Ohio State kicker Noah Ruggles' nation-leading field goal streak ends at 18

Joey Kaufman
The Columbus Dispatch

Kicker Noah Ruggles went nearly an entire regular season without missing a field goal.

But his streak of 18 consecutive field goals, the longest active one in the FBS, came to an end in Ohio State's 56-7 rout of Michigan State.

Midway through the third quarter, Ruggles pushed a 38-yard field goal try wide right.

The attempt came after the Buckeyes stalled on the edge of the red zone on their opening drive of the second half, prompting a fourth-and-9 at Michigan State's 21-yard line.

Ruggles' streak extended back to 2019 when he was a kicker at North Carolina, including two he made in a win over Temple in the Military Bowl. He did not attempt a field goal for the Tar Heels last season when he lost his starting job, leading him to transfer to Ohio State this past summer.

Ohio State Buckeyes place kicker Noah Ruggles (95) reacts to missing a 39-yard field goal during the third quarter of the NCAA football game against the Michigan State Spartans at Ohio Stadium in Columbus on Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021.

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Before his first miss on Saturday, he had made all 16 attempts this season, a stretch that made him one of 20 semifinalists for the Lou Groza Award as the nation’s top kicker

He gave the Buckeyes significant lifts in wins over Nebraska and Penn State over the last month, hitting four field goals in both victories. He hit a season-long of 46 yards against the Cornhuskers.

Debut for Quinn Ewers

Quinn Ewers, the much-hyped quarterback prospect who graduated a year early from high school to enroll at Ohio State, made his season debut with 1:20 left. 

He did not attempt a pass. He only twice handed off to walk-on Robert Cope, who picked up 2 yards on both carries.

Ewers has been the third-string quarterback in recent weeks with Jack Miller suspended following his Nov. 5 arrest on suspicion of driving while intoxicated. 

Miller was available against Michigan State after his suspension was lifted on Thursday after his OVI charge was reduced

Freshman Kyle McCord took most of the reps after quarterback C.J. Stroud exited the blowout in the third quarter. McCord completed four of eight passes for 17 yards and was once intercepted.

By appearing in his fifth game, McCord will be unable to qualify for a redshirt season.

Season attendance dips

Ohio State finished with an average home attendance of 96,756 this season after drawing an announced crowd of 101,858 against Michigan State.

Excluding last season, when tickets were not sold to the general public due to the coronavirus pandemic, it was the Buckeyes’ lowest since averaging 93,456 in 1999, which was before the expansion of Ohio Stadium.

The Buckeyes drew at least 100,000 in four of their seven home games in 2021, but had only 76,540 in their non-conference game against Tulsa that was their smallest crowd since 1971. They averaged 100,125 in the other six games.

Sevyn Banks sidelined

The Buckeyes were without cornerback Sevyn Banks, who was sidelined against the Spartans with an undisclosed injury.

Banks was listed as a game-time decision on the pregame status report, but didn’t warm up and appeared to be ruled out well ahead of kickoff. He was introduced during Senior Day and stood on the sideline in street clothes.

Early in the season, Banks was limited because of a knee injury, but had been starting since late September.

Cameron Brown took his starting spot opposite freshman Denzel Burke.

Moment for Master Teague

With the crowd chanting his last name ahead of the snap late in the fourth quarter, running back Master Teague rushed for a 1-yard touchdown.

Teague was back on the field for the Buckeyes after missing three of the past four games with an undisclosed injury, including last week’s win over Purdue.

In his return, he ran a season-high 21 times for 95 yards and one touchdown. It was possibly Teague's final home game as the fourth-year junior was introduced as a part of Senior Day.

Kickoff returner

Sophomore wide receiver Julian Fleming returned kickoffs for the Buckeyes in place of Emeka Egbuka.

Fleming’s inexperience showed when he was slow to pick up the ball on the opening kick and returned it only to the 14-yard line.

He looked more comfortable on offense early in the second quarter when he caught a 4-yard touchdown, his first career scoring haul. 

Coach Ryan Day said Egbuka is not dealing with a long-term injury.

Joey Kaufman covers Ohio State football for The Columbus Dispatch. Contact him at jkaufman@dispatch.com or on Twitter @joeyrkaufman.

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