Ted Ginn Jr. and Ohio State put to rest any worries of history repeating itself when the No. 1 Buckeyes cruised to their seventh straight win of the 2006 season at Michigan State Oct., 14.
After hearing about past Spartan teams that had upset top-ranked Ohio State teams all week, the Buckeyes made sure that would not happen again with a dominating 38-7 victory in East Lansing, Mich.
Ginn helped OSU build a 24-0 halftime lead with a dazzling 60-yard punt return for a touchdown in the second quarter. It was his sixth career punt return for a score, which extended his own school and Big Ten records.
"Getting that punt return for a touchdown was gigantic," OSU head coach Jim Tressel said. "But when you give Teddy some space, he's as good as it gets. He's special."
The Ohio State defense did its part, holding the struggling Spartans to a meaningless touchdown in the fourth quarter when the Buckeyes had second- and third- stringers in the game. Michigan State had lost three straight coming into the contest, but the Spartans were still a force on offense. MSU was averaging 31.2 points and 413.0 yards per game. However, Ohio State allowed only 198 yards of total offense and frustrated MSU quarterback Drew Stanton. The future Detroit Lions draft pick completed only 8 of 16 passes for 54 yards. He was also sacked three times and left the game in the third quarter with was the described by trainers as something akin to whiplash.
"Our defensive staff did a good job coming up with some new concepts that maybe (Michigan State) hadn't faced from us," said OSU head coach Jim Tressel. "That confused them a little bit."
The Spartans, who had beaten the Buckeyes in 1974 and 1998 when OSU was ranked No. 1, had a chance to take some momentum early when Chris "Beanie" Wells fumbled at the OSU 31 on the third play from scrimmage. Ohio State's defense made sure the Spartans would not take advantage of the turnover. The Spartans had a long gain called back on first down because of a holding penalty. Things only got worse for MSU, capped by a sack of Stanton by James Laurinaitis on third down. The sack put Michigan State out of field-goal range at the OSU 41.
After a MSU punt, the Buckeyes took command with an 80-yard touchdown drive in 12 plays. Antonio Pittman got the scoring started with a 2-yard touchdown run to finish the drive. That started the rout. The Buckeyes scored 17 second-quarter points. Ginn's punt return, a 32-yard field goal by Aaron Pettrey and a 12-yard touchdown pass by Troy Smith to Antonio Gonzalez gave OSU a commanding lead at halftime.
"You hear all week about all the other teams that were No. 1 and lost to these guys, and we've been saying, ‘Hey, this is a different year, this is a time for us,'" said Laurinaitis, who led OSU with nine tackles and two for a loss. "And something bad like that happens on the first drive, and you're kind of thinking, ‘Oh shoot, let's go out there and try to stop them here.'
"I think that gave us a huge confidence boost that it wasn't going to be this year."
Smith continued his Heisman season with a 15-for-22 passing effort for 234 yards and two touchdowns. Brian Robiskie caught the other TD pass in the fourth quarter. Wells scored on a 5-yard run in the third quarter and led the Ohio State rushing attack with 53 yards on 12 carries.