Preview: No. 2 Ohio State vs. No. 10 Michigan State

By Kyle Rowland on December 6, 2013 at 9:15a
51 Comments
#BEATSPARTY
Ohio State Buckeyes #2 Ohio State 12-0, 8-0 Big Ten Roster | Schedule 8:17 PM ET - Fox —— Lucas Oil Stadium Indianapolis, IN —— [Tickets] Michigan State Spartans #10 Michigan State 11-1, 8-0 Big Ten Roster | Schedule

Fifteen years ago, Ohio State was an overwhelming favorite to reach the Fiesta Bowl, which hosted the first BCS national championship game. But along the yellow brick road to Tempe, the Buckeyes ran into a young, up-and-coming head coach named Nick Saban who engineered an unlikely upset that still stings in Columbus.

Ohio State, ranked No. 1 in the preseason, opened the year away from home in a highly anticipated game at No. 11 West Virginia. The Mountaineers proved to be merely a fly on the windshield as they were humbled 38-17 in front of a record home crowd [Trivia: This was the first college football game broadcast in HD].

The Buckeyes faced two other serious tests before November – Missouri and Penn State – and won by a combined score of 63-23. Needless to say, it was apparent quickly Ohio State was for real.

Led by quarterback Joe Germaine and linebacker Andy Katzenmoyer (and wide receiver David Boston, cornerback Antoine Winfield, etc.), the Buckeyes cruised into November with an 8-0 record and were favored by four touchdowns to dispatch Michigan State.

That didn’t seem to be a challenge when Ohio State took a 24-9 third-quarter lead. But then the wheels began to fall off. First came a punt that deflected off Nate Clements, which the Spartans recovered. Then a failed 4th-and-1 and Germaine fumble. Suddenly, the Buckeyes were trailing late in the fourth quarter.

When a desperation fourth down pass was intercepted by Michigan State’s Renaldo Hill, Ohio Stadium fell as silent as it’s ever been. A dream season quickly evolved into a nightmare.

As the BCS era comes to a close, perhaps it’s fitting that Saban’s team lost to open the door for Ohio State to play for the title. And now in the Buckeyes’ path is Michigan State.

“I think we’re the best team in the country, but unfortunately it’s not in our hands right now,” Ohio State wide receiver Reggie Germany said in 1998.

Fifteen years later, the Buckeyes control their own destiny against the team that denied them on Nov. 7, 1998.

Opponent Breakdown

There isn’t much doubt where the strength of Michigan State resides. The Spartans own the nation’s best total defense and stingiest rush defense. The numbers read like a horror story if you’re Ohio State. Michigan State is only allowing 238 yards of offense per game and fewer than 65 yards rushing. For the Buckeyes and Carlos Hyde, that’s the first quarter.

Five Spartan defenders were named first-team All-Big Ten earlier in the week, including the defensive back of the year (Darqueze Dennard) and the defensive lineman of the year (Shlique Calhoun). Urban Meyer said it’s as good a unit as he’s ever seen, same goes for Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi.

After a five-loss conference record a year ago, Mark Dantonio’s crew came into the 2013 season eyeing revenge. So far, they’re four for four, beating Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska and Northwestern. All that’s left is Ohio State, a school the Spartans have tormented throughout the years. Narduzzi described it as a chance to clean up a previous mess.

“We’re going to play Michigan State football,” Dennard said. “I know our defense will come out and dominate them, and we'll come out there fired up and be ready to roll. Braxton Miller does a lot of great things, Carlos Hyde is a great running back, the receivers do a great job making plays as well.”

Last season’s game was a fork in the road for both schools. Ohio State won 17-16 in dramatic fashion and went on to go 12-0. For Michigan State, it was the beginning of the end of any conference championship hopes in a season that ended with a disappointing 7-6 record.

Still love you, Dino, but not so much on Saturday.
[Via]

“Last year was a tough year for us,” All-Big Ten linebacker Max Bullough said. “We played them pretty well, held them to 17 points, had a fumble that would have been a touchdown that was called back, that should have been a touchdown. We’ll be ready to play.”

The most points the Spartans have allowed this season is less than the fewest points the Buckeyes have scored in a game (28 to 31). One staple of the Michigan State defense is putting nine players in the box, which leaves one-on-one coverage for the wide receivers. That puts the onus squarely on Braxton Miller – and Tom Herman.

“These are the games your competitive nature can come out a little bit and you say, ‘I’m going to have my offense, my checkers, and my pieces are going to be more prepared and play harder and longer and with better technique and effort than yours.’”

While Ohio State was running roughshod over the competition in the month of November, the Spartans were letting up ever so slightly against the run. They surrendered 386 yards rushing, which is double their season average. 

The offense, which has been spoken of minimally this week, has been steadily improving week-by-week. So much so that BTN analyst Gerri DiNardo called it “extraordinary.”

“I think the game is going to be decided when Michigan State’s offense is on the field and Ohio State’s defense is on the field,” he said. “I’m going to be more curious how Michigan State’s offense and how Ohio State’s defense play rather than the marquee matchup.”

In three of their four November games, the Spartans have gained at least 350 yards of total offense. On the season, Cook has completed 58 percent of his pass attempts for 2,119 yards with 17 touchdowns and four interceptions. Behind him is Jeremy Langford, a running back who’s well over 1,000 yards – 1,290 – and scored 16 touchdowns.

There’s a void at receiver, though. No one on the team is averaging 50 yards per game. Bennie Fowler and Tony Lippett are Cook’s favorite targets.

“[Cook] really doesn't make a lot of dumb decisions,” Ohio State linebacker Ryan Shazier said. “He does exactly what the coaches want him to do.”

Buckeye Breakdown

Two more, gentlemen.

As everyone wants to discuss the looming showdown between Ohio State’s high-octane offense and Michigan State’s take-no-prisoners defense, many in the Buckeye State have their eyes trained to a different unit: the Ohio State pass defense.

It’s an area that’s been a weakness all season for the Buckeyes and it showed up in front of the entire country last Saturday at Michigan. A bulk of the Wolverines’ 603 total yards came via the pass. They had particular success using misdirection and screen passes, providing a blueprint for the Spartans.

But once again, as it’s done the last 24 games, Ohio State came away with a victory.

“We can’t miss tackles,” sophomore linebacker Joshua Perry said. “Eliminating big plays, being sound in the run game and in our pass drops – those are all things we work on continually. So when [Meyer] says we’ve got to play better, we’ve got to do the things we know we can do.”

Michigan State only ranks 95th in passing offense at 194 yards per game, but the Spartans are efficient and Cook knows when to take chances. After watching the Ohio State-Michigan game film, he came away with his stomach growling.

“Any time you see your opponent give up that many yards the week before you play them, obviously you’re licking your chops,” Cook said. “You’re feeling a little bit more confident, you’re feeling a little bit more excited for the game itself. But we’ve got to treat it like any game we’ve had all year.”

Urban Meyer didn’t hold back when he received questions about the defense this week. He’s won multiple national championships and now has three undefeated regular seasons to his credit. A common denominator in all those seasons was a defensive unit that turned heads. Even the 2012 group at Ohio State went through a major improvement during the second half of the season.

Those same strides haven’t been seen this year. Meyer flatly said the Buckeyes will not win Saturday if they have a repeat of last week.

“That’s just very simple. We have to play much better,” Meyer said before adding, “Pass defense surfaced again and lack of contact on the quarterback. We just had some guys running open. It’s a combination. If you could say it was one thing, I would say it was one thing. I trust that we’ll get it fixed, and I trust that these guys will be locked and loaded and have a good week of preparation.”

Bend but don’t break could be the appropriate description and cliché for the Ohio State defense. The group has allowed four 300-yard passing days, including Michigan’s 400-yard performance. Wisconsin (295) and Illinois (288) were just shy. But Michigan State doesn’t even have a receiver averaging 50 yards per game.

“We all came to Ohio State to be the best,” junior linebacker Ryan Shazier said.

On Saturday night, he and his defensive teammates will have an opportunity to set the Buckeyes on that path.

How it Plays Out

The Michigan State defense will be the best unit Ohio State’s seen in years. Stats don’t tell the entire story, which is why the Spartan D might not actually be tops in America. But there’s no question the lofty praise is deserved.

At the same rate, what they’re going to face is unlike any offense they’ve faced. Ohio State’s offensive line hasn’t been slowed yet in Big Ten play. Braxton Miller and Carlos Hyde can be contained, but can a defense really slow them enough to win the game? Holding the Buckeyes below their averages – 48 points, 530 yards – could still signal an elevated offensive output. Which takes us to the less anticipated matchup – Ohio State defense vs. Michigan State offense.

For all the talk about the other side of the ball, it’s the Silver Bullets and Spartan O that will likely decide the game. The Buckeyes biggest issue is pass defense. Teams still are not able to run the football against a stout defensive line and a Butkus Award finalist.

While Cook has delivered nice, glossy passing numbers, he is devoid of a playmaking wide receiver in the style that’s given Ohio state fits this season – Jared Abbrederis, Allen Robinson, Jeremy Gallon, etc. If Langford’s ground game doesn’t produce, Michigan State will search for answers.

Chances are Miller and Hyde will combine for adequate rushing numbers. Where the Buckeyes’ offense becomes even more efficient is if Miller can complete passes to Philly Brown, Devin Smith and Jeff Heuerman. The tight end is becoming a bigger piece of the offense with each passing week.

As the final ticks of the clock roll off in the fourth quarter, it will be Ohio State’s passing game that provides the difference.


ELEVEN WARRIORS STAFF PREDICTION: Ohio State 27, Michigan State 20

51 Comments

Comments

Bucks1's picture

MSU will have the Bucks full attention, which will prove deadly for the Spartans...an Angry team rides again!

"I will pound you and pound you until you quit." - Woody Hayes

Matt M.'s picture

MSU has a good defense, but CARLOS HYDE IS A GROWN...ASS...MAN. In fact, I vote we just start calling him G-A-M for short. Glad to see the shutout prediction, that would be a very nice touch.

allinosu's picture

I still feel that was our best team that Saban upset and I will never forget it. Getting ahead early is important. 27-21 OSU

CGroverL's picture

I'm 40 years old and I have been a Buckeye fan from birth. I can only speak for the teams that I actually saw play, BUT I agree with you 100%....the 1998 Buckeye squad was the best Buckeye team that I ever saw play.
Before bowl games selected their teams that season, 10 Las Vegas "insiders" (guys that run the sports books at Vegas casinos) told an ESPN analyst that the Buckeyes would not only be favored against ANY and ALL teams that they may be matched up against, all 10 "bookies" had a low of a 7 point differential on the betting lines no matter who Ohio State played. Yes... Ohio State would have been at least a 7 point favorite against even the 2 teams that went to the BCSNCG, unbeaten Tennessee, and 1 loss, Florida State. If Florida State's regular season loss would have happened in November and not in their 2nd game on September 12th, Ohio State would have (and should have) played against Tennessee for the BCSNCG and also would have been at least a 7 point favorite.
That one NOVEMBER loss against Michigan State killed the Buckeyes' title hopes that year because the loss was late in the season. It used to be that losing your first game of the season did not matter much compared to a loss in November.... Now things have changed though. If you look at Alabama's recent championships, you will notice more than a handful of November losses... We all want to think that the voting process is fair and unbiased. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
That makes me see the NCAA, the media, voters, pollsters, and especially ESPN analysts as hypocritical to the point that they shouldn't even be allowed to be involved in voting or ESPN analysts ON THEIR SEC BIAS ALONE. If you have been watching ESPN at all, you have seen all of the former SEC players trying to make a case for Auburn to jump Ohio State because the first 12 games of their 24 game winning streak and how those first 12 games shouldn't count.....However, they almost never mention Auburn's loss to 3 loss LSU just as they act as if the SEC's streak of 7 straight national titles SHOULD MEAN ENOUGH for either Auburn or Missouri to jump Ohio State....
That is both ridiculous and hypocritical. Sorry about the length but I'm going crazy right now and I am practically foaming at the mouth because of what has been done to Ohio State in EACH AND EVERY WEEK. What has been done? Well, ever since the 2012 preseason rankings, the AP pollsters have done everything in their power to make the Buckeyes drop spots despite winning games. Remember this: Ohio State was ELIGIBLE to win the AP National Title last season (2012). And yes, the AP does crown their own champion every season. Since the Buckeyes opened the 2012 season at #18, the AP dropped them a total of SIX spots during WINS. The Buckeyes finished at #3 in the AP's final poll. Well, since they dropped SIX spots over their undefeated season (in a year that the Bucks were the only unbeaten team), doesn't it show that the Buckeyes should have won the AP's national championship?
It is all a sham and it really is Ohio State vs. the world. Go Buckeyes!!! Oh....I said it once before but the 1998 Buckeyes are the best Buckeye squad I ever saw....but this 2013 squad is a pretty close #2 to that 1998 team. On top of that, the difficulty of going unbeaten during a regular season should mean a lot as it is very difficult to do. Notice though that NO ESPN ANALYSTS have mentioned exactly how hard it is to go unbeaten and since it is so hard to do, that less teams have been doing it recently......And for some reason, it doesn't matter at all that Ohio State has just done it TWICE IN A ROW.
What a sham....Again, Go Buckeyes!!!

"I hope they're last in everything"

Thanks, Urb!

Hovenaut's picture

Only fitting the Buckeyes look to the offensive line, El Guapo and XBraX to solve Sparty's run defense. I think the one-two punch of nos 5 and 34, with some effective passing mixed in (maybe a dash of trickeration too) gets it done.
Really believe it all comes down to this, and I like our chances (of course). No doubt the good guys have turned in a hard week of practice and preparation.
Expecting a heavyweight title fight, and this one nearly goes the distance.....Buckeyes get a late TKO.
At the very least, the B1G regains some serious street cred after Saturday night.
I like the score (I have it 24-21), with the special teams coming through at a critical point in the contest.

"Success...it's what you do with what you got" - Woody Hayes

CGroverL's picture

I love the "serious street cred" that you wrote of. I hope that it is true but I believe that a close win by either team will just further push the pro-SEC peeps to say things like "well, this title fight had more dancing in it than throwing punches". At the same time, a Buckeye blowout will just further the pro-SEC crowd into saying things like "well, the Big Ten is what we thought they were, a one trick pony with that one pony being mediocre in a league full pf less than mediocre teams".
I really believe that the Buckeyes would be thought of as mediocre even if they shut out 6 teams (half) instead of 2 and they never had an issue with pass defense. In other words, I believe that these pro-SEC people are going to do and say anything possible to discredit Ohio State in ANY WAY....WHY? It is CLEARLY EVIDENT that these "SEC fans" care about nothing but another SEC national title. Hell, even the Alabama fans are rooting for Auburn (except for those Alabama fans that are still hoping for that 1% chance of Alabama reaching the BCSNCG like they did in 2011).
The Big Ten has teams with outstanding defenses and that is NEVER mentioned. Another sham in the long line of shams is how EASY it is for a previously unranked SEC team to reach a (2-0) record and enter the polls. As shown by the polls of last year, the same doesn't hold true for Big Ten teams as Northwestern started off 2-0 (with their 2nd win being against an SEC squad), did not receive a ranking, and did not receive a ranking until cracking the polls at #24 after going undefeated through their first 5 games of the season. I could go on and on and have already...but I have many stats, and such that show EXACTLY how unfair the polls are to Big Ten teams and how easy it is for SEC teams to enter the polls and rise up the polls (for instance how the Florida squad of 2012 started the season at #22 but were ranked #4 after just FIVE weeks....and this happened during the same time that Ohio State won against CAL but dropped 4 spots in the polls).
I sincerely apologize for the length to anyone that stuck around to read the whole NOVEL, but all stats and numbers are correct and were researched to make sure they were correct.
Go Buckeyes....Ohio State 42, Michigan State 24

"I hope they're last in everything"

Thanks, Urb!

Arizona_Buckeye's picture

Put constant and unrelenting pressure on Cook and stay with your assignments!!!  We were KILLED last Saturday with reverse field plays!!!  Stay home stay home stay home!!!  GOD I can still hear my defensive coach yelling that!!!

The best thing about Pastafarianism? It is not only acceptable, but advisable, to be heavily sauced

RedStorm45's picture

I think Ross may have covered it, but watch what Nebraska did on offense.  If we can spread them out with 3 and 4 wide sets (our staples), that "should" force Sparty to have 7 or less in the box, which is when our run game excels.  Of course, we haven't seen a D-Line like this one yet so it will be a challenge.  But I think Nebraska provided a pretty good blue-print of how to spread them out.

brglr14's picture

i think your more than right. nebraska moved the ball and put up points. 5 tos killed em. love the match up. we are much better at skill positions than nebraska plus that nasty o line.

I dont know karate but i do know crazy and i'm not afraid to use it.
                           

SLVRBLLTS's picture

I've been saying this all week! Nebraska exposed them by spreading them out, but couldn't capitalize because they turned the ball over. I think we will definitely move the ball, but the game will be won/lost in the red zone. We score TDs instead of FGs and TOs, we'll win handily.

"Because we couldn't go for three"

buckeyestu's picture

Earlier in the week, i think i predicted a score of 20 to 16 in favor of the good guys. Since then, i have upgraded my thinking, i now see a score of 34 to 13 in favor of the good guys. GO BUCKEYES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

OneOfOver475000's picture

“We’re going to play Michigan State football,” Dennard said

Thank God, I thought they were going to play Stanford Football.  In this case, I've got the Bucks by 30.
In all seriousness, it will come down to the things the Buckeyes can control, effort and execution. They are prepared, they understand they are playing for something larger than themselves, and as long as they leave everything out there, I am proud of these young men.
Still would be nice to be able to say "The best part about being 25-0 is ..."  Guess we'll just have to wait until Saturday night.

Seattle Linga's picture

Hyde's already hungry - please feed him again and again

BoFuquel's picture

Our defense must defeat The Great Athenian Genious of the offense. Fight Dave with Dave and we win. GO BUCKS!

I wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then.

rcdunn1010's picture

I get the impression that MSU has been way overconfident leading up to this game.  There D talks trash about how they're going to shut us down and Cook talks about how he is "licking his chops" to face our Defense.  They had better tread carefully.

bucksfan92's picture

I was at that 1998 MSU game and that was the most shocking, painful loss ever.  Right after the Auburn-Alabama game last week the irony struck me - OSU and FSU were #1 and #2 for most of that season, the first season of the BCS, that is reversed now.  So that clearly means the OSU-MSU game will have an opposite result and we will finally get the NCG matchup everyone wanted to see in 1998!!
OSU gets revenge for 1998 both over MSU and over the BCS as we snuff out Sparty and stab the Noles with a spear to win the Title! 
OK first things first - Go Bucks, beat Sparty tomorrow!

Dougger's picture

Met a gentlemen in AA last week who had been to 204 straight (!) buckeyes games. Said the '98 team was the best he's ever seen. 
Regardless, 2013 is a chance for something special, I'm excited to see it (but not excited to be working at the same time).

I like football

OSUBias's picture

Home games, I assume? If not, that's the coolest way to spend your time/money every fall, just following the Buckeyes around the country.

Shitter's full

bucknut3011's picture

I was there, too.  I actually went to every home game that season.  Hands down, the best overall team I have ever watched in person. 
I sat up in C-deck at the north end.  The stadium was rocking while Germaine marched down the field to take the lead at the end of the game.  On the fourth down play, everyone knew they would score.  When that fourth down pass was intercepted at 0:00, you could hear a pin drop.  No one said anything -- just looked at each other, then walked down the stairs.  Surreal.
Come ready to play, Bucks!  I hate the state of _ichigan!

Dougger's picture

It's gon' be a barnburner

I like football

Spikebone's picture

35-17 Bucks, I think decent rushing numbers will come from the spread rushing attack and meat grinder O-line.  Let's go fellas!!!!

Stuck in Ann Arbor for work, I can confirm she is indeed a whore.

Run_Fido_Run's picture

Ross and Kyle (above) both did excellent previews of this matchup. A few additional thoughts . . .
OSU offense v. MSU defense:

  • Ross mentioned that MSU's DTs might not be quite as dominating as their other positions/units. Indy (once) and Nebraska (twice) were able to hit big TD plays via quick-hitting inside runs from spread looks.
  • Force their LBs to cover RBs/TEs in the flat and/or on underneath verticals.

OSU defense v. defense:

  • OSU staff and players should be well-versed on stopping MSU's base run play, DAVE. Certainly, MSU will borrow some of the Michigan playbook, but if they have minimal success with Dave, and struggle to run on 1D in general, that should make their PA pass game less effective. Let' em take their chances with the shotgun passing game.
  • MSU has faced only one defense this year that can get after the QB, Nebraska. Cook was 15-31 for 193 yards (45.6 QBR), as Nebraska got after him a bit (2 sacks, several other hurries); however, Nebraska turned it over 5 times and isn't that stout against the run (gave up 168 rushing yds to MSU), which allowed Cook/MSU to weather the storm. If the Buckeyes can shut down Langford and get after Cook, his ability to throw on the run will get tested. He's not Scheelhaase or Gardner back there.
okiebuck's picture

We need to throw the ball early and often between the hashes when their safeties cheat up especially on 1st down; that will set up the run. AND for the first time all season we need our defense to play like the Silver Bullets of old.

"Fate has cards that it don't want to show"

BrewstersMillions's picture

This game is going to be a passing of the torch. On its surface that would sound like I'm calling for a Michigan State since Ohio State has long been a (or THE, depending on when you look) standard bearer for the Big Ten. Fear not, that is not what I am saying at all. This game is going to serve as the passing of Big Ten football as we know it. To quote one of the all time great performances in Hollywood, only Heath Ledger's Joker can provide proper analysis of what Urban Meyer is doing.
'But I know the truth: there's no going back. You've changed things....forever'
That is the long and short of it. Michigan State is one of the last remaining bastions of the Big Ten of old. Stringent faith in an overwhelming defense, strong emphasis on Special Teams, game manager types at QB who won't always lose you a game yet will seldom win you one and an offense stuck in an era of football long since gone. Separately, none of those things are at all bad but the ideology falls apart in the face of innovation, and no one innovates like Urban Meyer. He's already eviscerated that style in very gory fashion on the biggest stage (not calling Troy a game manager). Michigan State's style will almost always dominate lesser opponents, defeat equals and remain competitive against superiors.  Defenses like this can stack stop on top of stop putting your pedestrian offense in great positions to score points but that is all for naught if your offense can't deliver touchdowns. Barring defensive scores, a good defensive series doesn't yield points. The old 'defense wins championships' attage is, in a word, outdated. Every great team has a requisite amount of defense it can play but without the ability to regularly cash in good definsive play, its all for naught. Defense keeps you in games, offense wins championships. Note-I'm aware Baylor and Oregon are the 'easy' counter to my argument but my underlying point is that you need a great offense and above average D far more than you need a great defense and above average offense. Sometimes having a world class D is excessive-see Alabama.Dynamic offenses will almost always eventually get the better of a great D and if the average offense can't match the great play of its defense, all you have at the end of 60 minutes is a valiant, all be it defeated, great defensive unit.
Ohio State fits the bill. Despite its poor game against Michigan, OSU can stop opponents when it needs to. Ohio State's offense can almost always score at will-something no one can say about Michigan State. Tomorrow, every MSU stop that doesn't turn into points is simply a won battle in a losing war. Each OSU score will hurt more than the last if MSU can't force turnovers and shorten the field.
OSU blocks and Runs and can Play Action too well. MSU will make some stops but can not slow this offense as much as it will need to. Close halftime score ends in a route. 42-21 good guys.

4-6 seconds from point A to point B and when you get to point B, be pissed off

Oyster's picture

I agree with what you say about passing the torch, but you forgot that hoke is running as fast as he can (quite a mental image, huh) BACK to that type of scheme.  While every other team is finally embracing the future, MSU being one of the holdouts, ttun is looking back fondly at the Bo era as their salvation.

May you R.I.P. Otsego, but know this. Gaylord Rocks!

Earle's picture

Italics are for emphasis.

WC Buckeye's picture

No one could have said it much better. Nicely done.
I was secretly thinking 42-17, myself, but didn't want to say it. Nice to see I am not the only one thinking that we're going to outscheme their defense.

The only thing that's new in the world is the history that we have forgotten.

OSUBias's picture

That argument breaks down at some level considering the success 'Bama and LSU (guess you could throw Stanford in there) have every year running the same concepts. The problem isn't that the philosophy is outdated, it's the talent level and ability to execute it flawlessly for an entire game that have been lacking in the B1G.

Shitter's full

BrewstersMillions's picture

I'll concede on LSU. Generally speaking, their offense is a giant pile of suck.
Even Bama at its heights had a pretty good offense-that's sort of what I meant about maybe having such a good D can be excessive at times. I get that every team WANTS to field a great o and d and some schools can do both sometimes-of the two, however, I'll take the better offense. I'm simply saying that OSU's B defense and A+ offense will win the day over Sparty's A+ defense and C- offense. When you play defense at a baseline adequate level but have a world class offense, you will be hard pressed to lose to a team with just a great defense.
Defense doesn't win championships anymore. A great one  helps but doesn't do it all. A terrible one sinks you. A...call it...timely one can combine with a great offense to make you a legit title contender.
Again, when a defense does its job, points aren't scored. Defensive touchdowns are great when they happen and if you are a Chicago Bears fan you came to rely on them but if the offense can't do their job, even the best defenses will falter. That's where Michigan State is in trouble. If they can't score twice on defense and block a kick or two I see no way they stay in this game. Braxton and Carlos are too much.

4-6 seconds from point A to point B and when you get to point B, be pissed off

Brutus's picture

I've had the football induced shits for two weeks now.  It either ends after tomorrow or continues for another 5 weeks.  Both situations seem untenable at the moment, but win tomorrow and I'm willing to take one for the team.  Go Bucks.  

GOOMBAY's picture

This is savagely beautiful in its poetry and altruism. <single tear>

causeicouldntgo43's picture

I do respect Dantonio and the great job he has done with "Little Brother", but as Brewster so eloquently lays out above, I also expect to see the "Ugly Demise of Dantonio Ball" this very Saturday night.

will0327's picture

I think it was stated on the 11w podcast at the beginning of the season but it said "If the the buckeyes get to the B1G championship game with a chance to get to the big one... they're just gonna run thru that brick wall aka MSU" You guys have to realize this what this team has been training for working for pushing themselves. Remember when that video at the start of season where Mewhort is screaming "2 MORE GAMES WE HAVE 2 MORE GAMES" you think this team doesn't get it ? they have got "it" since the start        
This team is ready....... last year this there was no light at the end of tunnel       
Now the light is shining like sun on the Alaskan tundra 

OUR HONOR DEFENDED .....

southbuc's picture

anyone know who the home team is and what uni's we are wearing?

JACKTATUMSFOREARM's picture

I believe we are in whites.

will0327's picture

OSU is the away and will be wearing the normal away uni's i believe 

OUR HONOR DEFENDED .....

will0327's picture

Also was thinking all week Dontre is the Xfactor think about we really haven't even seen the 3 head monster of Hyde-Miller-Wilson. Because with Hyde and Miller attacking the middle mostly Dontre should have plenty of chances to make plays .... and lets not forget this WR group has been drilled to good at blocking (thank god) because if we are able to block those corners all year like they have year ..... we should be all right
Also Shazier is going to lose his mind in that dome watch.

OUR HONOR DEFENDED .....

Thunderbrow's picture

This is something I've been wondering about. I haven't seen too much of Sparty this year. How are their corners at getting off of blocks? Our receivers have been doing a good job of blocking for the run game, but have MSU's corners dealt with that this year?

I mean everyone heals people, comforts people, learns from you, learns from me, whatever.

ShowThemOhiosHere's picture

This is a lot like last year's game...outside of roster differences, there are 3 things that are different:
1.  Neutral site, as opposed to at MSU
2.  MSU's offense is a little better than it was last year
3.  OSU's offense is a LOT better than it was last year
Defense had a solid game - offense made some plays, but having like 3 turnovers hurt quite a bit, and made it a closer game than it should've been.  If the defense can get some kinks worked out from last week, and can put forth a solid effort, then it's up to the offense to be efficient.  They may not have to put up 40+ to be able to win - just take care of the ball and make enough yards so that they can win the field position game. 

Class of 2010.

WC Buckeye's picture

Just like always - take care of the football and control the line of scrimmage, and you generally put yourself in a good position to win.

The only thing that's new in the world is the history that we have forgotten.

OSUBias's picture

The MSU defense is also much better than it was last year, to be fair.

Shitter's full

will0327's picture

Have you guys seen this ....
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tb3L8DY0X_I
Ohio State Football: Big Ten Championship Trailer
"4 to 6 seconds A to B and you get pissed off when you get there" - Coach Meyer 

OUR HONOR DEFENDED .....

OSUBias's picture

The music reminds me of Cloverfield and now I have motion sickness, but I'm super excited at the same time.

Shitter's full

RBuck's picture

I have now. Thanks.

"It's just another case of there you are". ~ Doc (1918-2012)

Bamabucknut's picture

(sigh) I have been very concerned about tomorrows game.OP you have made me cautiously optimistic.Then that OHIO STATE Big Ten trailer  really got me jacked up.
GO BUCKS !

Larryp713's picture

Sparty's defense reminds me of the Silver Bullets groups in the 2000s. They play mean, fast, and with a desperation borne from the fact that their offense is not a juggernaut.
How it plays out? It is all about turnovers, in my opinion. If Sparty puts their offenses in Buckeye territory 3 times, and Cook protects the ball, with Sparty's punting game, I think Sparty wins.
Braxton Miller is the other key. If he passes with accuracy, He will pick Sparty apart. Sparty MUST load the box to stop the Buckeyes, and that should leave lanes for WRs and Heuerman.
I hope the Buckeyes find that fine line between aggressive play calling and ball protection. This is going to be a great game. Go Bucks.

Respectfully,

Larryp713

GOOMBAY's picture

This. Would only add that I think it comes down to who absorbs the other's best punch better - and then reacts or adjusts efficiently and counters relentlessly.
Can't comment on MSU's game for lack of observation, but am confident that OSU will get stuffed on the run (hopefully only few times) and will have coverage/pursuit/tackling lapses (hopefully only a few times). Let's accept that.
The anticipation is what Meyer, Herman, and Fickell et al. dial up in response. I'd love to see those talking about how they are going to "dominate" in complete disarray and/or constantly sucking wind.
Too superstitious to make a call. Just get it done with ruthless efficiency and timely adjustment.

Seattle Linga's picture

Saturday can't get here any sooner

Boxley's picture

Well, no matter how last week played out. I think it is fair to say our D is better than Scum's, and we know our Offense is significantly better than Scum's, so we should win, right?..............26 hours to  go
 
Aghhhhhhhhhhh..................................

"...the man who really counts in the world is the doer, not the mere critic-the man who actually does the work, even if roughly and imperfectly, not the man who only talks or writes about how it ought to be done." President T. Roosevelt

ibuck's picture

Boxley, sorry to say, you'll have to wait a little longer. The B1G Championship game is at 8:17 pm.

Our honor defend, we will fight to the end !

If you can't win your conference, just quietly accept your non-playoff bowl game.

Scarlet_Lutefisk's picture

Remember half a lifetime ago when Ohio State went for the 2 point conversion after each of the first two TDs of the season? That formation planted some seeds that opposing coaches had to pay attention to all season long.
Is tonight the time those seeds finally bear fruit?