EAST LANSING, Mich. – Ohio State scored only one offensive touchdown in the first 58 minutes and 48 seconds of Saturday’s game at Michigan State, but that was enough for the Buckeyes to come away with an 20-point win at Spartan Stadium on Saturday.
On a day where the Buckeyes' offense ultimately reached the end zone only twice, three Michigan State turnovers and an unusual safety helped the Buckeyes earn a 26-6 victory over the Spartans.
|#10 OHIO STATE
|#18 MICHIGAN STATE
Both offenses struggled right out of the gates. Drue Chrisman shanked a 4-yard punt into the stands after Ohio State’s first possession to give Michigan State’s offense the ball at the 35-yard line to start its second possession, but the Spartans failed to take advantage and ended up punting from the 34. In total, Ohio State and Michigan State combined to punt on their first six total possessions to start the game, and neither team scored in the first quarter.
Michigan State’s Matt Coghlin attempted a 51-yard field goal on the first play of the second quarter, but his kick came up short. After that, the two teams combined to punt again on each of their next possessions.
Ohio State finally put together a drive of more than 12 yards to reach Michigan State territory for the first time on its fifth possession of the game, but that drive ended with Blake Haubeil slicing a 44-yard field goal attempt wide right to keep the game scoreless.
Finally, on its next possession, Ohio State drove 55 yards in 11 plays to score the game’s first points. Two plays after the Buckeyes brought Tate Martell into the game for a 5-yard run in a red zone package that many Ohio State fans have been hoping to see all year, Campbell reached the end zone for his 1-yard touchdown.
|NET TOTAL YARDS
|AVERAGE PER RUSH
|AVERAGE PER COMPLETION
|RUSHING 1st DOWNS
|PASSING 1st DOWNS
|PENALTY 1st DOWNS
|YARDS PER PLAY
|TURNOVERS (DEF PTS OFF)
After that, Rocky Lombardi replaced Brian Lewerke at quarterback for Michigan State – after Lewerke completed just eight of his first 16 passes for 84 yards – and led the Spartans on their most effective drive of the first half, as the Spartans gained 49 yards in seven plays before Coghlin made a 44-yard field goal to put three points on the board for Michigan State before halftime.
Ohio State outgained Michigan State by just four yards in the first half, 147 to 143, as the Buckeyes took a meager 7-3 lead into the break.
After a 47-yard run by Lombardi midway through the third quarter, Michigan State nearly took a lead two plays later, when wide receiver Cody White completed a double pass to a wide open Matt Sokol in the end zone for what would have been a 27-yard touchdown. An ineligible receiver downfield penalty against the Spartans brought it back, however, and the Spartans went on to settle for a 38-yard field goal.
Ohio State took a 9-6 lead with 42 seconds to play in the third quarter when Michigan State made the unusual decision to intentionally snap the ball through its own end zone on a punt attempt for a safety.
The Buckeyes proceeded to go 3-and-out to start the fourth quarter. After Chrisman downed his fifth straight punt inside the 6-yard line, however, Dre’Mont Jones recovered a Michigan State fumble in the end zone for a touchdown.
Jonathan Cooper recovered a fumble at the 15-yard line on an errant pitch by Lombardi on Michigan State’s next possession, and that field position led to a 35-yard field goal by Haubeil that put Ohio State ahead 19-6 with 12:22 to play.
Ohio State had a chance to put the game out of reach on its next possession, driving all the way to Michigan State’s 4-yard line on a drive led by seven carries for 36 yards for Mike Weber. On 3rd-and-goal at the 4, however, Martell was unable to catch an errant snap by Michael Jordan, which led to a Michigan State fumble recovery.
The missed opportunity didn’t matter, though, as Michigan State turned the ball over once again on its next possession when Lewerke, hit by Jones as he threw, tossed a pass straight into the hands of Shaun Wade for Wade’s second interception of the season.
Finally, Ohio State’s offense reached the end zone again on its final possession of the game as Weber sealed the game with a 2-yard rushing touchdown with 1:12 to play. Weber finished the game with 104 rushing yards on 22 carries.
Ohio State and Michigan State combined to punt the ball 17 times in Saturday's game.
- 10 NFL teams had scouts at Saturday's game: the Pittsburgh Steelers, Seattle Seahawks, Baltimore Ravens, Washington Redskins, Minnesota Vikings, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Detroit Lions, Jacksonville Jaguars, New Orleans Saints and Philadelphia Eagles.
- Campbell, Johnnie Dixon, Jordan Fuller and Tuf Borland were Ohio State's game captains.
- Brendon White made his first career start alongside Fuller at safety.
- Baron Browning did not play in Saturday's game after suffering an undisclosed injury during the week of practice.
- 74,633 was the announced attendance at Spartan Stadium.
- Terry McLaurin reached 1,000 career receiving yards in Saturday's game. Ohio State now has three receivers with 1,000 career receiving yards – McLaurin, Campbell and K.J. Hill – marking the first time in school history has had three 1,000-yard receivers.