake, Ohio / Avon Lake

Zach Slade, DE, Lewis Center, Ohio / Lewis Center

Matt Carrick, OG, Minerva, Ohio / Perry

Luke Campbell, OT, Lewis Center, Ohio / Olentangy

Noah Listermann, OL, Cincinnati, Ohio / Winton Woods

Jacob Slade, DT, Lewis Center, Ohio / Lewis Center

AJ Arcuri, OT, Powell, Ohio / Olentangy Liberty

Javez Alexander, WR, Sandusky, Ohio / Sandusky

Noah Davis, TE, Cincinnati, Ohio / St. Xavier

Trenton Gillison, TE, Pickerington, Ohio / Pickerington Central

Matt Dotson, TE, Kenwood, Ohio / Archbishop Moeller

DeAri Todd, DE, Lorain, Ohio / Clearview

Justice Alexander, DE, Macedonia, Ohio / Nordonia

I included these players’ hometowns and high schools as much has been made over the years how Michigan State cleans up recruiting in Ohio after Ohio State has come through, and while it’s certainly a factor in how they play us, I don’t put as much stock in it as whatever announcing crew the Buckeyes happen to draw. You hear it every game; in fact, the only storyline more hyped during the Purdue game than the craven exploitation of a dying young man was that one defender from the Columbus area who picked off Haskins at the end. “He sure has something to prove tonight to the Buckeyes, his childhood team who didn’t make him an offer. Think he’s motivated? Har har har!” That’s the nature of the beast, being fans of the powerhouse school in the only northern state to produce recruits at a level commensurate to a southern state – your team ends up playing a lot of hometown boys on rival squads. I just wish I didn’t have to hear about it between every play.  


That Nebraska game….at this point I just want wins and don’t care how they happen. Let’s leave it there. As for this week, MSU does have the #1 rush defense in the country, but Michigan beat them with the 30th rush offense. We’re at 55th, even after putting up nothing for most of the season. Factor in our #3 passing offense, and I think we have a fighting chance. Our defense has been widely suspect this season, as you well know, but MSU’s offense is bottom third. I think we have the edge. All this math horseshit doesn’t mean a thing in a single game, and it’s at Spartan Stadium, but if the Buckeyes continue to pass well, get some runs going, don’t turn the ball over, and limit crazy big plays on defense, we’ll get the win. Seems so easy, right? So easy why didn’t the team just do that already? I know – give me a job, Urban!

So, after all that prevaricating, I predict the Buckeyes win, 28-21, in another ugly but ultimately triumphant performance by our boys in Scarlet and Gray. See you here next week for Maryland, a veritable Pandora’s Box of dysfunction and death, so don’t miss out!