Ohio State-Michigan State | Rob Oller’s Second Thoughts

Rob Oller
Ohio State linebacker Baron Browning celebrates a sack of Michigan State's Brian Lewerke with Malik Harrison, left, during the third quarter Saturday night. [Adam Cairns/Dispatch]

• I was wondering how the Buckeyes would respond to on-the-field adversity — off-the-field drama is a different matter; one that has yet to arise this season and perhaps will not — and my curiosity was rewarded in the first quarter when it became clear that Michigan State was not Miami University … or Indiana … or Nebraska ... or … . “We got off schedule a little bit,” coach Ryan Day said of a miserable first two offensive series that totaled minus-4 yards and featured a sack, a false-start penalty and missed 37-yard field-goal attempt. Panic? Not exactly. The Buckeyes finished with 529 yards of offense. “The veteran guys up front have a really good ability to come off on the sideline and communicate and fix problems,” tight end Luke Farrell said.

• We finally saw what makes Justin Fields so dangerous on every snap. The sophomore quarterback, who has looked smooth pretty much the entire season, hit a rough patch early against Michigan State’s impressive pass rush. No matter. Fields solved things by showing off leg speed that the Spartans could not handle. And maybe no college defense in America can? Not that running the ball comes without a cost. “This is definitely the most banged up I’ve been after a game, so I’m definitely glad we have a bye week next week,” Fields said.

• Now for the grumpy old man portion of our program. I don’t like the black uniforms. And it goes beyond not being able to read the numbers easily 11 stories high in the press box. If Ohio State wants to roll out throwback unis that honor past eras, go for it. At least there is some historic merit to it. But the black alternate jerseys, pants and helmets feel mostly like a merchandising money grab. Plus, the Buckeyes are big enough of a national brand that they don’t need to sell out by showing up looking like South Carolina. Tradition matters. This isn’t Oregon. Please check gimmicks at the door.


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