Ohio State dominant in first road game, beats Michigan State 49-20

Bill Rabinowitz
The Columbus Dispatch

EAST LANSING, Mich. − Ohio State's first eight possessions all resulted in touchdowns.

That one of them was scored by the Spartans on an early pick-six did little except to keep the Buckeyes' 49-20 rout from commencing sooner at Spartan Stadium.

In Ohio State's first road game of the season, the No. 3 Buckeyes (6-0, 4-0) continued the dominance they've shown almost all season.

C.J. Stroud tied an OSU record with six touchdown passes, three to Marvin Harrison Jr. Harrison is now the first Buckeye to have three games with that many touchdown receptions. Stroud completed 21 of 26 pass attempts for 361 yards.

With running back Miyan Williams unavailable because of a knee injury, TreVeyon Henderson gained 118 yards in 19 first-half carries before leaving with an injury on his first run of the second half.

The Buckeyes gained 429 yards in the first half. Ohio State's defense was just as overpowering. With each team's starting quarterbacks in the game, Ohio State outgained Michigan State 560-102.

It was the fourth straight loss for the Spartans (2-4, 0-3), who were 27-point underdogs.

The Buckeyes were in control almost from the start. Ohio State took possession when Lathan Ransom intercepted a pass in the end zone to end Michigan State's opening drive. Emeka Egbuka had a run of 16 yards and catch for 24, and Henderson broke a 26-yard run to set up Harrison's 18-yard touchdown catch, which he made despite pass interference by cornerback Charles Brantley.

Brantley made up for it a couple of minutes later on Ohio State's next possession. He was covering Egbuka, who ran a hitch pattern. But Stroud clearly didn't expect that because he threw the ball right to Brantley, who returned it 32 yards for a tying score.

Then it was Egbuka's turn to redeem himself. On third-and-4, Egbuka got wide open down the right side. Stroud hit him in stride, and Egbuka ran for a 69-yard touchdown to make it 14-7.

On OSU's next possession, the Buckeyes faced a fourth-and-1 at their own 42 at the end of the first quarter. Coach Ryan Day elected to go for it, and Henderson ran 7 yards for a first down. On the next play, Stroud threw to Julian Fleming on a deep crossing pattern for a 51-yard touchdown to make it 21-7.

Michigan State responded with a touchdown drive, aided by costly Buckeye miscues Defensive lineman Zach Harrison was called for a hands to the face penalty, and cornerback Cam Brown was whistled twice, although a pass interference call was declined. Brown was benched, and his replacement, JK Johnson, was beaten by Michigan State's star receiver Jayden Reed for an 18-yard touchdown before MSU missed the extra point.

Ohio State made it 28-13 on a 75-yard drive highlighted by a 32-yard, over-the-shoulder catch on third down by Marvin Harrison Jr. Harrison then capped the Buckeyes' final score of the half with a 28-yard reception with 1:20 left.

Harrison's third touchdown catch capped a 96-yard drive to open the second half. He reached behind him to snatch the ball in tight coverage while remaining inbounds for the spectacular grab.

The Buckeye starters' final drive was a 50-yarder. On fourth-and-goal from the 2, Stroud rolled out and found tight end Gee Scott Jr. for his first career touchdown.

So dominant was OSU that it wracked up 614 yards of offense to Michigan State's 202, only seven of which came on the ground.

Ohio State now enters its off week, followed by a home game against Iowa and a road game at Penn State to end the month.

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