They needed this.

Not to keep alive their hopes for a College Football Playoff spot. That ship has probably sailed.

Not even for a Big Ten title, as coveted as that is.

Ohio State needed a performance like Saturday’s 48-3 demolition of visiting Michigan State to purge the sting from last weekend’s debacle at Iowa.

That 55-24 loss to the Hawkeyes gave the Buckeyes two regular-season losses for the first time in Urban Meyer’s six years as coach. Given the Buckeyes’ recent struggles against Michigan State, the resurgent Spartans figured to provide a stiff test.

Instead, the No. 13 Buckeyes beat the No. 12 Spartans by the biggest margin in the teams’ 46-game series.

“You need a great performance, and they had a great performance,” Meyer said. “A-to-Z, it was what we needed, and it was well-deserved. The players deserved that. They worked hard this week.”

The victory puts Ohio State (8-2, 6-1 Big Ten) in control of the Big Ten East and snapped a streak in which the road team had won the previous six OSU-MSU games.

Michigan State (7-3, 5-2) came into Ohio Stadium with momentum from having beaten Penn State last weekend. The Spartans’ 3-9 record in 2016 seemed a distant memory.

But this was a mismatch from the start. Ohio State rolled to a 35-0 lead in the first half and outgained the Spartans 524-195.

The Buckeyes’ offensive line dominated. Michigan State entered the game ranked third nationally in run defense and hadn’t allowed a 100-yard rusher all year.

Mike Weber and J.K. Dobbins easily surpassed that threshold. Weber ran for 162 yards in nine carries, including touchdown runs of 47 and 82 yards. Dobbins added 124 yards in 18 carries, the most runs the freshman has had since the opener at Indiana.

Quarterback J.T. Barrett added a pair of 4-yard touchdown runs and threw two touchdown passes. He finished 14 of 21 for 183 yards, although he did throw two interceptions.

Ohio State’s defense was just as impressive as its offense, especially considering that the Buckeyes played without starting linebackers Jerome Baker and Dante Booker because of head injuries. The Buckeyes’ defense didn’t miss a beat with Tuf Borland (a game-high 11 tackles) and Malik Harrison (six tackles) replacing them.

Michigan State quarterback Brian Lewerke had thrown for at least 400 yards in each of the Spartans’ previous two games. He managed only 131 yards on 18-of-36 passing with two interceptions as Buckeyes defensive backs blanketed Spartans receivers and the pass rush consistently supplied pressure.

“He decided to hold on to it a little bit in the beginning, and then he smartened up and got rid of it,” defensive end Nick Bosa said.

Michigan State was no more successful running the ball. The Spartans gained only 64 yards in 34 carries.

“Coming off the loss last week, it was like you couldn’t play soon enough,” Borland said. “We wanted to get back after it and wanted to get that taste out of our mouth, and this certainly helps.”

LJ Scott had a 20-yard run on Michigan State’s game-opening drive, but after the Spartans got to the Ohio State 36, Bosa sacked Lewerke to force a punt.

The avalanche then commenced. The Buckeyes moved the ball to the Michigan State 47 before Weber took a handoff and ran untouched through the middle of the Spartans defense.

A 17-yard loss on a botched snap doomed Ohio State’s next possession, but the Buckeyes scored touchdowns on their next four drives. Michigan State didn’t score until a 37-yard field goal on the final play of the first half. After three quarters, Ohio State’s yardage advantage was 512-121.

“We didn’t separate with our receivers,” Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio said. “We didn’t throw the ball accurately. We couldn’t protect the quarterback. We couldn’t run the football.

“Defensively, we didn’t tackle well. We didn’t pressure their quarterback enough and couldn’t stop the run. Consequently, a meltdown happens, and you have to give Ohio State a lot of credit.”

The Buckeyes have been an enigma this season, but they sensed that this kind of performance was coming.

“I knew last week we kind of laid an egg,” Bosa said. “We came out flat. The attitude was completely different this week. I knew this wasn’t going to be a close one. We were going to come out strong.”




OSU: TD, Weber 47 run (Nuernberger kick), 8:14. Drive: Six plays, 86 yards, 1:19. Key plays: Dobbins 15 run. Ohio State 7, Michigan State 0.

OSU: TD, Barrett 4 run (Nuernberger kick), 0:17. Drive: 11 plays, 73 yards, 4:11. Key plays: Campbell 25 pass from Barrett on third-and-1; Barrett 4 run on third-and-1 at MSU’s 4. Ohio State 14, Michigan State 0.


OSU: TD, Barrett 4 run (Nuernberger kick), 11:35. Drive: Nine plays, 68 yards, 3:12. Ohio State 21, Michigan State 0.

OSU: TD, Dobbins 8 pass from Barrett (Nuernberger kick), 9:21. Drive: Three plays, 25 yards, 0:56. Key plays: Lewerke fumble forced by Lewis, recovered by Arnette at MSU’s 25. Ohio State 28, Michigan State 0.

OSU: TD, Weber 82 run (Nuernberger kick), 6:16. Drive: One play, 82 yards, 0:11. Ohio State 35, Michigan State 0.

MSU: FG, Coghlin 37 kick, 0:00. Drive: Seven plays, 24 yards, 0:59 seconds. Ohio State 35, Michigan State 3.


OSU: TD, Victor 48 pass from Barrett (Nuerenberger kick), 14:06. Drive: Three plays, 72 yards, 0:54. Ohio State 42, Michigan State 3.

OSU: FG, Nuerenberger 27, 9:17. Drive: Eight plays, 56 yards, 2:36. Key plays: Dobbins 35 run on third-and-one. Ohio State 45, Michigan State 3.

OSU: FG, Nuerenberger 28, 0:00. Drive: 13 plays, 79 yards, 5:36. Key plays: Baugh 17 pass from Barrett; Victor 17 pass from Barrett. Ohio State 48, Michigan State. 3.