EAST LANSING, *ich. — The ball came spitting out in the end zone – for but a split second – before Dre’Mont Jones jumped on it, giving the Buckeyes a touchdown that turned the game around – making it all Ohio State from there out.
The Buckeyes beat the Spartans in East Lansing 26-6 on Saturday with a stellar defensive output rather rare thus far in this season for the Buckeyes. In fairness to the Spartans they are not quite up to par – with a string of injuries to notable players. All the same – it is an encouraging note worth focusing in on for the Buckeyes. *ichigan State had only one red zone opportunity – no touchdowns. The only time the Spartans reached the end zone was on a trick play that was called back for a penalty.
“We knew exactly what this would be, and it was. That was November football at Michigan State,” Ohio State Coach Urban Meyer said. “I’m really ecstatic for the defense, for our defense the way they came out.”
The win didn’t do much for Ohio State’s ranking, which dropped one spot to No. 9 in Sunday’s AP poll. But after allowing 49 points in a loss to Purdue and 31 in a win over Nebraska, the Buckeyes (9-1, 6-1 Big Ten, No. 10 CFP) held the Spartans (6-4, 4-3, No. 18) to 274 yards and 12 first downs.
Ohio State lost All-American defensive end Nick Bosa to a core muscle injury back on the 15th of September – which resulted in his decision to leave school and focus on getting ready for the NFL draft. The Buckeyes had held only three teams under 26 points this season — Rutgers, Tulane and Minnesota — before Saturday’s game in chilly East Lansing.
*ichigan State is without running back LJ Scott, and quarterback Brian Lewerke, both due to injuries. The Spartans are also without standout receiver Felton Davis. *ichigan State used both Lewerke (sparingly) and Rocky Lombardi at quarterback against the Buckeyes. Lombardi was in when a shotgun snap hit the man in motion, and Jones recovered the fumble in the end zone to give Ohio State a 16-6 lead in the fourth quarter.
“We haven’t had a great push out front,” *ichigan State coach Mark Dantonio said. “We continue to try and find ways to be able to run the football. Obviously, we struggled today. We were backed up like five straight times there and really not able to run some of our offense.”
The Spartans were stuck back for much of the second half because of terrific punting by Ohio State’s Drue Chrisman. The Buckeyes’ defense was continually in good circumstances. On one possession, Ohio State kept *ichigan State back near its own goal line, and the Spartans took an intentional safety instead of trying to punt. Jones scored his defensive touchdown a short while later.
If Ohio State wins at Maryland next weekend, that sets up a showdown with rival TTUN with the division title at stake. That will likely be billed as a match up between Ohio State’s dynamic offense and TTUN’s splendid defense.
Clearly, any improvement by the Buckeyes on the defensive side of the ball is a welcoming “neon” sign for the Buckeyes after what’s been a “:shake-your-head” season thus far.
“I think it comes down to the brotherhood. We are super close together and we are out there for our brothers,” safety Brendon White said. “We are not going to try and do too extra. We are not trying to play for ourselves, but we play for our brothers. If that works out, then the rest takes care of itself.”