East Lansing, MI – The narrative surrounding Rutgers wasn't exactly a secret.
They built a reputation as being the worst team in the Big Ten.
It's what happens after you lose every conference game for the past two years and feature one of the country's worst offenses in 2019.
Since entering the league in 2014, few teams had ever lost to the Scarlet Knights.
When the Spartans finished 3-9 and walked away from the 2016 season with one Big Ten victory, Rutgers fell to MSU, 49-0.
The defeat itself doesn't hurt Michigan State fans but being the school to hand Rutgers its first conference victory in two seasons?
Now that hurts.
However, the amount of mistakes MSU made is on them, and the need to clean things up becomes vital if they want to be competitive against Michigan.
"We gotta get better as a whole," said junior safety Xavier Henderson. "I think they came out, and it looked like they wanted it more than us. That was the biggest thing I was upset about – even on defense. The first possession, they drove the field on us. That's the biggest thing I was upset about."
Greg Schiano, Rutgers' new head coach, had his team ready to play when they walked into Spartan Stadium.
Much like he did in 2004 during a non-conference game, Schiano outmaneuvered Michigan State beating them, 38-27, only this time it wasn't in New Jersey.
"I'm really proud of our guys. Our coaching staff, our support staff, and, most of all, our players. They have worked incredibly hard in a very difficult environment for a long time ... it's great to get started with a victory, but we need to make sure we keep it all in perspective. It was a really hard-fought game, and we were able to take the ball away that gave us opportunities to find a way to win, but as we know, you don't take the ball away seven times each week. We have a lot of work to do, and we know that," said Schiano.
Tell us what you think in the comment section below.
Want the latest breaking MSU news delivered straight to your email for FREE? Sign up for the DAILY Spartan Nation newsletter when you CLICK THE MAGAZINE ICON at the top left of the page or the FOLLOW button back on the main page. Don't miss any of the latest up to the second updates on Michigan State Sports when you follow on Twitter @HondoCarpenter @McLainGrant1