#18 Michigan State Spartans (6-3) welcomed #10 Ohio State Buckeyes (8-1) to Spartan Stadium on Saturday night to see if the Buckeyes could keep their Big 10 title hopes alive.
After a scoreless first quarter, Ohio State opened the scoring late in the second quarter with a one-yard pass from Dwayne Haskins to Parris Campbell. It was 7-3 to the Buckeyes at halftime.
Trailing 7-6 in the third quarter and following three incomplete passes, the Spartans found themselves pinned at their own one-yard line. As expected, Michigan State’s coach Mark Dantonio sent out the punting team. Unbelievably, the ball was snapped high over the punter’s head. This resulted in an intentional safety and a 9-6 lead for the Buckeyes.
In hindsight, an intentional safety appeared the correct call at the time as it allowed the Spartans the opportunity to clear their lines. However, Dantonio’s decision backfired. Not because it was the wrong call but because of what happened on the subsequent kick-off. The kick went straight out of bounds, handing the Buckeyes the ball at midfield.
Ohio State couldn’t capitalise on the error and were forced to punt. The punt pinned the Spartans back inside their own five-yard line. Things went from bad to worse for Michigan State. On the next play, the snap hit a Spartans wide receiver in motion. The Buckeyes recovered for the touchdown and a 16-6 lead.
Michigan State’s nightmare wasn’t over there. A fumble on their next possession resulted in a Buckeyes field goal, a 19-6 lead, and the game was effectively over. A late touchdown for the Buckeyes sealed the 26-6 win.
It says it all when the MVP was Ohio’a punter, Drue Chrisman. His first punt was horribly shanked for a gain of five yards! Following that, he punted a further eight times, including five punts landing inside the Michigan State six-yard line.
For the Buckeyes, Dwayne Haskins passed for 227 yards and one touchdown, and Mike Weber ran for 104 yards off 22 carries. The Spartans only managed 47 yards rushing and converted just two of 17 third downs.
The Buckeyes visit Maryland next Saturday before taking on Michigan in what should be the Big 10 East decider. On this form, I can’t see anything other than a win for the Wolverines and a confirmed place in the College Football Playoffs. Meanwhile, Michigan State visit Nebraska in their final road game of the season.
This is a contribution from our guest writer Mark Holmes @hailaway.
Above image courtesy www.elevenwarriors.com/ohio-state-football