On a blustery and cold day in Spartan Stadium, Ohio State and Michigan State struggled through a defensive, field position battle with the Buckeyes capitalizing on several Michigan State miscues to pull away in the second half en route to a 26-6 win.
Ohio State, now 9-1 and 6-1 in the Big Ten, will play its final road game of the season at Maryland next Saturday. The time of the game will be announced tonight or Sunday morning.
The teams played through a scoreless first quarter and Ohio State accounted for the only touchdown of the first half as Dwayne Haskins quick-pitched to Parris Campbell from a yard out to cap a 55-yard drive. Ohio State benefited from several Spartan (6-4. 4-3 Big Ten) miscues in the second half on their way to scoring 19 unanswered points to end the game.
For the third year in a row, Mike Weber topped 100 yards rushing against the Spartans. This time around, he toted 22 carries for 104 yards and a score. Haskins completed 24-39 passes for 227 yards through the air.
On special teams, the tandem of Drue Chrisman and Terry McLaurin truly had a special day as Chrisman at one point down five straight punts inside the Spartan 7-yard line, numerous times with the help of McLaurin down at the goal line.
Ohio State 0, Michigan State 0
The Buckeyes and Spartans locked up in a defensive struggle in the first quarter. Ohio State could only muster a single first down, while Michigan State had the only scoring threat when it missed a 51-yard field goal attempt near the end of the period. In all, both teams combined to punt six times.
Ohio State 7, Michigan State 3
In their second possession of the quarter, Ohio State pushed deep into Spartan territory with a 10-play, 54-yard drive. The Buckeyes came away empty-handed after a 44-yard field goal attempt sailed wide.
On its ensuing possession, Ohio State got the run game going and returned to Spartan territory. The Buckeyes reached pay-dirt on a short pop-pass from Dwayne Haskins to Parris Campbell outracing the MSU defense to the endzone on third down. In the 11-play, 55-yard drive, Haskins had a big 17-yard thir-down completion to K.J. Hill to keep the drive alive.
The Spartans, who made a switch at quarterback, answered with 44-yard field as a result of a 7-play, 49-yard drive that covered just under a minute as the half neared end.
Neither team could get anything going offensively on the stone-cold gray day with kickoff temperatures in the low 30s and enough of a stiff breeze muddling the proceedings as well. Ohio State totaled 147 yards with 133 through the air and only 14 net rushing yards against the nation’s number one ranked defensive unit. Michigan State was only slightly behind in the total offense category with 143 yards.
Ohio State 9, Michigan State 6
The early third quarter highlight for Ohio State was Terry McLaurin’s play on special teams, as he batted the ball back from the goal line to the Michigan State five-yard line after the Buckeyes’ opening possession of the second half stalled near midfield.
An eight-play, 74-yard drive for Michigan State on its second possession of the third quarter resulted in a 38-yard field goal by Matt Coughlin, drawing the Spartans within one, 7-6. The key play on the drive was a 42-yard run by QB Rocky Lombardi. MSU also had a touchdown pass called back due to an ineligible man down field.
Ohio State increased its lead to 9-6 when Michigan State took a safety on fourth and 10 from their own one yard line. Drue Chrisman boomed a 39-yard punt that was downed by McLaurin at the one-yard line. The Buckeyes’ defense then forced a three-and-out to set up the safety.
McLaurin also surpassed the 1,000 yard career receiving mark during the third quarter. It’s the first time in program history that three wide receivers (Campbell, Hill, McLaurin) have 1,000 career yards.
After another Chrisman punt was downed inside the MSU 5 to start the quarter, the Silver Bullets capitalized on a Spartan miscue in their own endzone. Dre’mont Jones recovered a loose ball for the second TD of the day for Ohio State and a 16-6 advantage with 14:03 to play.
On the next Spartan play, the Buckeyes forced and recovered another fumble. Johnathan Cooper recovered the loose ball at the MSU 15. Ohio State converted the sudden change into an additional three points when Blake Haubeil booted a 35-yard field goal through the uprights.
Ohio State again found itself inside the Michigan State red zone but turned the ball over itself on a bad snap from center. Brendon White pulled in his first career interception to return possession to the Scarlet and Gray on the positive side of the 50. The Buckeyes were able to put the game away from there with a 9-play, 42-yard drive that ended with a short Weber TD run.