Though its shot at a national title is likely gone, Ohio State still has a chance to win the Big Ten, even though it took one on the chin last week against Iowa.
Many of the same questions that surfaced after Ohio State's loss to Oklahoma came back up this week after the thrashing at the hands of the Hawkeyes, so let's get to your questions as the Buckeyes prepare to get back on track against Michigan State.
Will the Bucks do a better job this week stopping the Sparty play action pass and ground game? - SoulPatrol32
A lot of this depends on two things, and that is effort and game planning. Ohio State did not appear to have either against Iowa, and a lot of that falls on the coaches. Michigan State has been in so many passing situations this season that Brian Lewerke looks comfortable in both play action situations and traditional three-step drop situations as well.
I don't think Ohio State allows 400 yards through the air again, or even five touchdown passes, but Michigan State is going to get theirs. It is just a matter of how much, and can Ohio State's offense counter what the Spartans do?
Does J.K. Dobbins have over/under 20 carries this game? - BuckeyeIn NY
Definitely taking the under here, mainly because I think Mike Weber gets around seven carries as well. I think Dobbins and Weber will combine for more than 20 carries and J.T. Barrett will be in the 10 to 15 range. If Barrett's numbers get higher than 15, that probably means things aren't going well for Ohio State. Limit Barrett's carries and find a way to give more straight hand-offs to Dobbins and Weber without a read. It will help set up Ohio State's play action game, and that is where Barrett excels.
IF – that's a big IF – the opportunity to drop the hammer on Sparty arises, do you think Urban takes it? - RK84
Yes. Urban Meyer dropped 59 on one of his best friends in the 2014 Big Ten title game. He would happily do the same to Mark Dantonio if given the chance. But I really don't even see that being a possibility. Michigan State defenses don't get rolled up and down the field very often.
Does Sparty have the same caliber of tight end threats that caused us trouble in Iowa? -NHBuckeye
Matt Sokol is solid, but he isn't nearly as athletic as Noah Fant is for Iowa. However, the way Ohio State has struggled to cover the tight end this season, I wouldn't be shocked if Michigan State tries to find a way to get Sokol involved early to open up throwing lanes for their other receivers.
Gut feeling on this game? Score prediction? If we lose... what happens within the program? - Trek770
My gut feeling is this game is going to be tight the entire game, because there is no evidence to support anything other than that. These two teams play each other tough every year, no matter what the rankings.
I have Ohio State winning, 28-27, but I could easily see Michigan State pulling this one out. For me, it all depends on which Buckeye team shows up. Will we see a team that responded like in 2015, when Ohio State came back from the heartbreaking loss to Sparty to thrash Michigan and Notre Dame? Or will being eliminated from national title contention be enough for this team to mail it in? I genuinely don't know which team to expect.
If Ohio State loses, don't expect any drastic changes. If the Buckeye linebackers continue to struggle, I could see a change at the end of the season where Billy Davis is moved into more of a support role and a new LBs coach is brought in. People who are calling for Urban Meyer's job need a serious reality check (believe it or not, these people exist!).
Will Mike Weber again be the returner? If so, why? - Ohiopanda
Not if Parris Campbell is back to 100 percent. If Campbell is healthy like Urban Meyer says he is, then Campbell will likely resume kickoff duties. If not, we could see Weber back there, although it doesn't make much sense to me.
Weber is a good running back, but you don't normally see a bruising back as the deep man on kickoffs. K.J. Hill or Demario McCall would be much better options in my opinion.
The weather appears to be on the cold side, but dry. Do you anticipate this game playing out more like 2014 or 2016 in terms of points, offense and the tempo? - BuckeyeBen7.7
As long as there isn't any precipitation or significant wind, I think we will see more tempo from Ohio State. Last year, the wind in East Lansing, Mich., combined with the cold and snow, made it nearly impossible to be effective throwing the ball. If it's just cold, I think we see a good amount of passing from both sides, but any precipitation or wind could change that. I think the score will be somewhere in between what we saw in 2014 and 2016.
Given the success of Iowa's offense last week, do you see MSU having as much success on offense? Will this game turn into a track meet? - Osu_killernuts
I think there will be a feeling out period for both offenses in this game, but I think both teams will find a way to make plays. That said, I don't expect a track meet, especially with Michigan State's defense. If the Spartans march up and down the field offensively, that would likely mean another home loss to the Green and White, because I am not sure Ohio State's inconsistent offense would be able to keep up.
Will Parris (Campbell) see some playing time? - Keze
If he is healthy, I think we will at least see him return kicks, but I think his offensive reps might be limited. K.J. Hill has emerged as a very reliable weapon in the slot and while he isn't much of a threat running the ball, he has proven to be a much more consistent receiver than Campbell, who has had trouble with drops throughout his career.
Over/Under on penalties this week? Urban says he addressed it. Will we be better and more disciplined this week? - Bakerjon
You are who you are at this point in the season, and Ohio State is a very undisciplined football team. There is no disputing that. The Buckeyes are probably due for around seven penalties this weekend. Any less and I would be surprised. It is just who they are. It's been a problem all season and if it isn't fixed by now, I have no reason to think that things are magically going to be better because Meyer "addressed" it.
How long does it take for you to recover from last weekend? - Seattle Linga
If we are being honest, I am still a little sleep deprived after driving 16 hours to cover the Iowa game. With basketball season starting tonight, that isn't helping much, but the 11W beat crew is fighting through it.
The one thing I won't recover from is seeing some poor Iowa student getting carted off the field after the postgame celebration with a Gordon Hayward-like injury. I saw the ankle. I am still queasy just thinking about it. *Shivers*