Ohio State vs. Michigan State fearless prediction and game preview.
Date: Saturday, November 10
Game Time: 12:00 ET
Venue: Spartan Stadium, East Lansing, MI
Ohio State (8-1) vs. Michigan State (6-3) Game Preview
One Reason Why Ohio State Will Win
For all of the good things Michigan State is doing lately, throwing the ball efficiently isn’t one of them.
Michigan State can throw, but if this somehow gets into a shootout, the Buckeyes are far better equipped.
Rocky Lombardi did step in for a banged up Brian Lewerke and threw for 318 yards and two scores in the Spartan win over Purdue two weeks ago. But Lewerke was back against Maryland, and he and Lombardi struggled in the win, throwing for 87 yards and two picks. Against Michigan, the O went nowhere with just 79 passing yards.
There’s nothing happening against the MSU run defense, but that’s fine – Ohio State doesn’t necessarily run as well as it might like.
Northwestern’s Clayton Thorson, Arizona State’s Manny Wilkins, and Utah State’s Jordan Love all threw for over 300 yards. Now it’s up to Dwayne Haskins to come out hot from the start, get the high-powered passing game going, and bust MSU out of its offensive style.
The Buckeyes – as underwhelming as they’ve been – can move the chains and are fantastic on third downs. Michigan State is dead last in the conference in third down conversions.
One Reason Why Michigan State Will Win
It might not be pretty, and it might not be scintillating, but Michigan State has found its groove again over the last few weeks. It doesn’t let anyone run the ball, and it comes up with big plays at just the right times.
And it’s wonderful against one-dimensional teams. That’s not exactly the Buckeyes, but it’s not far off.
Ohio State might have run well against Nebraska, but the offensive line didn’t do enough against Minnesota or Purdue, and was under four yards per carry in the previous five games.
Now it has to go against a Spartan defensive front – particularly Joe Bachie, Andrew Dowell and the linebacking corps – that’s not allowing a thing.
Michigan State allowed 205 yards to Penn State, and 183 yards to Michigan. That’s been it. No one else has rushed for more than 70 yards – the inconsistent Buckeye backs aren’t going to all of a sudden get rolling.
The picks have slowed down a wee bit over the last several games, but MSU came up with three interceptions against Purdue and is great at attacking the ball. Its defensive style should be just enough to give the Buckeyes a problem.
What’s Going To Happen
Last year, Ohio State got rocked by Iowa, and bounced back to destroy Michigan State in an ugly blowout. Don’t think Michigan State isn’t thinking about borrowing the idea from Michigan and going on a wee bit of a revenge tour of its own here.
But Ohio State is just a whole lot better, especially offensively.
As much as it might be played up that Mark Dantonio and Michigan State always appear to have something good for the Buckeyes, Ohio State has won three of the last four. It’s that one loss in 2015 – keeping the Buckeyes out of the College Football Playoff – that sticks.
This isn’t a perfect Buckeye team by any stretch, and it’s struggling way, way, way too much to consistently play up to its talent.
But the Michigan State offense is sort of an issue right now.
Lewerke isn’t healthy, but he’s a gutty gamer who’ll likely try to give it a go, and RB LJ Scott was out last week and isn’t quite right, either. The only way this works is if the MSU defense dominates. It’ll let Haskins get his yards, but the explosive plays have to be non-existent.
But Ohio State will get one.
The Spartans will play their style throughout and seemingly have it, and then Haskins will hit the one big home run needed in the fourth quarter to survive.
Fearless Prediction & Line
Ohio State 27, Michigan State 23
Line: Ohio State -3.5, o/u: 53.5
ATS Confidence out of 5: 2
Must See Rating: 4.5
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