The-Ozone Staff Picks: Michigan State at Ohio State

Michigan State football head coach Mark Dantonio

So last week, I wrote here that a large contingent of the pickers here were going to band together in order to stop Brandon Zimmerman from making the winning pick for the fourth week in a row.

We failed.

I would suggest you just skip everyone’s pick except for his.

In fact, I never read anybody else’s pick before I make mine, but I may check his out and try to ‘Price Is Right.’

If you think about it, however, this shouldn’t really be that difficult of a pick. Sure, the Buckeyes are facing their stiffest defensive test yet. And yeah, the Ohio State offense hasn’t played anybody with a defense yet.

But they’ll probably be just fine.

Defensively, the Buckeyes have faced better offenses and shut them down.

But this is still Michigan State, however, so maybe it’s not as easy of a pick as we think.

Let’s get started.

[This week we have added a couple of picks from our forum posters as well in hopes of stopping Brandon Zimmerman.]

Tony Gerdeman

I don’t see Michigan State scoring more than 17 or 21 points, and I don’t see the Spartans holding Ohio State under 24, so mathematically, things bode well for the Buckeyes. Brian Lewerke has always struggled against the Ohio State defense, regardless of health. He will be protected by an offensive line that hasn’t been able to run block and is employing somewhat of a makeshift offensive line. This seems like a very positive matchup for the Ohio State defense.

Offensively, I can’t wait to see how things go for Justin Fields and the running game. The offensive line will be challenged. JK Dobbins will need to continue running hard. The Spartans have given up some passing yards this season. This will be MSU’s stiffest test by a mile, but the Buckeyes’ would probably settle for a quarter of that distance in terms of total offense. I’m riding with Dobbins and Fields in this one.

Ohio State 34, Michigan State 7

Caroline Rice

I’m tired of saying that each week’s game is the first true test for Ohio State. I will now just say that they have passed the tests and this team is really what Ohio State is going to look like.

It’s a home game for Ohio State, another prime-time game, a black out, and the Buckeyes will be wearing their black alternate uniforms. It will be a great atmosphere and I think the Buckeyes are pumped about this one. I think it will be a show of two of the nation’s top defenses.

I’m predicting another big day for the Buckeye defense. They have been unstoppable and showed last week that facing a good productive quarterback is not an issue for this team. The line was rushing well and the secondary was taking advantage of forced bad throws. I am expecting to see the same thing this week. Maybe another Jeff Okudah interception?

Although this is the best defense the Buckeyes have faced, I don’t think Michigan State will get in Ohio State’s way. Justin Fields will put up numbers, J.K. Dobbins and Master Teague will have great days, and the rotation of receivers will make plays.

Historically, Michigan State has been the team to snap Ohio State’s win streaks. But this is really the most complete Ohio State team I’ve seen in a long time. I don’t think this team will let anything happen. It may not be the prettiest game at times, but this one will still be all Ohio State.

Ohio State 41, Michigan State 14

Michael Meihls

Is Michigan State now Ohio State’s rival? They’ve certainly played the Buckeyes better recently than anyone else in the state up I-75. Saturday night will be tough, no matter how much more talent the Buckeyes have. Sparty does a great job recruiting in Ohio, and getting their Ohioians to play well against OSU. The 28 current players from Ohio includes 10 starters who would love nothing more than to knock off the flagship university from home.

MSU will play stout defense. That’s been Mark Dantonio’s calling card in East Lansing. If anyone on the schedule has the defensive minds to slow down Ohio State, put your money on Sparty. However, Justin Fields is still a cheatcode, and JK Dobbins is running better than he ever has in scarlet & gray. The offense will not be stopped, they probably won’t be slowed. And throw in how great the wideouts have played the last two weeks, I fully expect big numbers again. There are too many Buckeyes playing great at the same time. You can’t gameplan against everyone.

On offense, MSU still employs old school B1G philosophies. That means play smart, play hard-nosed football, and make plays when they are available. However, you can’t look past the transition the Silver Bullets have gone through. Look at Nebraska, it took OSU 2 minutes to change the gameplan and stop the option. Last year? We’d still be looking for answers.

I don’t want to jinx things, but we are gearing up for a very special fall in Columbus. I’m all aboard the Day Train. There won’t be a derailment this weekend.

Ohio State 48, Michigan State 28

Chip Minnich

I know that I am probably being overly alarmist here, but the ghosts of 1998, 2013, and 2015 still haunt me.

I don’t see Michigan State being able to keep pace with Ohio State, and I see the Buckeyes pulling away from Michigan State midway through the third quarter, but…I also agree with Gerd and Tom when they state that Michigan State is the type of opponent that will make you play the game the way they want to, and that is a physical affair.

That is not to imply that Ohio State cannot play that style, but so far this season, they have not had to…yet. I see it being close at the half, with Ohio State being able to pull away with its superior passing game forcing Michigan State to quit crowding the line of scrimmage, and the Ohio State offense being too much for the Spartans’ pedestrian offense unable to keep up.

Ohio State 35, Michigan State 17

Tom Orr

It seems kind of crazy for the Buckeyes to be favored by three touchdowns against a ranked team from the Big Ten.

But it would take a really strong defensive performance from MSU to hold this OSU offense to a point total in the mid-to-high 20s. So even in a best-case scenario, the Spartans will have to score at least a touchdown to have a chance of covering.

MSU is currently averaging 4.0 yards per rush. Brian Lewerke is completing less than 60 percent of his passes. Their offensive line is likely going to be missing its top three options at left tackle, and may have to start a true freshman who only converted to the offensive line during fall camp. There are two other true freshmen on the two-deep on the offensive line.

That all seems like it’s going to go… poorly. On the podcast episode we recorded Thursday afternoon, I said it might end up something like 28-10 or 31-10. That was probably too generous.

Ohio State 34, Michigan State 3

Adam Borland

The last time Michigan State came to town, the Buckeyes blew the doors off of the Mark Dantonio defense. On Saturday, under the lights, with The Shoe blacked out by 100,000+ screaming fans, OSU will again take Sparty to the woodshed.

Justin Fields has been untouchable this season and that trend will continue against an otherwise good Michigan State defense. The Buckeye front will get enough push to have a successful running game, but it’ll be the passing attack that Ryan Day cuts loose that crushes the MSU spirit. Dobbins will still get his touches and make the most of them, but Binjimen Victor, K.J. Hill and company will shine.

In addition to the OSU offensive juggernaut, the Silver Bullet defense will eat the wounded Spartan front alive. Having injured linemen against the Buckeye rushmen is never a good idea. Having injured offensive tackles when playing against Chase Young is just downright cruel — and I love it. Young will earn another two sacks, likely one that knocks the ball away from Lewerke, and will pressure the Spartan QB relentlessly.

The Buckeyes win this one easily and go into the off week as the best team in the nation, regardless of the little number beside their name.

Ohio State 45, Michigan State 17

Michael Citro

To this point in the season I have been severely underestimating Ohio State on both sides of the ball in my score predictions. I may once again be underestimating the defense this week, or maybe I’m underestimating Michigan State’s ability to slow the Buckeyes down on offense. This might be classic Sparty: stumble out of the gate and then become a good football team by midseason.

MSU senior quarterback Brian Lewerke seems to be in a groove. When most teams can’t run the football, I’ll expect Ohio State to shut down their offense completely. However, Lewerke gives his team a fighting chance every week. The Spartans avoided overtime against Indiana last week solely due to Lewerke. He threw a (calculated) jump ball to put his team in field goal range, then made a play with his legs to lock up a glorified extra point for the win. He’s playing like a senior, posting a 60% completion rate and 10 touchdowns to only one interception, and he’s the second-leading rusher on his team.

The Buckeyes will need to continue to pressure the quarterback and play well in the secondary to stop him. I think he’ll make some plays but so will Justin Fields.

Ohio State 38, Michigan State 24

Brandon Zimmerman

Yawn…another win last week as Tom Gerdeman and crew messed up their scores yet again. I expect better from them. They get to see minutes of practice that I don’t, but sometimes seeing the final exam before the rest of the class doesn’t actually help. Five straight wins, here I come.

The Buckeye offense will actually have a pretty decent test on Saturday as the Michigan State defense rolls into town. They typically play Ohio State well and they have been tough for most of the year but the offenses they’ve faced aren’t exactly life changing. They were caught with their pants down last week against Indiana who was by far the best offense they have faced this year. Will that carry over? I think it will. Huge day for Justin Fields on tap.

Defensively, the Buckeye defensive line will dominate once again. The MSU offensive line is severely beat up and they are potentially missing a few starters. Without the ability to set up the pass with the run game, the MSU offense will be in for a long day. It’s been a few weeks since we saw Shaun Wade take over a game. I think we’ll see it on Saturday as teams will no longer go towards Jeff Okudah’s side.

Ohio State 49, Michigan State 10

Juke Bucks Hero

The ghosts of the past do not haunt these Buckeye players. Heck, the OSU defense doesn’t even remember who they were last year. I’m sure Coach Dantonio will have a plan, but that plan is about to crash headlong into Chase Young and the rest of this defense that has shown it is not messing around. Sparty will be lucky to have one sustained drive.

Michigan State may be the best defense this Ohio State team has seen this season, but I just can’t get the fact that IU laid 31 on them out of my head. Every cylinder is firing and the Bucks are just too talented, balanced and deep for Michigan State to do much about it. Look for Fields to throw for 250+ and run for another 60, and account for 4 more touchdowns. KJ Hill and Chris Olave will each have 5 catches for 70+ yards, and Dobbins will go for 120+ and a TD.

OSU 38, Sparty 3

Crabapple Buck

Two years ago, a week after the worst regular season loss to date of the Urban Meyer reign to Iowa, we beat MSU 48-3. Last year at MSU, with the worst defense in the Urban Meyer reign, we beat MSU 26-6 after Drue Chrisman punted them silly pinning them inside the 5 numerous times thanks to gunners like Terry McLaurin fielding the punts.

Both times, the MSU “offense” looked like they didn’t know if the football was blown up or stuffed. Their offense is still anemic and tOSU’s is supercharged. They are outmanned on the lines on each side and the Buckeyes will have their way in prime-time. The nation is treated to the best team in the land leaving an impression that should last thru the bye week.

Ohio State 52 – Michigan State 6

18 Responses

  1. Congrats, Tony! You came the closest. GO BUCKS.

  2. Come on Caroline. Did you have to pick that score?! I realize you were only about 8 years old in 2006, but it’s still just cruel.

  3. MSU has no offense therefore their defense will be playing excessively and will tire out halfway thru the 3rd quarter allowing the bucks to rack up a large lead. Only the Buckeyes losing focus or silly errors will allow this game to be close.

  4. Whatever the Buckeyes want it to be.

  5. I can’t believe some of the high scores being predicted here. I think a few people haven’t watched MSU play. The Spartans have no offense and will have trouble picking up first downs or scoring any points. They have a great defense though and OSU will not move the ball as easily as they have against the mediocre defenses they’ve faced. The Buckeyes will move the ball and score points but they won’t come as easily. MSU will probably kick a couple of FGs but will never threaten.
    OSU 34
    MSU 13

    Meanwhile the Wolverines lose to Iowa after “righting the ship” with their big win over…Rutgers. LMAO. It’s going to be a long season for Jimbo.

    1. Personally I think Cincinnati has a better defense than MSU. Time will tell but I think the bucks win big

  6. Caroline Rice is right again !!!

  7. 24-21 OSU victory… closer than the experts think. TEs and FBs tear OSU defense up. Fields gets smacked around.

  8. Was originally within a point of Caroline as I had it 42 – 14, but the more I read of Sparty’s woes on the OL, the fact that they don’t really have a great RB, and Lewerke will have about as much time to set up and throw as Martinez did and there’s a recipe for Sparty disaster.
    I think the Spartan D is able to slow the Buckeye offense for about a quarter or just under a quarter. That doesn’t bode well for them.
    Buckeyes 49
    Spartans 10

  9. 1. Not sure how MSU scores 24 pts. against OSU, unless they assist them with TO’s and late game TD’s.
    2. MSU’s teams that had success against OSU were teams that seemed to catch OSU with coaching changes; In 2011, Fickell ran the ship, in 2013, our D was in disarray, in 2015 it was the first year that Tom Hermann was gone, and our O was in disarray . I don’t see those glaring weaknesses this year.
    3. I listened to the national media preach over last year’s close game due to to punting as MSU was always pinned deep. I wonder if those in the national media, actually watch the game or just analyze by the score, because OSU for the most part dominated that game, but were unable to cash the check inside the 20.
    4. Here are the keys;
    -The trench game.
    -Field goals or Touchdowns.
    5. With that in mind, I like OSU’s lines on both sides of the ball much better than MSU’s and the biggest advantage is our DL against their OL. While Lewerke can run, he is no Martinez and might have bigger WR’s, but not their speed and I’ m not convinced that he can pass accurately on the run. I don’t believe that is the same MSU team in the past that can pound the ball on the ground consistently, so I don’t see MSU’s O on the field for lengthy periods, protecting their D. On the other side of the ball, not convinced that OSU can pound the ball down MSU’s throat so I look for Fields, Day and company make MSU’s D run all over the field with slants, short passes, and various sorts of screens to wear them out. Fields will also not help them with pics and will cause them painful 3rd down conversions with his legs. MSU has not seen this type of speed, but OSU has. Hence Dobbins, and especially Teague will cash in later in the game. This is probably more conservative, but maybe giving MSU more credit than they deserve.

    OSU 38, MSU 17.

  10. Sparty scoring 28 on us? Fire that guy.

    1. 28 points for Sparty is crazy (with all due respect to lunatics). Maybe he’s a homeless guy working from his shopping cart so he can’t be fired anyway. Still that’s better than being a Michigan fan.

  11. 52-10, Buckeyes. Can’t wait to see how Day and Co. surprise us……and them….this week!

  12. Michael!

    U.S. 23. Not I-75.

    Otherwise, you’re spot-on.

  13. TOM Gerdeman ??? OUCH..
    Bucks roll…..42-10

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