Ohio State: Michigan State Snaps Win Streak And Title Desire

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Once again, Michigan State ends the title hopes of a Buckeye team in Columbus. As ghost of 1998 reappear in the Shoe, FoS breaks down the Ohio State heartbreaker.

Nov 21, 2015; Columbus, OH, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes running back

Jalin Marshall

(7) celebrates with teammates after scoring a touchdown against the Michigan State Spartans in the third quarter at Ohio Stadium. The Spartans won 17-14. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Rapid Reaction: First Half

The only way to describe the first half is ugly. 197 total yards combined (122 for MSU, 75 for OSU) made for a less than entertaining first half. Neither team seems to have figured out what they can do offensively. Michigan State had some success on the ground, but couldn’t stay out of their own way. Ohio State tried to run too often to the edge and seemed to abandon the pass because of the weather.

Either way, Ohio State needed to be far more aggressive against a Michigan State defense that has been average at best all season. Instead, Ohio State put up their second fewest yards for a half in school history.

Michigan State has allowed the most 20+ yard passes in the Big Ten with 29. Logically, Ohio State has attempted exactly one pass of that length all half and yes the rain was a factor. OSU quarterback J.T. Barrett was off target throwing the ball and that did not help, but why not exploit a defense that has given up big plays?

Running back Ezekiel Elliott had only 10 carries for 30 yards in the half. However, eight of those carries came on Ohio State’s only touchdown drive bridging the first and second quarters. The Heisman Trophy contender needed to get the ball more, but it seems like we say that every first half and then ‘Zeke goes off in the second half. Yet, in the biggest game of the year, you have to let your playmakers be playmakers.

Ohio State ran 28 plays, but 16 of them went for three yards or less. Add to that the four three and outs and it is a miracle that the Buckeyes scored on their 10 play, 32 yard drive after defensive end Sam Hubbard had sacked and forced MSU’s QB to fumble. Again, the weather had a huge impact, but Ohio State won’t win relying on their defense alone to generate momentum.

Next: Rapid Reaction: Second Half