1. In the first 15 minutes, the fourth-ranked Buckeyes looked human for the first time this season.
Although Ohio State led 3-0 after a quarter, there was not much for coach Ryan Day’s offense to feel good about.
They lost 16 yards the first time they got the ball and went three-and-missed-field goal on their second possession. The third time produced points, though that was all thanks to the defense as the Buckeyes netted zero yards on three plays after getting the ball at the Michigan State 22 via a fumble recovery.
Blake Haubeil’s 39-yard field goal was better than nothing, but just barely.
“We got off schedule a little bit,” Ohio State coach Ryan Day said of his team’s early struggles on offense. “We knew it was going to be hard to run against these guys -- it always is -- on third down we didn't do a great job for a couple different reasons.”
2. Ohio State gained 296 yards in the second quarter and scored 24 points, and that was pretty much all the Buckeyes needed in each case.
Justin Fields connected with K.J. Hill for 10 yards on a third-and-7 early in the second quarter to move the chains, and that seemed to get the Buckeyes going.
After a 13-yard run by J.K. Dobbins, Fields hooked up with Binjimen Victor on a 60-yard catch-and-run that resulted in the first touchdown of the game.
Luke Farrell got involved next with a 21-yard touchdown reception, and Dobbins staggered the Spartans with a career-long 67-yard touchdown run that put Ohio State ahead 24-10 with 2:24 left in the first half.
“We hit a third down in the second quarter, big third-down conversion, I think it was to K.J., and we got into a rhythm and we kind of go,” Day said. “And I think we wore them down maybe a little more in the second quarter.”
Ohio State finished with a 529-285 advantage in total yards.
3. They kept the ground game cranked up the rest of the night.
Dobbins finished with 172 yards on 24 carries while backup Master Teague added 90 yards on 14 carries.
Fields was sacked three times but still finished with 61 yards on the ground.
It all added up to a 323-yard rushing day, the third time in as many Big Ten games the Buckeyes broke the 300-yard mark in the first half of the season.
“You have to wear them down, and you've got to cover them up,” Day said. “The running backs have to turn 4-yard runs into 6, and then eventually over time, if you can start to run on them, you can maybe start to crack some. And that's kind of what happened.”
4. Chase Young kept coming.
Ohio State’s junior defensive end entered the night leading the nation in sacks and was the subject of special attention from Michigan State’s blocking scheme.
“it was definitely different,” he said. “I talked to one of their tight ends after the game and they said they didn’t even run half of their plays. But you know it was a good test for me, but as you see, if you do that everybody else is gonna get off. One man eat, we all eat.”
Young was still a near-constant presence in the Spartans backfield and added a half sack (shared with freshman Zach Harrison) to bring his season total to 8.5.
Shaun Wade, Baron Browning and Jashon Cornell also had sacks for the Buckeyes.
5. Fields threw his first career interception, but he didn’t sweat it much.
Fields entered the night with no interceptions in 155 career college pass attempts.
Josiah Scott, a junior from Fairfield High School, broke that string when he hauled in a pass from Fields with the Buckeyes driving in the third quarter.
“I have mixed emotions about it because, aww, it was my first pick but it was also like, it's football. So it happens. I wasn't really frustrated from it,” he said.
Day actually took the blame for the turnover after the game.
“I told him it was my fault,” Day said. “The look (from the defense) was not the one we wanted in that play. And then I told him, ‘I'm not always going to be right, (so) you gotta make me right. And when the look isn't right, you gotta throw the ball in the stands and live to see another down.’
“That was my fault. It was not his fault. It was not to look we wanted on that play. And I'll take the blame for that one.”
Fields completed 17 of 25 passes for 206 yards and two touchdowns.
The interception was the sixth of Scott’s career in green and white.