Football

The Buckeye Watch: Michigan State at Ohio State

Zach Harrison Ohio State Buckeyes Defensive End

The Ohio State football team faced its latest test this past Saturday, passing with gliding colors. (They were one step below “flying colors,” which means there is no power of flight at that point, but there still is some type of ability to drift slowly to the ground.)

The Buckeyes beat the Spartans 34-10 and — in one of the most impressive feats I’ve ever seen in college football — they had 11 more yards in the second quarter (296) than Michigan State did in the entire game (285).

Ohio State flexed once or twice, but it was enough to get the job done. If you flex too much, you start ruining your entire wardrobe.

The Buckeyes are now 6-0 and heading into an off week. The timing is perfect. But before we can begin celebrating a week off, we have to get through this Buckeye Watch.

Let’s begin.

4:07 I’m not seeing a lot of green clothing here. I’ve seen three people so far. I did see a guy wearing black pants with a red stripe and also a green hoodie. He was carrying a case of Busch Light, so I’m guessing he’s an Ohio University grad who roots for the Buckeyes.

4:12 I’ve seen five people today who I couldn’t tell if they were walking with a limp or already hammered.

7:24 Jack Miller (2020 QB commit) has now tweeted the patented recruit-not-feeling-the-love-tweet of “Hmm.” Another 2020 QB recruit — CJ Stroud — is in attendance and is a prime candidate to land in Ohio State’s 2020 class as well.

7:27 The homecoming court is being introduced. For some people this is their crowning achievement. For everyone else, it’s something they always wanted to achieve and so every time they see something like this, it’s a slap in the face. It’s a thumb in the eye and a mockery of everything we have become. This isn’t what we wanted though. We wanted to be part of the homecoming court. We just didn’t have cool clothes. If only we’d have had cool clothes. Why couldn’t I have had cool clothes?????

7:43 I assume Michigan State won the toss because they are kicking off. I’m not paying very good attention. The crowd is loud though.

7:44 KJ Hill is back? That’s new. It’s a touchback. I can’t stand these black jerseys, but only because it’s hard to read the numbers.

7:45 Justin Fields avoids a sack and overthrows an open Luke Farrell sitting in a zone. Have to complete those passes against this defense. There’s another example of Fields’ throwing the ball a bit high.

7:46 Third and eight. Drops back. Avoids the sack and then gets sacked for an 18-yard loss. The field position has already been compromised. This is what Michigan State’s offense needs. Drue Chrisman’s punt gets fair caught at the MSU 38-yard line.

7:38 Brian Lewerke finds Cody White for a first down but he gets stripped by Damon Arnette and Malik Harrison picks it up and runs with it. What began as a great start for Michigan State is turning into a Sparty No! moment earlier than expected.

7:50 Tom tells me the pyro people only have enough fireworks for eight touchdowns tonight. Have they not watched this team? Who is the pessimistic head of the Ohio State fireworks department and who the hell does he think he is to doubt this offense? Does he think he can do better than Ryan Day? That’s what I’m hearing when you tell me there’s only enough fireworks for eight touchdowns. If I was Gene Smith, my pyro guy would NEVER travel with less than 12 touchdowns worth of pyro. I don’t care if that creates a fire hazard. The last thing you want to be creating around this program is doubt. Only packing enough black powder for eight touchdowns is loser talk. I am furious right now.

7:52 Blake Haubeil misses the field goal wide right. You see? This is what happens when a coach and players know the pyro guy doesn’t have any faith in them. I’m not suggesting Buckeye fans sneak Roman Candles into the next home game, but you could almost understand why they would with such disdain and doubt running through OSU’s pyro department.

7:53 By the way, the Buckeyes just ran ran the ball twice for 10 yards up the gut on second and third down, but didn’t want to go for it on fourth and three because…?

7:54 I wonder if they’re running the ball because they can’t protect Justin Fields.

7:55 Trips left. Speed option, fumbled on the pitch and the Buckeyes recover it. Davon Hamilton on the recovery. That’s a forced fumble by Chase Young that won’t go as a forced fumble by Chase Young. Never play hot potato when your life is flashing before your eyes. Young forced the pitch and caused Elijah Collins to drop the ball. There is no statistic for what Young just did there, but maybe there should be. And maybe it should be called a “Chase.”

7:58 Two turnovers deep in Michigan State territory and the Buckeyes only get one 39-yard field goal out of it. Buckeyes lead it 3-0 and the Spartans have to be a bit relieved. Especially after relieving themselves all over their legs so far on offense.

7:59 The Buckeyes threw three passes on that drive after running the ball successfully at the end of the previous drive. Gotta keep MSU guessing, I guess.

8:02 Illegal formation on first down. Ryan Day declines it? Clearly they don’t think much of Michigan State’s offense if they’re turning down a first-and-15 situation for a second-and-10 situation. Brian Lewerke keeps it on the read and picks up 11 yards. It looked like he was going to get a lot more, but this defense closes fast. Next time, take that penalty.

8:04 There’s a wide screen for a 1-yard gain. These dudes are so physical on defense. Shaun Wade fought off the block of an offensive lineman to get that tackle. Mark Dantonio knows the offensive linemen can’t get out there fast enough so he just split one out instead — and Wade was still too quick for him.

8:07 Michigan State’s punt is downed at the 4-yard line. The Spartans are winning the battle of field position while also turning the ball over in their own red zone. That’s a unique feat.

8:12 A big gain by JK Dobbins is going to come back because of a Jonah Jackson hold that was a pancake, but also maybe featured an inside arm around the neck. He does not agree with it. But who ever does?

8:13 Justin Fields is sacked on second and 20, but there’s a facemask and that’s a Sparty Special™ if ever there was one.

8:15 Fields zips it to an open Binjimen Victor down the sideline and he dropped it. Another big gain dead. There are plays to be made here, but Ohio State has chosen not to make them.

8:16 Fields scrambles and OSU will punt. He’s not getting a lot of time. Thayer Munford is now down and not feeling well. Josh Alabi will now go to left tackle I assume, but none of the tackles have had a good night to this point. Munford is able to walk off. Very slowly. Now he’s getting some help.

8:21 We have reached the end of the first quarter with Ohio State leading it 3-0.

8:22 The good news here is that OSU has had two big hits, and even though one was called back and another was dropped, the opportunities are there. Right now, however, they are not taking advantage of what MSU is allowing.

8:23 No worries — Ohio State is averaging 22 points per second quarter this season.

8:26 KJ Hill fair catches the Michigan State punt at the 15-yard line. Munford returns to the game. Fields gives it to JK Dobbins for a yard. He’s going to need to keep a couple of those.

8:30 Third and seven. Four wide. Fields finds KJ Hill over the middle for about eight yards and a first down. First downs are not easy against this defense, but they don’t rotate much so they should get easier as the game goes on. In theory.

8:31 Dobbins tiptoes the sideline on the left side, turning it up for 18 yards and now they are going with the hurry up.

8:32 Trips right. Fields rolls, tucks the ball, draws the defense in and he flips it to Ben Victor who is wide open and running down the sideline and puts a juke on and then speeds past the final defender into the end zone. He lost the ball after he gets into the end zone. They will review this, but he’s in. That’s 60 yards. The simple act of tucking the ball drew in two defenders. Review stands. Buckeyes lead it 10-0 with 12:12 to play. I saw a QB do the same thing last week for somebody. Rollout with the ball tucked, the defense bites, then he throws it. It’s a halfback pass with the quarterback and it’s the new wheel route. That’s the fastest I’ve ever seen Binjimen Victor.

8:34 That’s the first pass play of over 50 yards that Michigan State has allowed this season.

8:38 There is a different vibe in here now.

8:39 These cornerbacks are chirping tonight. Elijah Collins slips through the middle of the defense for a big gain into Ohio State territory. Tuf Borland got caught up by the guard there and may or may not have been held. Then on the next play, the tight end gets behind Borland for a first down and I can already hear the internet sizzling.

8:40 Two tight ends. Play-action completed to Darrell Stewart in the end zone for the touchdown. He immediately gets up and tells Jeff Okudah how it is. Okudah was way off on that route. Heck of a response by Michigan State, making it 10-7 with a drive that didn’t even last two minutes.

8:44 Ryan Day has been asking for adversity forever. Hope he’s filling up on it now.

8:45 Darrell Stewart is on the sideline going crazy. They need to mic these dudes up!

8:46 Third and five. Justin Fields drops back, steps up into the pocket and takes off down the sideline for 35 yards and a first down. He left Joe Bachie near the line of scrimmage. I hope somebody goes back to check on him.

8:47 With that 35-yard run, Justin Fields now has 21 yards rushing.

8:51 Quarterback draw/counter that was a little slow to develop nearly scores from 24 yards out. Most of it will come back because of a Garrett Wilson hold.

8:52 First and seven from the 21-yard line. Fields drops back, looks, looks, finds Luke Farrell at the 7-yard line and he sheds Joe Bachie like dead skin and finds the end zone. Farrell refused to be denied. He just dropped in a zone and waited for the football. 17-7 Ohio State.

8:54 There is 8:09 remaining. How long is Michigan State going to sit on the ball during this drive. They don’t want to give the ball back to the Buckeyes.

8:55 Kickoff. Two flags. Offside and unsportsmanlike on Marcus Hooker … and with his brother in attendance. Some people will do anything to get into the box score.

8:55 Zach Harrison nearly brings Brian Lewerke down for the sack, but he is able to escape and Chase Young is waiting for him. That’s like escaping from a grizzly bear by diving head-first into a wood-chipper.

8:59 Lewerke finds Stewart on the slant and he takes a huge hit from Damon Arnette. Those two are now talking again. They only talk once a year, so they have a lot of catching up to do.

8:59 Screen to Collins and Wade was there to stop it for a gain of two yards. That would have been a touchdown if Wade wasn’t able to get off of his block. That’s the second time he’s been tremendous on screens tonight.

9:00 Third and six. Lewerke drops back, gets time, and overthrows Cody White who was running free all alone. That would have been a touchdown. That’s what he gives you. You never quite know what he’s going to do when the ball leaves his hands. The field goal is good. Buckeyes lead it 17-10 with 3:36 remaining in the half. Chase Young nearly blocked that one. Went right through his arms.

9:04 Third and two. Quarterback run coming soon? Nope, goes to JK Dobbins who gets through the first line of defense and then doesn’t get taken down by the second line and he’s gone for 67 yards and the touchdown. That’s 109 yards rushing for him this half. Buckeyes lead it 24-10. Wow.

9:05 With 21 points in the second quarter tonight, Ohio State’s second quarter scoring this season has dropped to 21.83 points per 2Q.

9:08  Third and five. Lewerke hits Stewart in the chest and he drops it. He shoved Arnette down and then dropped it. Arnette wanted to talk but Wade pulled him back. If you’re going to talk as much as Stewart does — and if you’re going to play against corners who talk as much as Ohio State’s do — then you better not drop easy first downs. Michigan State will punt.

9:13 Fields drops back, throws deep to Chris Olave who never saw the ball and the interception was dropped. With 32 seconds to play. That could still be a big drop.

9:14 Third and seven. MSU jumps offsides. Back shoulder to Austin Mack for 19 yards to the 31-yard line. They’ll take the yards. That was a free play and a smart hookup between receiver and quarterback.

9:15 Incomplete to Mack, but the seam was open with KJ Hill for a touchdown.

9:19 Michigan State’s defense holds. Blake Haubeil drills his second field goal. Buckeyes lead it 27-10 with five seconds to play in the half.

9:21 Lewerke takes a knee to end the bleeding and send both teams to their respective locker rooms. That was an incredible second quarter.  The Buckeyes managed 296 yards of total offense in that quarter alone. That’s insane.

9:23 Why don’t they make the entire plane out of Ohio State’s second quarters?

9:26 JK Dobbins has rushed for 126 yards, which is just a few yards under the most any team has rushed for on the Spartans in an entire game this season.

9:29 The six penalties for 50 yards is uncharacteristic for this team in 2019.

9:33 The Buckeyes’ 27 points is enough to win this game. I know Ryan Day likes to talk about keeping the hammer down, but as long as the defense keeps the hammer down, the offense can leave it on cruise control.

9:44 Michigan State picks up 29 yards on their first two plays of the third quarter. I thought it was going to be Ohio State’s offense that was on cruise control this half, not the defense.

9:49 Nice job by Michigan State of exposing the defense a bit on this drive, which has now stalled at the OSU 9-yard line. They are lining up to kick it, but everyone is expecting a fake. They kick it — it goes wide left. Nearly another block for the Buckeyes. I guess they should have faked it.

9:53 Fields finds KJ Hill in a zone for 22 yards, then keeps the next snap and picks up 18 yards. Ohio State is right back in the Spartans’ territory once again.

9:55 Justin Fields has now thrown his first interception. Stop the presses … actually that was maybe a zone. KJ Hill stopped looking for the ball on the throw back and Josiah Scott was right there to return it to near midfield. That was awkward.

9:58 Spartans go three and out, but their punt goes out of bounds at the 4-yard line. Michigan State’s punter isn’t Australian, but he is Australian by proxy because they have one on the team. Just look at Drue Chrisman, for example. He only spent one season with an Australian punter and he’s been great ever since. He was just some guy off the street who had never even touched a football before. But one season with Cameron Johnston and the guy is now a master.

10:03 Fields scrambles and finds KJ Hill who drops the third-down pass. This has not been a great night for Hill, but Michigan State has a way of doing that to people. Chrisman’s punt is downed at the MSU 34-yard line.

10:08 Cameron Brown is still in the game. He replaced Damon Arnette in the third quarter at some point and hasn’t looked out of place. Brian Lewerke takes the snap, escapes from Chase Young, but Jashon Cornell grabs him and sits him down for “the talk.”

10:09 The end around goes to Cody White, but Tuf Borland — yep, that Tuf Borland — takes him down for a loss of three yards.

10:09 Lewerke completes a pass over the middle to Stewart, who then proceeds to lose a yard while trying to gain a few. Damon Arnette may be on the opposite sideline, but I bet he’s talking trash right now.

10:10 Third and 14. Four wide. Lewerke is looking left and completely misses Baron Browning coming from the other side untouched on a blitz. Chase Young won’t get credit for that sack, but he caused it by occupying both the right guard and right tackle. Browning simply ran through Lewerke like he was in the way. That will take us to the end of the third quarter with Ohio State leading it 27-10.

10:21 Binjimen Victor with a nice jab step juke to pick up a first down. He’s not supposed to be that agile.

10:21 Speaking of agile, JK Dobbins just went for another 29 yards, dipping and diving the entire way. He looks pretty fast this year. I hope his doubters have come around.

10:22 Dobbins pounds it in for a gain of three and then takes a forearm to the head. No penalty there? I’m going to assume OSU will be sending that to the Big Ten on Monday.

10:23 Ohio State is averaging 7.9 yards per carry with sacks removed. (That’s probably a poor way to phrase that sentence.)

10:28 Dobbins was short on his attempt from a couple of yards out, but Fields finds the end zone on the next play and the Buckeyes now lead it 34-10 with 10:41 to play. Fields took a decent shot on that one and the ref is talking to him.

10:35 Darrell Stewart drops another one. Drink! He’s had a rough night and he’s been open. He’ll be kicking himself after this game.

10:37 Mark Dantonio is punting from midfield down by three scores with nine minutes to go. If he’s going to call it a night, so am I.

3 Responses

  1. Great stuff! Loved this line: “That’s like escaping from a grizzly bear by diving head-first into a wood-chipper.”

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