Coming into Saturday’s top-10 matchup in Columbus, Michigan State had the worst pass defense in FBS, ranking 130th of 130 teams at 329 passing yards allowed per game.

Ohio State took note.

CJ Stroud threw for 392 yards and 6 TDs on 29-for-31 passing against the Spartans — in the first half. The Buckeyes, No. 4 in the College Football Playoff rankings, led 49-0 at halftime and cruised to a 56-7 victory over the No. 7 Spartans, as OSU got one step closer to next week’s massive showdown with Michigan.

Stroud was pulled in the third quarter with OSU still ahead 49-0, finishing 32-for-35 for 432 yards. Those 6 TD passes tied a school record for one game, also held by Justin Fields, Dwayne Haskins (twice), JT Barrett and Kenny Guiton.

The three-headed monster of OSU receivers all exceeded 100 yards as well. Chris Olave had 7 catches for 140 yards and 2 TDs, Garrett Wilson caught 7 passes for 126 yards and 2 TDs and Jaxon Smith-Njigba added 10 receptions for 105 yards and a score.

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Ohio State (10-1 overall, 8-0 Big Ten) set itself up for next week’s trip to Ann Arbor in style.

Stroud, a freshman, passed for 241 yards in the first quarter alone, going 16-for-17. His 3rd TD pass in the quarter to Chris Olave capped a 4-play, 71-yard march for a 21-0 lead. Olave caught a 43-yard TD deep down the middle as the junior receiver beat two defenders to set the school record with his 35th career TD catch, breaking a tie with David Boston.

Already ahead 21-0, OSU forced a turnover when safety Ronnie Hickman hit backup running back Jordan Simmons to pop the ball loose and the Buckeyes recovered the fumble. That set up yet another Stroud passing TD, a 4-yarder to Julian Fleming early in the second quarter for a 28-0 lead. Stroud, who doesn’t run much, even set up that TD with a 7-yard run away from an inside pass rush.

Even when MSU forced a 3rd down in the second quarter, the line jumped offside to gift the Buckeyes a first down. The whole day went south pretty quickly both for the offense and the defense for Mel Tucker’s team (9-2, 6-2 B1G). Michigan State was outgained 500-116 in the first half.

Kenneth Walker III, the nation’s leading rusher and a Heisman Trophy candidate, was atop OSU coach Ryan Day’s list of priorities for slowing the MSU offense. The Buckeyes did that. Walker, averaging 147.3 rushing yards per game coming in, never got going, finishing with 25 yards on 6 carries as MSU kept having to pass to try to get back in the game.

MSU got on the scoreboard on Peyton Thorne’s 12-yard TD to Keon Coleman early in the 4th quarter and the Spartans finally forced OSU to punt for the first time later in the 4th, but that was all just window dressing. Thorne wound up 14-for 36 for 158 yards and 1 TD.

Not only did Olave break the OSU career record for TD catches, but he helped Stroud break a mark too. Olave twisted his body to adjust for a 27-catch near the sideline in the first half, Stroud’s 17th consecutive completion, surpassing the school’s single-game record. On the next play, Miyan Williams’s 1-yard TD run put OSU ahead 35-0.

It became 42-0 when Stroud hit Wilson for a 12-yard score, his 5th TD pass of the day.

MSU, trailing 14-0, drove 55 yards to the OSU 29 in the first quarter but Matt Coughlin missed a 46-yard field goal.

OSU struck for a big play on its second drive, as Stroud hit Garrett Wilson for a 77-yard TD and a 14-0 lead just 6:57 into the game.

That quick strike was in contrast to the first Buckeyes drive, when OSU was patient and took yardage in small chunks. Olave’s record-tying 34th career TD, a 23-yarder, capped a 12-play, 88-yard drive. Stroud was 9-for-10 for 76 yards on the possession, hitting 4 receivers.