Hello again Spartan fans! Okay enough small talk, I’ve got something to say and I have to say it right now prior to kickoff.
Can you guys believe that just a year ago this Michigan State squad was 3-9? Fast forward to today and Spartan Nation is playing for another division title.
Only two words make this 2017 season possible. Mark Dantonio. The head coach who always does more with less once again has his Spartans locked in.
Is it possible that the Spartans lay an egg against Maryland or Rutgers? Sure, but the fact remains, there is a distinct possibility that MSU beats Ohio State in Columbus for sole possession of the Big Ten East.
I’m getting nervous, excited, and anxious just thinking about it guys. Now let’s get down to business folks, all the way from Land-Grant Holy Land we have Max Littman who is going to walk us through everything we need to know about the Buckeyes ahead of time.
Urban Meyer has always been an amazing head coach. It's a fact that hasn't changed since he began coaching the Buckeyes in 2012. He is 68-8 (44-3 B1G) since that time. Two of his three conference losses have came at the hands of Michigan State and once again there will be a big showdown this weekend which will likely decide who the Big Ten East winner is. What do you think Urban Meyer's opinion of the Spartans is? And how does the fan base feel about Michigan State?
Urban consistently has been one of the best coaches in college football and despite that MSU still feels like his Achilles heel. Obviously the 2013 and 2015 losses stand out glaringly but even last year’s game, a one point nail biter, was way closer than it should have been. I think Urban highly respects Dantonio and the program that he’s built without anywhere near the recruiting prowess Ohio State has. As for the fan base, it has increasingly become a bigger and bigger game. While obviously nowhere near Michigan it is one of the few B1G series that has been consistently competitive. On top of that there still is resentment over MSU costing the Buckeyes the championship game or playoffs in 2013 and 2015 which won’t go away anytime soon.
After what Ohio State did to beat Penn State the weekend prior how does the loss to Iowa happen? And how does the Buckeye defense give up 55 points? Road game or not I have to imagine this loss was unacceptable.
That pretty much is the million-dollar question facing Buckeye fans right now, how exactly did last week even happen. Obviously, the easy answer is the come down after such a miraculous PSU win compounded with the road trip but that isn’t at all the only reason. For me one of the biggest reasons is Nick Bosa’s ejection which seemed to really be a turning point in the game, a player of his skill level has that kind of impact on the game. The defense, which had been shaky before, just couldn’t stop the pass and Iowa’s running game was the best a team has run against Ohio State all year. All in all it was just breakdowns across the board on defense, and a uncharacteristically awful game from JT that led to the blowout loss.
What will be the single most important thing that leads either team to victory and why?
The OSU defense against Brian Lewerke. I’m not convinced the unit can stand up to the offensive challenge MSU can pose but if they can, and shut down the air, the rush defense should be able to hold.
The Ohio State Buckeyes may have lost Ezekiel Elliott to the NFL a few years back but J.K. Dobbins is making his own statement while wearing the scarlet and gray. The freshman has carried the ball 119 times for 914 yards and five touchdowns. He averages 7.7 yards per carry. That being said the Spartans are ranked third in the nation for their run defense, giving up 2.85 yards per rush. Does Dobbins go to work or do the Spartans gobble him up? Why?
The way J.K. Dobbins has been running this season there is not a single team in college football who can stop him. To put that into perspective, so far, the only team that has slowed him down is Ohio State’s own play calling. He is shift, deceptively fast, and all around one of the best true-freshman out there. J.K. must be schemed against and if the Spartans shut him and Mike Weber down their upset chances get a lot bigger.
What's the most interesting match-up you will be keeping a close eye on?
The OSU defensive line against the Spartan offensive line. The OSU defensive line had a rough week against Iowa, and need a rebound here. MSU’s line is relatively young and inexperienced and could be taken advantage of if OSU comes out swinging. If, on the other hand, they contain the OSU d-line much of OSU’s defensive advantage is gone.
Brian Lewerke vs. J.T. Barrett - Who's been better for their team this year? Who's been more important to their team? And who will be the reason for victory Saturday afternoon?
I think that J.T. has been way better for Ohio State this year and that OSU’s fortunes are closely tied to him. Both games he played poorly in were losses, games he played up to his ability in were all wins. While Lewerke is a consistently good quarterback but I don’t think he is on the same level as JT.
Give me one X-factor from each side of the ball and explain why you chose them.
OSU- wide receivers. If they can get open and make plays it can really open the game up. MSU- LJ Scott, if he can make gains against OSU’s defense ala Iowa last week anything can happen.
Prediction time: Final score? Who wins? Why?
OSU pulls away in the fourth quarter wins 38-28.
Thanks to Max and everyone over at Land-Grant Holy Land for all their contributions this week!