Sideline Memories: Michigan State

Marty Bannister's sideline experiences

EBSN's Marty Bannister

2006: My first year on the radio network doing sidelines, and the Buckeyes thumped John L Smith’s Spartans 38-7. Prior to the game I ventured over to the Sparty sideline to talk with the ABC TV sideline reporter, and almost was tossed from Spartan Stadium for “snooping” on the MSU side of the field. One of their SID department “flunkies” came down on the field to remind me which side to stay on…..

2011: This was the infamous Joe Bauserman game, where the beleaguered OSU QB was sacked more times then anyone cares to remember (5) and threw the football all over the Horseshoe, literally. Sparty (recording a total of 9 QB sacks) won what was maybe the ugliest game of football I’ve ever witnessed, 10-to-7. I was told there was something that happened in the OSU locker room at the half of that game, and it was not pretty. But no one will, or would, ever confirm that.

2012: Urban’s first trip to Spartan Stadium, and the Buckeyes won a thriller 17-to-16. Interviewing him postgame, I asked him about how his seniors stepped up and made play after play to win that game. I have never seen the reaction from him that I got, one of sheer admiration for what they did. That told me he knew he didn’t have a great team, but one that would (and could) rise up when needed. That would go on to be the 12-0 team…

2013: B1G title game in Indy. After Sparty had taken the lead late in the 4th qtr, OSU was facing a 4th down near midfield. During the timeout to discuss what to do, I watched OSU running back Carlos Hyde yell to anyone near him: “give me the damn ball!” Of course, OSU opted to go with a Braxton Miller run, that failed, and MSU won…

2014: What an atmosphere in East Lansing. JT Barrett had his best game (until this year vs Penn St) that frigid night, as Ohio St sprinted (and I mean SPRINTED) past Sparty. You could see the looks in the MSU players eyes…they were completely unprepared for Ohio State’s speed. Much head shaking going on by the Green and White that night.

2015: Ugh….cold, rainy, and a loss that puts the 2015 team right next to the 1998 team as the best in OSU history to not win a title. Credit to Ohio State’s players for coming out and answering my questions in the locker room afterwards. Then Ezekiel Elliott is brought out to me. As we start to record the interview, (and my first question was not in these areas) he launches into his criticism of the play calling, his lack of touches, and his general unhappiness with the days events.

He also admitted that he was in the hospital earlier in the week with some type of leg infection. I paused for a second and asked him if he wanted to continue, and did he realize what he was saying…he never hesitated. When we were done, as he started to go meet the assembled media, I asked him again if he was okay with what he had said…again, no hesitation from him. Needless to say, his comments became almost as big as the loss, and he repeated what he had said to me almost verbatim to rest of the media later.