After narrowly clipping Nebraska last week, Ohio State (#10) is still clinging to a top ten rank. Meanwhile, Michigan State (#18) is trending upward and looking to stay hot after their big week 10 win over Maryland. Needless to say, there should be a war this weekend in East Lansing. Kickoff is set for 12:00pm EST on November 10th.
Ohio State Buckeyes
After dropping a 49-20 decision to the unranked Purdue Boilermakers on October 20th, the Buckeyes have been grinding their gears. While it is only one loss, their five point edging of the unranked Cornhuskers last weekend didn’t instill any more confidence in them from the Associated Press or Coach’s Polls.
Ohio State is a top ten team on the verge of embarrassment and they may find just that facing the Spartans this weekend. The Buckeyes are favored by -3.5, but are 1-5 ATS in their last six on the road. While fans look for answers, the solution doesn’t seem to lie with quarterback Dwayne Haskins.
There's been a lot of talk about Ohio State's struggling offensive line this year, but the numbers just don't support it.
This perception could stem from the fact that Haskins stays in the pocket vs pressure 87% of the time, compared to 67% for J.T. Barrett in 2017. pic.twitter.com/sve7MNJUJA
— CFB Film Room (@CFBFilmRoom) November 7, 2018
There’s been a lot of chatter the past week about his ability to escape the pocket, but the numbers don’t lie. That and when you look at the Big Ten QB stats, he’s off the charts. Haskins leads all quarterbacks in completions, percentage, rating, yards, touchdowns and yards per game.
Buckeyes vs Spartans Statistical Comparison
|42.2 (10th)||PPG||23.4 (111th)|
|547.0 (5th)||YPG||360.0 (106th)|
|178.1 (57th)||Rushing YPG||125.6 (112th)|
|369.1 (3rd)||Passing YPG||234.8(65th)|
|23.8 (45th)||PPG Allowed||19.0 (16th)|
|397.0 (69th)||YPG Allowed||325.0 (22nd)|
|153.4 (55th)||Rushing YPG Allowed||71.7 (1st)|
|243.9 (89th)||Passing YPG Allowed||253.4 (98th)|
|72.7 (61st)||Field Goal Percentage||92.3 (6th)|
Michigan State Spartans
As you can see, if MSU wants to win this game they’re going to need to keep pressure on Dwayne Haskins. So much so, that he’ll have to resort to either scrambling out of the pocket or handing off the football. The Spartans have done pretty good job of keeping scoreboards low this season and that’s thanks in large part to their number one ranked run defense.
Allowing just 71.7 yards per game on the ground has them ranked above the rest and if the #18 ranked Spartans want to be victorious at home this weekend, they’ll can’t buck the horse that got them there.
The Buckeyes are gearing up to face the nation's No. 1-ranked run defense on Saturday ?
— Ohio State Buckeyes (@OhioStAthletics) November 5, 2018
If Urban Meyer is praising your front seven, you’ve got to be doing something right and they truly are. While ranked a surprisingly 50th in the country with 22.0 sacks on the year, the rush has also led to 12 interceptions this season, which has them tied for 14th in college football.
November 17th, 2017 was an absolute blood bath with Ohio State stomping the Spartans 48-3. The Ohio State University leads the all-time rivalry 31-15 and is currently 5-1 against Big Ten schools this year. They’ll have another tune up game next weekend against Maryland before the mother of all college tilts on November 24th against Michigan.
For what it’s worth, Michigan State faces Nebraska next before hosting Rutgers to wrap up their season the following Saturday.