Ohio State comes back home after a dominant 48-7 road win against Nebraska, and now has its first ranked opponent in No. 25 Michigan State.
The Buckeyes currently sit as 20-point favorites against Mark Dantonio’s Spartans, and Buckeye Sports Bulletin staff members Wyatt Crosher, Joe Dempsey, Andrew Lind and Patrick Mayhorn all expect Ohio State to cover, but with a varying amount of distance between the two teams.
Check out the in-depth predictions below:
WC: I have undershot how much Ohio State would dismantle its opponent each week since overshooting in week one. But before I do it again, and it looks like I just might, I do think Michigan State under Mark Dantonio has had a knack for keeping games close, sometimes without having any right to do so.
The 17-16 win when Michigan State went 3-7 in 2016 sticks in my mind, but so does the 48-3 beatdown Ohio State handed the Spartans following the Iowa loss in 2017.
Still, I think Michigan State’s defense is legit, legit enough to stop this game from being a total riot like the last five have been. But Ohio State also shouldn’t feel at danger at any point in this game.
Justin Fields will be mostly himself, and J.K. Dobbins will eventually find a groove, even against one of the best rushing defenses in the country.
The offense should be challenged, but the Buckeyes defense should be able to handle the Spartans, and it will be another sizable victory that may look small in comparison to the others.
Ohio State 38, Michigan State 13
JD: Ohio State cruised to 5-0 with the nation’s No. 3 offense (52.4 points per game) and No. 4 defense (8.6 points allowed per game) without much adversity, even though Cincinnati and Nebraska were supposed to present challenges.
Meanwhile, Michigan State enters Ohio Stadium with a 4-1 ledger coming off back-to-back wins against Northwestern and Indiana following a 10-7 loss to Arizona State.
What bodes well for the Buckeyes is the fact that the Spartans only defeated Indiana, 40-31, while they demolished the Hoosiers, 51-10 earlier in the season.
The Scarlet and Gray offense has been firing on all cylinders, gaining 535.6 yards per game, which ranks No. 8 in the country. A big part of the Buckeyes’ success comes from their 281.6 rushing yards per game.
However, Ohio State hasn’t faced a defense as tough as Michigan State’s, which allows only 253.8 yards and 15.0 points per contest.
The Green and White have an experienced and talented defense but the Ohio State offense presents a test the Spartans are not fit to pass. Justin Fields, J.K. Dobbins and Co. will enjoy plenty of success in spite of the Spartan defense.
Ohio State 45, Michigan State 10
AL: There’s no doubt Michigan State and head coach Mark Dantonio were Ohio State’s biggest nemesis during the Urban Meyer era. Losses in the 2013 Big Ten Championship and Senior Night in 2015 kept the Buckeyes out of the national championship game or College Football Playoff, respectively.
That said, things have been relatively one sided since then. The Spartans have not scored a touchdown in this game in their last two tries, and the talent gap continues to widen.
Michigan State has a number of players on its roster from Ohio — notably that Ohio State didn’t want — and that has long helped provide the Spartans with motivation. But that simply won’t be enough in this game.
I do think, early on at least, that fifth-year senior quarterback Brian Lewerke will give the Buckeyes’ secondary its biggest test of the season thus far. But Ohio State’s defensive line will eventually wear down Michigan State’s offensive line and wreak havoc in the backfield, per usual.
The Buckeyes offense — led by quarterback Justin Fields and running back J.K. Dobbins, will continue to thrive. Fields will score five total touchdowns, while Dobbins will add 150-plus yards and two more scores on the ground.
Overall, the game will feel somewhat close throughout the first half but will get out of hand in the second. The Spartans pose no challenge to the Buckeyes offense, which will continue to score at will deep into the night.
Ohio State 56, Michigan State 24
PM: As Ohio State enters the second of its three straight night games, the Buckeyes look essentially untouchable. They shook Nebraska off with ease, breezed through the non-conference schedule (plus Indiana), and have shown very few, if any serious weaknesses. To put it simply, this looks like one of the best teams in the country right now, if not the outright best team.
In comparison, Ohio State’s opponent on Saturday night, Michigan State, needed a comeback to beat Indiana last week. It lost 10-7 against Arizona State in week three. The Spartans look a whole lot like they did last season, albeit with a slightly better running back and a significantly more injured offensive line. Last year, a deeply flawed Buckeye team took care of the Spartans pretty easily.
This year? The high-powered Buckeyes are going to look to make another statement in primetime, and Michigan State happens to be in the way. Ohio State jumps all over them early, and completely blanks a hapless offense on the way to the most impressive win of the season.
Ohio State 55, Michigan State 0
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