With the start of Big Ten Play, the dress rehearsals for the Spartan Offense were over, and they had a big test with the undefeated Buckeye defense.
"They have a solid front four and good defensive line, they're going to cause a lot of people problems," MSU QB Andrew Maxwell said post-game.
Maxwell was hurried early and often in Saturday's 17-16 loss. Maxwell ended the day going 10-22 for 269 yards and a touchdown.
The MSU coaches believe their quarterback is improving.
"I thought he really made some good decisions today and threw the ball effectively," MSU Offensive Coordinator Dan Roushar said. "I think every snap he takes he's going to get better, and we have to get better around him."
The receivers seemed to improve Saturday. Keith Mumphrey had five receptions for 79 yards and a touchdown. Tony Lippett made four grabs for 46 yards.
"I thought Andrew Maxwell played well enough to win the game," Head Coach Mark Dantonio said. "I thought Mumphrey played great. That run he made for the touchdown, he caught the ball better, I think Lippett caught the ball better."
Still, big plays are a hot commodity for the Spartan offense. But, the Green and White believe that will come if they stay committed to the run, especially since they've got the best running back in the Big Ten.
"We're going to continue to improve and get ready for next week," MSU Running back Le'Veon Bell said.
"It's a disappointing loss, but we had guys make improvements that will help us win," Roushar said.
Dantonio and the players said the good news is their goals are still in tact, i.e. they can still win their division, and still make it to Pasadena.
MSU travels to Indiana next week.