Skip to main content

Michigan State was no match for Ohio State on Saturday as the two programs collided with first place in the Big Ten East on the line.

The No. 4 Buckeyes scored touchdowns on all seven of their first half possessions against the No. 7 Spartans, building a 49-0 lead as the teams hit the locker rooms at the break.

Michigan State was shell-shocked early, and had no answers for their opponents from Columbus in a 56-7 defeat.

Three Down:

1. Pass defense destroyed by Stroud & friends

We knew this was an ugly matchup for MSU's secondary, but it went about as bad as it possibly could have for the Spartans. Buckeye quarterback CJ Stroud had three-times more touchdown passes than incompletions in the first half, completing 29-of-31 attempts for 393 yards and six touchdown passes. The Buckeyes' three-headed monster at wide receiver was as advertised. Chris Olave had 7 catches for 140 yards and 2 touchdowns; Garrett Wilson had 7 catches for 126 yards and 2 touchdowns; and Jaxon Smith-Njigba had 9 catches for 92 yards and a touchdown -- all in the first half.

Mel Tucker did a great job bringing talent into this program quickly at some key spots this past offseason, but he an his staff must identify defensive backs in recruiting, both in the transfer portal and high school prospects, to shore up the deficiencies on the back end of Michigan State's defense. That must be priority No. 1 for Tucker following this season.

2. Big blow for Walker's Heisman hopes

Read More

Two things: First, I understand that Ohio State was keyed in on stopping Walker on the ground. Second, I understand the Spartans got behind quickly, which pressures an offensive coordinator to throw the ball more often.

But I don't understand why MSU only gave its Heisman Trophy-contending running back five carries in the first half. Kenneth Walker had 24 yards on those five carries, good enough for 4.8 yards per carry. Clearly, Michigan State was outmatched in this game, and Walker wasn't going to win this game on his own, but it still head-scratching that Jay Johnson didn't at least attempt let Walker keep the Spartans afloat early in this game.

As it turned out, Walker finished with just 6 carries for 25 yards and was held out of the endzone for just the third time in a game this season. Almost all of what happened on Saturday was out of the tailback's hands, but with the his minimal performance and the numbers that Stroud put up in today's game, this was a major blow to Walker's Heisman Trophy hopes.

3. Offensive line struggles mightily

Michigan State has found a lot of success on offense this season despite a lot of inconsistency from the offensive line. But the front four of Ohio State's defense completely took the Spartan offense out of this game. Michigan State ran the ball for just 3.1 yards per carry, and quarterback Payton Thorne went just 14-of-36 through the air for 158 yards, with several of his attempts batted down at the line. The Spartans' offensive line was clearly overmatched in this game, and that took any hope that Michigan State could hang around with the Buckeyes away quickly.

Three Up:

1. Keon Coleman scores first career touchdown

It was a hard day to find many positives, but true freshman wide receiver Keon Coleman made a nice catch in the back of the endzone on the first play of the fourth quarter to put Michigan State on the board. It was the first career receiving touchdown for the freshman from Opelousas, Louisiana and part of a 3-catch, 27-yard day for Coleman.

There weren't any other positive takeaways in a disappointing and difficult game for the Spartans. Mel Tucker and his staff have done an excellent job this season, but this result highlights just how far Michigan State still has to go to compete for Big Ten championships again.