Michigan State beat badly in fourth straight contest

Same issues, different game


Mel Tucker on sideline of Michigan State vs. Ohio State game on Oct. 8, 2022/ Photo Credit: Sarah Smith

Liam Jackson, Sports Editor

EAST LANSING, Mich. – Saturday’s game was a tale of two teams heading in completely opposite directions.

Ohio State is a team with national championship aspirations and multiple players on its offense that will be playing on Sundays. The No. 3 ranked Buckeyes came into East Lansing and took care of business to the tune of a 49-20 victory. OSU’s record improved to 6-0.

The Spartans lose for the fourth straight week and sit at 2-4 on the season.

Michigan State is a team with defensive issues that do not seem to be curable at this point in the season. Ohio State was able to gain 429 total yards of offense and score 35 points in the first half alone. The Buckeyes outgained the Spartans by over 400 yards throughout the course of the game.  

Field position was not the issue for MSU. Ohio State had three touchdown drives that spanned over 90 yards. The average length of OSU drives that ended in a touchdown was over 80 yards. 

Despite the eye-popping numbers against the Spartan defense, it was a pick-six by Charles Brantley in the first quarter that evened the score at seven apiece. The Spartan student section was given a jolt of life, something that has been absent for the majority of the season.

On the very next drive, Ohio State faced a third down and needed four yards to convert. The crowd rose to its feet, sensing an opportunity for MSU to capture the momentum. They were silenced as soon as they had begun cheering. Emeka Egbuka was left uncovered and C.J. Stroud found him for a 69-yard touchdown. Head coach Mel Tucker called it a complete bust in coverage. Then, the floodgates opened.

Jaden Mangham, a freshman safety playing in place of the injured Xavier Henderson, was injured during an attempted tackle of Ohio State running back TreVeyon Henderson. Mangham was carted off the field and gave the home crowd a thumbs-up on the way to the tunnel. He was transported to the hospital, but was able to return to the sideline near the end of the game.

“One good thing is that Jaden Mangham was in the locker room with his teammates,” Tucker said.

Injuries to the secondary were the last thing the Spartans could afford. Stroud took advantage and bolstered his Heisman resume. For the second year in a row, Stroud was pulled before the fourth quarter against MSU due to the lopsided score. On Saturday, he completed 21 of his 26 passing attempts, compiled 361 yards and threw six touchdown passes. 

Tucker said he doesn’t want to say that this year’s performance against Ohio State was any sign of progress. “You are either in the left-hand column or you’re not,” he said.

Ohio State’s defense dominated as well. MSU was only able to muster seven rushing yards and 202 total yards. Nearly half of those yards were gained in the fourth quarter against Ohio State’s backups. Quarterback Payton Thorne said he is upset with how the last few games have gone.

“I hate losing,” Thorne said. “A lot. Losing four games in a row is not something I’ve ever really done in any sport. There are a lot of question marks right now.

The “Woodshed” was a place of refuge last year for Michigan State. The Spartans were undefeated at home and seemed to find ways to win. That has not been the case this season. After wins over Akron and Western Michigan, MSU has struggled to compete at home against Minnesota and OSU. “The Deep End” was nearly empty by the time the fourth quarter began on Saturday.

Homecoming is next weekend in East Lansing and Wisconsin comes to town. The Badgers recently fired head coach Paul Chryst and have underperformed this season. If the Spartans want to keep its bowl game hopes alive, next week is looking more and more like a must-win game.