By: Chris Brenneman
Last week was the first on the road for the Buckeyes, as they took on the Spartans of Michigan State. This was also the first conference game of the season. The Buckeyes came into the game with a 4-0 record, and the Spartans came in with a 3-1 record. The Spartans lone loss came against the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame. This game would prove whether or not Ohio State really did improve upon their past four games. Michigan State came into the game with one of the best defenses in the nation; running back Le’Veon Bell came in with 610 yards rushing. Could the Buckeyes O-line block for Braxton Miller and could the D-line figure out a way to keep Bell from racking up the yards? Those, plus other questions, were answered this weekend.
Unlike last year’s loss to Michigan State (10-7), the Buckeyes knew who the starting would QB and there were no players suspended. Plus, the Buckeyes have a head coach who has been in tight situations and could coach under pressure. In last year’s loss there was no offense for OSU and they did not score until the last few minutes of the game. This year, the Buckeyes came out with a bang. East Lansing filled up Spartan Stadium, but the Buckeyes were not out of whack, actually playing all four quarters this game. The Buckeyes, again lead by QB Braxton Miller, burned rubber with a 20-yard run. This lead to a fast eight play, 75-yard drive for an early Buckeye lead at 7-0. During this drive, Miller was taken to sides for a late hit out of bounds, which shock him up. Even with Miller out for a few plays, SR. QB Kenny Guiton came in, still playing like Miller was in the game. The score came on a Jordan Hall 1-yard run. After the the kickoff, the Spartans answered back as they drove down the field, coming out with a field goal to cut into the lead, 7-3. The second quarter did not show much scoring, as both D’s stood strong. Ohio State had two possessions in Michigan State zone but both times turned the ball over to MSU. The Special Teams of OSU did show up as Roby blocked an MSU punt. The Silver Bullets stood in Michigan State running back Bell’s way. They held him to only 24 total yards on eight carries.
The second half was a fast start for the Spartans, as Michigan State scored first on a Conroy 50-yard field goal. This did not put Ohio State in a bind, as Drew Basil kicked it up a notch with his 26-yard field goal to keep push the OSU lead 10-6. The Spartans were able to take the lead with a pass from Maxwell to Mumphery. The Spartans 13-10 lead did not last long, though! The next Buckeye possession showed the Big Ten and the Spartans that the Buckeyes will never give up. It only took four plays for a 63-yard pass to Devin Smith to regain the Buckeye lead over the Spartans.
Going into the fourth quarter with a 17-13 lead, the Buckeyes were not out of Spartyland just yet. Miller once again fumbled the ball in Spartan territory. A bright spot for the Buckeyes, though, as the Silver Bullets slammed the Spartans only allowing a 48-yard field goal, cutting the Buckeye lead to 1. The Buckeyes went out with a three and out on their next possession, giving the Spartans one more chance. The chance for the Spartans came and went, as the Silver Bullets dropped the Spartans like a hot potato. The Spartans punted the ball but could not stop the Buckeyes O.
The Buckeyes are now 5-0 and will be home this weekend as they welcome the Nebraska Cornhuskers. This is an 8 o’clock start. Last year, the Buckeyes went to Nebraska and held the lead all the way to the fourth quarter, but blew it, in a 34-27 losing effort. Now, with a lot of questions answered from the win against the Spartans, the Buckeyes know what they need to do. The Silver Bullets need to stampede to the ball with not one, not two, but three to five players wrapping up and making sure they don’t let anyone cross the Bullets. The O-line is giving Miller, Hyde, and Hall the room they need to get them down the field and protect their family. With all this it just shows the Buckeyes are Tough Enough!