Nov. 11, 1972

Each week, Gameday+ takes a look at an Ohio State game played on this date:

Michigan State 19, Ohio State 12

Setup: This might sound familiar: A top-five Ohio State team featuring a talented freshman running back goes on the road against a middling Big Ten team. The Buckeyes clearly are the more talented team and forge a second-quarter tie, but they ultimately are undone by committing turnovers while forcing none. Afterward, fans are so happy they storm the field. This was no 55-24 beatdown such as Iowa dropped on OSU a week ago, but the sting was no less painful 45 years ago when Michigan State pulled an upset of the previously unbeaten Buckeyes.

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Stars: Michigan State and outgoing coach Duffy Daugherty force-fed the Buckeyes a dose of their own medicine. The Spartans doubled Ohio State in yardage, 356-176, and ran 81 plays to OSU’s 57. Quarterback Mark Niesen had the Spartans’ only touchdown and 83 yards on the ground. MSU’s Dirk Krijt, a transfer student from the Netherlands, kicked four field goals in his first varsity game. Archie Griffin, Ohio State’s star freshman, was limited to 42 yards on 11 carries.

Turning point: In a 12-12 game in the third quarter, the Spartans turned over the ball on downs deep in OSU territory, but two plays later, they pounced on a fumble by Elmer Lippert at the OSU 5-yard line, one of five Ohio State turnovers. On second down from the 6, Niesen stumbled into the end zone. The Buckeyes crossed midfield only once the rest of the game, never a threat to score.

Impact: For one thing, Buckeye leaves were not awarded after the loss, so helmets went unadorned for a week. But the East Lansing stumble did not prevent Ohio State from reaching the Rose Bowl. The Buckeyes beat Northwestern on the road, then edged Michigan 14-11 in the regular-season finale to qualify for the first of four straight Rose Bowls.

Quotable: “In football, we like to give credit to those who achieve. But we didn’t achieve very much last week.” — coach Woody Hayes, explaining why the sticky leaves stayed in the box

— Ray Stein /