Ohio State buries Michigan State to remains unbeaten in Big Ten; Michigan next

Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud looks for an open receiver during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Maryland, Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021, in Columbus, Ohio. Ohio State beat Maryland 66-17. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)
Caption
Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud looks for an open receiver during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Maryland, Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021, in Columbus, Ohio. Ohio State beat Maryland 66-17. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)

Credit: Jay LaPrete

Credit: Jay LaPrete

Ohio State scored on its first seven possessions in the first half to build a 49-0 lead over Michigan State on Saturday afternoon.

The fourth-ranked Buckeyes never looked back, finishing off a 56-7 shellacking to set up another showdown with Michigan next week.

The hosts started the scoring with an 86-yard drive that actually had to cover 91 yards thanks to a pre-snap penalty on Chris Olave.

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The senior more than made up for it, though, as he hauled in a 23-yard touchdown pass from C.J. Stroud to cap the drive.

That was Olave’s 34th career touchdown catch, tying David Boston’s school record set in 1998.

He broke the record a little more than eight minutes later on a 43-yard pass from Stroud, who also hit Garrett Wilson for a 77-yard score in between.

But the Buckeyes were just getting started.

Stroud found Julian Fleming for a 4-yard touchdown early in the second quarter, then Miyan Williams scored from a yard out to make it 35-0 with 10:02 left in the half.

Three minutes later, Stroud and Wilson hooked up again for a 12-yard score against a Michigan State defense that did not offer much resistance.

With 1:37 left in the first half, Stroud found Jaxon Smith-Njigba all alone in the end zone for a 5-yard score that made it 49-0.

Like the offense overall, Stroud was nearly perfect in the first half. He completed 29 of 31 passes for 393 yards and a school-record-tying six touchdowns.

Michigan State gained 116 total yards in the first half and advanced into Ohio State territory once. The Spartans’ second drive covered 55 yards, but they came up empty when Matt Coghlan missed a 46-yard field goal.

Olave, Wilson and starting running back TreVeyon Henderson did not play in the second half, but Stroud was at quarterback on Ohio State’s first possession of the third quarter.

He led the Buckeyes to the Michigan State 21, but Noah Ruggles missed a 38-yard field goal.

That was his first miss of the season.

Michigan State got on the board on the first play of the fourth quarter with a 12-yard touchdown pass from Payton Thorne to Keon Coleman, who beat tight coverage by Ryan Watts.

The Buckeyes scored again late in the fourth quarter when Master Teague III powered in from a yard out.

With the win, Ohio State clinched at least a share of the championship in its Big Ten division for the 10th straight year.

If Michigan beats Maryland later Saturday, the winner of next week’s clash between the Buckeyes and Wolverines will decide who represents the East division in the Big Ten Championship Game in Indianapolis.

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