ANALYSIS: Takeaways from Ohio State’s blowout of Michigan State

Ohio State trounced Michigan State 49-20 on Saturday in East Lansing to improve to 6-0 on the season ahead of a week off.

“It all starts with running game,” Ohio State head coach Ryan Day said. “When you’re running the ball well, it opens up other things. I definitely give the offensive staff a lot of credit.”

Here’s what you need to know about the game:

1. The game matched the nation’s No. 10 offense against the No. 100 defense, and it looked much like that most of the day.

Ohio State gained 614 total yards with a balanced attack that picked up 237 yards on the ground and 377 through the air.

The Buckeyes scored touchdowns on seven of their first eight possessions, and just about everything they tried seemed to work.

“The matchups are a challenge, obviously,” MSU head coach Mel Tucker said of facing Ohio State. “That’s the biggest thing — the one-on-one matchups — because they put pressure on you at every position. They have a really good quarterback who is very, very accurate with the ball. He can put the ball in places where another guys can’t put it on a consistent basis. So he doesn’t need a lot of room, but you have to be perfect.”

2. The Ohio State defense had a good day, too.

The Buckeyes sacked Michigan State quarterback Payton Thorne four times and did not allow a run longer than nine yards. The Spartans finished with seven yards rushing, fewest for an Ohio State opponent since Indiana had negative-one in the middle of the 2020 season.

Thorne completed 11 of 118 passes for 113 yards and a touchdown. He also threw an interception. His backup, Noah Kim, tacked on 82 yards and a touchdown against the second-team Ohio State defense to make things look a little more respectable for the Spartans.

3. TreVeyon Henderson returned to great success.

With last week’s Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week Miyan Williams sidelined by an unidentified injury, Henderson became the focal point of the running game again after himself missing the previous game.

He was more than up to the task, running 19 times for 118 yards and a touchdown in just one half and one play.

He did go through an injury scare, though, when he limped off after taking a shot to the right leg on the first play of the third quarter. He was checked out in the medical tent then took a seat on the bench and did not return, but Day said he likely would have gone back into the game if the outcome had still been in doubt.

4. C.J. Stroud had another huge game.

The sophomore quarterback threw for 361 yards and completed 21 of 26 passes. He threw six touchdown passes and quickly moved on from an interception returned for a touchdown early in the game when he incorrectly guessed what intended receiver Emeka Egbuka was going to do and threw the ball right to Michigan State cornerback Charles Brantley.

“I thought he embraced the game plan,” Day said. “He worked it. Had a good thought process the whole game.”

His top target was Marvin Harrison Jr., who caught seven passes for 131 yards and became the first Ohio State player to catch three touchdown passes in a game three times. Egbuka finished with 143 yards on five catches.

5. Ohio State blew out Michigan State for the third straight meeting.

Ohio State has won seven in a row against the Spartans, and the last six have been decided by at least 20 points.

The last three have been particularly ugly with the Buckeyes winning 52-12 in East Lansing two years ago and 56-7 in Columbus last season.

Stat of the game

Ohio State put up a game’s worth of stats in the first half as Stroud completed 15 of 18 throws for 285 yards and four touchdowns, Henderson ran 18 times for 117 yards and a touchdown.

Egbuka had three catches for 109 yards, Harrison had four catches for 91 yards and Fleming had four catches for 81 yards.

Game ball

Stroud tied the Ohio State record for touchdown passes in a game for the third time. He shares the record with Dwayne Haskins Jr., J.T. Barrett and Kenny Guiton.

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