Game Of The Week: No. 9 Michigan State at No. 3 Ohio State
Somewhere in the country, “The Final Countdown” is being played as it’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for in the Big Ten. The No. 9 ranked Michigan State Spartans (9-1) are headed to Columbus, Ohio for this Saturday’s matchup against the No. 3 ranked Ohio State Buckeyes (10-0) and are seeking redemption from last years 49-37 loss at home in East Lansing.
Ohio State has appeared unstoppable this season as they are loaded with plenty of talent on both sides of the ball. It’s undeniable the team’s run game is at its best when Ezekiel Elliot has the ball in his hands, but it will be exciting to see if the junior running back can put up the same numbers against a tough Michigan State defense.
Michigan State has scared fans at times this season after barely escaping with wins against Rutgers and Michigan. The Spartans are aware that focus is inevitable for this weekend’s matchup as a victory on the Buckeye’s turf means the Spartans would be only two wins away from a potential playoff bid.
Michigan State senior quarterback Connor Cook has been cleared to play in this Saturday’s game after leaving the Maryland game last week with a shoulder injury. Cook has been a key leader for the Spartans in his four years at starting quarterback and has shown remarkable statistics this season, throwing for 2,482 yards, 21 touchdowns and only four interceptions.
J.T. Barrett tore up Michigan State’s defense at Spartan Stadium last season with a win that helped to propel the team towards a national title. Barrett has shown to be key for Ohio State’s offense after officially being named the team’s starting quarterback midway through the season, a position he still holds even after serving a one game suspension due to an OVI arrest.
On the defensive side of things, both teams have shown to be contenders. Ohio State is currently ranked eighth in the country for pass defense, allowing only 171.6 yards in the air and are ninth in the country in total defense, giving up only 298.4 yards per contest. The Spartan’s defense has struggled more this year than in recent years, due largely to loss of players. However, the team still has one of the nation’s top pass rushers, defensive end Shilique Calhoun, who has shown to be a tremendous help for the team’s defense.
The teams have split their last four meetings, with Ohio State being the last team to win at home in 2007, 24-17, during Mark Dantonio’s first season as head coach at Michigan State. The Buckeyes pulled off a huge win in East Lansing last season that led them to win the National Championship. The Spartans did the same to Ohio State during the 2013 Big Ten Championship game, which led the team to a Rose Bowl win over Stanford.
PREICITION: Ohio State 31, Michigan State 24
Ellie French is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact her email firstname.lastname@example.org.