Decker: Ohio State will need its ‘A’ game against Michigan State

With the show comes analyst Kirk Herbstreit, the Centerville graduate and former Ohio State quarterback who isn’t afraid to show his bias in favor of the Buckeyes or to dish out criticism of his former team. He did the latter after seeing Ohio State beat Illinois 28-3 at Memorial Stadium in Champaign, Ill.

“Is it my imagination, or did Ohio a State return four (offensive linemen) from a National Championship team?!?” Herbstreit wrote on Twitter. “Wouldn’t have any idea watching them block.”

One of those four, left tackle Taylor Decker, of Vandalia Butler, took exception to that criticism and responded on Twitter, citing Ohio State’s record in his four years, its record this season and the fact that it has opened holes the last three seasons for one of the great running backs in Ohio State history, Ezekiel Elliott.

Decker wrote, “48-3, 10-0, 3rd All-time rusher. #GoBucks.”

Decker admitted Ohio State’s pass protection wasn’t great. On the other hand, they threw the blocks that allowed Elliott to carry 27 times for 181 yards and J.T. Barrett to rush 16 times for 74 yards.

“I think we’ve been hitting our stride toward the end of the season, the last few games,” Decker said. “Today I thought we did a really good job. I thought we were really physical. We didn’t do anything fancy. We just ran a tight zone up the middle. They knew we were going to run it and they stacked the box, and we still ran it. Zeke did a great job finding holes, hitting holes and getting extra yards after contact.”

Ohio State produced 157 yards through the air, its third-lowest total of the season.

“The run game was good, but there were receivers out there who deserved more touches and they need to get more touches to open up the run game even more,” Decker said. “We’re going to start to play some teams here when you can’t just run, run, run 40 times a game. We’re going to have to throw some passes and drop back. Michigan State’s got some really good pass rushers. We’re going to have to be on our ‘A’ game for that.”

Notes: Ohio State broke the NCAA record for consecutive conference wins with its 30th straight Saturday. … Ohio State remained No. 2 the Associated Press poll released Sunday with 23 of 61 first-place votes. They’re also No. 2 in the USA Today Coaches poll with 34 of 64 first-place votes. No. 1 Clemson has 28 first-place votes. … The third College Football Playoff rankings will be announced at 9:30 p.m. Tuesday on ESPN.

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