Despite playing without head coach Ryan Day, three assistant coaches and starters at left tackle, center, right tackle and middle linebacker, Ohio State crushed Michigan State, 52-12, yesterday afternoon in East Lansing.
Day's absence due to COVID-19 paved the way for associate head coach Larry Johnson to make history as Ohio State's first Black head coach while Justin Fields rebounded from a tough outing against Indiana.
Fields lit up the Spartans for four touchdowns as Ohio State outgained Michigan State 521-261 including a 322-88 edge on the ground.
The win improved Ohio State to 5-0 in conference play as next week's game against Michigan remains up in the air due to COVID-19 issues within the Wolverines program.
Before turning our full attention to whether or not The Game will be played and the implications if not, here are Five Things from yesterday's dominant win over the Spartans.
SALUTING THE MAKESHIFT OFFENSIVE LINE
With veterans starters in left tackle Thayer and center Josh Myers out of action, along with first-year starting right tackle Nicholas Petit-Frere, a lot of pressure was placed on Dawand Jones, Matthew Jones, Harry Miller, Max Wray and Enokk Vamahi to clean Justin Fields upright and Ohio State's offense on the move.
Miller moved from left guard to center and had his share of issues with shotgun snaps but held his own otherwise. Matthew Jones and Vamahi held down left guard and Dawand Jones was serviceable enough in place of Munford. Wray maybe had the most growing pains but with one collegiate snap under his belt coming in, that's fair.
The group came together allowing the rushing attack to record season highs of 322 yards and 6.7 yards per attempt.
The Spartans didn't exactly feature a steel curtain but a tip of the cap to those guys, veteran right guard Wyatt Davis, who got nicked up more than once, and Greg Studrawa is certainly worthy.
The running game recorded nine rushes of 10+ yards and six of 20+ yards as Trey Sermon set a season-high with 112 yards including a 64-yard touchdown jaunt and Fields carried it 13 times for 102 yards and two scores.
DEFENSE FORCES ROCKY START
Missing Tuf Borland, Josh Proctor and Tyler Friday didn't faze Ohio State's defense, particularly in a dominant first half, paving the way for a 28-0 lead at intermission.
The defense forced Sparty quarterback Rocky Lombardi into a 5-of-11 for 33 yards with one interception performance before Tyreke Smith broke him into tiny pieces during a 9-yard sack on Michigan State's next-to-last possession of the half.
This is the same Rocky Lombardi that torched Michigan for 323 yards and three touchdowns earlier this season. To be clear, I don't mention that to infer Lombardi is good but instead to assure you Michigan is really, really bad.
With the passing game a non-starter, Michigan State's running game found little room. The Spartans 12 rushing yards on 12 carries in the opening 30 minutes.
Throw that stank in a blender and across Michigan State's eight first half possessions, they had five 3-and-outs, one 4-and-out and lost fumble on the seventh play of another drive. The longest drive of the half went for 27 yards with six of the eight possessions generating 10 yards or less.
OLAVE GOES OFF
With Garrett Wilson going for at least 100 yards receiving in each of Ohio State's first four games, Chris Olave's own stellar season wasn't gaining quite as much attention as you'd otherwise expect.
Yesterday however, Olave stole the spotlight as he posted a career-high 10 receptions while tying his career-best with 139 receiving yards including a 41-yard scoring strike in the fourth quarter.
Just like Wilson, Olave now has 100-yard receiving games in four of Ohio State's five games this season and yesterday's effort gave him five career 100-yard outings.
For his part, Wilson had three grabs for 59 yards and a touchdown.
On the season, Ohio State's incredible tandem is neck and neck in receiving stats with both now averaging over 100 yards per game.
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GARRETT SNARES IT
Defensive tackle Haskell Garrett was shot in the damn face less than 100 days ago, had a series of surgeries, ate through a straw for a spell and the dude has been nothing short of spectacular in every game this season.
Yesterday was more of the same as Garrett posted three tackles on plays netting two a total of two yards and came up with a ridiculous pick six putting Ohio State in front 28-0 late in the second quarter.
On 3rd-and-9 from the Michigan State 2 yard line, Garrett jumped and deflected a Lombardi throw straight up into the air before jumping to snag the ball in the end zone for an Ohio State touchdown.
The athletic, timely play was just the latest contribution from a guy teaming with Tommy Togiai to give the Buckeyes an elite interior defensive line.
The duo has 5.5 of Ohio State's 27 tackles for loss so far this season and has done its fair share in helping the Buckeyes hold opposing ball carriers to a 3.4 yards per carry average.
DO BETTER, ABC
Holy smokes yesterday's broadcast was a joke.
The camera operators in particular had a rough day, failing to give a decent live look at host of the games bigger plays.
Justin Fields' 44-yard run? I think I caught it on the replay. Fields' 28-yard touchdown? Same thing. Garrett's pick six was difficult to see live. Shaun Wade's brief knee injury wasn't clear until a replay as they cut away from the right shot.
There were numerous other times the camera was focusing on a quarterback without the football. Not a great effort.
I generally don't pay much attention to the color analysts but Dan Orlovsky sure had some wordy takes. I think my favorite was his assertion Texas A&M's 11-point win over a shitty Auburn team was some Herculean feat.
All in all, I really felt for Ryan Day having to watch this one just like fans do and not being battle tested when it comes to bad broadcasts.