An emotional win over Penn State leads to a deflating road performance the next week, at least according to this season's Big Ten results.

After Michigan State upended the Nittany Lions 27-24 on a field goal as time expired last week, the No. 12 Spartans were flattened by No. 13 Ohio State 48-3 on Saturday at Ohio Stadium. It was an eye-opening bounce-back performance for the Buckeyes, who were walloped 55-24 at Iowa after a 39-38 win against Penn State the previous week.

Against Ohio State, Michigan State drove past the 50-yard line only three times, with one of those coming on its first possession of the game. Brian Lewerke converted a third-and-18 with two runs, and the Spartans appeared to be driving. Then the Buckeyes defense stepped up, with Nick Bosa pulling down Lewerke for a sack on third down.

It set the tone for the game.

The Buckeyes outgained the Spartans 524-195. The game was all but over at halftime, with Ohio State leading 35-3. Matt Coghlin made a 37-yard field goal as time expired in the first half for his team’s only points.


Shining moment

Sophomore cornerback Justin Layne made a one-handed interception in the end zone in the fourth quarter. Ohio State’s J.T. Barrett lofted a fade pass to Binjimen Victor, but it was underthrown and Layne snagged the ball with his right hand despite Victor grasping onto his left arm.

What went right?

Looking to the punter for a highlight might seem like a reach, but Michigan State punter Jake Hartbarger averaged 45.5 yards on eight punts, recorded his second-longest punt of the season at 58 yards and pinned the Buckeyes inside their 20-yard line three times.

Drawing board

Coach Mark Dantonio emphasized establishing the run, something the Spartans are known for. But they struggled on the ground, rushing for only 64 yards on 34 carries.

Question mark

What happened to that vaunted Spartans run defense? It was gashed by Barrett and tailbacks J.K. Dobbins and Mike Weber, with Ohio State gaining 335 yards rushing.

Star power

The moment appeared too big for Lewerke. The sophomore finished 18-of-36 passing for 131 yards with two interceptions. He was especially dreadful in the first half, going 8 of 22 with 46 yards.


“It’s just like everything else. We didn’t play well in any area. And there’s a reason for that, Ohio State played well. But we didn’t play well enough in any area to really make it a game. And that’s the bottom line and that’s what’s disappointing.” — Dantonio

Telling statistic

2.8: Yards the Spartans gained per play. The Buckeyes’ yards per play? 8.1.