Ohio State-Michigan State | Ray Stein’s Bottom Line

Staff Writer
Buckeye Xtra

To say that Ohio State and Michigan State set football back to the Stone Age with their display of inelegance would be an affront to our early ancestors whose language consisted of grunts. Anyone then who had cave-drawn such a game plan to hunt woolly mammoths likely would have starved. Leaves are awarded on a zero-to-five basis. — Ray Stein

Offense (2)

OSU never really found its groove, but the vinyl in the second half didn’t skip nearly as much as it did in the first two quarters. Cold and wind played a role, sure, but that doesn’t explain how the heavyset horses up front at times trashed around like wet birds. Props to Mike Weber for putting the bit in his mouth and charging.

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Defense (4)

The cynic might say the best thing to happen to a beleaguered Ohio State defense was a matchup against an anemic Michigan State’s offense, and there is some truth to that. But except for one 47-yard frolic by a throwing QB, the Buckeyes were a fairly sound unit. And when presented the chance to pounce, they did not hesitate.

Special teams (4)

Drue Chrisman’s almost-perfect day started with a shankapotamus that traveled as many yards as his post-punt call: “Fore!” After that, everything he touched with his shoe turned to gold — second-half boots that, with a little help from his friends, had the Spartans beginning consecutive drives at their 5, 6, 3, 1 and 2. Game. Ball.

Coaching (3)

There are times when the play-calling has the Nation scratching their heads — or ready to scratch their eyes out, such as when the brass sent Dwayne Haskins Jr. wide on an option run. Uh, let’s not. But the coaches won raves for bringing in reliever Tate Martell for red-zone work. Special teams cannot be overemphasized.

Fun (2)

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, they say, but perhaps not in the stinging eyes and frozen ears of those holding tickets for that clumsy parade, which included 17 punts and one offensive TD in the first 58½ minutes. Freezing temperatures exacerbated by a stiff breeze made the unsightly even harder to watch, and the stadium slowly leaked patrons.

Opponent (2)

Michigan State has some seriously big, bad wolves when the other team has the ball, and plenty of Buckeyes will feel the pain today. But the Spartans might as well dress like Little Red Riding Hood when they have the ball, so meek and limited is their attack. And taking the safety seemed like waving a white flag.

Officiating (3)

OSU committed only four penalties, which may prompt coaches to take the fellas to Dairy Queen for frozen treats. The Spartans weren’t so clean, and had a TD called back, but they also caught an officiating break when zebras allowed a Brian Lewerke fourth-down sneak to last long enough for him to wiggle for a first down.

rstein@dispatch.com

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