Ohio State at Iowa, then Michigan State at Ohio State — one of these things is not like the other.

Not by any stretch.

A week after a 55-24 loss to the Hawkeyes, the Buckeyes waxed the Spartans 48-3 on Saturday at Ohio Stadium in a Big Ten East showdown that was never in doubt. And Michigan State was ranked No. 12 in the College Football Playoff rankings, one spot ahead of Ohio State.

But the Buckeyes offensive and defensive lines took control early, and J.T. Barrett, Mike Weber and others took advantage.

The standouts

The offensive line as a group — Jamarco Jones, Michael Jordan, Billy Price, Demetrius Knox and Isaiah Prince — dominated, along the way springing Weber on touchdown sprints of 82 and 47 yards. Weber (162) and Dobbins (124) topped 100 yards rushing against the No. 3 run defense in the nation, a defense that hadn’t allowed a 100-yard game all season. Barrett bounced back from a four-interception game at Iowa to throw for 183 yards and two touchdowns (but two more interceptions) and rush for 55 and two TDs. Chris Worley, back at outside linebacker due to circumstances (see below), menaced Michigan State quarterback Brian Lewerke along with the defensive line.

Unsung workers

Worley slid over from middle linebacker to the outside, Tuf Borland started in the middle and Malik Harrison got his first start at the other outside linebacker due to the absence of Jerome Baker and Dante Booker, who were injured. After a shaky beginning, the alignment jelled. The kickoff coverage, behind the boots of Blake Haubeil, was spot-on almost all day. And the defensive backs pretty much closed down the secondary, even after cornerback Damon Arnette had to leave the game because of injury.

Strategically speaking

The Buckeyes were intent on establishing the inside running plays. It paid huge dividends, especially on Weber’s two long runs. The defensive line’s assault was about unsettling Lewerke and, led by Nick Bosa, it worked. After throwing for 400 yards or more each of the past two games, Lewerke was off target more often than not.


Hard to find any faults in a game dominated on both sides of the ball.

Key stat

The 335 yards rushing against what had been the nation’s No. 3 run defense.

Injury report

Baker and Booker did not play because, according to sources, they were dealing with concussion symptoms that arose after the Iowa game. Arnette suffered a deep thigh bruise late in the first half and was taken to the locker room.

By the numbers

51: Starts for center Billy Price, an Ohio State record

160: Consecutive points-after attempts made by Sean Nuernberger, extending a Big Ten record

Looking forward

It may be too late for the Buckeyes to get back into consideration for the College Football Playoff, but a week after limping out of Iowa City, they put their best foot forward in a game that resembled the eye-popping, 59-0 Big Ten title game victory over Wisconsin in 2014.