Photo: Rick Osentoski/USA TODAY Sports
The Ohio State Buckeyes will get on the buses and depart from Columbus for the first time this season, as they travel into East Lansing to take on Mel Tucker's 2-3 Michigan State Spartans. The Spartans have lost three straight games after they started the year with back-to-back wins against Western Michigan and Akron. The Buckeyes have not been kept close in a game this season and haven't lost to an unranked opponent since the 2018 loss to Purdue. They also haven't lost to MSU since 2015 and haven't dropped a game in East Lansing since 1999 when they lost 23-7. MSU has won just six of the 21 games in the series that were played in the month of October.
Despite the whole nation doubting Ohio State's offense this season. they have put together the highest scoring offense in the country at 48.8 points per game. C.J. Stroud has also cemented himself as the favorite to win the Heisman Trophy this season despite playing without NFL Draft expert Mel Kiper's No. 2 WR in the 2023 class in Jaxon Smith-Njigba, who has seen just four receptions this season after getting knocked out early in the first game against Notre Dame.
Ohio State also pairs together one of the best running back duos in the nation in TreVeyon Henderson and Miyan Williams, who ran for a school record five touchdowns in last week's win against Rutgers. MSU brings in the No. 53 ranked defense, allowing around 22 points per game this season. In their last three games, they've allowed 33 points per game. Ohio State's offense is looking to go big this week.
The defense has continued to be the big story for the Buckeyes this season, as their big turnaround has led Tommy Eichenberg, Steele Chambers, Zach Harrison and Mike Hall Jr. into the spotlight. They will now go up against a Spartan team that has yet to win a Power-5 matchup this season and has averaged just 16 points in those three games this season. They scored just a single touchdown against the No. 2 ranked defense in the nation in Minnesota two weeks ago and found the endzone just twice against Maryland last week. Ohio State's defense ranks No. 14 in scoring defense this season, allowing around 14 points per game.
Payton Thorne will make his third start against the Buckeyes this Saturday. He has been dominated in his last two meetings, having thrown as many touchdowns as interceptions and has led his offense to just 19 total points. Kenneth Walker couldn't save him last year against the Buckeyes terrible rush defense. Now with Kenneth Walker playing in the NFL, Ohio State's revamped defense, and no true standout back for Michigan State's offense this year, they are not looking like they are going to keep it close against the Buckeyes this time around either.
Ohio State's biggest challenge this season, and every season, is themselves. In the last decade of Buckeye football, the only thing that has ever stopped them was themselves in the regular season. One bad game where the offense or defense forgets to show up ready to play against a lesser opponent, and their chance at the College Football Playoff crumbles before their eyes.
Every week is a must-win game, and MSU is no stranger to playing the underdog against Ohio State. The Buckeyes go into Saturday as a 27 point favorite against the Spartans on the road. Despite that, Buckeye's head coach Ryan Day believes this will be their hardest test of the season to this point, and the Spartans are the most skilled team they've seen this season.
Score Prediction: OSU wins 55-10
How to Watch:
TV: 4:00 p.m. ABC & WatchESPN
- Chris Fowler (play-by-play), Kirk Herbstreit (analysis), Holly Rowe (sideline)
Radio: 97.1 (The Fan) FM/1460 AM
- Paul Keels (play-by-play), Jim Lachey (analysis), Matt Andrews (sideline)
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