East Lansing, MI – Ohio State entered East Lansing down 23 players (17 on scholarship), including multiple starters.
Thayer Munford (OL), Josh Myers (OL), Nick Petit-Frere (OL), Paris Johnson Jr. (OL), Josh Proctor (S), Tyler Friday (DE), and Tuf Borland (LB) were among the notable unavailable student-athletes before kickoff.
None of it mattered.
Junior quarterback Justin Fields made it look easy, gaining 303 all-purpose yards (104-rushing) and four touchdowns, compared to Michigan State's 261 total yards, thirteen first downs, and four turnovers.
At halftime, MSU punted on six of seven possessions – the one time they didn't? Rocky Lombardi's pass was tipped in the endzone and caught by Haskell Garrett for a zero-yard pick-six.
It was bad.
And believe it or not, Ohio State's pass defense is shaky, yet with Lombardi running the show, MSU refused to attack them downfield, an area of strength for its offense through five games.
The run game, mostly non-existent, outperformed everyone's expectations against Northwestern, accumulating 195 yards, but not today.
Ohio State being down three defenders didn't seem to help MSU, who entered the locker room with 12 yards on 12 carries.
It's not surprising, but OSU did everything it wanted, and there wasn't anything Michigan State could do to stop what clearly is the best team in the Big Ten.
Payton Thorne took over for Lombardi following an injury late in the first half and began the third quarter under center.
He fared much better than his teammate, finishing with 189 of the 261 yards gained by MSU, but not enough to put a serious dent in the lopsided lead Ohio State maintained for majority of the contest.
Either way, Thorne was a pleasant surprise in an afternoon filled with disappointments.
Nor did the Buckeyes take their foot off the pedal – former Oklahoma Sooner Trey Sermon broke off a 64-yard run to the house.
If it wasn't already bad enough for Michigan State, a one-play 41-yard throw and catch in the fourth quarter poured salt in the wound.
However, it's worth noting MSU's program is heading in the right direction; they've shown flashes in 2020, which is more than fans were expecting, but the inconsistencies remain a concern, and there's no amount of momentum that could have prepared them for Fields and the Buckeyes.
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