EAST LANSING, Mich. — Ohio State faced a ton of uncertainty entering its’ road game at Michigan State Saturday.
Despite Coach Ryan Day being in isolation and several players out, the Buckeyes still pummeled the Spartans 52-12. Although Justin Fields threw for a season-low, 199 yards, he still racked up a season-high, 104 on the ground and scored four total touchdowns.
The final score didn’t reflect the flow of the game for Ohio State’s offense early on. Sophomore Harry Miller, who normally plays left guard, was sluggish at center snapping the ball. However, Fields used his incredible athletic ability to bail Miller out, extend plays and move the chains.
“I think Harry was a little bit antsy on the first drive, so the snaps were a little wild,” Fields said. “But as the game went along he got more comfortable, so I had to make some plays with my feet today.”
Fields is no stranger to using his mobility to get him out of bad situations. After all, it’s what makes the Georgia native one of the most dangerous quarterbacks in all of College football. He was just happy Ohio State got the opportunity to play after having its’ games against Maryland and Illinois cancelled.
He believes having last week off brought the team closer together and their overall leadership improved. Fields is also proud of the way his teammates stepped up and handled adversity. That’s why he wasn’t surprised by the success of the offense after all of the smoke cleared. Not only did the Buckeyes score 50-plus points for the second time this season, they also did it on the road and with a several backups.
Fields knew his number was going to be called multiple times. Still, he never imagined that he had to lead in the huddle and on the sidelines.
“It kind of felt like I was almost the coach for the offense at times,” Fields said. “I think the guys with me, the leaders we have on offense made my job easier.”
The six-foot-three, 228-pounder is used to the pressure though, which is expected from a former five-star prospect. He appeared to embrace the physicality aspect of the game, but normally tries to avoid contact. That all goes out the window when it’s clutch time and the Buckeyes need him to execute.
“If we need the first down I’m going to help my team out and do whatever, give my full effort and play with selfless,” he said. “I lift a lot so I think my body is built for it.”
The junior signal caller leads the Big Ten in touchdown passes and passing yards per game. His 20 touchdowns through just five games is enough to keep him in the Heisman conversation as the biggest game of the year against Michigan looms.
It remains to be seen if the Buckeyes’ impressive performance will be enough to propel the team to that No. 3 spot in the Playoff rankings on Tuesday. Rather it’s a hard-fought clash or a blowout with style points, Fields is always content with getting the victory.
“I just keep telling myself to calm down, the biggest thing was to get the dub and we went out there and did that.”