Ohio State football: What we liked, didn't like from Buckeyes' blowout of Michigan State
It was another verse in the same song for Ohio State.
The Buckeyes continue to forge on, piling up yards and points on offense, showing solid work defensively. While they have had significant injury losses from virtually the first moments of the season, it hasn’t interfered with their productivity.
The Buckeyes dominated Michigan State 49-20 in a game that wasn’t as close as the score. Here are the highs and lows of Ohio State’s 6th win of 2022.
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What we liked …
After back-to-back sub-300-yard passing games, including a career-low 154 yards last week against Rutgers, Stroud was dialing up big plays routinely against the Spartans. His 361 yards ended up 6 yards shy of his season high, and his 6 touchdown passes were a season high, tying the OSU single-game record. His early pick-6 was a negative surprise, but pretty much everything else Stroud touched turned to gold.
After a huge afternoon in East Lansing, Ohio State QB C.J. Stroud now has 12 Pass TD to just 8 incompletions in his career vs the Spartans. pic.twitter.com/3wGxp6axPM
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 9, 2022
Mike Hall Jr.
Ohio State’s pass rush has been kind of ho-hum, but don’t tell Mike Hall Jr. Hall had been a bit banged up, but he took out his pain on the Spartans on Saturday. Hall had 2.5 sacks, part of a season-best 4 sacks for Ohio State. As good as Ohio State’s offense has been, the defense hasn’t had to contribute much, which makes a big day like Hall’s stand out that much more.
As good as Marvin Harrison Jr’s day was (and it was certainly worthy of a “What we liked” mention), what Ohio State did to Michigan State’s run game was pretty nearly historic. The Spartans finished the day with 7 yards rushing. And yes, Ohio State’s 4 sacks do factor into that total, but Michigan State’s long run on the day was 8 yards. The last time Ohio State held an opponent to that few yards on the ground was a 42-35 win over Indiana in 2020. But that game was a shootout in which the Hoosiers basically didn’t run while passing for 491 yards. On the other hand, Michigan State needed a garbage time drive to top 200 yards of total offense (they finished with 202). State’s offense never had a shot, and OSU’s run stuffing had plenty to do with that.
What we didn’t like …
TreVeyon Henderson’s injury
Hopefully it’s nothing, but at the least, it hurts momentum. With Miyan Williams out, TreVeyon Henderson had taken strides toward re-establishing his own momentum. The 19 carries for 118 yards were the 2nd most touches Henderson had logged in 2022, but then he was banged up on the opening series of the 3rd quarter and departed. The good news for Ohio State is that the injuries haven’t slowed the offense, but it seems like a never-ending circle of (fortunately mild) pain at running back.
Jayden Fielding hit the opening kickoff out of bounds, and from there, the Buckeyes ended up allowing 96 yards on 4 kick returns. Ohio State was 13th in the Big Ten coming into the game in opposing kick return average, and that average will go up slightly … to say nothing of the 3rd kickoff out of bounds on the season. Are these major issues? No. But for an Ohio State team that hasn’t faced a ton of on-field adversity, it could be costly later in the season.
A lack of a B1G challenge
It’s certainly not the Buckeyes’ fault, but it is a little hard to tell how much of this Ohio State domination is because of how strong the Buckeyes are and how much is just the result of utterly mediocre competition. Michigan State is 2-4, Wisconsin is 3-3 and lost to Illinois by 24. Even Notre Dame hasn’t been who it was expected to be. Penn State and Michigan still lurk on the back half of the schedule, but if truth be told, Ryan Day would probably rather the Buckeyes have been tested a little more in the first half of the season.