Game 6 Recap: Ohio State 34 – Michigan State 10
If there was a play that was the perfect microcosm of this game, it would be the interception for a touchdown by Jordan Fuller which was called back do to a blocking penalty from Baron Browning. Ohio State outtalented Michigan State and had the ability to take it to the house when they needed, however they got in their own way from really blowing the Spartans out. It might be petty to be nit-picky about a 24 point win against what could arguably be the best defense Ohio State plays, but anyone watching could see that there were points left on the board which could have really shown how much Ohio State dominated after a slow first start.
It started with the consecutive turnovers for Michigan State, but Ohio State was only able to score 3 points in Michigan State territory and were held to 16 yards total in the first quarter. Michigan State was forcing the game to play out in their favor, with tough defense, a game of field position, and long drives which took chunks of times off the clock.
Ohio State though was able to turn it around on their first possession in the second quarter, as Justin Fields hit Ben Victor for a 60 yard touchdown and took a 10-0 lead. Michigan State though was able to drive down the field in 5 plays with some gaps in the defense, and scored a touchdown to make it 10-7. The offense showed up once more, and was able to score a touchdown on their next possession, with a tough and gritty yards after catch to Luke Farrell for 21 yards.
Michigan State drove down once more, in what would be their last points in the game, and scored a field goal, making it a once possession game once more. But the Buckeyes were not done yet. JK Dobbins gashed the defense on a 67 yard run, and the Buckeyes never looked back, scoring one more time early in the 4th quarter on a Justin Fields 1 yard run, an attempt after what appeared to be a touchdown from JK Dobbins, but was called short on the review.
Justin Fields threw his first interception, which was returned near the 50 yard line. He also fumbled the ball in the 4th quarter, but the Jordan Fuller picked off Lewerke on the next play, and took it to the house, but the play was called back on a questionable blocking penalty. Despite those two turnovers, Fields finished the day with 206 yard passing and 2 touchdowns, and added 61 yards more on the ground with the rushing touchdown. He is not the first player in 20 years to score at least 1 rushing touchdown and 1 passing touchdown in 6 straight games.
JK Dobbins had a monster game once more, and rushed for 172 yards on 24 carried, and had a touchdown. He has rushed for 100 yards a half 4 times this season. Master Teague was hungry for some yardage too, and had 14 carries and 90 yards.
Ben Victor had 79 yards on 3 catches, none bigger than the 60 yard touchdown. KJ Hill paced the team with 7 catches for 57 yards. There were some dropped passes though, and in the first quarter, the receivers were not able to get separation to allow Fields to add to his totals, but that is something they can work on with the bye week.
The defense was stout once more, holding Michigan to 67 yard rushing and 218 yard passing, for 285 total yards. The offense though had 529 total yards.
The Buckeyes only had 16 yards for the first quarter, but held a 3-0 lead. The offense and defense were not one the field long enough to adjust to the Spartan attack, but for their first drive in the 2nd quarter, Justin Fields connected with Ben Victor for a 60 yard touchdown, which allowed the offense to open up and eventually led to a 27-10 score in favor of the Buckeyes. They second half adjustments also had the Buckeyes shutting down Michigan State and added one more score in the 4th quarter to seal the game.
Star of the Game
JK Dobbins. Michigan State entered the game only giving up 55 yards of rushing per game, and Ohio State put up 323 yards, led by JK Dobbins who had 172 yards and a touchdown. The defense does deserve honorable mention for holding the Spartans for under 300 yards, and shutting them out in the 2nd half.
In reality, the toughest opponents on Ohio State’s schedule are Michigan State, Wisconsin, Penn State, and Michigan. Despite a slow start, Ohio State took care of its first challenge and will enter a bye week to rest up, and plan for their last stretch of 6 games. They will go on the road to face Northwestern on Friday, October 18, and then returns home for a big showdown against Wisconsin in what could be the 1st of 2 meetings for this season. With Alabama and Clemson off, Ohio State needed to impress and based on a sample size of college football analysts, the Buckeyes did not hurt their stake as one of the top teams. They should remain at their spot in the AP and coaches polls with the teams around them winning as well.
Ohio State (6-0) enters its first bye week of the season.
Michigan State (4-2) goes on the road and takes on Wisconsin (5-0) at 3:30pm.
Photo credit: CBS Sports