Ohio State traveled to East Lansing, MI this past weekend and took care of business on the road against the Spartans. Ohio State needed a bonus point win to stay in contention for a championship spot. Michigan State, after a tough season, entered the match 1-4 and hoped to end their regular season on a positive note by upsetting the Buckeyes on Michigan soil. A win, and a Minnesota loss, would secure the Spartans place in the fifth place playoff.
Ohio State attacked and scored early in the second minute through experienced winger Jojo Eramo. The Buckeyes have repeatedly proven that they can play high level rugby right from the first whistle; a skill that any championship team requires. Ohio State never let off and a Spartan yellow card in the 20th minute made the Spartans defensive job that much more difficult. By the end of the first half, eight man Nate Heister, hooker Derek Hess, and outside center Aaron Thomas had each bagged a try for the Buckeyes. In addition, a second Jojo Eramo try and four conversions form winger John Walsh made the score 33-0 at half time in favor of the visitors.
Michigan State has also proven over the course of the season that they can adjust at half time and cause their opponents trouble in the second half of games. Ohio State only managed to score twice more, much to the credit of Michigan State. Buckeye lock Jack Bengel put away a try in the 45th minute. Jojo Eramo show cased his finishing skills by recording his second hat trick of the season. His 63rd minute try concluded the scoring in East Lansing. The final score was 45-0.
Ohio State did what they set out to do. Now 5-1, the Buckeyes came away with 5 points and additional point differential. They sit in third place with 21 points behind Indiana and Wisconsin. Although Indiana and Wisconsin are both currently 5-0, they will face each other in the last week of the regular season. Ohio State will conclude their fall 2016 season next week when they welcome Michigan who currently sit in fourth place.
The Spartans will be disappointed with their 1-5 season. Especially since they managed twice as many wins last season. Although their regular season is over, Michigan State can still in fact reach the fifth place playoff. Week seven losses from Minnesota and Purdue would see the Spartans just edge into the competition.