By Michael Bohm
Entering Saturday’s matchup, both teams were looking to remain atop the Big Ten East. Michigan State entered the Shoe coming off a tremendous upset over Penn State. Ohio State, on the other hand, had a message to send after they were annihilated by Iowa last week.
In the end, it was the Buckeyes who asserted their dominance over a Spartans squad that had previously caused plenty of trouble against the Scarlet and Gray. This time, Ohio State was nearly unstoppable in their 48-3 stomping of the Spartans.
After entering the Buckeye’s side of the field but being forced to punt, Ohio State administered a steady dose of JK Dobbins to march down the field before Mike Weber took the ball the rest of the way, scoring from 42 yards out to take the early 7-0 lead.
Throughout the first quarter, Michigan State’s drives did not end in any other way than a punt, as the Silver Bullet defenders halted any sort of progress from the Spartan offense.
JT Barrett would run into the end zone from four yards out, twice, to go up 21-0.
Then, in the second quarter Spartan Freshman Signal Caller Brian Lewerke would fumble on a short scramble, setting the Bucks up on Michigan State’s 25.
The three-play drive was capped off by a screen pass from Barrett to Dobbins for the eight-yard touchdown and a 28-0 lead.
The final touchdown of the half came by way of a big Weber run once more, this time an 82-yard race to the finish, in which Weber managed to outrun the Spartans secondary and extend the lead to 35-0.
A Barrett interception set up the Spartans in Buckeye territory, where they were able to boot a field goal and enter the locker room trailing 35-3.
Ohio State received the ball to kickoff the second half, and on the third play, Barrett found big wideout Binjimen Victor on a long pass to the sideline for the 48-yard score.
After two more Buckeye field goals and a 48-3 lead, the two teams traded interceptions and punts before Saturday’s preconceived “showdown” came to an end.
Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer had reportedly sat down with his offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson following the devastating defeat to Iowa, to emphasize the importance of developing a strong running game. Executing this plan on Saturday had no doubt been the key to the big win.
In Iowa, Weber and Dobbins tallied a total of 11 carries. On Saturday, the two totaled 27 while notching 286 yards on the ground.
Barrett only threw 21 passes, completing 14 for 183 yards and two scores, while also being picked off twice.
It may not have been Barrett’s finest outing, but with the run game being enforced so effectively, it did not matter.
Ohio State has two games remaining on their schedule, as they host Illinois before traveling to the Big House to take on the Wolverines. The Buckeyes have the ability to control their own destiny, as they can lock up a chance to play in the Big Ten title game if they win out.