College football: Buckeyes get on a roll against Spartans


Ohio State’s Emeka Egbuka heads for the end zone during Saturday’s game against Michigan State in East Lansing, Mich.

EAST LANSING, Mich. — It took just a few minutes, a few minutes in which Ohio State showed it was going to dominate its 49-20 win over Michigan State on Saturday and a few minutes in which it sent much of the crowd at Spartans Stadium home early.

A one-score lead halfway through the second quarter became a 35-13 halftime lead, then grew to 49-13 before Michigan State scored a fourth-quarter touchdown against the Buckeyes’ backups.

C.J. Stroud completed 21 of 26 passes for 361 yards and six touchdowns. TreVeyon Henderson rushed for 118 yards, all but one of those yards in the first half.

Marvin Harrison Jr. caught 7 passes for 131 yards and caught three touchdown passes. Emeka Egbuka had 5 catches for 143 yards and a touchdown and Julian Fleming caught 4 passes for 81 yards and a touchdown.

Linebacker Tommy Eichenberg (8 tackles) and defensive tackle Mike Hall (2.5 sacks) led Ohio State’s defense.

No. 3 OSU (6-0, 3-0 Big Ten) rolled up 614 yards of total offense and limited Michigan State to 202 yards. The Spartans (2-4, 0-3 Big Ten) lost for the fourth game in a row and netted only seven yards rushing.

Stroud threw six touchdown passes against Michigan State for the second year in a row and for the third time in his career. Harrison caught three touchdown passes for the third time in his career.

Ohio State played without No. 1 receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba and also was missing running back Miyan Williams, who ran for 189 yards and five touchdowns against Rutgers a week earlier.

Despite the absence of Williams, OSU coach Ryan Day said the Buckeyes’ success against Michigan State started with the running game.

“It all starts with the running game. When you’re running the ball well it certainly opens up a lot of things. It all starts with physicality up front and running the football,” Day said.

“It didn’t exactly start the way we wanted on offense but nobody panicked at all. The defense gave up a couple things on the outside early and had a couple penalties but across the board they did a great job of stopping the run. The defensive line was strong. Tommy (Eichenberg) and the linebackers were excellent. Across the board our guys just played strong,” he said.

Henderson returned after missing last week’s game against Rutgers because of an unspecified injury. He left Saturday’s game after he came up limping following his first carry of the second half. Day said Henderson did not return out of “an abundance of caution.”

“He ran hard, he ran physical, he was finishing runs,” Day said. “He had a bounce in his step and he was really determined.”

Stroud gave much of the credit for his big game to OSU’s receivers. “With those type of guys all you have to do is give them a chance,” he said.

Ohio State won for the seventh time in a row against Michigan State and for the ninth consecutive time in Spartan Stadium.

Ohio State is off next Saturday before it plays Iowa on Oct. 22 in Ohio Stadium.

“We played good football on the road. It got a little sloppy in the fourth quarter but we wanted to get some guys out of the game and make sure we got to the bye week as healthy as we could. We’re looking forward to the bye week and getting guys healthy and reflecting on things we did well in the first six games but also project where we are and where we need to go,” Day said.

Ohio State led 35-13 at halftime after two quarters of football which demonstrated that Michigan State’s defense had no answer for what the Buckeyes’ offense can do.

OSU rolled up 429 yards of total offense in the first half. Stroud completed 15 of 18 passes for 285 yards and four touchdowns. Henderson had 18 carries for 117 yards and Harrison caught two touchdown passes.

Ohio State had as scoring drives of 75 yards, 75 yards, 80 yards, 91 yards and 98 yards in the first half.

Ohio State took a 7-0 lead on its first possession of the game, a possession that started with an interception by Lathan Ransom, on a 19-yard touchdown pass from Stroud to Harrison.

MSU evened the game at 7-7 on a pick six interception by Charles Brantley a little over two minutes later on play on which there was a miscommunication between Stroud and Egbuka.

OSU’s lead grew to 21-7 by the first minute of the second quarter on a 69-yard touchdown catch by Egbuka and a 51-yard connection between Stroud and Fleming.

Michigan State cut the lead to 21-13 on an 18-yard pass from Payton Thorne to Jayden Reed with 10:43 left in the first half.

Just when the crowd at Spartan Stadium started to think there might be a very small chance, Ohio State took it away with two touchdowns in the final 7:05 of the first half. The first came on 1-yard run by Henderson and the other was on a 28-yard pass from Stroud to Harrison.

Ohio State went up 42-13 on its first possession of the second half on a 19-yard pass from Stroud to Harrison and got its final score on a 2-yard touchdown pass from Stroud to Gee Scott Jr.

Reach Jim Naveau at 567-242-0414.


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