Michigan State football helped Ohio State in blowout with mistakes, missed chances

Chris Solari
Detroit Free Press

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Brian Lewerke knew as soon as the ball came out of his hand, it felt like he was aiming his throw.

Retreating backward to his left as the pocket started to give way, Michigan State football’s quarterback lofted an off-balanced third-down throw deep in Ohio State territory to a wide-open Cody White on a crossing pattern the other direction with no one between him and the end zone. The pass sailed and fell incomplete.

“He was open,” Lewerke said Saturday night. “I just gotta hit him.”

It was one missed opportunity of many on both sides of the ball for the 23rd-ranked Spartans in a 34-10 loss to the No. 5 Buckeyes at Ohio Stadium.

Fumbles on two of MSU’s first four plays ended their opening possessions. A missed tackle followed by a blown assignment by cornerback Kalon Gervin led to the Buckeyes’ first touchdown. Poor tackling by veterans Joe Bachie, Josiah Scott and Tyriq Thompson led to the second.

Ohio State cornerback Damon Arnette forces Michigan State receiver Cody White to fumble during the first quarter at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio, Saturday, Oct. 5, 2019.

Then three plays after the Spartans settled for a Matt Coghlin field goal after Lewerke’s errant throw to White, OSU running back J.K. Dobbins essentially put the game away with a 67-yard touchdown run. Bachie missed an assignment and got knocked backward by a lineman, Xavier Henderson missed a diving tackle, and Scott’s late chase went for naught when instead of trying to bring down Dobbins he swiped at the ball in vain.

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“We busted, as simple as that,” Bachie said. “We shot ourselves in the foot.”

That second quarter proved to be MSU’s undoing. The Spartans gave up 296 of the Buckeyes’ 529 yards in the period, as well as 24 points.

“You gotta trust your teammates, trust your defense,” defensive tackle Raequan Williams said. “You gotta execute. And we didn’t do it. And they beat us.”

Numbers game

Blake Bueter missed Saturday’s game, joining Kevin Jarvis, A.J. Arcuri, Cole Chewins and Mustafa Khaleefah as offensive linemen out of the MSU lineup. In turn, MSU coach Mark Dantonio only used five offensive linemen rather than playing his true freshaman backups Davontae Dobbbs and Nick Samac. All three have played in just two games.

“We don’t really want to burn a redshirt if a guy is gonna play a couple plays,” Dantonio said. “Really, we’ve got three freshman, three true freshman, with the 2s. Right now, we have five offensive linemen out for this game.”

Injury situation

Defensive end Jacub Panasiuk appeared to injure his leg and had to be helped off, and he was in and out of the game as he got banged up.

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Cornerback Josh Butler did not start for the first time this season, with redshirt freshman Kalon Gervin getting the nod opposite Josiah Scott. Butler, however, did play on MSUs punt return unit.

Cornerback Shakur Brown remained out with an undisclosed injury.

Quick hits

• The tight ends continue to get a lot of balls thrown their way, with Trenton Gillison having a career day with three catches for 37 yards. Matt Seybert added two catches for 37 yards, and Matt Dotson caught one pass for 9 yards.

• Offensive lineman Jacob Isaia changed his number to 94. He previously was No. 73.

• Scott, a junior cornerback from Hamilton, Ohio, was a game-day captain and doubled his career high with 12 tackles and added an interception.

• Bachie, who is from Brook Park, Oho, had 11 tackles and two of MSU’s three sacks.

• Raequan Williams had a career-best eight tackles, while fellow senior defensive tackle Mike Panasiuk made a personal-best 3.5 tackles for a loss with a sack and a forced fumble among his seven tackles that tied his high.

Contact Chris Solari at csolari@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @chrissolari. Read more on the Michigan State Spartans and sign up for our Spartans newsletter.