Ohio State blows out Michigan State in pivotal Big 10 matchup


Photo courtesy of BuckeyesWire

Garret Wilson takes off for a touchdown after catching a pass downfield against Michigan State on Nov. 20.

Reece Taylor, Sports Reporter

The Ohio State University Buckeyes demolished the Michigan State University Spartans 56-7 on Saturday in Columbus, Ohio.

Both teams entered the second to last game of the regular season with a single loss as they tried to solidify their case for the College Football Playoff — among the likes of undefeated Georgia and Cincinnati, as well as perennial contenders like Alabama and Oklahoma. Michigan State and Ohio State came into the game on a mission to solidify their case.

In the first quarter, Ohio State came out swinging with three touchdowns, including a 77-yard pass from freshman quarterback CJ Stroud to senior wide receiver Chris Olave, to put the Buckeyes up 21-0. Michigan State, known to be a high-powered offensive team this season, were limited in the first as Ohio State’s defense held them scoreless and emphasized stopping the run, as Heisman candidate junior running back Kenneth Walker III was limited to a season low 25 yards for the game.

Ohio State kept the pressure up in the second quarter, where Stroud continued to dismantle Michigan State’s weaker secondary, scoring three of their four touchdowns passing to put them up 49-0 to end the first half. Stroud, also benefitting from a weaker MSU pass rush as the Ohio State offensive line only allowed two sacks the entire game, played one of the best games of his career, putting up 432 yards on 32-35 passing for six touchdowns.

Michigan State would receive the ball in the opening of the second half, but couldn’t capitalize on a relaxed Ohio State — who started their backup quarterback as the Buckeye defense kept the pressure on them. Both teams went scoreless in the third quarter, but Michigan State made their first big defensive stop in the game, intercepting Ohio State’s backup in the closing moments of the quarter, and pushed the ball up field for the better position to open the fourth. Ohio State- 49. Michigan State- 0.

In the fourth quarter, Michigan State’s sophomore quarterback Payton Thorne connected with freshman wideout Keon Coleman for their first touchdown, but Ohio State answered back with one of their own to keep a seven touchdown lead. This was a wire to wire victory for Ohio State, as Michigan State never came close. Final Score: Ohio State- 56. Michigan State-7.

Ohio State will take their win into a showdown for the Big 10 in Ann Arbor against their arch-rival University of Michigan Wolverines, a game that could decide the playoff for either team. Michigan State stumbles into their final game of the season at home versus the Penn State Nittany Lions. Following their Saturday meeting, both teams find themselves in a must win situation — one for the playoff, one for standings.