OSU grade card: Buckeyes close to perfect in big win


A grade card on Ohio State’s 56-7 win over Michigan State:

OFFENSE: A+

Ohio State sensed weakness, or at least exploited a very favorable match-up, and passed early, often and successfully against Michigan State, which ranked last in the nation in passing yards allowed.

Quarterback C.J. Stroud completed 32 of 35 passes for 432 yards and six touchdowns, which tied the Ohio State record for most TD passes in a game. He set an OSU record with 17 consecutive completed passes. The offensive line protected him very well and the Buckeyes’ three future NFL receivers all had more than 100 yards receiving. Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave both had two touchdown catches and Jaxon Smith-Njigba had one.

Nineteen of Ohio State’s first 26 plays were passes. It scored touchdowns all seven times it had the ball in the first half. The bottom line was Ohio State’s receivers were who we thought they were and Michigan State’s defensive backs also were who we thought they were.

DEFENSE: A

Michigan State’s previous low points total this season before Saturday’s 7 points was 20 points against Indiana. Running back Kenneth Walker III gained only 25 yards on six carries and touched the football just once in the second half. He came into the game averaging 147 yards a game rushing and was being talked about as one of the leading Heisman Trophy candidates.

The Spartans didn’t throw the ball any better than they ran it. Quarterback Payton Thorne completed only 38 percent of his passes (14 of 36) for 158 yards. Ohio State sacked him twice after not having a sack against Purdue.

SPECIAL TEAMS: B

Kicker Noah Ruggles missed a 38-yard field goal after going 16 for 16 to start the season. Kick returner Emeka Egbuka was out with an unspecified injury. Jesse Mirco had to punt only once.

OVERALL: A

OSU and MSU came into the game with the same 9-1 record but the talent gap in every area was obvious from the beginning. Ryan Day admitted he was resting most of the Buckeyes’ first-team players in the second half and keeping them healthy for this Saturday’s game against Michigan in Ann Arbor.

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