Following game cancelations in two of the last three weeks, No. 4 Ohio State returned to action Saturday a bit short-handed but handled its business nonetheless, topping Michigan State, 52-12.
The now 5-0 Buckeyes were led once again by standout QB Justin Fields, who went 17-24 for 199 yards and two touchdowns on the day. Playing behind a makeshift offensive line because of COVID-19 roster impacts, Fields also had 104 yards on the ground and a pair of touchdowns.
The Buckeye rushing attack, No. 1 in the B1G coming into the game, wracked up 322 yards as Trey Sermon led the way with 112 yards on 10 totes, including a 64-yard touchdown.
The Silver Bullet Buckeye defense was stout throughout. Ohio State allowed only 80 total yards in pitching a first half shutout. Defensive tackle Haskett Garrett recorded his first career interception and touchdown, batting and picking off a Spartan pass in the endzone.
Ohio State is scheduled to conclude the regular season at noon next Saturday vs. rival Michigan in Ohio Stadium (TV: FOX).
The Buckeyes forced a three-and-out on Michigan State’s first possession and jumped out ahead of the Spartans on their first drive. Benefiting from a personal foul on a third-and-seven to keep the opening drive alive and surviving some shaky QB-center exchanges, the Buckeyes marched 83 yards in 12 plays in 4:37 for the 7-0 lead.
Fields moved the chains with several scrambles and completions to Chris Olave (10-139-1). Master Teague put the Buckeyes in position to score with a 22-yard run to the Spartan one-yard-line before Fields took it in on another scramble.
On the drive, Teague accounted for 31 yards on six carries. A 44-yard dash by Fields on the first play of the Buckeyes’ third possession set the tone for a quick scoring drive that ended with a Fields to Garrett Wilson 28-yard TD toss down the right sideline. The possession covered 72 yards in just 3 plays in 0:41.
The Buckeyes held Michigan State to just 32 yards of total offense in the period.
🔊 Fields gets the Buckeyes on the board
🔊 Wilson hauls in the scoring strike from Fields
The Buckeyes picked up where they left off to start the second quarter. A Fields to Wilson 24-yard connection kick-started a 10-play, 75-yard scoring drive to put Ohio State up by three TDS. Fields sprinted in from the one after a Sermon 25-yard jaunt set the Buckeyes up inside the Spartan five.
The Silver Bullets were the next to strike as Garrett batted and intercepted a Rocky Lombardi pass in the Spartan end zone for a 28-0 lead.
Ohio State limited Michigan State to 80 yards total in the half with only 12 on the ground.
🔊 Fields TD run No. 2
🔊 Garrett’s Pick 6 in the endzone
— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) December 5, 2020
Sermon squirmed off a tackle and scampered 64 yards for six points to open second-half scoring. His run capped off a 5-play, 87-yard drive in a little over two minutes.
The Spartans answered quickly as Payton Thorne found Jayleen Reed for a 55-yard connection to setup Thorne’s 20-yard TD run for Michigan State’s first points of the afternoon.
Blake Haubeil tacked on three points with a 27-yard field goal. The kick tidied up a nine-play, 77-yard drive in three and a half minutes. Fields accounted for 36 yards on the ground in the drive.
🔊 Sermon Sprints for 6
To close out the scoring for Ohio State, Fields lobbed a 41-yard touchdown pass to Olave on a one-play drive and backup QB C.J. Stroud sprinted 48 yards for a TD. The Buckeyes allowed a safety on a bad snap near the conclusion of the game.