Ohio State won the coin toss and, with the Buckeyes making their first appearance in a Big Ten Championship game, the game was underway with the Spartans starting on their own 30 yard line. Facing a third and long, Connor Cook was bailed out by a pass interference penalty, giving the Spartans new life. Driving the ball to the Buckeyes 39 yard line, coach Dantonio elected to go for it on 4th down, picking it up. On a third and 19, another pass interference put Michigan State in major business, threatening for points. Michael Geiger then kicked a 40 yard field goal to put MSU up 3-0.
Needing to take back some momentum, the Buckeyes were unable to get anything going on their first possession being forced with a three-and-out.
Retaking possession at their own 20 yard line, Michigan State continued to chew clock by picking up yet another first down. After a minor false start set back, Dantonio's squad was faced with a manageable third down and four to go. Connor Cook looked to the flats where the Buckeyes were able to rally and make a gang tackle, Michigan State's first punt. However, the Buckeyes were unable to get anything going, again, and the Spartans were back in business on offense.