NO. 2 OHIO STATE ES­CAPES WITH WIN

Buck­eyes hold off Michi­gan State on road, 17-16

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - SPORTS - By Noah Trister AP Sports Writer

Be­fore Ohio State could move on to next week­end’s show­down with Michi­gan, the Buck­eyes had to deal with a dif­fer­ent neme­sis.

As usual, Michi­gan State gave Ur­ban Meyer’s team all it could han­dle.

Mike We­ber ran for 111 yards and a touch­down, and No. 2 Ohio State held off Michi­gan State 1716 on Satur­day af­ter the up­set-minded Spar­tans missed a 2-point con­ver­sion with 4:41 re­main­ing.

“Tough day at the of­fice right there,” Meyer said. “We’ll take the win against a team that we know very well and on the road in Novem­ber. We’re 10-1 and get­ting ready for ri­valry week.”

Ohio State (10-1, 7-1 Big Ten, No. 2 CFP) can now fo­cus on Michi­gan, but only af­ter with­stand­ing a spir­ited chal­lenge from a Michi­gan State team that de­railed the Buck­eyes’ national ti­tle bids in two of the pre­vi­ous three sea­sons. The Spar­tans (3-8, 1-7) were down 17-10 when LJ Scott scored on a 1-yard run with 4:41 to play. Michi­gan State went for the lead, but Tyler O’Con­nor’s pass on the 2-point con­ver­sion at­tempt was in­ter­cepted in the end zone.

“All week long I’d said that, hey, if we get close at the end of the game, we’re go­ing for 2, and we’re go­ing to take an ag­gres­sive ap­proach and play to win the foot-

ball game rather than to tie,” Michi­gan State coach Mark Dan­to­nio said. “They had us cov­ered up on that par­tic­u­lar play, so good job by them.”

The Spar­tans got the ball back one more time, at their own 20 with 2:04 re­main­ing. Tyquan Lewis sacked O’Con­nor on the first play, and then Gareon Con­ley in­ter­cepted him on the sec­ond.

Scott ran for 160 yards and also scored on a 64yard catch-and-run in the first minute of the game, but the Ohio State de­fense didn’t al­low much more af­ter that. J.T. Bar­rett threw a 24-yard touch­down pass to Cur­tis Sa­muel in the first quar­ter, and the game was tied at 10 at half­time.

We­ber’s 4-yard TD run in the third gave the Buck­eyes the lead for good.

THE TAKE­AWAY

Ohio State: The Buck­eyes had to claw their way to this win, but it was still a sweet one against the team that has given them more trou­ble than any in re­cent sea­sons. Michi­gan State beat Ohio State in the 2013 Big Ten ti­tle game and again late in the reg­u­lar sea­son last year. Ohio State’s stel­lar pass de­fense was the dif­fer­ence. O’Con­nor and Damion Terry were a com­bined 8 of 21 with two in­ter­cep­tions for the Spar­tans.

Michi­gan State: Dan­to­nio’s team threw ev­ery­thing it had at Ohio State, ex­e­cut­ing a suc­cess­ful fake punt in the fourth quar­ter and later go­ing for 2 when an ex­tra point would have tied it. The Spar­tans fell just short in the end, un­able to es­tab­lish any con­sis­tent of­fen­sive threats aside from Scott.

The 2-point con­ver­sion may be sec­ond-guessed in the days to come, but O’Con­nor said the team was on board with it.

“We don’t play for sec­ond place, ob­vi­ously,” O’Con­nor said. “Ev­ery­body was all in on go­ing for it.”

POLL IM­PLI­CA­TIONS

Ohio State: The Buck­eyes trailed only topranked Alabama com­ing into this week­end, but the big­ger con­cern for them is their play­off po­si­tion. Even if Ohio State beats Michi­gan, it could lose a head-to­head tiebreaker with Penn State for the divi­sion ti­tle.

TOUGH SLED­DING

Michi­gan State man­aged only 127 yards pass­ing, over half of it on one play. Ohio State wasn’t very pro­duc­tive through the air ei­ther. Bar­rett went 10 of 22 for 86 yards on a windy day that in­cluded spo­radic snow flur­ries. The Spar­tans, who had only seven sacks com­ing into the game, had three against Ohio State.

MILE­STONE

We­ber be­came the third

Ohio State fresh­man to reach 1,000 yards rush­ing. Robert Smith (1990) and Mau­rice Clarett (2002) were the other two.

“It means a lot,” he said. “It was a goal that I had set at the be­gin­ning of the year. My of­fen­sive line ex­e­cuted and made it hap­pen.”

GREAT SCOTT

Scott had 236 to­tal yards, in­clud­ing a high­light-reel play in the third quar­ter when he hur­dled an Ohio State de­fender near the side­line.

UP NEXT

Ohio State: The Buck­eyes have lost only once in their last 12 meet­ings with Michi­gan. Ohio State will be at home next week­end, where it has not lost to Michi­gan since 2000.

Michi­gan State: The Spar­tans play at Penn State next week­end, mean­ing they could have another chance to play spoiler in the Big Ten ti­tle race.

PHO­TOS BY AL GOLDIS — AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Ohio State quar­ter­back J.T. Bar­rett looks to throw dur­ing the fourth quar­ter of Satur­day’s game in East Lansing, Mich.

Michi­gan State’s LJ Scott en route to a touch­down on a 64-yard pass­ing play in the first quar­ter.

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