Ohio State Buckeyes vs.
Michigan State Spartans
#2 Ohio State (9-1) vs. Michigan State(3-7)
November 19, 2016 12:00 PM - ESPN
Spartan Stadium East Lansing, MI
The Drama: Revenge?
This was supposed to be the revenge game of the season. Ohio State’s only loss in 2015 was at home to the Spartans and the Buckeyes have had this game circled ever since. Michigan State started out the season ranked in the top 12 beating Notre Dame handily in game two. MSU has since fallen on hard times dropping seven straight games including losses to 5-5 Maryland and 3-7 Illinois. Ohio State does not control their own destiny in regards to the Big Ten championship and can only guide their fate by winning their games on the field (and also rooting for the Spartans next week). The big game with TTUN looms on the horizon but first the Buckeyes need to take care of some long overdue payback.
The Buckeyes will win because: Must Win Big
What was once the marque game of 2016 has fallen to just another speed bump on the Buckeye’s road to the Big Ten championship. Last year’s defeat at the hands of the Spartans became a rallying call for the team as Ohio State turned their lethargic play around and trounced TTUN and Notre Dame in the final two games of the season. OSU needs help to get into the Big Ten and national championship and simply winning out will not be enough. The Buckeyes muscled their way into the playoffs in 2014 by destroying Wisconsin in the Big Ten championship game and with two games left in the regular season Ohio State will have to put up dominant victories to persuade the playoff committee that they are deserving even though they may not be the conference champion.
The Buckeyes will lose because: Soft Secondary
Michigan State broke their seven game losing streak with a blowout 49-0 win over Rutgers. While the Scarlet Knights haven’t been the most competitive team this season the win is exactly what the Spartans need as they head into the last two games against Ohio State and Penn State. R.J. Shelton is a big play wide receiver for MSU and averages 13.42 yards per catch. At 5’ 11” Sheldon isn’t very big but his size affords him the ability to get lost in traffic. Ohio State better make sure he doesn’t get comfortable in space.
The spotlight is on: Tyler O'Conner
Hopes for an upset victory over Ohio State rests on the shoulders of the Spartan quarterback. The Buckeyes have shown weakness against an efficient passing game and O’Connor has the tools to move the ball.
“Water Cooler” Stat of the game: 17-1
At Ohio State, Urban Meyer has a 17-1 record in the month of November. The single loss was to Michigan State last year in Columbus.
The Bottom line: Don't Just Win. Win Big!
Ohio State does not control their own destiny as the loss to Penn State puts the Buckeyes a half game back of the Lions in the Big Ten East standings. If both teams win their final two games, then Ohio State will be left out of the Big Ten championship and possibly the college football playoff. The Buckeyes have shaken off a mid-season slump and regained their offensive dominance of early 2016 but it’s not just about winning anymore; it’s about winning impressively. Ohio State can’t afford to play nice these last two games because the margin of victory is the only thing keeping the Bucks in the race for the college football playoffs. Well that and a Penn State loss.
Prediction: Ohio State 48 Michigan State 10 (Final: Ohio State ?-?)