In Mark Dantonio's eyes, Saturday's visit to State College, Pa. to tangle with Penn State was all about the line between good and great.
In piling up 34 points on just 298 total yards, Saturday may have not been the greatest offensive effort for Connor Cook and crew amidst No. 10 Michigan State's 34-10 victory at Penn State.
But Cook can be thankful he's been able to hand off to Jeremy Langford these last two years.
Langford eclipsed the 100-yard rushing mark for the 16th straight time in Big Ten play against the nation's best rush defense as his 118 yards and two TDs on 30 carries helped take the load off Cook, who struggled to the tune of throwing for just 180 yards to go with a TD and an interception.
The defense, as it has done in the three weeks after the Ohio State loss on Nov. 8, stepped up to the fore in holding the Nittany Lions to 233 total yards and just 38 on the ground.
Trae Waynes' interception of Penn State quarterback Christian Hackenberg shortly before halftime stemmed perhaps the biggest uprising the Nittany Lions had, aside from a 3-yard TD run from Akeel Lynch that brought Penn State to within 27-10 near the end of the third.
Waynes' pick in the end zone kept the Spartans in front at 13-3 going into the locker room and a pair of third-quarter scores, a 3-yard Langford TD run and a 10-yard Tony Lippett touchdown reception from Cook, put the game away in the win column for all intent and purposes for Michigan State.
Not making the trip to Indianapolis next week in hopes of defending its Big Ten title is a disappointment to everyone within the Michigan State football program and to all those who follow it dutifully. There's no doubt about that.
But a fourth 10-win season in the last five years and with hopes of a fourth 11-win season in the last five years alive and well in a yet to be determined bowl game is an accomplish all Michigan State supporters should be very proud of.