Ohio State football: Stroud throws 6 more TD passes in rout of Michigan State

Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud drops back to pass against Michigan State during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)
Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud drops back to pass against Michigan State during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)

Credit: Jay LaPrete

Credit: Jay LaPrete

COLUMBUS -- Ohio State dispatched Michigan State with dizzying efficiency Saturday, setting up what should be another high-stakes edition of The Game.

“Very proud of how our team played today, but all our attention goes to the Wolverines,” Ohio State head coach Ryan Day said after the fourth-ranked Buckeyes wiped out No. 7 Michigan State 56-7.

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Ohio State scored on its first seven possessions, opening the scoring with an 86-yard drive that actually had to cover 91 yards thanks to a pre-snap penalty on Chris Olave.

The senior more than made up for it, though, as he hauled in a 23-yard touchdown pass from C.J. Stroud to cap the drive.

That was Olave’s 34th career touchdown catch, tying David Boston’s school record set in 1998.

He broke the record a little more than eight minutes later on a 43-yard pass from Stroud, who also hit Garrett Wilson for a 77-yard score in between.

But the Buckeyes were just getting started.

Stroud found Julian Fleming for a 4-yard touchdown early in the second quarter, then Miyan Williams scored from a yard out to make it 35-0 with 10:02 left in the half.

Three minutes later, Stroud and Wilson hooked up again for a 12-yard score against a Michigan State defense that did not offer much resistance.

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With 1:37 left in the first half, Stroud found Jaxon Smith-Njigba all alone in the end zone for a 5-yard score that made it 49-0.

Like the offense overall, Stroud was nearly perfect in the first half. He completed 29 of 31 passes for 393 yards and a school-record-tying six touchdowns.

“His anticipation is off the charts,” Day said. “I think he sees things really really well. I think his touch is excellent. When he needs to put a little extra on it, he does. He’s accurate downfield. He doesn’t make the guys work for the ball. He plays catch.

“Certainly our receivers are excellent, and they create a lot of separation and make a lot of plays, but C.J.’s special, too.”

Olave, Wilson and starting running back TreVeyon Henderson did not play in the second half, but Stroud was at quarterback on Ohio State’s first possession of the third quarter.

He led the Buckeyes to the Michigan State 21, but Noah Ruggles missed a 38-yard field goal.

That was his first miss of the season.

Michigan State got on the board on the first play of the fourth quarter with a 12-yard touchdown pass from Payton Thorne to Keon Coleman, who beat tight coverage by Ryan Watts.

The Buckeyes scored again late in the fourth quarter when Master Teague III powered in from a yard out.

Stroud finished the day having completed 32 of 35 passes for 432 yards while Olave (7 catches for 140 yards), Wilson (7 for 126) and Smith-Njigba (10 for 105) all hit the century mark in receiver.

“We did a decent job today,” Stroud said. “You’re definitely never satisfied until the end of the (season).”

He felt the coaching staff had prepared the offense for all of the different schemes Michigan State might throw at the Buckeyes.

“A lot of the things I can kind of see it before it happens thanks to preparation,” he said.

Teague ended up with 95 yards on the ground while TreVeyon Henderson added 63 and Williams had 35.

Kourt Williams and Tommy Eichenberg has seven tackles apiece for a defense that shutdown Heisman Trophy contender Kenneth Walker Jr. The Michigan State running back had a season-low 25 yards on six carries.

With the win, Ohio State (10-1, 8-0) clinched at least a share of the championship in its Big Ten division for the 10th straight year.

That means a Michigan win over Maryland that was not over at press time would set up a game next Saturday in Ann Arbor that would determine the East division’s representative in the conference title game a week later.


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