If you’re a fan of defenses — or inept offenses, if you prefer — and you’re not already watching it, flip over to the second half of the Michigan State-Ohio State game.
On a rainy Saturday afternoon in Columbus, neither offense could mount much of anything as the two Big Ten East heavyweights head into the half tied at seven-all in what’s amounted to a slap fight. At least the Spartans have a built-in excuse for such offensive ineffectiveness as their starting quarterback, Connor Cook, has not yet played because of injury; for the Buckeyes, there’s no such excuse.
In the first half, the Buckeyes were held to a season-low 71 yards by the Spartans’ defense. On their lone touchdown drive of the half that was in very large part due to the short field created by a turnover, Ezekiel Elliott carried the ball eight times for 27 yards; he had just two other carries for three yards on OSU’s four other possessions, a trend that will have to be reversed in the second half if the Buckeyes are to remain unbeaten.
More to the point: four of OSU’s six possessions were three-and-outs.
The Spartans weren’t much better offensively, with MSU putting up 122 yards the first two quarters, although they did have just one three-and-out series. MSU’s lone first-half touchdown came courtesy of, appropriately enough, a touchdown pass to its fullback, Trevon Pendleton. Tyler O'Connor, making his first caerer start, is 6-of-8 passing for 83 yards and the touchdown.
His counterpart, J.T. Barrett, has been woeful, completing five of his nine passes for a miserable 29 yards.
The Spartans actually had the chance to take a lead late in the second as one of the best punters in the country, Cameron Johnston, was credited with a five-yard punt, giving MSU the ball at OSU’s 23-yard line. The Spartans proceeded to march backwards before missing a 43-yard field goal.
MSU will get the ball on offense ion the third quarter.