Goff Rugby Twitter     Goff Rugby Facebook

Ohio State Rolls; MSU Shakes It Up

irish rugby tours

Ohio State Rolls; MSU Shakes It Up

Hunter Simons on the run for Ohio State earlier in the season. Alex Goff photo.

Ohio State won a key clash and Michigan State shook things up as the Big Ten entered its sixth weekend of competition.

The Buckeyes got a good performance from the players up front and hit Purdue hard early. Brendan Greenwell's early try set the tone and then scrumhalf Vince Carso scampered over after his pack had stolen a scrum put-in. Carso got his second after a series of runs from the OSU players and good continuity in the breakdown. Conor Forrestal converted all three and OSU was up 21-0.

Captain Josh Leidich and then Joey Phipps, who had been testing the Purdue defense all day, made it 31-0 at the break. Purdue responded well in the second half with tries from flyhalf Cody Waldecker and center Wes Stephens, but OSU finished it off with tries from Phipps, Greenwell, and Chris Mason, with the first effort converted by Forrestal. Head Coach Tom Rooney's thoughts that his team's fitness was a little lacking may have spurred Ohio State on to a strong finish. Hunter Simons made several key runs on the wing, as did Christian Olney from fullback and Phipps at prop. 

The result put Ohio State in good position in the Big Ten at 3-1, with their lone loss a 33-31 defeat to Indiana, who are undefeated.

Meanwhile, Illinois had a chance to stay ahead of OSU with a win but were instead stymied by Michigan State. The Spartans ran in three tries, all unconverted, and Illinois managed just the one try, which was converted, plus two penalty goals. For Michigan State this was a full-on team defensive effort.

"Everyone executed their roles perfectly," said MSU wing Samy Shelbaya, who was active in the kick-chase and getting ball back for his support. "The boys all played a hell of a game. It was a team game today."

Still, it's worth noting fullback Mark Kehoe's 70-meter run for a try, and the punishing surges from prop Jacob LaFave, who scored a try and continued to make ground after being grabbed by defenders.

The result of that game means that Illinois drops to 3-2 and must beat Ohio State in their final game to have a shot at the final November 13. Ohio State can actually survive losing that game and still take 2nd with a win against Wisconsin thanks to more bonus points.

There is a big chase for 4th, and a place in the 3rd-4th game, with Purdue, Michigan, and now Michigan State all at 1-2. The Purdue-Michigan State game was canceled earlier in the season so there's a question on what that means to the standings. So it all comes down to what Michigan does. They play Purdue October 23 and Michigan State October 29. Win those two games and the question of Purdue-MSU is moot. Lose one of those games and it's likely Michigan will be playing for 5th.

Here are the update standings using the best information we have.

Big Ten W L T PF PA PD BT BL Pts
Indiana 4 0 0 161 31 130 3 0 19
Ohio State 3 1 0 171 74 97 4 1 17
Illinois 3 2 0 122 107 15 1 1 14
Purdue 1 2 0 60 76 -16 1 0 5
Michigan State 1 2 0 41 65 -24 1 0 5
Michigan 1 2 0 48 106 -58 1 0 5
Wisconsin 0 4 0 43 187 -144 1 0 1