The Buckeyes have been on an emotional roller coaster the past two weeks. After completing one of the greatest comebacks in Ohio State history by beating then No.2 Penn State, the Buckeyes went on the road to Iowa and got throttled 55-24. With that loss the Buckeyes chances at a National Championship are all but finished as absolute chaos would have to happen in college football for the Buckeyes to climb their way into the top 4.
Despite their National Championship hopes being shattered the Buckeyes still control their own destiny in the Big Ten. If Ohio State wins-out they’ll make it to the Big Ten Championship game and would be a lock for one of the New Year’s Six bowl’s if they win the conference. But that path goes through No.12 Michigan State.
The Spartans come into this game on the opposite end of the spectrum after having upset Penn State last week. They are tied for first place in the Big Ten East with Ohio State and have their eyes set on the same goal.
“Where we’re at right now is pretty much where we wanted to be, in control of our own situation, or destiny, I guess,” Spartan head coach Mark Dantonio said. “We at least can control some things. That’s where you want to be in November.”
The Buckeyes biggest task will be getting past last week’s crushing loss.
“(Getting) back to the fundamentals and what we do: Executing,” said Buckeye quarterback JT Barrett who threw four interceptions last week against Iowa after throwing one previously on the year. “Move on from last week because we’d like to get it back, but we can’t. With that, we just have to grow from it, learn from it and get better.”
Defensive end Jayln Holmes also knows the importance of playing in the moment and moving on from last week, especially because he’s a senior.
“You just (have to) finish out strong,” Holmes said. “I’m a senior, it seems like yesterday I just got here. So, I (have) two more games in the ‘Shoe. I just (have to) play angry and actually take advantage of this opportunity, because I won’t have any more games left. My goal is to finish strong.”
Ohio State coach Urban Meyer has been preaching to his team all week about the implications of this top 15 matchup.
“You look at the standings, and Ohio State and Michigan State are 1, 2 in the Big Ten East,” Meyer said. “And everybody knows this game for the last, what’s our sixth year of playing them or something, usually it’s just a prize fight. So the tougher team usually wins.”
Coach Meyer spoke a lot about toughness a week ago before the Iowa game. He spoke of how the Hawkeyes were always ready to play and left everything out there on the field.
Maybe the Bucks were emotionally spent after Penn State. Maybe they didn’t take Iowa seriously or give them the respect they deserved. Either way let’s hope their minds are right coming into Saturday, or else what happened last week could happen again.
What: Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Michigan State Spartans
When: Saturday November 11, 2017 at 12:00 PM ET
Where: Ohio Stadium, Columbus Ohio
Spread: OSU -17
Money Line: OSU -850, MICHST +575