The 13 ugliest things from that monstrosity of an Ohio State-Michigan State gameNovember 10, 2018
No. 10 Ohio State beat Michigan State on Saturday in East Lansing, 26-6. The Buckeyes stayed alive for now in the College Football Playoff race, and both teams continued to play the exact opposite of visually pleasing football. Rather than recap the game chronologically — all you have to know there is MSU hung around until it didn’t — I’ve chronicled the long list of really ugly things that happened during it. Here it is, in no particular order:
1. The ugliest sequence in football history, in which Michigan State took an intentional safety in the THIRD QUARTER, and it actually made sense for a moment, but then the Spartans messed up everything up.
It started when the Spartans had fourth-and-10 from their own 1, late in the third. They had their long snapper fire the ball through the end zone on purpose:
The Buckeyes were sitting on a 7-6, lead, which grew to 9-6 here. Intentional safeties happen, but they’re almost always in the final seconds of the fourth quarter, when a team’s exclusively trying to kill clock without risking a turnover. So, why now? Likely because Michigan State had been badly backed up for the whole quarter, with these starting positions on their second-half drives up to this point:
- Their own 5
- Their own 6
- Their own 3
- Their own 1
One of those drives lasted eight plays and 74 yards and led to a field goal. But the other three got snuffed out quickly, which led to Ohio State getting lots of nice starting field positions. Two of the Buckeyes’ prior three drives started at their 41 and 35.
So, all the Spartans wanted to do was change field position. They figured two points were worth not letting the Buckeyes start inside midfield or so.
The problem: Michigan State then free-kicked the ball out of bounds.And Ohio State started at the 50 anyway, with two free points the Spartans had given it.
But! Ohio State then went three-and-out. What great stop for the MSU defense.
But then, Michigan State then got pinned at its own 2 after the subsequent Buckeyes’ punt, 1 yard ahead of where it was when it took the safety.
The vicious cycle was merely continuing. And it was about to get worse.
And then Michigan State botched a snap on a jet-sweep motion, and Ohio State recovered in the end zone for a touchdown to make it 16-6.
It was the ugliest sequence of football I’ve ever watched. But it wasn’t all!
2. This 4-yard Ohio State punt
3. A 26-yard Michigan State punt
Don’t let the fact that it was 22 yards longer than the above Ohio State punt distract you from the fact that Michigan State had a 26-yard punt.
4. This long yet short Michigan State run, which became a 10-yard loss by way of a holding penalty
5. This badly missed Ohio State field goal
6. A missed 51-yard field goal by Michigan State
Just because it was long doesn’t mean it wasn’t ugly.
7. These Buckeyes trying to down this punt
Here, I’m only talking about the second two Buckeyes, who look like they’re trying to put out a fire with their bodies they go after the ball. The guy who kept it out of the end zone did great and was basically the only exception to this game’s constant drabness.
8. The time both teams called two timeouts after third down, just for Michigan State to kick a field goal on fourth-and-1 at Ohio State’s 26
At least that one went in.
9. This attempt by players on both teams to catch the ball
10. Michigan State backup QB Ricky Lombardi conning Greg Schiano’s defense for 59 rushing yards on two plays, mostly untouched
Look at this run …
… and look at this run, too:
Haha, those were two parts of the same 47-yarder.
Lombardi ran for 12 on the next one, too.
11. Michigan State scoring on a 27-yard wide receiver-pass, only to have it wiped out because this offensive lineman was too far downfield
This was the beautiful play …
… AND THIS WAS WHY IT DIDN’T COUNT:
This was on the next snap after the two long Lombardi runs.
12. MSU QB Brian Lewerke’s whole first half
He was 8-of-16 for 84 yards, then got benched.
13. Scratch that: Michigan State QBs’ entire day, combined
Lewerke and Lombardi combined to go 18-of-48 for 220 yards and one pick.
This game merely continued a tradition of the Spartans and Buckeyes playing exceedingly ugly contests that leave almost nobody happy.
They’ve been doing this most of the time since 2015, when the Spartans won on a buzzer-beating field goal in Columbus, 17-14, and then Ezekiel Elliott blasted Ohio State’s coaching staff for not giving him the ball in a horrific offensive performance. In 2016, the Spartans won 17-16 in East Lansing against a Spartan squad that’d go on to finish 3-9. Last year was sort of an exception, an Ohio State blowout back at the Horseshoe. And now they’ve resumed this tradition of boringness in classically OSU-MSU fashion.
The teams meet again on Oct. 5, 2019, and I absolutely can wait.