- Austin Ward, ESPN Staff Writer
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Honoring the best and brightest from Ohio State after a crucial 49-37 road win over Michigan State on Saturday night.
QB J.T. Barrett
The redshirt freshman had already gone on the road and beat one of the best defenses in the Big Ten, but in case there were any holdouts who still believed the young quarterback had something to prove, his demolition of the Spartans should be enough to convince anybody he's the real deal. Barrett was in complete command of the Ohio State offense, completing 16 of his 26 passing attempts for 300 yards and three touchdowns and adding 86 yards and two additional scores on the ground in a pressure-packed environment. It's hard to play any better than Barrett did against the Spartans, and that performance put his team in control of the East Division and back in the thick of the College Football Playoff conversation.
WR Devin Smith
Maybe the Buckeyes and the veteran target had been saving him up for a critical moment. Smith hadn't made quite as much of an impact this season as perhaps was expected for his final season with the program, but he showed up when it counted most with a dynamic outing on the perimeter that stretched the Spartans and kept them from loading up the box against the run. The senior finished with six catches for 129 yards and a touchdown, including a fantastic grab to convert a long third down when the game was still tight.
The Michigan State offensive line came into the weekend with perhaps the best reputation in the league, and combining that with the pain of losing a year ago was all the motivation the talented defensive lineman needed to turn in one of the best overall outings of his career. Bennett was nearly unblockable up front for the Buckeyes, forcing Michigan State to adjust its game plan around him and still not preventing him from making two tackles for loss, sacking Connor Cook, forcing a fumble and breaking up a pass. Bennett's value has been hard to quantify this season statistically, but he left no doubt Saturday that he's still one of the most disruptive forces in the Big Ten.