Ohio State vs. Michigan State - Famous College Rivalry

Ohio State vs. Michigan State - Famous College Rivalry

The Ohio State Buckeyes and the Michigan State Spartans have been engaged in one of college football’s greatest rivalries for decades. The two teams first met on the gridiron over a century ago, in 1912, and since then, their rivalry has become legendary.

Over the years, these two Big Ten teams have competed fiercely against each other, playing some of the most memorable games in college football history. Both teams are well known for their passionate fan bases that come out to support them at every game.

With so much history between these two storied programs, it is no wonder why this rivalry remains one of college football’s biggest draws today.

How It All Started

Early Roots

While the rivalry between OSU and MSU isn't quite as long-lasting or as well-known as the tension between Ohio State and the U of M (with that Ann Arbor-Columbus rivalry starting back in 1897), that doesn't mean the Spartans and the Buckeyes haven't had plenty of chances to duke it out on the field.

In their first meeting in late 1912, Ohio State shut down Michigan State with a score of 35-20, setting the tone for what would become an intense rivalry over the decades to come. While the Buckeyes joined the Big Ten that same year, while the Spartans didn't join the conference until 1949.


Joining the Big Ten

During the 39 years following that first match-up in 1912, MSU and OSU never crossed paths in a college football game. It was only after Michigan State joined the Big Ten that its rivalry with Ohio State began in earnest.

Two years after joining the conference, MSU defeated OSU 24-20 and followed that victory up with an even more one-sided 28-13 win in 1953. In the early years, the rivalry had a lot of back-and-forths, with OSU and MSU trading places for win and loss streaks, though Michigan State lost their first home game at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing to Ohio State as early as 1960.

Since 1951, there have been more than 50 meetings between these two teams, with Ohio State holding a decisive advantage in terms of overall wins.

Notable Games from Yesteryear

Throughout its history, this football rivalry has produced some incredibly memorable moments. In 1965, MSU beat out OSU with a 32-7 victory. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the closest victory the Spartans have eked out in an Ohio State Buckeyes matchup took place in a 17-14 game in 2015 (more on that game below!).

The year before, OSU had narrowly defeated MSU by a single point (final score: 17-16), thanks in large part to Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller throwing for almost 180 yards and running for nearly as much yardage.

The Ohio State vs. Michigan State rivalry is truly one for the ages and shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Every season brings about new storylines and matchups that make each game even more special than before - ensuring that fans on both sides will tune in every fall to witness yet another chapter written in this incredible rivalry's history.


Biggest Battles

1998 Match-Up

One of the most iconic games in the Ohio State vs. Michigan State football rivalry took place in 1998, when Coach Nick Saban's Spartans duked it out with the No. 1-ranked Buckeyes, who seemed on their way to the inaugural Bowl Championship Series. However, during a true nail-biter, OSU edged out MSU 28-24, denying the no-longer-invincible Buckeyes their opportunity to compete in the BCS National Championship Game.

2015 Match-Up

Another memorable battle between these two teams occurred in 2015, when they faced off in a match-up at Ohio Stadium. Despite the Buckeyes being undefeated at that time and ranked at No. 3 in the nation, the No. 9 Spartans defeated their long-time rivals 17-14 thanks to a last-minute field goal.

This upset victory allowed the Spartans to secure the Big Ten Conference title in 2015 (their third title within half a decade!) and eventually sent the team to the Fiesta Bowl, where they defeated Notre Dame in a decisive 44-28 game.

Meanwhile, the Buckeyes, who had been both the Big Ten Conference and the national championship winners the previous year, made it to the College Football Playoffs again in 2015 but ultimately were trounced in the semifinals in a 38-0 shutout by Alabama.

This impressive turnaround by MSU gave them clear bragging rights over their archrivals that had been long overdue, at least until they met up again in 2016.


What Sets This Rivalry Apart?

The Ohio State vs. Michigan State rivalry is one of the most exciting matchups in college football. What sets this particular rivalry apart from others is its long and storied history, as well as its passionate fan bases on both sides.

One of the most unique aspects of this rivalry is the fact that it has been so competitive over the years; while Ohio State holds a decisive advantage in terms of wins, there have still been some tremendously memorable games and back-and-forth exchanges of win streaks between these two teams.

The 1966 game between Woody Hayes' Buckeyes and Duffy Daugherty's Spartans stands out in particular. With both teams led by successful coaches who each had amassed multiple championships and, in Hayes' case, had also won numerous Big Ten conference titles, it was a match-up destined to be legendary. The competition was fierce, but the Spartans ultimately triumphed with an 11-8 win.

The intense atmosphere at each Buckeyes-Spartans game adds to the excitement for fans, making each year’s matchup something to look forward to no matter which team comes out on top.

When these two teams come together, it always produces an exciting contest that will go down as another entry into college football lore, one that will be remembered for years to come no matter which side ends up victorious.

Recent Rivalry Events

The Michigan State vs. Ohio State game rivalry is certainly one of the strongest and most intense in all of college football. In recent years, it has become increasingly dominated by the Buckeyes, who have won eight out of the last 10 meetings between these two teams.

This includes Ohio State's current streak of seven straight wins over Michigan State. The last major Buckeyes streak lasted from 2000-2008, which was finally snapped in 2011 when the Spartans pulled off a stunning 10-7 upset victory over their rivals.

Some of the most recent match-ups have been brutal losses for MSU, with the last three games ending in 20-49 (2022), 7-56 (2021), and 12-52 (2020) losses to OSU. In the history of the rivalry, the Spartans have only enjoyed up to a three-game winning streak, and that was all the way back at the beginning of the rivalry!

Still, the rivalry remains as intense and competitive as ever, and there are sure to be plenty of memorable moments in store for fans on both sides. Whether it's a classic defensive battle or an offensive showdown, these two teams will always put on an exciting show when they face off against one another.

The rivalry has not been kind to MSU either over the decades or in recent years. Although the Buckeyes are currently ranked No. 1, the Spartans have a chance to sharpen their skills at their current No. 31 ranking. Though they're facing one of the toughest schedules in college football in 2023, the Spartans have the chance to make some improvements and build up for the future.

What's All the Fuss About?

The Ohio State vs Michigan State college football rivalry is an incredibly important one to both teams and their fans alike. With a long, storied history between these two teams that stretches back to 1912, there have been many classic moments over the years that have become cemented in college football lore.

In recent years, this rivalry has seen Ohio State dominate in terms of wins and losses, but Spartans fans are still passionate about coming out and showing support for their team whenever they face off against OSU.

No one doubts the intensity of this rivalry, and it's sure to keep fans on both sides eagerly awaiting the next showdown between these two college football powerhouses. With a new season just around the corner and stars like wide receiver Marvin Harrison, Jr. playing for OSU, all eyes will be on the next Michigan State-Ohio State football game to see whether or not the Spartans can finally break their losing streak against their formidable foes.

The atmosphere at each game is always intense and makes for an exciting matchup no matter which side comes out on top. This rivalry has become an integral part of Big Ten football, with memorable games being fought each year that will live on forever in college football history.



The Ohio State vs Michigan State rivalry has been a staple of the Big Ten conference for decades and is one of the most exciting matchups in college football. From “The Snow Bowl” to the 2002 triple-overtime classic, this matchup always produces memorable moments that will live on forever in college sports lore. With passionate fanbases cheering them on from both sides and a history full of great games, it's no wonder why OSU-MSU continues to be one of the greatest rivalries in all of college sports today. As long as these two teams continue to face off against each other year after year, their epic battles will remain an integral part of Big Ten football—a testament to how thrilling this matchup really can be.

Back to blog
Leave a Reply
Connect with us
Recent Posts