Many wondered what Ohio State's level of motivation would be against Michigan State following a 55-24 loss to Iowa that knocked the Buckeyes to the brink of playoff elimination.
Those questions were answered fairly quickly.
The Buckeyes scored the first 35 points of the game thanks to a dominant running game and rolled the Spartans 48-3 to take firm control of the Big Ten East race.
|No. 13 OHIO STATE||14||21||13||0||48|
|No. 12 MICHIGAN STATE||0||3||0||0||3|
After a week in which Ohio State running backs J.K. Dobbins and Mike Weber collected just 11 carries between them, the Buckeyes made a point to get the duo involved early.
On Ohio State's first possession, the Buckeyes ran the ball on four of their first five plays, the last of which resulted in a 47-yard touchdown run from Weber, giving Ohio State the early 7-0 lead.
The Buckeyes kept the ball on the ground for the majority of the first half, as quarterback J.T. Barrett attempted just nine passes, completing six for 67 yards and a score to go along with a late second quarter interception. The veteran signal caller accounted for a pair of rushing scores, while finding Dobbins on a swing pass near the goal line for an 8-yard score.
|OHIO STATE||MICHIGAN STATE|
|524||NET TOTAL YARDS||195|
|8.0||AVERAGE PER RUSH||1.9|
|12.6||AVERAGE PER COMPLETION||7.3|
|13||RUSHING 1st DOWNS||6|
|9||PASSING 1st DOWNS||7|
|3||PENALTY 1st DOWNS||2|
|8.1||YARDS PER PLAY||2.8|
The story of the first half was Weber, who added an 82-yard rushing touchdown to cap Ohio State's scoring in the first 30 minutes. In the first half alone, Weber tallied eight carries for 161 yards and two touchdowns, but carried the ball just once in the second half. Dobbins finished the game with 18 carries for 124 yards, adding four receptions for 20 yards to his stat line.
The second half saw more of the same as Ohio State opened the third quarter with a 48-yard touchdown pass from Barrett to Binjimen Victor, expanding the Buckeye lead to 42-3 less than a minute into the third. The Buckeyes added a pair of short field goals from Sean Nuernberger to close the third quarter with a 48-3 advantage, before coasting in the fourth.
Following back-to-back 400-yard passing performances, Michigan State quarterback Brian Lewerke was largely ineffective for the Spartans. Facing a relentless Ohio State pass rush, Lewerke completed just 18 of his 36 pass attempts for 131 yards and was sacked three times. He also threw a pair of interceptions to Damon Arnette and Damon Webb respectively.
- For the second week in a row, an Ohio State defensive lineman was ejected for targeting. Dre'Mont Jones was tossed late in the first half for a late hit with targeting on Lewerke. Nick Bosa was ejected last week against Iowa.
- Cornerback Damon Arnette left the game with an injury late in the first half. He recorded an interception of Lewerke on the drive prior to exiting with his injury.
- Barrett moved into second all-time on the Big Ten's total offense list, passing Minnesota's Adam Weber.
- The 45-point margin of victory for the Buckeyes marked the largest for Ohio State in a game against the Spartans. The previous high was 42 in a 42-0 win in 1979.
- Ohio State’s 102 rushing yards in the first quarter matched the most Michigan State allowed in a Big Ten game this season.
- The Buckeyes’ 335 rushing yards were their most in a game in 2017 and the most since Ohio State ran for 410 against Rutgers in 2016.
- Barrett’s second-quarter touchdown was the 38th rushing touchdown of his career, moving him past Carlos Hyde into sole possession of fifth place on Ohio State’s career list.
- Mike Weber ran for a career-high 162 yards on nine carries for an 18.0 yards-per-carry average.
- Weber’s 82-yard rushing touchdown in the second quarter marked the longest of his career. His previous long carry also came against the Spartans, a 52-yard run in 2016.
- Erick Smith tallied a career-high seven tackles.
- Tuf Borland notched a career-best 11 stops.