Saturday, 21 November 2015

Ohio State football: Title hopes dashed? Michigan State beats Buckeyes 17-14 -- Instant Recap



Michigan State kicker Michael Geiger might have just ended Ohio State's hopes of repeating as National Champions.

Geiger hit a 41-yard field goal as time expired to lead the Spartans to 17-14 win over the Buckeyes on Saturday in Ohio Stadium.

Michigan State's win forces a three-way tie atop the Big Ten East Division with Ohio State and Michigan. The Spartans hold the tie breaker with wins over both teams.

Michigan State turned to Ohio native and leading rusher L.J. Scott to help close out the game. Scott carried 10 times for 36 yards in the fourth quarter after having just three carries in the game to that point.

The Buckeyes offense was the worst it had been all year, finishing with 132 total yards, five first downs and six three-and-outs.

Ezekiel Elliott ran for 33 yards on 12 carries. J.T. Barrett finished 9 for 16 for 46 yards and a touchdown. He ran for 44 yards on 15 carries.

Ohio State's offense couldn't move the ball to start the second half, but got bailed out on a play by the special teams. Michigan State punt returner MacGarrett Kings muffed a punt that was recovered at the Spartans 3-yard line by Ohio State's Terry McLaurin. The Buckeyes took a 14-7 lead on the next play when Barrett faked a quarterback draw and three a touchdown pass to Jalin Marshall.

Michigan State had an answer with a 13-play, 75-yard drive on the next possession to tie the game at 14 with 12:03 left in the fourth quarter. The drive was kept alive when Joey Bosa jumped offsides for the third time on the day on a fourth-and-8 play.

The game was tied at 7 at halftime, after neither team scored in the first quarter. It was the third time this season that the Buckeyes were held without a first-quarter point, the fifth time they were held without a first-quarter touchdown.

Ohio State got on the board first on a Ezekiel Elliott 1-yard touchdown run. It came two plays after a J.T. Barrett run that was ruled a touchdown initially got called back.

Michigan State answered on the next drive. O'Connor connected with Aaron Burbridge on 36-yard play on third down to keep the drive alive. The Spartans scored two plays later on a pass from O'Connor to fullback Trevon Pendleton.

The Spartans missed a 43-yard field goal after the Buckeyes gave them good field position on a 5-yard punt from Cameron Johnston. Ohio State had just 75 yards of total offense at halftime.

When it was over

Geiger's field goal. That's pretty obvious in a game like this.

Connor Cook doesn't play

Michigan State quarterback Connor Cook was a game-time decision coming into Saturday. He injured his throwing shoulder last week against Maryland, missing the second half of that game, and he did not play on Saturday against Ohio State.

Cook, a Northeast Ohio native and graduate of Walsh Jesuit High School, had made 36 consecutive starts coming into Saturday. He was 32-4 as Michigan State's starter. O'Connor made his first career start in place of Cook.

O'Connor finished 7 for 12 for 89 yards and touchdown.

What it means

Ohio State saw it 23-game winning streak come to an end, but more importantly, the Buckeyes are now out of the driver's seat for a berth in the Big Ten Championship.

Now the Buckeyes need to beat Michigan next week, and need the Spartans to lose to Penn State next week to get to the Big Ten title game and still have a shot at the College Football Playoff.

What's next

Ohio State closes the season with the first matchup between Urban Meyer and Jim Harbaugh. The Buckeyes travel to No. 12 Michigan for a noon game next Saturday in Ann Arbor, Mich.

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