#11/12 Ohio State v. #17/20 Michigan State

#11/12 Ohio State v. #17/20 Michigan State
Michigan State

#11/12 Ohio State v. #17/20 Michigan State

Spartan Stadium, East Lansing, Michigan
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 loss. 


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 game:

-24 Spartans are from Ohio including Javon Ringer.
-MSU is second in the Big Ten and sixth in the nation in takeaways. 

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

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