The College Football Playoff committee can’t penalize Ohio State’s limited number of games after the Buckeyes’ win on Saturday.
No. 4 OSU easily beat Michigan State, 52-12, to move to 5-0 with one regular season game remaining. Ohio State QB Justin Fields was 17-of-24 passing for 199 yards and two touchdowns and also added 104 rushing yards and two scores on the ground as the Buckeyes jumped out to a 28-0 halftime lead and simply cruised in the second half.
The Buckeyes have been in the fourth and final spot of the playoff rankings in each of the first two sets of polls released this season largely because of the Big Ten’s limited schedule and COVID-19 cancellations. Last week’s canceled game vs. Illinois was Ohio State’s second canceled game of the season. The Buckeyes previously missed a game against Maryland because the Terrapins had too many COVID-19 cases and player quarantines to play.
And it was reasonable to assume that Ohio State could have dropped to No. 5 in Tuesday’s rankings had Texas A&M been more convincing in a win over LSU. The Aggies weren’t, however.
A&M wasn’t all that convincing on Saturday either in a 31-20 win at Auburn. Ohio State, meanwhile, didn’t give a Michigan State team that beat both Michigan and Northwestern a chance to compete.
Justin Fields’ three first-half TDs
Fields was responsible for three of Ohio State’s four first-half touchdowns. He opened the scoring with a two-yard run and then found Garrett Wilson for an easy 28-yard TD to give Ohio State a 14-0 lead.
Another TD run pushed the lead to three touchdowns and Ohio State went into halftime up four scores after Haskell Garrett picked off Rocky Lombardi and ran it into the end zone.
Michigan State struggled to throw downfield against Ohio State. That’s a positive development for a Buckeye defense that’s been susceptible to giving up big passing days — especially when you consider that Michigan State’s ability to chuck the ball deep helped lead to those wins over the Wolverines and Wildcats.
Lombardi and Payton Thorne combined to throw for 180 yards.
Michigan next week?
As of now, Ohio State is scheduled to play Michigan. But the Wolverines were unable to play Maryland on Saturday because of COVID-19 cases. Will the Wolverines be able to play on Dec. 12?
If not, the Buckeyes will need the Big Ten to find an opponent or change the conference’s rules if they want to play in the Big Ten title game. A third canceled game would make Ohio State ineligible for the Big Ten championship.
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