Five keys for Ohio State football to defeat Michigan State

The home stretch for Ohio State Football is here, with just three remaining regular season games left starting tonight at 7:30 p.m. ET against Michigan State.

The Buckeyes come into the game with an unblemished record, 9-0, ranked as the top team according to the College Football Playoff rankings, are facing a Spartan team that has seen it’s season spiral out of control.

The dismissal of Mel Tucker, then the 6-game losing streak which was finally broken last week in a close win over Nebraska. Ohio State still has to take care of business, regardless of how its opponents have played. Here are five keys for a Buckeye victory.

Jump on Michigan State early


The Spartans were spiraling until last week, when they managed to defeat Nebraska. I believe a big part of their win was due a mentality that they could hang with them, especially after going into the half with the game tied. Ohio State is a far superior team and should win, but it could be a very easy one if it’s able to impose its will immediately.

Confuse quarterback Katin Houser


The freshman has not seen the field much, and his familiarity with offenses at this level matches that. Not the most consistent passer, Houser can be erratic at times. The Buckeye secondary has been great this year, even as it deals with injuries as the year has gone on. Defensive coordinator Jim Knowles has called great games this season, so confusing Houser shouldn’t be a big ask for this defense.

The Ohio State offensive line gets to the second level


The best defensive players on the Spartans team are their linebackers, half of their top six tacklers share the same position room. The Ohio State offensive line has had some struggles run blocking, and in order to continue TreVeyon Henderson’s impressive run since returning from injury, it needs to get hats on MSU’s backers to gain extra yardage.

Kyle McCord needs to get the ball out quickly


Another aspect of the Spartan defense that does well is its ability to get to the quarterback. By comparison, the visitors have 25 sacks, while the Buckeyes have 17 on the year. An area that McCord needs to improve on is getting the ball out quicker to the Ohio State receivers. That will be a big key for the offense, as Michigan State has been able to get home on passing downs.

Don’t fall for Michigan State’s tricks


The Spartans are going to throw the book at Ohio State, which means the Buckeyes will see a similar game plan as last week against Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights used a few tricks to hang with the Buckeyes and you can expect MSU to do the same. The defense will have to play sound and not fall for the inevitable tricks that the Spartans will throw at the Ohio State defense.

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Story originally appeared on Buckeye Wire