Friday, November 20, 2015

#Buckeyes Preview 11.20.15: Michigan State #Spartans @ Ohio State

By @jddisantis

This Saturday the number 3 ranked Ohio State Buckeyes will face their toughest task and first real challenge of the year, as the number 9 ranked Michigan State Spartans come to Columbus.  

This game means a lot to both teams as the Buckeyes want to continue their undefeated season into Michigan next week and book their spot in the Big Ten championship game, while Michigan State needs a win for an outside shot at the Big Ten championship themselves.

The Buckeyes (10-0, 6-0 Big Ten) are coming off of a 28-3 road victory against Illinois.  While not looking all that impressive, a 25 point in-conference road victory is nothing to ignore.  The Buckeyes got starting quarterback J.T. Barrett back after a one game suspension in hopes of returning some chemistry to their offense, but did little to put Buckeye faithful at ease.  Barrett threw for 150 yards while adding another 74 on the ground.  Although the offense as a whole wasn't in sync, Ezekiel Elliott continued to improve his Heisman resume by racking up 181 yards and two touchdowns.

Michigan State had National Championship hopes at the beginning of this year, but after being victim of bad officiating at Nebraska, the Spartans are looking to salvage their season with a victory against the Buckeyes.  Sparty comes to Columbus with one of the best quarterbacks in the nation, Conner Cook under center.  Cook has 21 touchdowns on the year to just four interceptions, but injured his shoulder last week against Maryland.  "My shoulder is good," Cook said earlier this week.  "I'm going to be ready to go so there's no issue with that."

With the last two games of this season proving to be the Buckeyes biggest challenges, and rivals, Ohio State must stay focused on the task at hand and not get caught looking ahead to Michigan or a possible Big Ten championship.  The Buckeyes have yet to play their best this season but can't afford to start slow against Sparty. J.T. will have to keep the offense up tempo and in rhythm to get the Ohio State out in front and keep them there.  The defense will have their stiffest test in facing off against Conner Cook.  The Buckeyes will have the opportunity to silence some critics and gain some momentum heading into Ann Arbor next weekend with a win against the Spartans.

What:  Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Michigan State Spartans
When:  Saturday November 21 at 3:30 PM ET
Where:  Ohio Stadium, Columbus Ohio
Watch:  ABC

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