Monday, November 29, 2021

Ohio State run game dazzles in victory over Spartans

December 5, 2020
<p>OSU quarterback Justin Fields (1) hands the ball off to Chris Booker (33) in a game against MSU on Dec. 5, 2020.</p>

OSU quarterback Justin Fields (1) hands the ball off to Chris Booker (33) in a game against MSU on Dec. 5, 2020.

Photo by Alyte Katilius | The State News

Ohio State was out three starters along the offensive line.

MSU was missing starting interior defensive lineman Jalen Hunt. But even with OSU Head Coach Ryan Day watching from home didn't matter due to how talented and deep the Buckeye roster is.

On Saturday, No. 4 Ohio State rushed for 322 yards in a victory over Michigan State.

"Obviously we didn't do a good job on the quarterback run game," Tucker said. "... I think a lot of it was technique and having the discipline to do your job and when the quarterback, you saw last week when the quarterback can run the ball, that kills a defense."

Justin Fields, the Ohio State quarterback, led his team in rushing yards and scored twice on the ground in the first quarter. His runs of 44 and 13 yards in the first half sparked an Ohio State offense that looked like one of the best in the nation. 

And a week after MSU stumped Northwestern’s offense and ran for nearly 200 yards, the run game disappeared and the defense crumbled, giving up an average of 6.7 yards per run in the game in a 52-12 loss.

"There's a lot of times where they ran the ball, and we knocked it back," Tucker said. "But when you give up huge chunks of plays, huge chunks of yards on basic run plays then they're going to have 300 yards rushing."

Ohio State offense overpowering and talented

Ohio State came into Saturday’s game missing starting offensive linemen Thayer Munford, Josh Myers and Nicholas Petit-Frere.

But Fields, a quarterback known for his exceptional passing ability, scorched MSU’s run defense for 104 yards on the ground. Running back Master Teague III rumbled for a 22-yard sprint early, Oklahoma transfer Trey Sermon jumped outside and ran 64 yards for a score late, with 6:14 left in the third.

"It's pretty hard to stop quarterbacks who can do both (run and throw)," MSU linebacker Antjuan Simmons said after the game. "Usually if you get a guy who stays in the pocket you want to blitz him, force him to stay outside the pocket, make him a little uncomfortable. But a guy like Fields, you don't want him running all over the field. You want to have control of the rushes."

Fields, Sermon, Teague III and the rest of the Buckeye run game dazzled, danced around and dumbfounded the Spartan defense all game. 

"When you're playing against some good players, there's no magic trick, there are no secret coverage, there's no extra stuff you can do," Simmons said. "You can just do your job."

It showed on Field’s two-yard rushing touchdown that was the first score of the contest and cemented itself in the minds of many with Sermon’s score that made it 35-0 Buckeyes. 

Ohio State did exactly what MSU did not for much of the game: score.  

Buckeye receiver Garrett Wilson found the endzone twice in the first half, although one didn’t count on a holding call, it was irrelevant. Ohio State won Saturday on the coattails of the best, statistical, offense in the conference. 

Ohio State looked exactly like what many think they are: the top team in the Big Ten. The Buckeyes' offense was overpowering and is supremely talented as it now averages 46.6 points a game after the win.

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