Five Predictions: Michigan State at Ohio State

Ohio State football Ohio Stadium Blackout

I get a chuckle when I am out and about and I hear children telling their parents that they want to predict things when they grow up.

I actually go up to them and laugh. Then I’ll say something like, “Keep dreaming, kid. Not everybody is cut out for this.” And then depending on how tough the dad looks, I might shove the kid in the shoulder a little bit.

I’m sure doctors are the same way.

Anyway, after a slow predicting start to the season — as expected — business is picking up. Just look at last week’s results for proof of my glory.

Prediction 1: Justin Fields will turn the ball over.
Outcome: Failed it. That’s actually Nebraska’s fault, not mine.

Prediction 2: JK Dobbins will rush for at least 117 yards.
Outcome: Nailed it. Dobbins had 114 at the half and finished with 177 yards rushing.

Prediction 3: Austin Mack will catch a touchdown.
Outcome: Nailed it. Mack hauled one in from 18 yards out.

Prediction 4: A defensive lineman will force a fumble.
Outcome: Nailed it. Chase Young forced a fumble on a sack, per usual.

Prediction 5: Ohio State will give up a play of at least 34 yards.
Outcome: Nailed it. Adrian Martinez had a 56-yard run after the first-team defense went to the bench.

That’s the second week in a row I’ve hit on four of my five predictions, which means after a 6/15 start, I am now at 14/25, just as I predicted I would be.

This week’s game isn’t as easy to predict, however, as the individual matchups don’t leave much meat on the bones.

I’m still gonna try, however, because I didn’t go through eight weekends of Predicting School for nothing.

1. Justin Fields will have a career-high in passing yards.

This is maybe the third time I’ve used this prediction — and the first two times, Fields failed me. This time, however, the Buckeyes may need to throw the ball a bit more than they have in the past. The good news is that they should be more than able to do that. If they throw it well enough, the running game should open enough to put some distance between themselves and the Spartans.

2. Ohio State will have at least one rush of 20 or more yards.

Michigan State has allowed 0.4 rushes of 20 yards or more per game this season, and I’m calling for the Buckeyes to more than DOUBLE that number in this game. That is unheard of. I am actually predicting the Buckeyes to double up the Spartan defense in a singular category. NASA won’t even do that — and they have supercomputers! Of course, Ohio State has 13 such rushes in five games this season, but they have yet to face a defense like Michigan State.

3. Brian Lewerke will be held under 35 yards rushing by the first-team defense.

I have decided to add the first-team caveat given what happened last week with Adrian Martinez. In two games against lesser Ohio State defenses, Brian Lewerke — who is a mobile dude — has rushed for six yards total. Life has not been good for him, but I do expect Mark Dantonio to use him in the running game in this one. Michigan State doesn’t allow sacks, but the Buckeyes will need to get some here in order for me to nail this prediction.

4. At least three Buckeye receivers will score.

I was going to go with a Garrett Wilson touchdown prediction, but I also wanted to go with a Chris Olave touchdown prediction, and I also feel like Binjimen Victor will get one in the red zone. I’m just going to parlay all three predictions into one. Most people won’t do that. For clarification’s sake, anybody who catches a pass is a receiver. Just an FYI. Even the defense.

5. Malik Harrison will have at least 1.5 tackles for loss.

Malik Harrison is third in the Big Ten with 8.0 tackles for loss, but hasn’t had more than 1.0 in the last two weeks. He also hasn’t gotten to play a fourth quarter in order to pad some stats. I don’t expect much from Michigan State’s running game and I expect Harrison to be a large part of the reason why. Watch him slice and dice into the backfield tonight at least twice.