COLUMBUS — What could have been expected with a pass defense that allows the most yards per game in the country in Michigan State and the No. 1 scoring offense in the country in Ohio State?
Somehow, despite Michigan State’s struggles on defense, it was still a Top 10 matchup and when the spread had Ohio State at 19, it seemed high.
Redshirt freshman quarterback C.J. Stroud and a handful of talented weapons around him put on a show. It started from the opening drive, and never let up.
Stroud led the Buckeyes to 500 yards of offense in the first half of the game alone. Stroud had 393 yards of passing in the first half. Wide receivers Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave had over 100 yards each, early in the second quarter, and sophomore receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba reached his 100 yards early in the third quarter.
The offense was hitting on every cylinder.
“You can see our capability when we’re playing really good football and clean football, we certainly have a high ceiling,” head coach Ryan Day said following the win.
The Buckeyes’ pass game and the presence of Michigan State’s pass defense was so lopsided that the statistics at halftime look like the final statistics in most Big Ten football games.
It looked too easy for Ohio State to move the ball in the air. Even on short passes through the middle of the field Spartan defenders were 10 feet off of the Buckeye receiver. In the end zones, the Buckeyes were wide open and if they weren’t, Stroud had the patience to wait for his receivers to get open.
On most plays, there just wasn’t even a matchup.
Along the way, Stroud set the Ohio State all-time record with 17 consecutive passes without an incompletion. He also tied the school single game record of six touchdown passes, and he did it in the first half.
Michigan State allowed an average of 329 yards per game in the air before Saturday, the most in the country. The Buckeyes reached that before the first half even ended.
“When you only play for really one half of football and you throw for six touchdowns, I think that matters when you’re looking at statistics” Day said on Stroud’s performance. “The level of play he’s playing at right now is really high.”
Ohio State played with backups for the majority of the second half, otherwise, at one point, they were on pace for 1,112 yards and 84 points.