Buckeyes, Featured

Silver Bullets bail out Buckeyes’ offense in 17-16 win at MSU

(Marvin Fong / The Plain Dealer)

The Michigan State Spartans may have been 3-7 entering Saturday, but they gave the Ohio State Buckeyes a game yet again, just like they seemed to have done in the last four meetings since Urban Meyer became the head coach in Columbus. Luckily for the Bucks, the defense was able to hold off Sparty in the scarlet and gray’s 17-16 victory over Michigan State in East Lansing Saturday afternoon to remain 11-1 and keep their Playoff hopes alive with just one week remaining in the regular season.

Quarter by Quarter

First Quarter

  • 14:14 – First-and-10 – What a start for Sparty. On the second play of the game, Michigan State’s LJ Scott catches a screen pass from Tyler O’Connor and runs 64 yards for a touchdown. (0-7)
  • 7:56 – First-and-10 – Curtis Samuel gets open behind the Spartans’ defensive backs and catches a 24-yard touchdown pass from J.T. Barrett to tie things up. (7-7)

First Quarter Analysis

Well, if Ohio State didn’t realize that Michigan State came to play prior to the game, they sure did realize it after the second play of game. While the defense bent but didn’t break following the long touchdown, Spartans head coach Mark Dantonio has already made it known that his 3-7 squad will give the Buckeyes a game today.

Second Quarter

  • 13:42 – Fourth-and-9 – Spartans’ Michael Geiger makes a 28-yard field goal to give MSU the lead once again. (7-10)
  • 10:03 – Fourth-and-6 – The Buckeyes answer right back with a 39-yard field goal by Tyler Durbin. (10-10)
  • 9:14 – Second-and-8 – Chris Worley makes a marvelous catch and intercepts Sparty’s Tyler O’Connor. Could this be the exact momentum swing Ohio State needs?
  • 6:01 – Third-and-3 – On the drive following the turnover, Mike Weber fumbles the ball inside the red zone and Michigan State’s Auston Robertson recovers it, giving the ball right back to MSU.

Second Quarter Analysis

We’re halfway through this game and I don’t think Ohio State’s offense – especially quarterback J.T. Barrett – has woken up yet. Luckily, the defense has done just enough to keep at tied heading into the locker room. Now, it’ll come down to halftime adjustments between Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio and Meyer. This’ll be fun.

Third Quarter

  • 5:33 – First-and-goal – Ohio State takes their first lead of the game with a 4-yard touchdown run by Mike Weber. (17-10)

Third Quarter Analysis

Outside of the Buckeyes taking their first lead of the game and Mike Weber going over the 1,000-yard mark on the ground during his freshman season, it was a pretty boring third quarter.

Fourth Quarter

  • 4:41 – Second-and-goal – Sparty’s LJ Scott continues his impressive game with a 1-yard touchdown run. But, Mark Dantonio decides to go for two and (for some reason) tries a passing play after the running game just dominated the entire drive. The pass is picked off by Malik Hooker to keep the lead for the Buckeyes. (17-16)
  • 1:30 – Second-and-20 – Unlike last season, the Silver Bullets stop Sparty’s offense on the final drive. After the entire defensive line applied pressure on MSU’s backfield, Tyler O’Connor’s pass is intercepted by Gareon Conley to ice the game for the scarlet and gray.

Fourth Quarter Analysis

It was ugly, but the Buckeyes were able to keep the lead after Dantonio’s questionable decision to go for the two-point conversion. And look at that, the defense bailed out the offense again in the final quarter.

Top Performers

J.T. Barrett – 24 carries, 105 yards; 10-of-22, 86 yards, one touchdown

Mike Weber – 14 carries, 111 yards, one touchdown

Curtis Samuel – four catches, 40 yards, one touchdown; four carries, 13 yards

Final Thoughts

What is it with Meyer against the Spartans? Whether it’s in Columbus or East Lansing, Ohio State has struggled against Michigan State ever since Meyer became the head coach. Part of the reason may be because Dantonio is such a good coach.

With Michigan State struggling immensely so far this season, Saturday’s game against OSU was basically their “Super Bowl” this season, and it showed. Sparty’s running game, which was mainly Ohio native LJ Scott, did very well; their passing game was the polar oppisite, especially when it mattered most. If they were able to pass the ball at all, they would have most likely pulled off a huge upset over the Bucks. But then again, if the scarlet and gray would have had an sort of passing game, they would have easily beat the Spartans.

Luckily for Ohio State’s struggling offense, the defense was able to bail them out, just like they have for the majority of the season when J.T. Barrett and company have struggled. Whether it was the front-seven or the defensive backfield, they bent but didn’t break and were able to make big plays in key situations to secure the win for the Buckeyes.

Now, we all know what week it is, right?