EAST LANSING, Mich.
The question was posed in the press box Saturday during the later part of Michigan State's 55-17 victory over Youngstown State University of what loss was worse - Saturday's loss to the Spartans or the 2012 loss in Fargo to North Dakota State.
North Dakota State wins simply because YSU was expected to play even with the Bison (at the time Youngstown State was ranked No. 3 to NDSU's No. 1). The Penguins ended up losing by 41 points and it began a four-game losing streak that essentially left them out of the playoffs.
On Saturday, not many gave the Penguins much of a chance (YSU was a 26-point underdog), but not many thought the game would be a blow out.
In reality, aside from a few plays and a few missed opportunities, there wasn't much YSU could do against the Big Ten school. They were clearly outmatched in many facets of the game.
During the week, stories were coming out of East Lansing that the Spartans were undecided on their quarterback and had a possible four starters listed to go against YSU. After Saturday's win, it's pretty safe to say that Connor Cook, who started, has won the job.
The sophomore had a career day, throwing for 202 yards on 15-of-22 passing and four touchdowns. On top of that, running back Jeremy Langford had 69 yards rushing and two touchdowns. The YSU defense had no answer for the Spartans and only forced two punts on the day. To add insult to injury, the MSU offense scored seven touchdowns. Prior to the YSU game, the unit had only scored two in two games.
YSU gained a lot of recognition last season after defeating Pitt in the season opener. Many thought that if YSU could pull off the miracle in East Lansing - or even hang in the game with the Spartans - that the same momentum could be had in 2013.
Unfortunately, Michigan State is no Pittsburgh. The team was too big, too fast and too good to let FCS Youngstown State come in and pull off the upset.
However, YSU has to remember that Michigan State by far is the most difficult game it will play this season - and that's even with defending FCS national champion North Dakota State coming to town in November.
The Penguins also need to keep in mind that Duquesne is coming to town next week, which will be looking to get back on the winning side of the ball as the Dukes fell to Dayton this weekend. The team needs YSU's full attention, as they are averaging 377 yards and 27 points per game.
While this loss will sting, it will be even worse if the Penguins let this hangover carry to next week and drop a game against another FCS school, all before entering conference play the week after.
Last year, quarterback Kurt Hess always spoke of the 24-hour rule. Whether it's a win or loss, take 24 hours to celebrate or mourn, then move on to the next game.
If I were the Penguins, I'd make it the 10-hour rule. What's done is done. It's time for Duquesne.