Final thoughts on Ohio State football’s win over Michigan State

Final thoughts on Ohio State football’s win over Michigan State

It’s been just about 24 hours since Ohio State Football soundly defeated Michigan State at home, 38-3, but Buckeye thoughts still are going through my head.

There was plenty to like about what the Buckeyes were able to accomplish on Saturday evening, most notably winning the game, improving to 10-0 and still having every single major goal within reach.

Ohio State didn’t see any movement in either major poll, but it was ranked No. 1 in the only one that matters, the College Football Playoff rankings. That might change this coming week, but as I do every Sunday, here are my final thoughts on the Buckeyes win over the Spartans.

Marvin Harrison Jr. is firmly in the Heisman trophy race


It’s not that wide receivers don’t win the Heisman Trophy, it’s just that they don’t win it very often. Alabama’s DeVonta Smith was the last to win the award, but in the shortened 2020 season. That season saw him catch 117 balls for 1,856 yards and 23 touchdowns. It’s highly unliked that Harrison Jr. gets close to these numbers, but he still has a legit shot at taking home the award.

Adjuster Sonny Styles might need a position change


I am all for Styles being on the field because he’s a difference maker. What I’d like to see the Buckeye coaching staff do is make a full transition to linebacker over the offseason. He is a terror blitzing off the edge, and has the speed to cover tight ends. The top three linebackers on the depth chart could all be gone next year, and there isn’t much returning experience at the position. Since safety is so deep, it makes plenty of sense to naive Styles to linebacker.

Loved how the staff got Xavier Johnson involved

Two minute drive was perfectly executed by the Ohio State offense


Aside from the final drive against Notre Dame (which was against a higher quality opponent), this was the best the Ohio State offense looked in a 2-minute drill. With just 1:41 left on the clock, and having 74 yards until the goal line, but Buckeyes started the drive off in unimpressive fashion.

A timeout after the first two plays before a third-and-7 was called at the perfect time by head coach Ryan Day. The Buckeyes would convert the first down and just five plays later quarterback Kyle McCord found tight end Cade Stover for a touchdown to put the nail in the coffin. The play calling was great, along with the execution. Great job to finish the half by the whole offense.

Jermaine Mathews Jr. as a gunner was the correct move


Before complaining about Parker Flemings special teams unit, I want to praise him a bit for replacing Lorenzo Styles Jr. with Mathews Jr. as the main gunner. The transfer made multiple mistakes in back-to-back weeks, and those just shouldn’t happen. Mathews Jr. fits the role much better and the results showed.

Parker Fleming is still on the hot seat


It seems like it’s a weekly special teams gaffe for the Buckeyes, this time on a punt. You should never have to call a timeout due to a formation issue when giving the ball back to your opponent, but Ohio State did exactly that. When the Buckeyes came out of the break, the play just looked off and it was almost blocked due to an awkward snap.

Michigan State converted a short 4th down fake punt, when we all knew it was coming. Jayden Fielding missed a field goal in the second half as well. If there is one coaching change that I’d love for the Buckeyes to make this offseason, it’s finding a difference maker for the special teams unit.

Ryan Day left the starters in too long

Finally Lincoln Kienholz


It seems like we have been waiting over three weeks for the USA TODAY national high school player of the year to see the field, and it finally happened. Kienholz looked good, completing 2of-3 attempts for 18 yards. His play fake and dump off to fellow freshman Jelani Thurman was a glimpse of what the Buckeye offense could be like in the future. I’m very excited to see what Kienholz eventually turns into.

Kyle McCord’s growth


As I mentioned in my Buckeye leaves column, Kyle McCord’s growth has not been linear. He’s had some ups-and-downs, but he mentioned that he worked on correcting his footwork this past week and it showed. His best statistical game of his Ohio State career powered the offense. If he can continue this development, there should be no questions that McCord can lead this offense to a Big Ten title and beyond.

Final thoughts


Before wrapping this week up, I just want to express how great the gray alternate uniforms were. They looked fantastic and I hope they are used on a regular basis. Now back to football.

It was a great win, but it might not have been enough to keep the CFP top spot after Georgia’s dominant win over Ole Miss. At worst the Buckeyes will be No. 2, and props to our managing editor Phil Harrison, who has been spot on with his ranking predictions this season. The Buckeyes are still in a great position to make yet another trip to the College Football Playoff.

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Story originally appeared on Buckeye Wire