Countdown Until THE GAME 2018

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Will The Spartans Conquer The Buckeyes?
Game Five: Michigan State Spartans

Location: Ohio Stadium, Columbus, OH. 3:30pm kickoff, ESPN

Head Coach: Mark Dantonio

Michigan State Players Who Were Recruited By Ohio State: DE William Gholston, LB Steve Gardiner, LB Lawrence Thomas, and TE Dion Sims. Although Michigan State has several Ohio players on its roster, the majority of them were not offered scholarships by Ohio State.

When Michigan State Is On Offense VS. Ohio State's Defense: If Ohio State's defense cannot shut down Michigan State's rushing attack with Edwin Baker, Le'Veon Bell, and Larry Caper, it could be a long day for the Buckeyes. Michigan State is a well-balanced offensive team, keyed by its running game.

QB Kirk Cousins is a heady, experienced passer with good receivers in Ohioan B.J. Cunningham and Keshawn Martin. Cousins should be able to mix in play-action passing, to keep Ohio State off-balance defensively. The lack of a strong pass rush by the Buckeyes, and inconsistent tackling that was evident against Toledo and Miami (FL), make me give the edge to the Spartans here.

Edge: Michigan State.

When Ohio State Is On Offense VS Michigan State's Defense: Ohio State has relied upon its strong rushing attack to compensate for a developing, inexperienced passing attack. Unfortunately for the Buckeyes, Michigan State enters into this game leading the conference in total defense, allowing only a little over 172 yards per game.

Look for Michigan State to put eight or nine in the box, daring true freshman QB Braxton Miller to throw. If Ohio State does not take advantage of single coverage on their wideouts, which I expect from the Spartans, it could make for a long day. Miller's quick feet may be needed to keep plays alive, as well as gain positive yardage.

Slight Edge: Michigan State.

Special Teams: Ohio State's special teams units seem to have come around over the past two contests. PK Drew Basil and P Ben Buchanan have turned in solid performances against Miami (FL) and Colorado. Michigan State has suffered a punt blocked against Central Michigan, and a kickoff returned for a touchdown against Notre Dame. Ohio State gets the edge in this area.

Edge: Ohio State.

Intangibles: As I wrote up above, Michigan State's roster is full of Ohio players who probably have a little more to prove for Ohio State not offering them a scholarship. Add in the fact that Ohio State has won the last four contests against the Spartans. As a matter of fact, Michigan State has not won in Ohio Stadium since...well, let's not go there. The crowd, and Ohio State's dominance in the recent contests, make this an even draw.

Edge: Even.

Prediction: I really want to pick Ohio State in this one. Considering how challenging Ohio State's October schedule appears, a victory over a solid Michigan State team could do wonders for the team's, and Braxton Miller's confidence. Then I remember how inconsistent Ohio State's passing game is, and how good of a defensive coach Mark Dantonio is, and how badly Dantonio will want to beat his former pupil in Luke Fickell, and I say...Michigan State 21, Ohio State 17.

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