Buckeyes Engaged in The Chase, Spartans Chasing It
By Patrick Murphy
On paper Ohio State and Michigan State look like polar opposites, but they do have one major similarity if you dig deep enough.
In spring practice, the Buckeyes’ indoor practice field at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center had a new decoration. Behind one end zone was a giant banner that said, “The Chase” in scarlet and gray with the Ohio State emblem behind the lettering.
It was put there to embody what this team is after.
"It's within the team, but we're all chasing something," Meyer said in March. ”They're chasing the dream.”
“Some guys are chasing a starting position, some are chasing bowl games, some are chasing NFL contracts."
There are signs up around the practice facility to remind players of The Chase; that they are all chasing something, that’s what has fueled the Buckeyes all season to chase after the goals – both team and individual.
Michigan State has used a similar mantra after a disappointing 7-6 record last year.
"When I talk about chasing it, you have to chase the dream, you have to see how close you are, constantly, in the weight room, out running and at practice,' Spartans’ head coach Mark Dantonio said at the Big Ten Media Day.
“There is a feeling among our football team that a foundation has been laid, but we're still chasing a dream.”
The Spartans lost five games by a combined 13 points last season, including a one-point loss to Ohio State.
They believe that they were better than their record indicated and they were out to prove it this season.
"Our expectations are extremely high,'' Dantonio told reporters. “How high? Rose Bowl high.”
This may have seemed lofty for Michigan State back in July, but a date with the Buckeyes in the Big Ten title game on Saturday has them one win away from capturing what they were chasing.
Ohio State and Sparty got to this game in different ways.
OSU has relied on its high-scoring spread offense to win games, while the Green and White are a defense first, grind-it-out team.
Of their common opponents this year, Ohio State’s offense averaged over 45 points per game, while the Spartans averaged just over 28. On defense, it was reversed as the Buckeyes gave up 24 points per game to these opponents, but Michigan State surrendered only 9.5.
The teams are headed to Indianapolis, regardless of how they got there, still chasing.
“The Chase is on The Chase is real,” linebacker Joshua Perry said.
“So coming from winter conditioning, seeing the signs and banners up, to now, it really shows the body of work we’ve put in, but it also shows the fact that it’s never over and we’ve just got to keep going.”
He also knew that the Spartans were Chasing It..
“I think a lot of schools have their sayings and at the beginning of the year everybody’s chasing something, so they’re Chasing It, whatever It may be,” he said.
“And we have The Chase so both teams are going after something obviously, something big and we’ve just got to go out and perform.”
Two different journeys chasing one more B1G win.