Friday, November 18, 2016

Buckeyes Preview 11.18.16: Ohio State @ Michigan State

By Jason Disantis, @JasonInCLE

The Ohio State Buckeyes (9-1, 6-1 Big Ten) are running on all cylinders recently while many of the teams above them in the college football rankings have fallen.  Over the past two weeks the now #2 ranked Buckeyes have outscored their opponents a whopping 124-6.  J.T. Barrett and his offense couldn't have picked a better time to start clicking as the regular season is now down to this weekends game against Michigan State and then a showdown with #3 Michigan.

One reason for the Buckeyes revitalized offense is they are doing a better job of getting playmaking H-back Curtis Samuel the ball.  After touching the ball 10 times in a loss to Penn State, Samuel has 14, 13, and 9 touches in the last three games.  Nine may not seem that impressive but remember that Samuel played a little over a half in that 62-3 blowout against Maryland.  Samuel is the only FBS player with over 600 yards rushing (637) and receiving (750).

Another reason behind the Buckeyes offensive output is quarterback J.T. Barrett.  Barrett has four total touchdowns in the past two weeks and has posted a passer rating no less than 167 in both of those games.  The Buckeye quarterback also completed his second longest pass of the season, a 75-yard touchdown reception to who else but Curtis Samuel.

"He just knows how to make a play," cornerback Marshon Lattimore said on Samuel.  "He knows how to go out there and do what he has to do to put us in a position to win."

While Ohio State is seemingly two games away from a playoff birth, the Michigan State Spartans (3-7, 1-6 Big Ten) have had a disappointing season to say the least.  After starting the season ranked 12th in the nation and having eyes on a back-to-back Big Ten championship and a playoff birth, the Spartans won't have enough wins to be bowl eligible for the first time since 2006.

Even though Ohio State has Michigan lurking around the corner they have some payback to deal out against Sparty.  It was Michigan State who last year ruined the Buckeyes perfect season and cost them a shot at a Big Ten championship, and Ohio State guard Billy Price hasn't forgotten.

"There's a little bit of human element that comes into the game, especially with them ruining senior night for us last year and ruining the season we were supposed to have last year," Price said.  "It's in the back of your head, absolutely."

As Ohio State looks for revenge, Spartans coach Mike Dantonio would love for his team to ruin another season for the Buckeyes this Saturday.

"We've come to play every single football game, so it's unfortunate where we're at," Dantonio said.  "But you can't look past it.  You can't look backward here; you have to look to the future.  Ohio State is a big game for us, for this program, and always has been."

What:  Ohio State Buckeyes vs Michigan State Spartans
When:  Saturday November 19, 2016 at 12:00 PM ET
Where:  Spartan Stadium, East Lansing, Michigan
Watch:  ESPN
Line:  OSU -22, O/U 53

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