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What They’re Saying Following Ohio State’s Win Over Michigan State

Local and national pundits react to the Buckeyes’ 56-7 victory over the Spartans on Saturday afternoon.

Quarterback C.J. Stroud led Ohio State threw a school-record-tying six touchdown passes as Ohio State blew out Michigan State on Saturday afternoon.

Wide receiver Chris Olave caught seven of those passes for 140 yards and two scores, which moved him into the top spot on the school’s career touchdown receptions list.

The Buckeyes’ defense, meanwhile, held Spartans running back Kenneth Walker III to a season-low 25 yards on six carries, effectively ending his chances at the Heisman Trophy.

With that said, local and national college football analysts shared some of their thoughts on the game, and BuckeyesNow has compiled some of the best reactions below:

Bill Bender, Sporting News

“It's a game Michigan State would just as soon forget. The Buckeyes hammered the Spartans 56-7 in a top-10 showdown that was decided by halftime. It was a head-spinning performance where Ohio State left no doubt from start to finish.

“Ohio State (10-1) built a 49-0 lead by halftime. Pick the double-take stat of your choice: 

“Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud finished 29 of 31 for 393 yards and six TDs in the first half. He finished 32 of 35 for 432 yards. Michigan State running back Kenneth Walker had six touches for 29 total yards. So much for that Heisman duel.  

“The Buckeyes rolled up 500 yards of offense in the first half and faced just two third downs, which they converted. 

“Chris Olave (7 catches, 140 yards, 2 TDs), Garrett Wilson (7 catches, 126 yards, 2 TDs) and Jaxon Smith-Njigba (10 catches, 105 yards, TD) all put up more than 100 yards in what a times looked like a 7-on-7 clinic in the passing game. This is the most-complete receiving trio in the FBS, and all three are future first-round picks. LSU and Alabama had that on national championship teams the last two years. 

“Most of that transpired before halftime. It was an emphatic statement on every level.”

Bill Landis, The Athletic

“Ohio State ran Michigan State off the field Saturday. What was officially a top-10 matchup quickly turned into one team toying with another. The Buckeyes won, 56-7, and were leading 49-0 at halftime. The offense had 500 yards in the first half. Stroud posted video-game numbers once again: 32-for-35 for 432 yards and six touchdowns.

“Some betting establishments had him as the odds-on favorite to win the Heisman Trophy coming into the game. And those that didn’t surely will now after what he did to the Spartans in Ohio Stadium with much of the country watching. And yes, it can definitely look easy at times. But at some point, Stroud deserves credit for being an integral part of the offense and not just someone who’s along for the ride.”

David Hale, ESPN

“Saturday showed us who the real powers were in the Big Ten. Mel Tucker probably spent the end of the game wondering if his reported $95 million contract extension offer was still on the table after Ohio State hung 49 on Michigan State in the first half. The common belief all year was that the Buckeyes were, perhaps, the only team talented enough to compete with Georgia, but after a home loss to Oregon, a defensive shake-up and close calls with the likes of Tulsa, Nebraska and Penn State, it was fair to wonder if all the pieces would ever click into place.

“Wonder no more.

“Ohio State was like the guy who shows up to the pool hall with his own cue, pulling it from a leather case embroidered with a name like 'Slim' or 'Fats.' It took the field, opened up its offense and everyone in the building stopped and said, 'Oh, this is going to be good.' C.J. Stroud made an emphatic case for the Heisman trophy. Ohio State's collection of receivers made Michigan State look downright foolish. The defense shut down Kenneth Walker III, and the game was over midway through the second quarter. Ohio State is for real. Michigan State was not.”

Dennis Dodd, CBS Sports

“Buckeyes everywhere have been waiting for this sort of performance all season. The lone loss to now-No. 3 Oregon is more than two months old but has become a signpost of how deficient the Buckeyes were that day and how dangerous they are now.

“Ohio State was so dominant Saturday it scored on its first seven possessions. Quarterback C.J. Stroud threw touchdown passes on six of them – before halftime – to set the program's single-game record The Buckeyes were on pace for 98 points and 1,000 total yards at the break.

“Ohio State covered the 19-point spread by 30 points. The victory margin was the largest in a game between two teams ranked among the top seven in the AP Top 25 since Army beat Penn 61-0 in 1945.”

Tom VanHaaren, ESPN

“Quarterback C.J. Stroud threw for 432 yards and six touchdowns against Michigan State, becoming the first quarterback to throw five touchdowns against the Spartans in a first half since Drew Brees did it in 1999. He then beat his own record and became the first quarterback to ever throw six touchdowns against the Spartans.

“What you need to know: The Buckeyes' stifling defense held running back Kenneth Walker III to just 24 rushing yards in the first half and 25 total yards in the game. That's important, because Michigan has a talented group of running backs that have had a ton of success all season. If the Ohio State defense can have as much success against Michigan as it did against Michigan State, the Wolverines are in for a long game.”

Phil Harrison, Buckeyes Wire

“I know Jim Harbaugh and Michigan will not come out and say it, and who would blame the Wolverines really? But there’s no way the maize and blue don’t see this result and other Ohio State offensive explosions and not know that they have their work cut out for them next week.

“You can’t just take one result and extrapolate it out, but Ohio State’s offense when clicking is nearly unstoppable, and it’s now a body of work that’s concerning for the opposition. We’ve seen speed at the wide receiver position be a real problem for Michigan the last few years against the Buckeyes and that’s going to be a big issue again next Saturday.

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“It’s a rivalry game, so maybe the Wolverines can find a way to find some magic, but there has to be some concern on the part of Michigan fans, players and coaches after seeing Ohio State start to peak at the right time.”

Pete Fiutak, College Football News

“Well that went well. If it’s possible to pitch a perfect first half, Ohio State did it.

“CJ Stroud is now the leader in the Heisman race, the NFL receiving corps played like its should leave right now and step on a field on Sunday, and even the defense was able to dominate.

“There was no big day from Michigan State RB Kenneth Walker – six carries for 25 yards. There was no picking apart of the Ohio State secondary – it allowed 158 yards and a late score.

“It was as good a day as the Buckeyes could’ve asked for going into the Michigan game, and it all started with an offensive line that gave Stroud 19 days to throw.

“He wasn’t bad early on, but now he looks comfortable, his decision-making is faster, and it sure helps when you have those guys running free and easy. And it doesn’t hurt to play the nation’s worst pass defense.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re throwing against air – 32-of-35 for 432 yards and six touchdowns with no picks is pretty good.

“It was the perfect performance that should push the Buckeyes up in the College Football Playoff rankings, even though that doesn’t matter too much. Beat Michigan, win the Big Ten Championship, and get in.

“It’s not going to be nearly as easy as it looked against the beleaguered Spartan D, but it’s there. The offense looked like it’s ready to not just get back to the mini-tournament, but do some damage.”

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