Ohio State Run Offense:It was not even close to good. Ohio State’s rush offense was one of the more predictable things I have ever seen when it comes to calling an offense. With no threat of a passing game, Ohio State managed to show what play it was going to run before the ball was snapped. For instance, almost any time that the Buckeyes snapped the ball with just J.T. Barrett in the backfield, it was almost certainly a quarterback power or sweep. And while Ezekiel Elliott was probably wrong in criticizing his coaches publically, it is hard to argue with his logic. For someone who is in the Heisman race, to give him just 12 carries and just two in the second half doesn’t seem like a pathway to success. – James Grega
Ohio State Pass Offense: Hard to evaluate what you didn't see. The Buckeyes attempted just 16 passes on the night, and Meyer mentioned the struggles in that regard in the post game press conference. Whether it was a lack of confidence in the pass protection, the weather conditions or some combination, Ohio State didn't make much of an attempt to establish the passing game. Braxton Miller got behind the defense on the one deep ball the team attempted, but it sailed long and J.T. Barrett was leveled after he let go of the ball. While the entire offense produced a poor effort, I think the pass offense may have been the worst aspect. – Blake Williams
Ohio State Run Defense: For all of the negatives on the offensive side of the ball against Michigan State, the Buckeyes actually played really well on defense. That play doesn’t fully extend to the running game though. The Spartans rushed for 203 yards on 51 attempts — not a groundbreaking average — and pounded away down the stretch on their way to a last-second field goal and the win. It was running back by committee for the Spartans and Gerald Holmes and LJ Scott each topped 60 yards on the ground. It was a decent performance, but simply not enough to lift the team when the offense struggled like it did. – Tim Moody
Ohio State Pass Defense: With Connor Cook out, this is a bit of a moot category. Tyler O’Connor was 7 of 12 for 89 yards and Damion Terry was 1 of 4 for 2 yards. Neither of those stat lines are good. – Ryan Ginn
What We Learned
Ryan Ginn: Sometimes you’re not good enough. Ohio State had 11 weeks to realize that the current offensive line combination wasn’t going to cut it, but Jamarco Jones never saw the field for a meaningful snap. It had 11 weeks to realize that coaching the offensive line and coordinating the offense is probably a combination too difficult for one man, no matter how great or hard-working he is. It had 11 weeks to realize the passing game was broken. None of that got fixed. Ohio State wasn’t good enough.
James Grega: This Ohio State team lacks more than just a passing game. It lacks leadership from its star players as we saw fifth-year senior Braxton Miller run up the tunnel instead of sing his final Carmen Ohio in Ohio Stadium. It saw its star running back bash his own coaches in a post-game press conference with two games left to play, while some might say what he said was simply truth. These are things we would not have seen from last season’s team or the 2012 Ohio State Buckeyes. The 2015 Buckeyes will be remembered for its lack of a pass game, but in my mind its lack of leadership is what cost them a shot to defend its title.
Tim Moody: Ohio State was better last season. I’ve held out for a long time — this team is still one of the most talented in the nation — but there’s just something missing for the Buckeyes. Honestly, I’m not even sure what it is. I can’t remember another time when an Ohio State offense struggled so much, especially against a Michigan State team that has also taken a step back since last year. Ohio State is still a good team, but the Buckeyes have finally confirmed that they’re a step off the pace this time around.
Blake Williams: We weren't imagining the Buckeyes' problems over the last few weeks. As the team continued to struggle through wins it was obvious things were off with the offense, but with Ohio State adding to its win streak the thought that the team would get it right in time to defend it's national championship was still prevelant. Well they may yet get it right, it will be too late. This team isn't as good as last year's and disserved to lose this game. A good bit of that, including the struggles in recent weeks, falls on the play calling. It will surely be evaluated going forward, but the Buckeyes no longer have the luxury of looking at those issues after a win.