EAST LANSING, Mich. — The playoff posturing has commenced.
Barely a half hour had upheld given Ohio State distant No. 6 Michigan State, 49-37, late Saturday night, and already Urban Meyer had morphed from football manager to politician.
He felt it necessary, as he stood during a lectern confronting a problem that’s two-fold and competence unequivocally good keep his Buckeyes out of a initial College Football Playoff.
First, he had to try to explain divided that annoying — and eternally unpleasant — detriment to Virginia Tech, a organisation sitting in final place in a handicapped ACC’s Coastal Division. Second, he had to try to make certain everybody paid courtesy to a consummate beatdown his Buckeyes delivered to a top-10 team.
“If we have to go quarrel for this team, what they’ve finished is unequivocally impressive,” Meyer said. “That damn loss, a second game, that hurts us. I’ll take a strike for that. That was a immature team, (and) one that’s personification during an intensely high turn right now.”
How high? Ohio State racked adult 568 yards of offense opposite Michigan State’s routinely difficult defense, that had entered Saturday permitting an normal of 279.4 yards of sum offense. Against a Spartans in a biggest diversion of a season, Buckeyes quarterback J.T. Barrett was zero brief of sensational, completing 16 of 26 passes for 300 yards and 3 touchdowns. He rushed for 86 yards and dual scores, too.
In further to knocking a 7-2 Spartans out of a College Football Playoff conversation, 8-1 Ohio State also got a punish for a Big Ten championship diversion detriment final season.
“I’m blissful we got to play in primary time,” Meyer said. “I’m blissful (ESPN’s College) Gameday was here. I’m blissful everybody got to see a Ohio State Buckeyes. This is a opposite Buckeye organisation than it was progressing this season.”
Certainly, a good understanding of credit for that mutation goes to Barrett, and deservedly so. Remember, this is a redshirt beginner bearing into a starting position days before a deteriorate opener after two-time Big Ten Player of a Year Braxton Miller was mislaid to a season-ending shoulder injury. Slowly though surely, Barrett has taken a reins of this offense and stretched what it can do. Against a Spartans, he unleashed some pleasing low balls, including 44- and 79-yard touchdowns.
“We wanted to come out swinging,” Barrett said.
Said Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi: “He played large in a large game. He didn’t chuck off a symbol during all. He put it right there where their guys were means to make a catches. We were there during times, we only didn’t make a plays. That goes to carrying a man who throws it where it needs to be thrown. You’ve got to give him credit. He’s a heck of a quarterback.”
Barrett benefitted, too, from much-improved descent line play. As Buckeyes using behind Ezekiel Elliott, who rushed for 154 yards and dual touchdowns, put it, “There were holes so large we could expostulate trucks by them.”
Ohio State’s altogether message, delivered by coaches and players in a diminutive hours of Sunday morning after a rough jubilee in a locker room, was simple. The Buckeyes deliberate themselves a underdog, a organisation no one unequivocally respected, a organisation too immature to unequivocally do repairs this season. Now, they’re perplexing to uncover that they’re nothing of that. That they’re opposite from a organisation that mislaid during home to Virginia Tech. That they’ve schooled from that diversion and a double-overtime shun opposite Penn State. That they’re a immature organisation that’s grown up.
They’re perplexing to remonstrate a College Football Playoff preference cabinet that a fasten from this game, opposite a organisation such as Michigan State — Didn’t Meyer discuss this was on a road? In primary time? Did we see that?! — shows a genuine Buckeyes team, one that stumped Narduzzi, one of a best defensive minds in a game.
Despite a Big Ten’s notice problem and a miss of depth, Ohio State’s remaining report will yield dual some-more opportunities for résumé-boosters. Next week a Buckeyes will play during Minnesota, a 7-2 organisation that gained honour Saturday by shellacking Iowa 51-14. Though their normal regular-season culmination opposite Michigan will yield reduction oomph than in years past, they’ll still expected accommodate a challenging enemy in a Big Ten championship game. If they finish adult confronting Nebraska, that’s another expected top-15 matchup during a neutral site.
Still, a Buckeyes will expected need some assistance to waylay of those 4 desired spots. They’ll need a SEC West to keep cannibalizing itself, and maybe a Big 12 to do a same. A Florida State dissapoint would work wonders. In short, Ohio State roughly positively will not control a possess destiny.
But it is perplexing to control a message.
“This is one for a ages,” Meyer said. “This organisation right now is personification on a very, unequivocally high level.”