How Did Buckeyes Manage to Hand Mark Dantonio Record Rushing Day?

Mike Weber Michigan State Football Ohio State Football Buckeyes

Saturday was Mark Dantonio’s 142nd game as the head coach at Michigan State.

It was not a notable number for Dantonio, but the Buckeyes decided to honor him anyway by rushing for more yards than any other team has in his nearly 11 years at Michigan State.

Ohio State ran the ball 42 times for 335 yards, setting a record against a Dantonio-coached Michigan State team that the Spartans head coach certainly wants nothing to do with.

Tailbacks Mike Weber (9-162) and J.K. Dobbins (18-124) both went over the century mark, combining for 27 carries and 286 yards rushing.

Michigan State came into this game allowing just 87 yards rushing per game. The Buckeyes had 102 yards rushing in the first quarter, which also matched the most rushing yards the Spartans had allowed in any Big Ten game this season.

How did the Buckeyes do it?

“When you execute, good things happen,” said senior center Billy Price.

He’s not wrong. The Buckeyes averaged eight yards per carry, and that’s even with a 17-yard loss on a snap through quarterback J.T. Barrett’s hands.

When told the OSU ran for more yards against a Dantonio-coached Spartan team ever, senior left tackle Jamarco Jones was a bit surprised.

“Wow. That just speaks to our guys, our running backs hitting the holes, all five of us up front, the tight ends blocking the perimeter,” he said. “It’s more than just the guys up front. We had a lot of big plays because our receivers — I think our receivers are the best blocking receivers in the country. It’s just a team effort. It just took all of us today to get that done and I’m glad we were able to do that.”

Urban Meyer said after the game that he laid down a mandate to get back to the running game, and the Buckeyes did just that against Michigan State. The offensive linemen and the running backs were happy to hear it earlier in the week and were looking forward to the responsibility of carrying the offense forward against a formidable defense.

“The motto of our team is that we’re an O-line driven program,” said right guard Demetrius Knox. “[Meyer] always says if we can control the line of scrimmage, we can win the game. That’s what we did. We rolled off the ball, we pushed them off the ball, the holes were there and the running backs hit them.”

They sure did.

Weber had touchdown runs of 47 and 82 yards, while Dobbins brought up the rear with a mere 35-yard scamper. It wasn’t just home runs that did the damage, however. The Buckeyes ran the ball consistently well, and the only third-and-long situation they had in the first half was due to the aforementioned snap through Barrett’s hands.

“It just speaks to our coaching staff,” Knox said of the dominating ground game, crediting offensive line coach Greg Studrawa. “They put the template out in front of us. They put all of our assignments that we had to do. Coach Stud worked extra time on this game for us. So all we had to do was do what they said.”

And all Michigan State could do was beg the clock to tick faster.

In this game, the Buckeyes did what no other team has been able to do over the last decade. They put more rushing yards on Mark Dantonio than any other team since he joined the Spartans in 2007. That is an accomplishment to be proud of.

It’s also an accomplishment to remind the offensive line of the possibilities when they are as tuned in as they were this week.

“That’s our culture,” Knox said. “We’re an O-line driven program. If we run the ball and we can establish the line of scrimmage, we’ll win the game.”


11 Responses

  1. re: the targeting calls: Don’t be surprised to hear Urban mention this in the Big Ten media comments this week and next. He will put the word out for the big game in Ann Arbor that you just can’t call “hard hits” as targeting. It’s cliché, but true, that the OSU-UM game is super hard-hitting. Of course, if they call their linebacker Bush for targeting, I’ll allow that. I’ve seen him stick people with his helmet and no call.
    It’s going to be tough to manage the emotions of this team. I know Meyer is up for it, but this coming week, the biggest emotion is “how will we handle Senior Day?”, followed by an easy game against Illinois… then how are we supposed to get fired up and on edge for the Michigan game?
    Not to be a gluttonous pig, but I wanna see us beat Illinois by 40, with all 3 quarterbacks scoring TDs, and then I want to see Total Domination in Ann Arbor.

  2. Mike Weber looked faster yesterday, than at any other time I’ve seen him run in the past. Where the hell has THAT Weber been. I know he’s been dealing with a long nagging injury, so it’s good to finally say I think he looks good again. Up until yesterday’s performance, I saw him as the backup to Dobbins.

    Also sick of the targeting penalty. Good lord could there be any worse penalty than this one? Probably. But not right now, I’d wager.

  3. Tony, Urban mentioned that OSU’s OL and particular OL players are getting to the elite stage, do you believe that we saw some of that or the completion of that Saturday? I watched MSU’s clip boards go flying and chewing outs, none of that seemed to help, OSU just appeared to exert its will.

    1. Certainly looked like we’ve seen this line look in 2012-2014 when they would flip the switch and pound teams.

  4. Tony, after watching yet another Ohio State player ejected for targeting with absolutely no helmet or above-the-shoulder contact of any kind, I keep seeing the image in my head of Parris Campbell being drilled in the side of his face by the crown of a Nebraska helmet with no flag, in spite of the play being reviewed to see if he caught it.
    Mere incompetence or even stupidity on the part of B1G replay officials cannot account for their targeting of OSU in regard to this rule. A willful disregard of the rule seems apparent. As fans there’s little that can be done, but a detailed Ozone expose’ of the application of this rule, including the calling out of the replay officials involved and B1G director of officials Bill Carollo, couldn’t hurt. Just tossing it out there.

    1. Officials are graded every week, so the belief is that these misses and mistakes are caught during the week and punishments are handed down. Yes, punishments do get handed down.

      1. Jone’s hit wasn’ that different from the hit Sam Hubbard took.

      2. I read an interview with Bill Carollo that was done a few years ago about the grading and disciplining of officials. It sounded very reasonable and effective in his description, but it seems the replay officials would rather rely on their own preferences. There’s no gray area in the hit on Campbell and no excuse for missing it when the play was already being reviewed.

        It was pointed out by Paul and Jim on the radio broadcast that no player has ever been ejected for targeting against an OSU player. Yet I recall multiple questionable ejections against the Buckeyes (Bradley Roby and Corey Smith come to mind).

    2. Couple thoughts: (1) There are two parts to the targeting rule. The second concerns defenseless players. Jones hit fell under this category. (2) Targeting concerns the head or neck region. Jones seemed marginal for neck area.

      I am all for the targeting rule. The game will not be around in 10-20 years without it. It will take a year or two for the rules and officiating to settle on where the line is. And the line is grey and there is no way around that. Players will adapt too. Long term the issues now are a small price to pay to sustain the game.

      Finally, the primary issue with Jones targeting call was Jones roughing the passer. He clearly did and was close to a targeting. Don’t take 3-4 steps and hit qb after the throw is away.

      1. Jones’ hit was roughing the passer because it was late and was what should have been called. Players don’t get ejected for roughing the passer.

        The second part of the targeting rule still requires forcible contact to the head or neck area of a defenseless player. Jones’ hit was no more marginal for the neck area than any hit to the upper chest – including the legal block on Hubbard and the legal hit that got Ward ejected – and the primary contact was with his arms to the chest with NO head or neck contact throughout the play. It’s not that hard to see in slo-mo, which the replay official has.

        The hit on Campbell at Nebraska, however, was the forcible impact of the crown of the defender’s helmet into the side of a defenseless receiver’s face, knocking him out of the game. With plenty of time spent reviewing the play, the replay official still refused to call it.

        The rule has been around enough years for replay officials to learn the difference between an arm or shoulder to the chest and a helmet to the head.

        1. Patrick- thanks for negating the absurd commentary by Matt. Good heavens Matt, are you one of the BIG officials who keep screwing up this call? Sheesh.

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