When: Saturday, November 10th, 2018
Where: Spartan Stadium | East Lansing, MI
Time: 12:00p ET
Previewing the Ohio State football team’s clash-of-the-titans-matchup against Mark Dantonio’s upset-minded Michigan State Spartans.
After another shaky contest at home against Nebraska, Ohio State found themselves stuck ranked No. 10 in the second edition of the Selection Committee’s rankings Tuesday night. The Buckeyes have simply not passed the eye test over the past five or so weeks. Not doing so has allowed for teams like West Virginia to make the leap to No. 9.
However, Dwayne Haskins and company have a legitimate chance to impress the committee this Saturday in East Lansing. The Buckeyes take their newly found running game into Spartan Stadium against the top rushing defense in the country. One of the biggest keys to the game will be if Ohio State can avoid being one dimensional on offense. If that ends up being the case, then that will force Haskins beat the stout Spartan defense with his arm.
Defensively, the Buckeyes need to be careful not to give up many points. When facing a lockdown defense like the Spartans’, facing in a deficit may be too difficult to overcome. Ohio State also needs to send a message to the committee that they are still for real and not a lowly 1-loss team hanging on by a thread. A statement game for the Buckeyes is much needed, especially for the confidence of the team and for a potential playoff berth.
Despite having not looked like a playoff contender for the last month, some feel as if the Buckeyes, along with the Big Ten, have been disrespected by the committee in their weekly rankings. Will this finally be the motivation that elevates Ohio State back to playing at an elite level?
Expect the Buckeyes to have to withstand an early surge from the amped up Spartans. Ohio State should settle into a dogfight before taking control late. If Haskins gets going through the air early, it will likely open up the running game and allow the offense to get into a rhythm.
Look for Running Backs Mike Weber and JK Dobbins to see sporadic success early but become for effective and efficient between the tackles in the second half against the Michigan State defense.
Moreover, I expect the storyline of the day to be the Silver Bullets who will finally step up and rise to the occasion for sixty minutes. The urgency surrounding this Ohio State team, most notably its defense, is mounting to gargantuan proportions, but Saturday is the day it all comes together as the Buckeyes aim to get back on the playoff track. Be sure to tune into FOX at noon for this Big Ten East rivalry clash. It is going to be a good one in a frosted East Lansing.
Image Credit: Samuel Silverman | Director of Design for The Ohio State Football team