Snap Judgments: Ohio State annihilates Michigan State, shows CFP-title potential
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Snap Judgments: Ohio State annihilates Michigan State, shows CFP-title potential

Austin Ward11 days
Article written by:Austin WardAustin Ward


Chris Olave Michigan State by Birm -- Lettermen Row
Ohio State wide receiver Chris Olave and the Buckeyes are big favorites in the Big Ten championship game. (Birm/Lettermen Row)

COLUMBUS — Now that was a complete game for Ohio State.

If there were any remaining holdouts doubting the championship potential of the Buckeyes, those were systematically dismantled in one of the most terrifying displays of dominance in the nation this season.

The record-setting offense was unstoppable. The defense that was supposed to be suspect pitched a first-half shutout against a Heisman Trophy candidate. And all that inexperience from early in the season was nothing but a distant memory.

Ohio State absolutely annihilated Michigan State on Saturday afternoon in the Horseshoe, relentlessly rolling to a 49-0 lead and victory where the final score wasn’t going to matter against an opponent that came into the weekend as a top-10 team with championship aspirations of its own.

The Buckeyes clearly remain the standard in the Big Ten, though. And while there is obviously still another major matchup looming next week, Ohio State just offered another reminder of what sets it apart from the rest of the league that hasn’t been able to wrestle the crown away for four years — going on five.

Bottom Line: Ohio State is tapping into the kind of potential that few teams anywhere can match, and it again appears to be firmly on track to go compete for the biggest trophies in the sport.

That’s where the analysis of the latest domination from the Buckeyes begins at Lettermen Row as Snap Judgments takes a look at the massive win over Michigan State.

C.J. Stroud-Ohio State-Buckeyes-Ohio State football
Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud looks like a Heisman Trophy winner. (Birm/Lettermen Row)

C.J. Stroud plants Heisman Trophy flag for Ohio State

The physical and mental growing pains of September are firmly in the rear-view mirror, and C.J. Stroud is proving with every passing week why the Buckeyes were so confident that they had the right guy at quarterback. Stroud is on the kind of record-setting tear that the program has rarely, if ever, seen — and he almost certainly punched a ticket to the Heisman Trophy presentation on Saturday with a virtuoso performance against Michigan State. Stroud is now the school record-holder for consecutive completions after carving up the Spartans on 17 straight throws, racking up 393 yards and six touchdowns along the way in the first half alone. Stroud is a special passer, and he’s only getting better with experience.

Silver Bullets are holding up defensive end of equation

The Buckeyes don’t need perfection from the defense. But when they get something close to it, good luck finding anybody that can even hope to knock them off. The pass rush with Tyreke Smith and Zach Harrison on the edge is close to unblockable without being allowed to hold them. Steele Chambers is developing into a monster at linebacker. The secondary has come lightyears over the last two months, and it’s capable of locking down both sides of the field with Cameron Brown and Denzel Burke at cornerback. The Buckeyes did need to hold their breath for a bit when Burke injured his arm in the first half, though he did seem to get cleared relatively quickly after some medical attention. Either way, just about the only question for Ohio State coming out of that defensive display was making sure that Burke is good to go against Michigan.

Ohio State playing with infectious energy, passion

Forget about the touchdown celebrations, though those clearly come with a lot of joy for the Buckeyes. But when Thayer Munford was spinning around and pointing downfield for a first-down conversion by drawing an offside penalty, it was clear just how much Ohio State was enjoying itself in a high-stakes matchup with a championship on the line. It’s hard to quantify, but the mood around the Buckeyes has unmistakably changed over the last two months as the team has worked through adversity and grown together — embracing every opportunity to play together. When Ohio State is at its peak, there is a confident swagger to the Brotherhood that is easy to see. Heading into The Game, the Buckeyes are in full bloom.