While most pundits believe the Buckeyes have been the most "eye test" worthy team this season, I believe it is true that the home team has yet to be tested by a team with multiple quality players. The good news is (or bad news depending on your perspective) the Buckeyes are definitely going to face some quality players on Saturday night against Michigan State.
In my opinion, there are at least three players on the Spartans roster that will receive the opportunity to play on Sundays. They are:
#35 - LB Joe Bachie
#99 - DL Raequan Williams
#48 - DE Kenny Willekes
In the game of individual match ups, it will be fun to watch how the offensive line and the running backs handle the aforementioned players.
Of particular interest to me is how J.K. Dobbins & Master Teague will handle Joe Bachie in pass protection. I suspect the Spartans will try to isolate Dobbins/Teague on Bachie during passing downs when they bring pressure. Fields hasn't faced too much pressure so far this season and it makes sense that the Spartans will want to make him uncomfortable.
Bachie is going to be a handful. If Dobbins and/or Teague can handle him, they should be able to handle just about anyone going forward.
To give you an idea of his credentials, Bachie is a three year starter at Michigan State and his hometown is Brook Park, OH. He is a two time captain and has been listed as the #4 LB in the country by USA TODAY and CollegeFootballNews.com. He is listed at 6'2" and 231lbs. He is the epitome of a Michigan State Spartan.
Below is a clip of Bachie coming on pressure. He is athletic and always gives tremendous effort on every play.
Next up is #99 Raequan Williams. From Chicago, IL, he is a team captain and he has started 33 consecutive games for the Spartans.
Williams generally plays the 1-technique tackle in the Spartan defense. Jonah Jackson, Josh Myers and Wyatt Davis will be tasked with handling Williams all night. I believe the Buckeye running game will depend on their success blocking Williams and the success of the Buckeyes this weekend relies on the running game.
Below is a clip of Williams in action. He is big and powerful. I am interested to see how Wyatt and Myers, in particular, respond. Wyatt and Myers are two first year starters playing against someone who will be making his 33rd start.
However, the most talented player on the Spartans' defense may be #48 Kenney Willekes. He is the reigning B1G defensive lineman of the year and a three year starter. He is, without question, the most disruptive force on the Spartans' defense.
He is listed at 6'4" and 260lbs. He is very quick and very difficult to block in one on one situations. As a pass rusher, he uses his hands extremely well and he consistently makes offensive linemen miss badly.
He was listed on several 1st team preseason All-American lists and, going into the 2019 season, he had 15.5 sacks in 27 games.
Here is an example of his play against the Buckeyes last year in East Lansing. If you recall, Ohio State uses this protection scheme often on play action passes.
Here is an example of his quickness on a line stunt against Thayer Munford last year.
If you interested to see all of Willekes' highlights from last year, you can see them here. He is a great player and he is going to make plays on Saturday.
In my opinion, Ohio State has more "good" players than Michigan State. However, the Spartans are going to pose some problems for the home team. I do not believe this game will get out of hand early as the previous games have done. Defensively, I feel the Spartans will play well and it should be a great game.