The non-conference games have come and gone and now it is time to renew rivalries in the Big Ten. This isn’t your father’s Big Ten with at least half the teams in the conference sporting dual-threat quarterbacks. There are some teams however like The Michigan State Spartans and The Ohio State Buckeyes who still like to use smash mouth running backs. The Spartans boast Le’veon Bell who is the best running back in the conference while the Buckeyes expect 6’1, 235 pound running back Carlos Hyde to return to the line-up this Saturday.
As a Buckeye fan watching last year’s match-up between these two squads was beyond frustrating watching Braxton Miller get sacked again and again and yes again in a 10-7 loss at The Shoe. The Buckeyes have plenty of young players on their roster who picked up valuable experience throughout last season so they should be a lot more prepared for the Spartans this time around.
The Spartans offense goes through Bell who has all ready amounted over six hundred yards in four games while their passing game hasn’t been much to boast about. Junior QB Andrew Maxwell has thrown only three touchdowns while also throwing three picks. If the Buckeyes can bottle up Bell, which is a very difficult task I look for the Spartans offense to struggle. On defense Michigan State still has plenty of weapons including junior defensive stud William Gholston who at 6’7 and 278 pounds is an intimidating force and is a big key to allowing the opposition just 11.8 points per game. If the Spartans can get to Miller and wrap him up it will be a long day for the Buckeyes.
I have been able to watch most of the Buckeyes games this season and while they are 4-0, I see a very inconsistent team. On offense quarterback Braxton Miller has made some great strides since his freshman year but still needs to improve his passing. His speed and agility make him one of the most dangerous runners in the country. However he needs to be more accurate and his receivers need to hold onto the ball. Carlos Hyde should be back this week which will give the Bucks the power running back they have been missing. On defense they are only giving up 17.3 points per game but the secondary is giving up a lot more yards than I thought they would. I like what I have seen from big Jonathan Hankins, senior John Simon and linebacker Etienne Sabino but someone else needs to step up on this defense and make some plays.
Even though Ohio State can’t make a bowl game this season, I am dedicated to ever as watching them every Saturday, (unless I am dj’ing) and I think they have enough talent to avenge last season’s loss.
Buckeyes in a close one, 24-20