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Michigan State routed by Ohio State 49-20, drops fourth game in a row

MSU has lost four games in a row by double-digits.

Syndication: The Columbus Dispatch Kyle Robertson/Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Michigan State Spartans have lost four-straight football games by double-digits. MSU hosted the No.3-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes at Spartan Stadium on Saturday afternoon, and fell in blowout fashion by a final score of 49-20.

While this was an expected result, Michigan State’s season is in a downward spiral. The Spartans fall to 2-4 on the season, and 0-3 in Big Ten Conference play. Ohio State moves to 6-0 (3-0 in conference play).

Michigan State received the ball to begin the game. The Spartans moved the ball a bit, and the possession included a 20-yard pass from quarterback Payton Thorne to wide receiver Jayden Reed, but the drive eventually ended prematurely when Thorne threw an interception to Ohio State safety Lathan Ransom.

Ohio State took the ball over and wasted little time before getting on the board. Quarterback C.J. Stroud led the Buckeyes on a seven-play, 80-yard drive that was capped off of by a 19-yard touchdown pass from Stroud to Marvin Harrison Jr. The Buckeyes led 7-0 in the early going.

This makes the fourth game in a row in which Michigan State has allowed a touchdown on the opponent’s opening drive (all losses).

The Spartans got the ball back and promptly went three-and-out. Punter Bryce Baringer (who was arguably MSU’s best player on the day, outside of maybe Reed) sent a 57-yard punt to Ohio State’s 10-yard line.

Michigan State’s defense finally stepped up, though. Four plays into the drive, Cornerback Charles Brantley intercepted Stroud and returned it 32 yards to tie the game at 7-7. It was MSU’s first interception of the season, and the Spartans’ first defensive touchdown since the 2021 Peach Bowl when linebacker Cal Haladay had a pick-six.

The Buckeyes quickly answered, however, as Stroud atoned for his mistake with a three-play, 75-yard drive. Stroud hit wide receiver Emeka Egbuka for a 69-yard touchdown to make the score 14-7 in OSU’s favor.

Michigan State moved the ball on its next possession, but eventually was forced to punt again. Baringer pinned Ohio State at its own 2-yard line, but it didn’t matter.

The Buckeyes drove 98 yards in just eight plays to find the end zone once again. Stroud put an exclamation point on the possession by connecting with wide receiver Julian Fleming for a 51-yard score. Ohio State led 21-7 early in the second quarter.

The Spartans kept fighting, though and closed the gap on the ensuing possession. Michigan State drove 76 yards in seven plays as Thorne eventually hit Reed on an 18-yard touchdown strike, an outstanding catch by Reed. The extra point was missed by true freshman kicker Jack Stone, but MSU cut the deficit to 21-13.

That would be Michigan State’s last score until “garbage time,” however. Meanwhile, Ohio State stepped on the gas and dominated from there.

Ohio State answered the Michigan State score with an eight-play, 75-yard drive that ended in another touchdown. Earlier in the drive, Stroud and Harrison hooked up for a 32-yard play. It was eventually finished by running back TreVeyon Henderson’s one-yard touchdown run, giving the Buckeyes a 28-13 lead.

Later in the second quarter, following a three-and-out from Michigan State’s offense, Ohio State would strike again. Stroud and Harrison connected once more for six points, this time from 28 yards out. Following the extra point, OSU led MSU by a score of 35-13.

That would also be the score as the teams went to the locker rooms for halftime.

The Buckeyes received the ball to start the second half, and as you probably guessed, scored once again. The nine-play, 96-yard drive was polished off with a third touchdown connection between Stroud and Harrison. Ohio State took a commanding 42-13 lead early in the third quarter.

Michigan State began the second half with a three-and-out and immediately gave the ball back to Ohio State. And, wouldn’t you know it, the Buckeyes found pay-dirt once again.

Ohio State’s 10-play, 50-yard drive was finished by a touchdown pass from Stroud to tight end Gee Scott Jr. It was Scott’s first career score. Ohio State led 49-13 in the third quarter.

Ohio State brought the backups in for the fourth quarter. Michigan State got a late score as quarterback Noah Kim — who came in for Thorne late in the third quarter — hit wide receiver Montorie Foster for a 25-yard touchdown with 5:40 left to play.

The score went final at 49-20.

In a scary scene, true freshman safety Jaden Mangham was carted off of the field and taken to a local hospital after colliding with Ohio State’s Henderson in the first quarter. Later on ABC’s TV broadcast, sideline reporter Holly Rowe reported that Mangham will be “OK.”

In better news, Mangham was also spotted back at Spartan Stadium and walked off with the team after the game ended.

Ohio State out-gained Michigan State in total yardage by a tally of 614-202. Ohio State also recorded four sacks to Michigan State’s one, and led in time of possession 37:14-22:46.

Stroud decimated the Michigan State defense for the second year in a row. He completed 21 of 26 passes (80.7 percent) for 361 yards, six touchdowns and one interception. Henderson led the Buckeyes in rushing with 19 carries for 118 yards (6.2 yards per carry) and a touchdown. Harrison (seven catches for 131 yards and three touchdowns) and Egbuka (five catches, 143 yards and one touchdown) led the way in the receiving game for OSU.

Meanwhile, Thorne struggled once again, completing 11 of 18 passes (61.1 percent) for just 113 yards with one touchdown and one pick. Reed led the Spartans in receiving yards with 67 on four receptions. Wide receiver Tre Mosley added six catches for 40 yards.

The Spartans simply could not get the ground game going. MSU lost 31 rushing yards on the four sacks, and finished with a net of just seven yards on the ground (compared to Ohio State’s 237).

Michigan State will have to win at least four of its final six games to guarantee a bowl game invitation. MSU will host Wisconsin next week on Saturday, Oct. 15 for homecoming. The game is scheduled to kick off at 4 p.m. Eastern Time and will be broadcast on FOX.