Thursday, December 2, 2021

HALF: Ohio State embarrassing MSU; Buckeyes up 49 at halftime

November 20, 2021
<p>Ohio State&#x27;s Jaxon Smith-Njigba (11) kneals in the endzone after completing a touchdown on Nov. 20, 2021.</p>

Ohio State's Jaxon Smith-Njigba (11) kneals in the endzone after completing a touchdown on Nov. 20, 2021.

Photo by Rahmya Trewern | The State News

Mercifully for Michigan State, the first half in Columbus is over.

Ohio State has chewed through the Spartans and hold a 49-0 lead at halftime. 

MSU’s defense is simply outmatched by Ohio State’s offensive skill

All week, the focus for Michigan State was trying to slow down the high-octane Ohio State passing attack that is the engine of the Buckeyes’ top-ranked offense. 

That prep has not paid off so far for the Spartans. From the opening drive, Ohio State has been moving the ball at will against Michigan State, especially through the air. Redshirt Freshman quarterback C.J. Stroud had the best half of his young career to push Ohio State out to a massive lead early.

The Buckeyes cut through Michigan State’s defense throughout the first quarter, scoring on all three of its drives in the opening 15 minutes. The Buckeyes were so successful in its drives that it only faced one third down in the first quarter, which it converted. The Buckeyes have quickly made light work of MSU with explosive play after explosive play, especially through the air.

Ohio State's beating continued well into the second quarter. The Buckeyes scored on each of its drives in the second quarter as well to make it a 49-point lead. Michigan State's defense was unable to stop the Buckeyes once in the half, allowing seven touchdowns on seven drives. Ohio State’s longest drive in terms of time was only 4:12. Ohio State was able to shred through MSU’s secondary at a lightning-quick pace, including three drives that lasted under two minutes. 

Through the first half, Stroud is 29-31 for 393 yards and six touchdowns. He broke an Ohio State record for most consecutive completions with 17. His favorite target has been junior receiver Garrett Wilson, who surpassed 100 yards in less than seven minutes today. He has seven catches for 126 yards and two of Ohio State's seven first-half touchdowns.

Nothing that MSU has done defensively in the first half has suggested that anything will change for Ohio State in the second half. 

Kenneth Walker III has not been involved enough

Through one half, Walker has only touched the ball five times for Michigan State. After the Spartans fell into an early hole, MSU turned to Payton Thorne and the passing game to try and dig itself out.

Thorne has attempted 26 passes in the first half while MSU has ran the ball only 11 times as a team for 39 yards. The balance that has been the defining factor of MSU’s success on offense has been nonexistent so far today in the blowout. Walker has been used as a decoy in the passing game more than actually touching the ball, which is not good for the Spartans’ chances.

If Michigan State wants to leave Columbus with some semblance of respect, they will need to avoid getting shutout and Walker will need to be involved for MSU to score against Ohio State’s defense. 

The talent gap between Michigan State and Ohio State is larger than expected

Don’t let the ridiculous scoreline deceive you, this game was the deciding factor for the Big Ten East race. Michigan State could have controlled its own destiny with a win over the Buckeyes today.

After one half of dominant football from the Buckeyes, I think it is safe to say that MSU’s Big Ten title dreams are dead. The Spartans simply could not match Ohio State’s speed and strength, particularly in the passing game, and the result is a 49-point lead for the Buckeyes at halftime. The Buckeyes look like the better team in every facet of the game, showcasing the extreme talent disparity between the two rosters.

A five-star quarterback is having a career day throwing to five-star receivers with an NFL-ready offensive line protecting him. The Spartans, on the other hand, do not have a five-star recruit on its roster and the difference has shown so far today. The players on MSU are just not fast or big enough to compete with Ohio State’s deep stable of athletes in the open field.

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