Binjimen Victor

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No. 4 Ohio State starts slow, blows past No. 25 Michigan State


Last week’s 48-7 destruction of Nebraska showed how good No. 4 Ohio State can be when the Buckeyes are clicking on all cylinders from the get-go. Saturday night’s 34-10 win over No. 25 Michigan State showed how good they can be when they’re not.

Ohio State gained all of 16 yards in the first quarter, but still led 3-0 thanks to two Michigan State fumbles in Spartan territory.

The Buckeyes finally woke up in the second quarter, and that was pretty much all they needed. Ohio State snapped the ball 24 times in the frame — and gained 296 yards and scored 24 points.

The onslaught began with a 60-yard touchdown toss from Justin Fields to Binjimen Victor, pushing the lead to 10-0. After a Michigan State touchdown, Ohio State answered with a 7-play, 75-yard touchdown drive, capped by a 21-yard Luke Farrell grab, then broke the game wide open with a 67-yard JK Dobbins run, putting the Buckeyes up 24-10 at the 2:24 mark of the second quarter.

Ohio State (6-0, 3-0 Big Ten) added a 43-yard Blake Haubeil field goal, effectively turning the game from “defensive struggle” to “out of reach” in 15 minutes of work.

Fields added a 1-yard touchdown run at the 10:41 mark of the fourth quarter, the only scoring of the second half. He finished the game 17-of-25 for 206 yards with two touchdowns and one interception while rushing 11 times for 61 yards and a score. Dobbins rushed 24 times for 172 yards and a score, while Master Teague III added 90 yards on 14 carries.

For Michigan State (4-2, 2-1 Big Ten), there were simply too many missed opportunities to make a game out of it. Brian Lewerke went 20-of-38 for 218 yards with a touchdown, an interception and a handful of missed open receivers. Elijah Collins led the Spartans’ ground effort with 63 yards on 12 carries.

No. 4 Ohio State leading No. 25 Michigan State at the break

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At the half in the ‘Shoe, No. 4 Ohio State holds a 27-10 lead over No. 25 Michigan State.

Unlike last week’s demolition of Nebraska, the Buckeyes did not come out with their hair on fire. In fact, their first three possessions actually lost nine yards, but two Michigan State fumbles inside Spartan territory still resulted in a 3-0 Ohio State lead.

Ohio State finally woke up on its fifth possession, moving 86 yards in five plays and scoring on a 60-yard snatch-and-dash from Justin Fields to Binjimen Victor at the 12:12 mark of the second quarter.

Michigan State answered with its best drive of the night, slicing 75 yards in five snaps, as Brian Lewerke pulled the Spartans within 10-7 on a 20-yard strike to Darrell Stewart, Jr.

By that point, though, Fields and company were off to the races. Ohio State put together back-to-back 75-yard touchdown drives, scoring on a 21-yard catch by Luke Farrell and a 67-yard rush by JK Dobbins.

The Buckeyes added a 43-yard Blake Haubeil field goal to close the half. The boot gave Ohio State an even 200 points in six first halves this season.

Fields completed 12-of-17 passes for 149 yards and two touchdowns while adding 37 rushing yards, and Dobbins carried 16 times for 126 yards and a score. Ohio State put up 24 points and 296 yards in the second quarter — on 24 snaps.

Justin Fields looks the part in Ohio State spring game

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It’s a fool’s errand to draw too much meaning out of a spring game, particularly for quarterbacks. The defense can’t touch them and the players they’re throwing to can’t be brought to the ground, so of course they’re going to look good, right?

Even still, Justin Fields looked every bit like Ohio State’s starting quarterback for the 2019 season.

The Georgia transfer piloted the Gray to a 35-17 win over Matthew Baldwin‘s Scarlet on Saturday afternoon at Ohio Stadium. Fields was a modest 4-of-13 through the air, but his completions went for 131 yards and no interceptions. The highlight of the day was a 98-yard rainbow from he to Binjimen Victor. Fields should’ve had another touchdown pass to Victor if not for a generous whistle to the Scarlet defense, and also rushed eight times for 38 yards and a score.

Baldwin, working with the No. 2 offense, hit 20-of-36 throws for 246 yards with two touchdowns and two picks. One of his touchdown throws was actually a better catch, hauled in by Ohio State’s other impact addition in 5-star wide receiver Garrett Wilson. Again, it was the spring game, but it would be a modest surprise if the freshman from Austin catches less than 50 passes in 2019.

The other highlight had nothing to do with football, as punter Drue Chrisman proposed to his girlfriend at halftime. In keeping with the goal of no injuries to any Buckeye player on Saturday, she said yes.

Ohio State kicks off the season Aug. 31 against Florida Atlantic.

No. 4 Ohio State rallies from two double-digit deficits to beat No. 9 Penn State

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On a night when its offense struggled to get going and its defense lacked for answers, No. 4 Ohio State overcame a record crowd and a record night from Trace McSorley to rally back from two double-digit deficits to stun No. 9 Penn State, 27-26.

The Buckeyes (5-0, 2-0 Big Ten) were out-gained by 100 yards and trailed 26-14 midway through the second quarter, but Dwayne Haskins tossed two late touchdown passes, engineering a 96-yard game-winning touchdown drive, to give Ohio State a crucial win in the Big Ten East race and the inside track to returning to the College Football Playoff.

After trading punts to open the game, Penn State struck the first blow of the game when McSorley found Juwan Johnson for a spectacular 31-yard gain, taking the ball from the Ohio State 48 to the 17.

But a gadget play to backup quarterback Tommy Stevens lost 13 yards on the next snap, and so the Nittany Lions (4-1, 2-1 Big Ten) settled for a 34-yard Jake Pinegar field goal.

After forcing a three-and-out, Penn State was moved in prime territory to take control of the game when McSorley dashed for a career-long 51-yard gain on the first play of the drive, but the march sputtered and Pinegar’s 46-yard field goal hooked wide left.

The teams traded three and outs after that, until Garrett Taylor intercepted a Haskins pass and returned it 45 yards to the Ohio State 28. Once again with a great chance to take control of the game, Penn State again couldn’t muster anything more than a glancing blow. The Nittany Lions could not gain a first down, and Pinegar’s 39-yard field goal pushed the lead to 6-0.

Though the offense couldn’t get anything going, Drue Chrisman tilted the game to Ohio State’s advantage with a pair of booming punts — a 44-yarder to pin the Nittany Lions to their own 12, and then a 58-yarder to the 2.

Pinned near their own end zone, it appeared Penn State was ready to give Ohio State good field position when facing a 3rd-and-5 from their own 7, but it was then that the Nittany Lions finally landed a knockdown punch — a slant to freshman K.J. Hamler who outraced the Buckeyes’ defense and raced it 93 yards for a touchdown. It was Penn State’s first third down conversion of the night.

Penn State forced Ohio State into a third consecutive three-and-out with 2:32 to go before the break, but a critical mistake allowed the Buckeyes back in the game. Miles Sanders coughed up the ball after being hit by Ohio State linebacker Tuf Borland, and the Buckeyes’ Dre’Mont Jones hopped on the ball at the Penn State 25.

The Buckeyes finally got on the board two plays later when Haskins hit J.K. Dobbins on a screen pass, who carried it 26 yards for a touchdown with 1:50 to go before the break.

Ohio State took the ball to open the second half and sliced down the field, moving 75 yards in 13 plays to grab the lead, and it seemed like Haskins and company were finally back on track. It especially seemed that way on the following drive when Ohio State penetrated to the Penn State 16, but the Nittany Lions forced a Sean Nuernberger 33-yard field goal, but that score was wiped off the board due to a face mask call and Nuernberger’s ensuing 48-yard try was no good.

The teams traded three-and-outs over their next two possessions until Penn State moved from its own 38 to the Ohio State 24, when Franklin eschewed another Pinegar field goal to try a 4th-and-1, but Chase Young batted down McSorley’s pass, and Ohio State’s 14-13 lead held heading into the fourth quarter.

But Penn State forced a three-and-out and McSorley then found Hamler again for a 36-yard gain on a 3rd-and-13 from the Ohio State 30 — and a targeting call on Isaiah Pryor tacked on another 15 yards, moving the Nittany Lions into the red zone. McSorley covered the final 15 yards, first on a 13-yard keeper and then a 2-yard toss to tight end Pat Freiermuth, see-sawing Penn State back in front 20-14 with 12:22 remaining.

Ohio State moved near midfield on the ensuing possession, and Urban Meyer elected to go for a 4th-and-1 at the Penn State 48, and a Haskins keeper was stuffed. McSorley then covered 49 of the required 51 yards to put the Lions on the doorstep, and a 1-yard Sanders rush put Penn State back up two scores with eight minutes to play.

That 12-point lead was short-lived, though, as two Haskins completions and a pass interference penalty put Ohio State back at midfield and then Binjimen Victor, normally a possession receiver, bobbed and weaved through the Penn State secondary for a 47-yard score, pulling the Buckeyes within five with 6:42 to play.

McSorley again scrambled Penn State into Ohio State territory, but the drive stalled and Penn State punted, pinning Ohio State at its own 4 with 4:35 to play. That field position was short lived; a Dobbins screen for 35 yards put Ohio State near the 40, and gains of 11 and 14 yards pushed the Buckeyes near the 30, setting up a go-head scoring toss from Haskins to K.J. Hill from 24 yards out. Haskins’s 2-point try sailed high, and Ohio State led 27-26 with 2:03 to go.

Armed with three timeouts, Penn State moved to the Ohio State 43, when, after a sack, McSorley gained nine yards on a 3rd-and-14 to set up a decisive 4th-and-5 with 1:22 to play. A total of three timeouts were called before the play, and Greg Schiano won the chess match when the Buckeyes baited McSorley, who set a school record with 461 yards of total offense, into handing the ball off to Sanders, who was stuffed behind the line by Young to complete the comeback.

Haskins closed the night hitting 22-of-39 passes for 270 yards with three touchdowns and an interception, while Dobbins and Weber combined to gain 174 yards on 29 total touches. McSorley, meanwhile, completed 16-of-32 passes for 286 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions while rushing 25 times for 175 yards, a school record for a modern-day Penn State quarterback.

The Buckeyes will now be heavily favored in every game through the rest of the regular season, while Penn State will need Ohio State to lose twice to move atop the Big Ten East.

Historic rout of No. 12 Michigan State has No. 13 Ohio State en route to Big Ten East crown

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No. 13 Ohio State (8-2, 6-1 Big Ten) certainly stormed back from an embarrassing loss on the road the previous week. No. 12 Michigan State (7-3, 5-2 Big Ten) had no chance against the Buckeyes on this Saturday as Ohio State took control of the game right from the start with an overwhelming running game en route to a 48-3 victory that puts Ohio State in the driver’s seat in the Big Ten East Division with two games remaining.

Mike Weber carried the ball for 161 yards, with over 120 of those yards coming on two touchdown runs against the Spartans defense. Weber had a 47-yard touchdown run right up the middle of Michigan State midway through the first quarter on a third-and-short and he took one 82 yards on the first play from scrimmage later in the second quarter as Ohio State was pouring it on in Ohio Stadium. J.T. Barrett got in on the fun with a pair of rushing touchdowns and he completed an eight-yard touchdown pass to freshman J.K. Dobbins (who later became the third true freshman in school history to rush for 1,000 yards in a season) as Ohio State stormed their way to a 35-0 lead in the first half.

Barrett opened up the second half of the game with a 48-yard strike to Binjimen Victor for a score to extend the lead to 42-3. It was total domination all game long for the Buckeyes on offense and defense. A week after effectively leading the Spartans to an upset of Penn State, Brian Lewerke never managed to get on track in the passing game for the Spartans, and the running game never had space to get going either.

Ohio State’s 45-point victory was the most lopsided margin of victory for the Buckeyes over the Spartans, and it is the third most lopsided victory over a ranked opponent in school history.

With the win, Ohio State is now in sole possession of first place in the Big Ten East with a one-game lead in the loss column and they own head-to-head tiebreakers against both Michigan State and Penn State. With just two games left to play against Illinois and at Michigan, it would appear Ohio State fans can start making reservations in Indianapolis for the Big Ten championship game against Wisconsin. The question may be if there is enough in the tank to fuel a playoff push. That seems unlikely at this point, but Ohio State did pick a great day to score a blowout win like this. Three top 10 teams are guaranteed to lose today on the college football schedule, and No. 9 Washington suffered a loss Friday night. If Ohio State can play like this the next three weeks, they will remain on the radar for sure, although they may still need a little too much help to get back to the College Football Playoff for a third time.

Ohio State will host Illinois next week. Michigan State will return home for a game against Maryland.