Ohio State bounced back in a big way.
A surprising blowout loss at Iowa last week pretty much knocked the No. 13 Buckeyes out of the College Football Playoff picture, but OSU would put itself in prime position to win the Big Ten East by taking care of business at home Saturday against No. 12 Michigan State.
In what basically amounted to the division title game, OSU did so emphatically, dominating the Spartans in every facet of the game in a 48-3 win.
It was apparent pretty early on that this one wouldn’t be close as the Buckeyes scored touchdowns on five of their first six drives to storm out to a 35-3 halftime lead. Michigan State just had no answer for the Ohio State running attack. Whether it was J.T. Barrett, Mike Weber or J.K. Dobbins, the Buckeyes continually picked up yards in huge chunks on the ground.
Weber, the 2016 Big Ten Freshman of the Year, has taken a backseat to Dobbins for most of the year, but finally exploded with a huge performance Saturday. He entered Saturday with just 275 yards, but finished the day with 162 yards on just nine carries. He set the tone for the afternoon with a 47-yard score on OSU’s first drive before reeling off an 82-yard score in the second quarter.
In the interim, Barrett ran for first half scores and also connected with Dobbins, who rushed for 124 yards on 18 carries, for an eight-yard touchdown, to help build up the commanding lead.
Just 54 seconds into the second half, Ohio State scored again. This time it was a 48-yard connection between Barrett and Binjimen Victor to increase the lead to 42-3.
By the time the third quarter ended, Ohio State tacked on two field goals to put the cap on a commanding performance. When the dust finally settled, Michigan State mustered only 195 yards compared to Ohio State’s 524.
Michigan State was in this position by knocking off Penn State 27-24 at home last weekend. In that win, Spartans quarterback Brian Lewerke was tremendous, completing 33-of-56 passes for 400 yards. Against the Buckeyes, Lewerke came nowhere close to replicating that performance. He finished the day 18-of-36 for 131 yards and two interceptions.
The loss was the worst for MSU since the 38-0 drubbing at the hands of Alabama in the College Football Playoff two years ago. Yeah, it was a really rough day for the Spartans.
With a home game against Illinois and a trip to rival Michigan left on the schedule, Ohio State now sits alone atop the division standings at 8-2 (6-1 Big Ten). The Buckeyes will need some chaos to get back in the CFP conversation, but blowing out a good MSU team is a good start.
– – – – – – –
More college football coverage from Yahoo Sports:
• No. 8 Wisconsin clinches Big Ten West title
• No. 10 Auburn ruins No. 1 Georgia’s undefeated season
• Penn State players help coach propose after win
• The Florida Gators’ latest on-field disaster