Back in August, I'm sure many observers may have looked at the Spartans' Nov. 15 trip to College Park, Md. to tangle with the Terrapins under the lights of Byrd Stadium as a trap game.
After all, consider Michigan State's two games heading into the trip to Maryland were home games against Michigan and Ohio State, with a bye week sandwiched in between.
Last Saturday's 49-37 loss to Ohio State made Saturday's game against Maryland more about a letdown than a trap.
With hopes of repeating as Big Ten champions gone after the loss to the Buckeyes, how would No. 12 Michigan State respond?
In true fashion of a Mark Dantonio-coached football team, the response was one that many expected one: solid.
The Spartans' 37-15 victory over Maryland Saturday night, improving to 8-2 overall in the process, was a sign of a good team doing what it should do: beat a team you are more talented than.
Pat Narduzzi's defense forced four turnovers, including a 22-yard pick-six from R.J. Williamson while Michael Geiger converted three-of-four field goal attempts.
I'm sure all Michigan State fans everywhere must have been asking themselves, "Where was that last week?"
A las, nothing can be done about that now. It's about finishing the season strong and Saturday was a first step towards that end.
The Spartans' offense accumulated 482 total yards as Jeremy Langford eclipsed the 100-yard mark yet again in running for 138 yards and two touchdowns while Connor Cook threw for 240 yards.
But Saturday was about the effort the defense put forth.
Williamson, Kurtis Drummond and Darian Hicks all came down with interceptions of Maryland quarterback C.J. Brown as the Michigan State defense permitted Maryland to just six rushing yards.
Again, just a matter of doing what good teams should do against opponents with inferior talent: take care of business.
Not much is left to play for with a home date against Rutgers and a road game in Happy Valley against Penn State to close out the regular season.
But a fourth 10-win season in the last five years is well within reach and would be an accomplishment worth hanging your hat on.
Step No. 1 was taken Saturday night. Step No. 2 towards that goal awaits with Rutgers at Spartan Stadium next week.