It took a little longer to get there than the first five games of the season, but Ohio State still finished with a convincing win on the scoreboard against Michigan State on Saturday night.
Ohio State scored just three points in the first quarter of Saturday’s game, but eventually pulled away for a 34-10 over the Spartans to improve to 6-0 at the halfway point of the regular season.
|#4 OHIO STATE||3||24||0||7||34|
|#25 MICHIGAN STATE||0||10||0||0||10|
Both defenses dominated in the first quarter of Saturday night’s game, in which Ohio State’s offense got out to its slowest start of the season. The Buckeyes didn’t gain a single first down on any of its first three possessions of the game, and finished the first quarter with just 16 yards.
Two of those possessions started inside Michigan State’s 30-yard line after fumble recoveries by Malik Harrison and Davon Hamilton, but even those only led to three points: Blake Haubeil missed a 37-yard field goal after the Buckeyes’ second possession, but converted a 39-yard field goal after the Buckeyes’ next series to give Ohio State the only three points of the first quarter.
The second quarter of the game was a completely different story.
On Ohio State’s first possession of the second quarter, Binjimen Victor got open along on a route toward the right sideline and then made a defender miss en route to a 60-yard touchdown, his longest play of the season to date, for the Buckeyes’ first touchdown of the game.
Michigan State’s offense also found life, after being held to 50 yards in the first quarter, on its first full possession of the second quarter. The Spartans responded to Ohio State’s first touchdown drive with a five-play, 75-yard touchdown drive of its own that included a 13-yard run by Brian Lewerke, a 23-yard run by Elijah Collins, a 19-yard pass from Lewerke to Matt Seybert and finally, a 20-yard pass by Lewerke to Darrell Stewart Jr. in the end zone.
Ohio State responded with another touchdown drive on its next possession, highlighted by a 35-yard run by Justin Fields and capped off with a 21-yard pass over the middle to Luke Farrell for Farrell’s first touchdown catch of the year.
Michigan State’s offense drove back to Ohio State’s 21-yard line on its next possession – which started at the 45-yard line after an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on the kickoff by Marcus Hooker – but the Buckeyes caught a break when Lewerke missed a wide-open throw to Cody White on 3rd-and-6, forcing the Spartans to settle for a 39-yard Matt Coghlin field goal.
J.K. Dobbins broke free for a 67-yard touchdown run on Ohio State’s next possession – marking the fifth straight game in which the Buckeyes have scored at least 21 points in the second quarter, and the seventh time overall that Ohio State has scored 21 or more points in a quarter this season – to extend the Buckeyes’ lead to 24-10 with 2:24 to play in the first half.
|OHIO STATE||MICHIGAN STATE|
|529||NET TOTAL YARDS||285|
|6.6||AVERAGE PER RUSH||2.5|
|12.1||AVERAGE PER COMPLETION||10.9|
|13||RUSHING 1st DOWNS||7|
|8||PASSING 1st DOWNS||9|
|1||PENALTY 1st DOWNS||2|
|7.1||YARDS PER PLAY||4.4|
|2 (0)||TURNOVERS (DEF PTS OFF)||3 (3)|
Ohio State’s defense forced a 3-and-out to get the ball back to the Buckeyes with 1:46 to play before halftime, and Haubeil tacked on a 43-yard field goal before the end of the half to give the home team a 17-point lead at the break.
The Buckeyes had 296 yards of offense in the second quarter alone.
Both defenses went back to dominating in the third quarter, in which neither team scored any points. Michigan State drove to Ohio State’s 9-yard line on its first possession of the third quarter, but Matt Coghlin missed a 27-yard field goal attempt.
On Ohio State’s first possession of the second half, Fields finally threw his first interception in 136 passing attempts as a Buckeye, when an errant throw was picked off by Michigan State cornerback Josiah Scott.
The Buckeyes got back on the board on their first possession of the fourth quarter, though, with an 11-play, 80-yard touchdown drive – capped by a 1-yard rushing touchdown by Fields – to extend their lead to 24 points.
Fields lost his second turnover of the game on the Buckeyes’ next possession, when Mike Panasiuk hit him to force a fumble that Michigan State recovered, but Ohio State got the ball back on the very next play when Jordan Fuller intercepted a pass tipped by Baron Browning. Fuller would have had an 86-yard pick-six on the play, but the touchdown was nullified by a questionable illegal blindside block call on Browning.
Ohio State’s defense held its opponent under 300 yards for the sixth straight game to start this season, and did not allow the Spartans to score any points in the second half. The Buckeyes' offense topped 500 yards for their fifth straight game.
The Buckeyes now have 13 days to prepare for its next game, as they have their first bye week of the season this upcoming week before heading to Northwestern for a Friday night game on Oct. 18 at 8:30 p.m. that will be televised on FS1.
- Saturday night's game drew a multitude of football recruits to Ohio Stadium including commits Julian Fleming, Gee Scott Jr., Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Jayden Ballard, Joe Royer, Paris Johnson Jr., Ben Christman, Trey Leroux, Josh Fryar, Grant Toutant, Jacolbe Cowan, Jack Sawyer and Lejond Cavazos and several uncommitted targets for the class of 2020 including quarterback C.J. Stroud and running back Kevontre Bradford. Several basketball recruits were also in attendance,
- Former Ohio State players in the Shoe for Saturday's game included Jamarco Jones, Isaiah Prince, Demetrius Knox, Malik Hooker, Tyquan Lewis, Damon Webb, Jerome Baker, Raekwon McMillan, Orlando Pace and Cris Carter.
- Tuf Borland, Chase Young, Dobbins and K.J. Hill served as Ohio State's game captains for the opening coin toss.
- Joshua Alabi started the game at right tackle, but was replaced by Branden Bowen after struggling on the game's first two possessions.
- Left tackle Thayer Munford suffered an apparent injury in the first quarter and limped off the field, but was able to return to the game for the Buckeyes' next possession.
- 104,797 was the official attendance for Saturday night's game.
- With seven catches for 57 yards, Hill passed Cris Carter to moving into second place on Ohio State's all-time receptions list on Saturday.
- Cameron Brown replaced Damon Arnette at cornerback in the second half of Saturday's game, which Arnette watched from the sideline in street clothes. Arnette, who had previously played with a cast on his wrist earlier in the season, was seen with a cast on his wrist on the sidelines. Ryan Day said after the game that Arnette would be "fine" but would be evaluated by the medical staff.
- Fields has now had at least one passing touchdown and one rushing touchdown in each of Ohio State's first six games. He is the only Big Ten player in the last 20 years with at least one passing touchdown and one rushing touchdown in six straight games, according to ESPN Stats & Info.