CJ Stroud throws for 432 yards, 6 touchdowns as Ohio State makes a statement with Michigan State rout 56-7
Whether the intended message is that quarterback CJ Stroud is firmly entrenched in the Heisman race, that the defense is playing at a championship level, or that this team is in the college football playoffs, the State of Ohio has made a statement Saturday.
The No.4 Buckeyes showed no weakness in a resounding 56-7 victory over Michigan State – a victory that sent a message to the rest of college football and – perhaps more importantly – to the next opponent of Ohio State, Michigan, that this team is without a doubt one of the best in the country.
It was a resounding victory over the No.7-ranked team, seen ahead of the game as a potential challenger for the Big Ten Championship and a playoff spot. Both teams boasted of potential Heisman candidates in Stroud and Spartans running back Kenneth Walker III, but it was Stroud and the offense that made the show.
Stroud threw for 432 yards and six touchdowns, becoming the first quarterback to throw five touchdowns in the first half of a game against Michigan State since Drew Brees in 1999, and the first to throw six touchdown passes in a game against the Spartans.
If Stroud wasn’t considered a favorite for the Heisman Trophy before this game, he is now.
It’s easy to forget that Stroud is just a freshman starter as he’s posted video game-like numbers all season. He did have some help, however, with a group of talented receivers who often made defenses seem lost.
Chris Olave broke his own records in this game and has been a constant target for Stroud all season. Olave caught two first-half touchdown passes that pushed him past David Boston for the most career touchdowns at Ohio State at 35.
Olave was one of four receivers to catch a touchdown from Stroud in the first half, Garrett Wilson brought in two and Jaxon Smith-Njigba and Julian Fleming each had a touchdown.
The offense scored a touchdown in its first five offensive practices of the game for the fourth time this season. No other program has achieved this feat more than once this season.
There was no question about the Ohio State’s offensive talent in this game, as most of the concerns were about defense. All questions have been virtually erased in this game.
The Buckeyes’ defense limited Walker to just 24 rushing yards on five first-half attempts and 25 total yards for the game. Ohio State also limited quarterback Payton Thorne to 158 yards in the air, as he completed just 14 of 36 passes.
With a substantial game against rival Michigan on the bridge, the Ohio State will now travel to Ann Arbor with both teams in the top seven of the college football playoff standings for the first time since 2016, when the No.1 Buckeyes 2 beat No.3 Wolverines 30-27 in double overtime.