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.
A week after blowing away Wisconsin, No. 6 Michigan (7-1, 5-0 Big Ten) was ready for a defensive showdown against No. 24 Michigan State (4-3, 2-2 Big Ten). Behind a strong performance by the Michigan defense against a battered Michigan State offense, the Wolverines overpowered the Spartans in a lightning-delayed game by a score of 21-7.
Shea Patterson passed for 212 yards and two touchdowns in the win, and Karan Higdon led things on the ground with 137 rushing yards on 31 rushing attempts. A 79-yard touchdown pass to Donovan Peoples-Jones down the right sideline in the third quarter gave Michigan a 14-7 lead. It was the only catch of the day for Peoples-Jones, and it could not have come at a better time.
Michigan State was happy to have running back LJ Scott back on the field after the senior running back had missed the last four games, but Scott was unable to have much of an impact as Michigan’s rushing defense was suffocating all afternoon. The Wolverines also made things difficult for Michigan State quarterback Brian Lewerke, who finished the day completing just 5-of-25 attempts for 66 yards. It did not help that Felton Davis III, who caught the game-winning pass at Penn State last week, went down with a reported torn Achilles in the second quarter. Lewerke was later replaced by Rocky Lombardi. Ironically, perhaps, Lewerke scored the only touchdown of the day for Michigan State by catching a pass on a trick play run by the Spartans that had Lewerke open for a pass from Darrell Stewart Jr. in the end zone.
The win snapped a 17-game losing streak for Michigan against ranked teams on the road that dated back to the final game of the 2006 regular season against Ohio State. Jim Harbaugh had been 0-4 against ranked teams when playing on the road, and this win also evens Harbaugh’s record against Michigan State and head coach Mark Dantonio.
Michigan will now get a well-deserved off week before taking the field again. When they do, they will be at home for a revenge game against Penn State. A win over the Nittany Lions (who lost to Michigan State last week) would firmly trim the Big Ten East race into a two-horse race between the Wolverines and Ohio State, if it isn’t one already. Penn State will be playing a home game against Iowa next week and Michigan State will host Purdue.