Ohio State improved to 6-0 with a 34-10 win over No. 25 Michigan State in primetime clash last night in the Shoe.
Ryan Day's offensive machine racked up 529 total yards while the Buckeye defense came up with three turnovers, controlled the line of scrimmage and once again dominated third down with nine stops in 13 tries.
Justin Fields, Chase Young and Damon Arnette all got nicked up in easily the most physical test this season so the fact Ohio State doesn't play next weekend is well-timed.
Overall, Ohio State only helped its national perception for any level-headed person who watched the game. With that, here are Five Things from a 24-point win over Mark Dantonio's squad.
Michigan State came into last night's game ranked No. 2 in the country holding opponents to 1.86 yards per carry and No. 4 in rush defense giving up only 55.8 yards per game.
Even after a rough first quarter, Ohio State's offensive line largely bullied the Spartans the rest of the way finishing with 323 rushing yards on 6.6 per attempt. (Sack adjusted totals show Ohio State with 346 rushing yards on 7.5 per carry.)
J.K. Dobbins racked up 172 yards on 7.2 per carry including a 67-yard touchdown scamper despite sitting out most of the fourth quarter. Master Teague did his thing as well with 90 yards on 6.4 per shot with a long of 41 as he ran through arm tackles at will.
Obviously Dobbins and Teague are talented backs but give a ton of credit to the offensive line, again especially after the first quarter.
Center Josh Myers continues his eye-catching play – the dude looks like a future All-American – and left tackle Thayer Munford played hurt for the most of the night but the left side remained fruitful for Dobbins and company.
Left guard Jonah Jackson continued mauling dudes, now he just needs to eliminate the one holding call per game. I'm almost certain he's had exactly one in every game or at least five of six to this point.
After Joshua Alabi played so well at right tackle versus Nebraska, he earned the start against the Spartans but he was frankly awful during the first two possessions of the night. As a result, Branden Bowen returned from injury to play right tackle the rest of the night with decidedly better results in the run game though even Bowen would basically say afterward that his pass pro was shaky.
That said, Sparty has a hell of a defensive front and the collective Buckeye unit blew it to bits. Offensive line coach Greg Studrawa has taken a ton of flak over the last few years but his group has been pretty damn impressive through the first six games of the 2019 slate.
WADE TO GO
Shaun Wade came into last night's game leading the team in PBU with four and he was simply outstanding against Michigan State tallying five stops, a sack, one TFL, another PBU and a quarterback hurry.
Many don't realize Wade led last year's defense in interceptions (3) and ranked second in PBU (7) because the overall play of last year's defense was so forgettable.
Four of Wade's five stops last night came on plays in which he limited a Spartan to five yards or less. His first three stops held Spartan ball carriers to two yards or less. One of which was textbook as he shed the block of right tackle Jordan Reid who clocks in at 305 pounds to string out a play for a one-yard gain.
His sack on a 3rd-and-10 play late in the fourth quarter showcased his speed and earlier in the same drive, he recorded a hurry as he again came hard off the edge.
Ohio State's secondary has been nothing short of spectacular so far this season and while Jeff Okudah and Damon Arnette seem to get a little more pub, Wade has also been a difference maker.
SECOND QUARTER SURGE
Ohio State has lit up opponents all season but the second quarter in particular has featured some outstanding offensive football.
After generating just 16 yards on 16 plays in the first quarter, Ryan Day's offensive exploded in the second quarter with 296 total yards and 24 points via three touchdowns and a field goal.
The running game was exceptionally nasty with 163 yards on 12.5 yards a pop including Dobbins' 67-yard touchdown gallop.
Justin Fields was also electric in the passing game completing 9-of-11 throws for 133 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
The offense also converted 5-of-6 third down tries and averaged 12.3 yards per play.
Through three Big Ten games this year, against Michigan State, Nebraska and Indiana, the Buckeyes have cranked out 724 total yards, nine touchdowns and two field goals in the second quarter alone.
Ohio State is averaging 9.8 yards per carry in the second quarter of those games and 10.3 yards per play while averaging 23.7 points. Seems decent.
I have to admit there were two different playcalls last night that had me scratching my head, both of which were running plays on 3rd-and-8, but obviously Ryan Day has emerged as one of the elite offensive minds and playcallers in college football.
Last night featured easily my favorite play of the year thus far.
Early in the second quarter, after Ohio State generated just 42 yards on its first 20 plays thanks to Michigan State really crowding the line, blitzing heavily, and often overloading the right side, Day used all of that against the Spartans in what turned out to be a 60-yard touchdown pass from Fields to Binjimen Victor.
On 1st-and-10 from its own 40, Day called a play Ohio State had practiced earlier in the week at just the perfect time.
Taking the shotgun snap, Fields ran laterally to his right with the ball purposely tucked and his head down as if the plan was to run around right end. Just as Fields got outside the tackle box, he lifted his head and found Victor in a cleared out space up the right sideline. Fields hit a wide open Victor and the lanky receiver did the rest with an impressive run after the catch ending in a dive to paydirt giving Ohio State a 10-0 lead.
The timing of the play was brilliant, using Sparty's aggression against itself, and the execution was icing on the cake.
ANSWERING THE BELL
It's fun to watch Ohio State annihilate teams but the drawback from those games is that they don't put the Buckeyes in any position to face adversity.
Last night's win should prove to be one of the more valuable of the entire season as it really marked the first time the team was hit in the mouth by a physical team and faced some level of hardship in which it had to answer.
Ohio State's offense was brutal in the first quarter but didn't get frustrated. It regrouped and dominated particularly in that second quarter firestorm.
The team also found itself in a situation where the offense would score and the defense turned around and gave up points on Michigan State's ensuing possession two different times in the first half.
Each time, Fields and company answered right back.
After Victor's 60-yard touchdown made it 10-0, Michigan State promptly went 75 yards in five plays cutting the OSU lead to 10-7. On Ohio State's following possession, Fields led a 7-play, 75-yard drive capped with a 21-yard toss to Luke Farrell giving Ohio State a 17-7 lead.
Again, Sparty would answer, this time with a field goal to make it 17-10. Once more, Ohio State's offense would immediately counter, going 75 yards in three plays capped by Dobbins' 67-yard touchdown run to make it 24-10 good guys.
The offense's ability to immediately respond to Michigan State's scores kept the Spartans from gaining any real confidence in their chances of pulling an upset.