Game 5 Recap: Ohio State 52 – Michigan State 12
A week after not being able to play, the Buckeyes were able to isolate players and staff who had tested positive earlier this week, and resume practices on Tuesday without slowing anything down, and playing for their 5th game this season. The College Football Playoff Committee kept the Buckeyes in the 4th seed spot, despite only have 4 games up to that point, but were close to dropping without more games being played. The Buckeyes were without 24 players, once the injury report was released, and 3 coaches, including Ryan Day, but the staff should be back on Monday.
Larry Johnson coached his first game as a head coach for Ohio State, and won with his first outing, giving him a perfect record and 1st place for win percentage among Ohio State head coaches. After the game, he gave all the credit to the players and his staff, and was happy to have Justin Fields as his quarterback for his one game, and even happier to get Ryan Day back with a 5-0 record. The broadcast on ABC was a little rough for a viewers perspective, with grainy picture, and the camera man got lost several times during the game and lost track of the ball.
The Buckeyes forced a three and out for the Spartans on the first drive of the game, and in return, drove down 83 yards and took the lead with a 2 yard run from Justin Fields to make it 7-0. Both teams forced the other to punt on their next series, and when Ohio State got the back on their third possession, Justin Fields found Garrett Wilson for a 28 yard touchdown strike and extended the lead 14-0, which would be the score at the end of the 1st quarter.
Ohio State started with the ball on the second quarter, and once more used time to chew up the clock, and Field found pay dirt once more, extending the lead 21-0. Both teams exchanged punts again, but Ohio State was able to pin the Spartans inside the 5 yard line. Rocky Lombardi had some pressure in the endzone, and a tipped pass lead to an interception by Haskell Garrett, who scored for a short “pick 6.” That would be the last score of the half, and the Buckeyes went into the locker room with a 28-0 lead.
The Buckeyes got the ball to start the half, but were not able to extend their lead on their first drive, but were able to extend the lead on their second drive with a 64 yard run by Trey Sermon, his first touchdown of the season. Payton Thorne for Michigan State was nearly perfect when he replaced Rocky Lombardi, and got the Spartans on the scoreboard after a 20 yard scramble. The teams would exchange turnovers, and the Buckeyes marched down to get a field goal, and lead the end of the 3rd quarter with the score 38-7.
Michigan State responded with a field goal of their own, but that was the last points their offense would score for the rest of the game. The Buckeyes offense would score 2 more times, with the first being a touchdown throw to Chris Olave foe 41 yards from Justin Fields, and then CJ Stroud replaced Fields on mop up duty, and dashed to a 48 yard touchdown run for his first points as a Buckeye. On the next Ohio State series, Jack Miller came in, but a bad snap over the head bounced into the Buckeye endzone, which he fell on for a safety, giving the Spartans 2 more points. The Buckeyes recovered the ensuing punt, and killed the clock to finish the game, winning 52-12.
Justin Fields was 17/24 with 199 yards passing and 2 touchdowns, to go along with a career high in rushing yards with 104 on 13 carries, and 2 touchdowns. Cj Stroud came in as QB as well, but only ran the ball, but had 48 yards on his 1 carry that went for a touchdown.
Trey Sermon had his best game as a Buckeye, rushing for 112 yards on 10 carries and 1 touchdown. Master Teague had 46 yards on 14 carries. Miyan Williams made the most out of his 5 carries, and had 28 yards, a lot with or after contact.
Chris Olave led the team in receptions and yards with 10 receptions and 139 yards, along with a touchdown. Garrett Wilson’s 100 yard game streak was broken, but he still had 59 yards on 3 catches and touchdown. He did have a touchdown that was called back due to a questionable holding call on Teague.
The defense looked better this game holding Michigan State to 261 yards, which most of that was from Payton Thorne who had 147 yards passing and 42 yards rushing, but the Silver Bullets did come up with 3 turnovers.
Ohio State being healthy enough to play the game, and looking to be healthy enough too for next week. The game was never close, and even when Lombardi went down, and back up quarterback Payton Thorne stepped in and looked efficient, the Buckeyes offense rolled enough to limit the Spartans possessions, and the defense did well enough to force two interceptions, including a pick 6 for Haskell Garrett in the Michigan State endzone.
Star of the Game
Justin Fields. He did not have his best game passing statistic wise than he had the rest of the games this season, but he did not commit any turnovers, and was playing behind an offensive line that had to replace 3 starters due to injury, and a center in Harry Miller that was moved over from guard, and it resulted in some bad snap exchanges. He still took over the offense, and without Ryan Day or Corey Dennis on the sideline with them, Justin Fields became the offensive coordinator on the field, and helped lead the offense to 521 total yards.
Despite with Dan Orlovksy was discussing during the broadcast while Ohio State was leading by 40 with 24 players out and their head coach, Ohio State just needs to win out, and be able to play for a Big Ten Championship to put themselves into the playoff. The Committee kept Ohio State at 4th this week even with having to cancel last weekend, and they have a better chance as an undefeated conference champ than a 1 loss Texas A&M team. The ACC gifted Notre Dame and Clemson with an easier path to get the ACC Championship, and it will be interesting to see what happens if Clemson beats Notre on the rematch game, and then to see what happens if Alabama and FLorida play in the SEC Championship, and Florida beats Alabama. There is going to be a long discussion in that scenario for the CFP Committee. The Buckeyes looked good though, needed to put more pressure on Michigan State’s back up quarterback, who looked great filling in for Rocky Lombardi, but the defense held strong, and the Buckeyes got the job done.
Ohio State (5-0) will return home to host Michigan (2-4) for The Game at noon on Fox.
Michigan State (2-4) will travel to Penn State (2-5) for their final regular season game.
Photo credit: ClickOnDetriot