Andy Anders, BSB: My Buckeye Leaf is going with the quarterback that finished with more touchdown passes than incompletions, and whose only interception came when his receiver ran the wrong route.
That is, of course, third-year quarterback C.J. Stroud. Stroud went 21-of-26 for 361 yards with a school-record-tying six touchdowns against Michigan State. Somehow none of those six scores were his most impressive throw, either, as a third-and-8 dime to the outside shoulder of streaking second-year wideout Marvin Harrison, Jr. up the right sideline netted the team 32 yards.
Stroud could be emerging as the frontrunner for the Heisman Trophy, and his performance against the Spartans only helped that hype build. He spread the ball around in his usual fashion as well, with each of his three starting wide receivers finishing above 80 yards receiving.
Jack Emerson, BSB: Marvin Harrison Jr. was once again a dominant presence in the Ohio State passing game, but this time he made history.
Harrison elevated himself as the lone Ohio State receiver to have a trio three-touchdown performances, surpassing Joey Galloway — who passed that benchmark twice in his career. Harrison hauled in seven receptions for 131 yards and three touchdowns, producing his third three-score game in his last seven outings — alongside Rose Bowl breakout and his three-score game against Arkansas State earlier this season.
He showcased his tremendous body control while making several highlight reel catches en route to his historic day. His outing against the Spartans served as his third game with over 100 receiving yards this season.
Braden Moles, BSB: It wasn’t the best defensive performance by Ohio State this season, but the final 49-20 deficit – with a Michigan State pick six and a garbage-time score by the Spartans – makes the final look closer than the game actually was. In actuality, the defense limited the Spartans to just 202 total yards, and perhaps the biggest part of that defensive effort was defensive tackle Mike Hall Jr.
Hall finished the game with a team-high 2.5 sacks and could have been credited with another that got wiped off the board following a defensive penalty. He was everywhere against the Spartans, causing havoc inside the limited Michigan State rushing attack to just 7 total yards, while quarterback Payton Thorne was just 11 of 18 for 113 yards.
Hall has dealt with some injuries this season and hasn’t always been around for the defense, but he showed against Michigan State the impact he can have as a healthy contributor moving forward for Ohio State.