You think Ohio State is mad about what happened last week at Iowa? It sure seems that way this afternoon as the Buckeyes are taking out their frustrations on Michigan state in Columbus. After one half of play, Ohio state leads the Spartans 35-3. The Buckeyes have established full control of this game using the running game with 241 rushing yards against the usually reliable Michigan State run defense.
Mike Weber got the scoring started midway through the first quarter with a 47-yard touchdown run on a third and short, and the Buckeyes never looked back. J.T. Barrett rushed in for a short touchdown later in the first quarter and another a few minutes into the second quarter to push Ohio State to a 21-0 lead. Just moments later following a Michigan State fumble by Brian Lewerke, Barrett completed a touchdown pass to J.K. Dobbins to extend the lead to 28-0.
Weber rattled off another long touchdown run, this time from 82 yards to tack on even more points.
Lewerke had a rough start to the game, completing just two of his first 10 pass attempts in the first quarter for a total of seven yards. As a team, Michigan State was out-gained by the Buckeyes 148-29 in the first quarter, allowing seven first downs on defense. At halftime, the Spartans have been held to 104 yards of offense.
The Spartans managed to at least get some point son the scoreboard with a 37-yard field goal by Matt Coghlin on the final play of the half.
About the only thing that has gone poorly for Ohio State is the loss of defensive lineman Dra’Mont Jones following a questionable targeting call late in the half.
There is still a whole second half to play, but this one feels pretty set in stone. Ohio State is on their way to a huge victory in the Big Ten, moving them one step closer to the Big Ten championship game.
Over five hours later, we have reached halftime in East Lansing between Penn State and Michigan State, with the Nittany Lions and Spartans tied 14-14 at the second break of the game. A nearly three-and-a-half hour weather delay in the middle of the second quarter posed an extra challenge to both teams.
With 7:58 to play in the second quarter, the game had to be sent into a weather delay as lightning strikes moving through the area caused a threat to the safety of the teams and fans in Spartan Stadium. The weather delay was announced as officials were reviewing an incomplete pass from Michigan State quarterback Brian Lewerke to Trishton Jackson on the sideline. The incomplete pass was upheld. It would be a while until they played third down.
Penn State was looking to get off to a nice quick start to move on from last week’s loss at Ohio State, but an interception thrown by Trace McSorley after missing a couple of throws earlier on the drive brought the game’s opening drive to an end. Unfortunately for the Spartans, Michigan State could not take advantage of the possession despite a promising looking drive that included a 3rd and 11 and 3rd and 19 pass completions to keep the ball moving. But on 4th and 2, Mark Dantonio opted to punt from the Penn State 43-yard line.
Penn State got the offense in gear on their second possession with McSorley dialing in and Saquon Barkley getting a chance to throw out of a direct snap for a 20-yard gain to tight end Mike Gesicki. McSorley then completed back-to-back passes to DeAndre Thompkins and then DaeSean Hamilton for a 31-yard score and a 7-0 lead. Michigan State answered after getting the ball near midfield on the ensuing kickoff, thanks in part to a good return and a late hit penalty on Penn State. Four plays later, Lewerke tied it up with a pass to Darrell Stewart Jr. Not to be outdone, Penn State had their own answer with Mcsorley completing a fourth-down pass to Saeed Blacknall, who then took advantage of horrendous tackling efforts by multiple Michigan State players on his way to the endzone for a go-ahead score.
Michigan State tied the game at 14-14 with a Lewerke touchdown pass to Felton Davis III from 33 yards.
The Big Ten contest in East Lansing, Michigan between Michigan State and Penn State is getting an earlier break than expected. Midway through the second quarter, the game was forced to be interrupted with inclement weather bringing lightning to the area. The teams left the field for their respective locker rooms midway through the second quarter with Penn State leading the Spartans, 14-7.
The announcement of the weather delay came just before an official video review on a Michigan State incompletion could be ruled on. The pass was ruled incomplete as the Spartans appeared to be on the move.
At the weather break, Trace McSorley has passed for 193 yards and two touchdowns with one interception for Penn State, while Brian Lewerke has been effective through the air for the Spartans with 159 yards and a score. The running backs have not been able to get too much going, with LJ Scott leading the way with 18 rushing yards on five carries. Penn State’s Saquon Barkley is once again not impressing in the rushing department with just one yard on three carries, however, Barkley completed a 20-yard pass to tight end Mike Gesicki and has caught a couple of passes for 13 yards.
Penn State’s streak of not allowing a touchdown to be scored in the first quarter was snapped this week, a week after seeing its first quarter shutout streak come to an end against Ohio State.
No. 2 Michigan (8-0, 5-0 Big Ten) overcame an early fight by Michigan State (2-6, 0-5 Big Ten) but created some separation in the second half and slammed the door shut on the Spartans in the second half for a 32-23 win. The win keeps Michigan undefeated on the season and on top of the Big Ten East Division and puts the Spartans on very thin ice as it relates to postseason opportunities. It was Michigan’s first win in Spartan Stadium since 2007 and most-lopsided win since 1997 (23-7).
Michigan State’s running game proved to be effective in the first half, but the lack of any threat in the passing game ended up being part of the reason the Spartans could not keep up with Michigan. LJ Scott rushed for 139 yards and a touchdown in the losing effort, but Mark Dantonio‘s game-time decision to go with Tyler O’Connor resulted in a 4-for-10 for 34-yard afternoon, with an interception. Damion Terry and Brian Lewerke would get some time on the field as well, bu the damage was already done by the Wolverines.
Michigan’s offense was just unstoppable, scoring points on all of their first-half possessions to take a commanding 27-10 lead into the halftime break. The box score may not reveal a fantastic performance by Michigan quarterback Wilton Speight, but he still passed for over 200 yards and found a way to connect with Amara Darboh for some big gains. Michigan spread the ball around well on the ground too, including De'Veon Smith (2 TDs), Eddie McDoom and even Jabrill Peppers (1 TD, and one two-point conversion fumble returned for two Michigan points). Michigan also just played a cleaner game, with fewer penalties and slightly more success on third down than the Spartans. It all helped put Michigan State’s clock management plan to the scrap heap.
A week after Ohio State slipped up on the road against Penn State, Michigan appeared to leave little doubt who the best team in the Big Ten is as we move into November. It’s the Wolverines right now. Next week Michigan will return to Michigan Stadium and will be a heavy favorite against Maryland. That should leave Michigan at 9-0 heading into the final three games, which will include road trips to Iowa and Ohio State. So there is still work to be done, but Michigan has every reason to feeling confident about their chances right now.
Michigan State is now in serious danger of failing to reach the postseason at all. Today’s loss dropped the Spartans to the six-loss mark, meaning they are just one loss away from being ineligible for postseason play under NCAA rules. Michigan State still has games to play against Ohio State and Penn State in the final two games of the season after getting Illinois and Rutgers in the next two weeks. The last time a power conference champion failed to reach the postseason the following season was in 2010, when Texas took the Big 12 crown and played for the BCS National Championship in 2009 and went just 5-7 the following season. Ironically enough, Texas lost in that championship game to Alabama, the same program that flushed Michigan State right out of the postseason last January.
Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio may have bumped the panic button when it comes to his quarterback situation in East Lansing. With Michigan State preparing to play Northwestern, the Spartans have listed three quarterbacks at the top of the depth chart this week, a distinct contrast to Dantonio’s previous show of support for Tyler O’Connor last week.
Of course, three straight losses for a team replacing Connor Cook after making the College Football Playoff and winning the Big Ten can do that to a program. After Michigan State lost on the road at Indiana to fall to 0-2 in Big Ten play, the Spartans were roughed up at home by BYU. Now, O’Connor is listed at the top of the depth chart along with Damion Terry and Brian Lewerke. Terry replaced O’Connor during the loss to BYU last weekend. Lewerke was last seen running the offense late in the game in a blowout loss to Wisconsin.
How the three quarterbacks will be used against Northwestern remains to be seen. Will Dantonio give each player a series to see what they can do? Two series? A quarter? Might they be used depending on the situation? This likely will not be the old Steve Spurrier method of rotating quarterbacks, but it does seem to indicate Michigan State has reopened the quarterback competition just about midway through the season. That is not exactly the ideal situation
Michigan State’s passing offense ranks eighth in the Big Ten with an average of 213.0 yards per game and eight touchdowns to six interceptions.