COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Michigan State Spartans fell behind early and never recovered during a 48-3 loss to Detroit product Mike Weber Jr. and the Ohio State Buckeyes in a battle of 7-2 nationally ranked combatants at Ohio Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Both also stood 5-1 in the Big Ten Conference at the beginning of the fray.
Eleventh-rated Ohio State entered the game as a 17.5-point favorite, even though the Buckeyes were coming off a one-sided 55-24 setback at Iowa a week ago.
Meanwhile, the 12th-ranked Spartans came into the contest fresh off a 27-24 triumph over Penn State last Saturday, in a game won on a 34-yard field goal by freshman Matt Coghlin on the final play of the day.
On Saturday, Weber, a sophomore who hails from Cass Tech in Detroit, had two touchdowns on runs of 47 and 82 yards to go along with 161 yards rushing in the first half. He played little in the second half and finished with 162 yards on the ground.
MSU fell behind midway through the first quarter when Weber galloped straight up the middle for a 47-yard touchdown run to give Ohio State a 7-0 lead with 8:14 to go in the opener.
With time running out in the first frame, senior quarterback J.T. Barrett scampered over the goal line from 4 yards out for a 14-0 advantage with just 0:17 showing on the clock.
The Buckeyes went up 21-0 with 11:35 left in the first half when Barrett spurted up the middle from the 3-yard line for another TD.
After Spartan sophomore quarterback Brian Lewerke fumbled the ball away, Ohio State quickly upped the bulge to 28-0 on a 13-yard pass from Barrett to J.K. Dobbins at the 9:21 juncture of the second stanza.
Weber then roared up the middle for an 82-yard touchdown run and a 35-0 Buckeye lead with 6:16 remaining until intermission.
First Lewerke and then Barrett traded interceptions before Coghlin booted a 37-yard field goal at the gun to close out the first half at 35-3.
Ohio State came right out for the second half and scored immediately to take control 42-3 when Barrett connected with Binjimen Victor on a 48-yard scoring strike with 14:06 showing on the clock.
That reached 45-3 when Sean Nuernberger kicked a 27-yard field goal with 9:19 to go in the third for the Buckeyes.
Nuernberger wrapped up the third-period scoring with a field goal from 29 yards out as the final seconds ticked off the clock to increase the gap to 48-3 in Ohio State’s favor.
Spartan coach Mark Dantonio switched quarterbacks to Messiah deWeaver late in the contest, but like Lewerke he was unable to solve the Buckeyes and the score read 48-3 as the final gun sounded.
Michigan State is now 7-3 entering next Saturday afternoon’s homefield encounter with Maryland at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing.
Ohio State now stands 8-2 going into a home date with Illinois at Ohio Stadium next Saturday.