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

Ray Stein
Buckeye Xtra
Ohio State Buckeyes linebacker Malik Harrison (39) carries the ball after a turnover during the first half of the game between the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Michigan State Spartans at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio on Saturday, Oct. 5, 2019. [Maddie Schroeder/Dispatch]

Ladies and gentlemen, the captain has turned on the fasten seatbelts sign. After five weeks of unbelievably smooth flying, it seems we may be running into a little turbulence. Please remain in your seats until the captain lets us know that it is OK to move around the cabin. … OK, you are now free to roam the aisles. Leaves are awarded on a zero-to-five basis. — Ray Stein

Offense (4)

The Buckeyes weren’t always pretty, like going backwards at the start and the wounded duck that resulted in Justin Fields’ first pick. But some days are spent in art museums and others are spent underground fixing the sewer system. Hey, it’s good for the soul. And Fields and J.K. Dobbins are really good at football.

Defense (4)

By limiting Michigan State to 107 yards after halftime, OSU has now prevented six straight opponents from reaching 300 total yards — a major accomplishment in this day and age. The Buckeyes forced three turnovers, but two came before the offense's bank had opened. Next order of business: making sure all the key players are healthy.

Special teams (3)

Drue Chrisman wasn’t the star of the game like he was last year against the Spartans, but he did average 48.2 yards on four punts, and every yard helps in a field-position game. So does every point, and Blake Haubeil left three out there when he missed a first-quarter field-goal try. But he atoned later with two makes.

Coaching (4)

Ohio State didn’t fret — but man, did Ryan Day ever sweat — when things were going east-west instead of north-south at the start. But the OSU staff adjusted on the fly, and soon the Buckeyes were taking off. When the brass watches the tape, though, they’ll rue that their quarterback took so many hits.

Fun (4)

Who knew that a little adversity could be such a hoot? Ohio Stadium fans aren’t accustomed to having to pay attention to game action for so long, but they did a fine job of staying full of throat deep into the night. This may be an unpopular opinion, but the black uniforms are a pleasing change of pace. What the heck.

Opponent (3)

Despite the final numbers, Michigan State is tough as iron on defense, especially linebacker Joe Bachie, who can ball (Italian lawn bowling joke). QB Brian Lewerke is as gritty as they come, but the Spartans’ offense doesn’t exactly ooze imagination, and that’s going to be requisite for any team that wants to hang with OSU.

Officiating (2)

The Twitter world was not impressed with this group of officials, who allowed way too much trash to be talked and almost lost control of things. Folks also wondered whether the Buckeyes caught a break on Michigan State’s first fumble, which didn’t rate a replay. Review, however, upheld Binjimen Victor’s breaking the plane. OK, but barely.

Listen to the BuckeyeXtra Football podcast: