There were some monster plays on offense against Michigan State and the same was true on the defensive side of the ball. It was difficult picking just three plays as there could have easily been a half-dozen featured, but these three were among the best.
Ringer's First Touch
Michigan State opened the game with a big set, looking to get the Ringer show started right away. The crowd was definitely still in it at this point after the Buckeyes had been forced to punt on their opening possession. Given the formation and the running back, you'd expect at least four out of this play, but Rob Rose busted into the backfield and combined to make quick stop on Ringer with Laurinaitis, setting the tone for the game on that side of the ball.
There are two things that I love about this play. First, Rose was in the Spartan backfield before the announcers had covered the starting lineup. Second, on Kory Sheets' first carry last weekend, Laurinaitis met him in the hole, but was taken for a four yard gain. Nothing of the sort this time.
The Spartans trot out two tight ends and the Buckeyes counter by moving Freeman to the right end of the line. Ringer is eight yards deep.
With Freeman sitting to read, Hoyer turns to hand off to Ringer. Rob Rose, at left end, tries to go inside the tight end.
The guard is pulling to block Homan and Laurinaitis is looking for a hole to fill. Meanwhile, Rose has beaten the tight end and is in the backfield.
Ringer looks up to see Rose standing right in front of him, while Laurinaitis is looking for a lane.
Rose gets to Ringer as Laurinaitis fights off a block.
The two combine to bring Ringer down after a gain of just one yard.
After Pryor scored to put the Buckeyes up 7-0, Michigan State took over at their own 32 and started to move the ball a little. On first down, Hoyer hit Keshawn Martin for a 14 yard gain and then Ringer followed that up with a five yard run to move the ball past midfield. On 2nd and five, Hoyer threw a screen to Martin and he put a move on safety Kurt Coleman, causing him to slip. Martin was looking at another first down before Coleman got his.
Freeman creeps up to right end again after Hawken goes into motion towards the twins.
Freeman gets deep, but Hoyer gets a quick ball out to Martin. Coleman is closing and Homan is heading North.
Martin stops quick and the over-pursuing Coleman puts on the breaks, causing him to slip.
Coleman is able to spring off of his planted arm, Karate Kid-style, and is back in the play.
With no real angle on a tackle, Coleman lunges and knocks the ball out of Martin's hands with his right arm.
Homan could care less about the loose ball. He just wants to kill somebody.
Donald Washington is more than happy to oblige and he scoops up the loose ball, evoking memories of Austin, 2006.
Double-Pump at Your Own Risk
After completing his first ten passes of the game and moving the Spartans to the Buckeye 23, backup quarterback Kirk Cousins finally throws his first incompletion on the first play of the 4th quarter and is looking at a 3rd and 11. Hoyer had led Michigan State to a touchdown on his first series and was looking to cut the 28-7 Ohio State lead in half. That's when Malcolm Jenkins and Thaddeus Gibson took over. And the moment Jenkins became one of the good-best players in the country in Griese's eyes.
The Spartans line up with three wide receivers and Ringer in as the single back. The Buckeyes roll the nickel with Homan in for Freeman and Thaddeus Gibson standing at right end.
Jenkins does a good job of disguising his blitz and joins Gibson rushing the right edge. Ringer moves to pick up Gibson.
A nifty spin move out of Thaddeus and Ringer is on the turf with two Buckeyes closing in on Cousins' blind side.
Cousins pulls the ball back down after pumping once -- unaware that Jenkins is closing in.
Jenkins gets to his Cousins with Gibson close behind and Doug Worthington occupying the a couple of blockers.
The ball is loose and it's sitting on Cousins' rear gift-wrapped for Gibson.
Gibson scoops up the loose ball and is off to the races.
Jenkins' work isn't done on this play as he deftly provides interference on Ringer.
Thaddeus Maximus 69 yards later and it's 34-7.