COLUMBUS -- In a battle of top 10 teams, Ohio State looked like the only one that belonged in the top 10 -- and the Buckeyes are probably better than No. 4.
Ohio State scored touchdowns on its first seven possessions and rolled to a 56-7 pounding of No. 7 Michigan State on Saturday in Ohio Stadium.
“We’re playing really good, clean football," OSU coach Ryan Day said. "We certainly have a high ceiling. We’re still striving toward greatness."
GALLERY: Ohio State 56, Michigan State 7
Fourth-ranked Ohio State rolled No. 7 Michigan State 56-7 on Saturday at Ohio Stadium. For more coverage follow this link.
The Buckeyes (10-1 overall, 8-0 in the Big Ten) certainly looked great in by far their best all-around performance of the season. Michigan State won the coin toss, and nothing else.
"We got blasted today," Spartans' coach Mel Tucker said. “That’s a very talented team. In all three phases, they outplayed us.
“They beat us, they were the much better team today and that was obvious.”
The OSU offense was on point from the start, opening a 21-0 first-quarter lead and enjoying a whopping 49-0 gap at halftime.
Quarterback C.J. Stroud completed 32-of-35 passes for 432 yards, and tied a school record with six TDs — all of them in the first half. At one point he completed 17 consecutive throws, another school record. It was the most yardage ever gained in the air against Michigan State (9-2 overall, 7-2 in the Big Ten), and it has some folks talking Heisman Trophy for the redshirt freshman.
“I’ve told him all along that praise and criticism are all the same," Day said. "You have to treat it the same way.
"The same people who thought maybe he shouldn’t have been playing are the same people who are telling him he should be the Heisman trophy winner. You can’t listen to either of those people.”
All three starting receivers cracked the century mark. Junior Garrett Wilson had 7 catches for 126 yards and 2 touchdowns. Jaxon Smith-Njigba added 10 receptions for 105 yards and a score. Senior Chris Olave had 7 catches for 140 yards and 2 TDs in his final game at Ohio Stadium.
Olave is also the new career TD receptions leader with 35, breaking David Boston's school record of 34.
“Huge record. It’s such a blessing," Olave said.
The Buckeyes collected 655 yards of total offense, the second-most ever given up by an MSU defense.
"Some of the guys that hadn't played against them, it's hard to really tell how fast dudes are until you get out there and you're on the field with them," Spartans' senior safety Xavier Henderson. "They were throwing balls over our heads.
"They started early. And we dug ourselves a hole we couldn't get out of."
A big part of the equation was Ohio State's much-maligned defense, which limited the nation's leading tailback, Kenneth Walker III, to just 25 yards on six carries -- and carried a shutout into the fourth quarter. The Buckeyes allowed a season-low 224 yards of total offense and posted nine tackles for loss.
"We just had that mindset and we were going to shut him down all week," Ohio State defensive end Tyreke Smith said. "We were playing the scout team like we were playing Kenneth. And then we just took that mindset and took it into the game. Took what we did in practice and put it into the game and it paid off for us."
Michigan State plays at Penn State next week in a game that will determine bowl positioning. But this game showed how far they have to go to reach elite status.
“They can score early, they get up on you, get the crowd into it and then it’s a wrap," Tucker said. “We knew what they were capable of doing, and we knew we had to stop them. We didn’t stop them.
“I told them, I don’t want to hear a word on the bus or on the plane. We got a 30-minute plane ride, there’s nothing to talk about.”
Meanwhile, the Buckeyes have a showdown looming at No. 6 Michigan, which destroyed Maryland 59-18 on Saturday. The winner of next week's brawl in Ann Arbor earns a spot in the Big Ten Championship Game.
"We have a huge game – everything is riding on this thing coming up right around the corner," Day said. "The game wasn’t even over yet and I was already thinking about it. All of the focus goes to the Wolverines.”