EAST LANSING, Ohio (WCMH) — No. 4 Ohio State played without coach Ryan Day and 23 players, including seven starters, but the Buckeyes were still able to cruise past Michigan State 52-12 Saturday afternoon in East Lansing.
Justin Fields operated behind an offensive line that was missing its starting center and both starting offensive tackles. But the Buckeyes’ QB still managed to throw for nearly 200 yards and rush for a career-high 104 yards, totaling four touchdowns.
The makeshift offensive line was especially impressive in run blocking, allowing OSU to run for more than 300 yards — its fifth-straight game with more than 200 yards rushing.
The only downside for Ohio State’s offense is the potential loss of starting guard and 2019 first team All-American Wyatt Davis, who was injured in the fourth quarter and helped off the field by team trainers.
Meanwhile, the Buckeyes’ defense, playing without linebacker Tuf Borland, safety Josh Proctor and defensive end Tyler Friday, put together a strong 60 minutes. OSU allowed less than 100 yards rushing and a secondary that ranks last in the Big Ten in pass yards responded by giving up less than 200 yards through the air.
The Buckeyes scored three touchdowns on their first four possessions starting with a 12-play, 83-yard drive capped off by Fields’ first rushing touchdown of the game on an improvised 3rd and goal play.
It only took Ohio State three plays to score its second touchdown with a 44-yard run by Fields and a 28-yard touchdown pass from Fields to Chris Olave to give the Buckeyes a 14-0 lead late in the first quarter.
Ohio State used a well-balanced attack to score on its third possession with 33 yards rushing and 41 yards passing on a 10 play, 75-yard drive ending with another rushing touchdown from Fields.
The Buckeyes’ defense got in on the scoring bonanza when Haskell Garrett batted a pass up in the air in the endzone and came down with it for the pick six to give OSU a 28-0 lead with 5:15 left in the first half.
Ohio State kept Michigan State at bay in the second half highlighted by the rushing attack. Trey Sermon broke loose for a 64-yard touchdown in the third quarter, his first touchdown as a Buckeye, giving Ohio State a 35-0 lead.
Fields ended his day on a 41-yard dime to Olave for his sixth touchdown of the season and third game this season with two touchdowns. Olave finished the day with 139 yards receiving.
Freshman quarterback CJ Stroud gave OSU one last touchdown on his first-career run that went for a 48-yard touchdown putting the Buckeyes over 300 yards rushing.
The Buckeyes hope to return to action next Saturday to face Michigan at noon inside Ohio Stadium. It remains to be seen if The Game will happen after the Wolverines canceled their game against Maryland this week.