COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Justin Fields threw two touchdown passes and ran for another score, J.K. Dobbins rushed for 172 yards and a touchdown and No. 4 Ohio State overcame a sluggish start to roll over No. 25 Michigan State 34-10 on Saturday night.
The Buckeyes (6-0, 3-0 Big Ten) had to work to figure out Michigan State’s defense to start, after blowing out every opponent through the first five games. They gained just 16 yards on 16 plays in the first quarter, but got unstuck in the second and put away the Spartans (4-2, 2-1) with big plays.
“That’s what playing against a team like Michigan State in the Big Ten, a conference game like this is,” Ohio State coach Ryan Day said. “It’s just hard, its gritty and it was great to see the guys respond, especially in the second quarter.”
Dobbins ran the ball 24 times, averaged over 7 yards per carry and had an electrifying 67-yard breakaway for a touchdown late in the first half.
Fields finished 17 for 25 for 206 yards and threw an interception for the first time in his first 175 pass attempts as a Buckeye. He also was sacked three times — twice by Michigan State linebacker Joe Bachie.
Brian Lewerke was 20 for 38 for 218 yards with a touchdown and an interception for the Spartans.
“I thought we had the right mindset coming in here,” Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio said. “We needed to play mistake-free football. We didn’t do that.”
Michigan State: Gave the Buckeyes their first real test of the season but couldn’t keep up. The offense strung together some chunk plays at times but couldn’t find the end zone as the Ohio State defense bore down. Bachie had a great game, finishing with 11 tackles and a pair of sacks.
Ohio State: The Spartans pushed Fields way out of his comfort zone, chasing him around and forcing his first interception. He demonstrated his ability to stay cool, Dobbins ran tough and the Ohio State defense bent but didn’t break.
Ohio State finally showed some weaknesses but likely showed well enough against another ranked team to remain in the top four. Michigan State could drop out.
Michigan State: At No. 8 Wisconsin on Saturday.
Ohio State: After an off week, the Buckeyes play at Northwestern on Oct. 18.