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The Ohio State Buckeyes are coming off a fantastic and impressive victory over the Purdue Boilermakers, 59-31. And that score isn’t even close to illustrating how dominant the Buckeyes looked on Saturday.
Ohio State needs to keep winning and it will safely be in the College Football Playoff.
The Michigan State Spartans also had an extremely impressive victory. They dominated the Maryland Terrapins, 40-21. The Spartans are 9-1 and ranked No. 7 in the newest release of the CFP rankings. They are easily one of the most improved teams in college football and want to earn their way into a New Years’ Six bowl game or better.
The following are five reasons Ohio State will take care of business against Michigan State on Saturday.
Michigan State Spartans quarterback Payton Thorne (10) runs the ball against the Maryland Terrapins during the first half of action Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021, at Spartan Stadium. USA TODAY Sports
This sounds so negative, but Payton Thorne is not good enough to take this Michigan State team over the top. The Spartans are fairly one-dimensional on offense. Some may fight that opinion given the Spartans have a few unique and talented receivers. But the offense goes through Kenneth Walker III, and everyone knows it. If they can’t get him going, the passing game will suffer.
The Buckeyes are going to focus heavily on stopping Walker, and this means Thorne will have to take this game over with his arm. I don’t think he is capable of doing that.
Michigan State Spartans linebacker Quavaris Crouch (6) tackles Michigan Wolverines running back Hassan Haskins (25) during the second half Saturday, Oct. 30, 2021, at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing. USA TODAY Sports
Michigan State has had a terrible time defending the passing game of opposing offenses. Ohio State has an elite passing attack, and the Spartans will not be able to load the box against the Buckeyes. These Michigan State linebackers are not the strongest, and the unit may be missing one of its top playmakers, Quavaris Crouch, who missed last week’s game against Maryland.
Ohio State should have great success in the run game as these backers are not athletic enough to keep up with TreVeyon Henderson and a dominant offensive line.
Spartan defensive backs
Michigan State’s Xavier Henderson, right, celebrates a stop with Quavaris Crouch during the fourth quarter in the game against Michigan on Saturday, Oct. 30, 2021, at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing. USA TODAY Sports
The lack of talent Michigan State has in the defensive backfield is obvious. Anytime the Spartans have played anyone with a strong passing attack, they have allowed a ton of points and yards. This rings true even for their contest against Western Kentucky. The Hilltoppers scored 31 points.
Michigan State allows a whopping 329 yards passing per game, which places them last in all of Football Bowl Subdivision. Ohio State likes to go over the top, but we have seen the offense be very successful with short and quick underneath passes as well the last couple of weeks. We may see more of that with the Spartans more than likely planning to sit back in a zone defense to keep OSU’s big plays to a minimum.
The Buckeyes defensive backs
Ohio State Buckeyes safety Marcus Hooker (29) runs a drill during Ohio State Buckeyes football practice on Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2019, at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center in Columbus, Ohio. Joshua A. Bickel/Columbus Dispatch
The Ohio State defensive backs are not getting enough credit for their performance last week. David Bell, Milton Wright and Payne Durham are some of the best receivers in the country. Although the stat sheet may say they had a successful day, the Buckeyes played great in containing them.
David Bell has placed himself in consideration for the first round of the NFL draft by feasting on top competition and he eclipsed the 100-yard mark. But once Ohio State took a commanding lead, it sat back in zone and allowed yards to pile up while moving the game along. People want to talk about these Spartans receivers, but the Buckeyes have already played and stopped better.
The Ohio State offensive line
Ohio State Buckeyes offensive lineman Thayer Munford (75) watches teammates practice during football training camp at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center in Columbus on Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2021. Munford did not participate in drills on Wednesday. USA TODAY Sports
The offensive line for the Buckeyes has also improved immensely. It looked rough against Penn State but stopped an even more talented Purdue defensive front cold last week. The typically ferocious Boilermaker pass-rushers didn’t get to the quarterback once.
Michigan State has a very talented defensive line that should be another good challenge for Ohio State, but if the line plays like it did last week, things should be more than fine.