#11/12 Ohio State
v. #17/20 Michigan
Spartan Stadium, East
Kickoff: 3:30 pm
There is one common theme to every championship team;
effort. You can’t be a champion without
effort. Talent and coaching can only get
you so far and when two teams of similar talent collide, more often than not
the team giving the most effort will win. The Buckeyes have talent at every
position and the coaching staff is regarded as one of the best in the country, so
why does this preseason championship caliber team look like it just woke up
from an all night bender? Where is the
effort? Jim Tressel mentioned that the
entire offensive scheme is being analyzed and possibly tooled. You think?
It was a dogged performance in a lazy win against Purdue that sent you
back to the drawing board and not embarrassing losses to Florida, LSU and USC? If the Buckeyes continue to play like they
did against Purdue, do you honestly think OSU will beat Michigan
State, Penn State,
Illinois and Michigan?
By Pete Quint
The problems for OSU start on the offensive line. The line just seems to be going through the
motions and not physically attacking opponents.
That leads to fewer holes for running back Chris Wells and less
protection for developing quarterback Terrelle Pryor. The receiving corps also looks like they’ve
taken a holiday for the season. Some say
the reason wide receiver Brian Robiskie is quiet is because opponents are
double teaming him. If that’s so then
there must be someone open. Along those
lines, Pryor has been criticized for holding on to the ball too long. This is a typical mistake that plagues most
freshman quarterbacks but the porous offensive line compounds the problem by
letting defenders into the backfield faster that anyone would like. Spartan Head Coach Mark Dantonio orchestrated
the incredible 2002 Ohio State championship
defense and has built a monstrous defense in East Lansing.
Dantonio loves to pressure the quarterback by sending blitz packages
from all directions. The Spartans have two
young outstanding sophomore linebackers in Greg Jones and Eric Gordon. The sophomore tandem leads the Spartans in
tackles with 97 and have eight sacks between the two of them this season. Without a vast improvement on the offensive
line, the Buckeyes won’t be able to handle the aggressive blitz packages and we
are likely to see Wells held under 100 yards and Pryor sacked 4-5 times in a
Holding Purdue’s number one Big Ten ranked passing offense
last week to three points is pretty impressive if you don’t take into
consideration that the quarterback Curtis Painter has been on a steady decline
for the past three games. Now the
Buckeyes must face a run first offense as MSU tries to stuff running back Javon
Ringer down the throats of the defense. The
senior is averaging an astounding 41 carries per game and has already eclipsed
the 1000 yard mark for the season.
Ringer’s 158.9 yards per game average has also earned him well deserved
Heisman trophy accolades. MSU, with
quarterback Brian Hoyer, is eighth in the conference in passing offense and the
Buckeyes are tops in pass defense. The
Spartans will certainly lean heavily on the running game which should play
right into the hands of the strong Buckeye rush defense.
I’m tempted to take the Spartans in this one. If the offensive line continues to resemble a
block of Swiss cheese, then the Spartans will feast on young Pryor. With all the pressure coming, turnovers will
be a major factor. Sometimes it seems
that the Buckeyes, players and coaches, are afraid to make mistakes resulting
in tight play and conservative play-calling.
It’s now or never for the Bucks.
If they come out lethargic and play down to the Spartans they will
lose. Hopefully Tressel and the coaching
staff are sick of all the criticism and let the dogs loose.
OSU 12 – MSU 7
Why OSU will win: I’m
not sure they will. They can and should but
I don’t know if they will. It will
literally take a complete revamp of the offensive philosophy to survive this
season without another loss. One word:
attack. Turn the dogs loose and let the
players have some fun. Don’t call two runs
up the middle after an interception. Go
for the big play and develop a killer instinct.
It’s now or next year.
Why OSU will lose: How
will Pryor react to the constant pressure of the MSU defense? Can the offensive line show up and play like
the championship squad they were ballyhooed at the start of the season? On top of all the uncertainties, the Bucks
have to avoid looking forward to the big showdown with Penn State
the following week.
Crazy stat of the
-24 Spartans are from Ohio
including Javon Ringer.
-MSU is second in the Big Ten and sixth in the nation in
Last time they met…
In 2007, the Spartans made it interesting in the third
quarter with a pair of interceptions going for scores. The final was a poor reflection of how
dominating the defense played.
Michigan State players to watch:
Senior RB #23 Javon Ringer
Senior QB #7 Brian Hoyer
Sophomore WR #2 Mark Dell
Sophomore LB #53 Greg Jones
Sophomore LB #43 Eric Gordon