The #4 Ohio State Buckeyes (4-0, 4-0 Big Ten) and Michigan State Spartans (2-3, 2-3 Big Ten) are set to get together in Week 14 of the unorthodox college football season. This will be just the Buckeyes’ second game in four weeks after a pair of cancelations.
Kickoff of the Big Ten Conference contest is 12 p.m. EST inside Spartan Stadium in East Lansing, MI. Ohio State is a 24-point favorite in the conference tilt, according to oddsmakers.
What to Know – Ohio State Buckeyes
The Buckeyes have two remaining contests against the Michigan schools as they try wrapping up the East division and keep their playoff hopes alive. A cancelation next week against their rival Michigan would eliminate the Buckeyes from a potential birth in the Championship game, barring a quick rules change by Big Ten officials.
When we last saw Ohio State, their star quarterback Justin Fields completed 18-of-30 passes for 300 yards, two touchdowns, and a rare three-interception outing. The interceptions were the only picks the junior has tossed this season.
Sophomore running back Master Teague III had his way with the Hoosier defense, rushing seven times for a career-high 169 yards and two touchdowns. Fields added 15 carries for 78 yards and an additional score.
Wide receivers Garrett Wilson (seven receptions, 169 yards, two touchdowns) and Chris Olave (eight receptions, 101 yards) also had a day against a Hoosier defense that shutout Michigan State the week prior. Wilson has gone over the 100-yard receiving mark in all four games so far this season.
What to Know – Michigan State Spartans
It has been an up-and-down year for first-year head coach Mel Tucker. The Spartans have had a few lopsided losses but also knocked off in-state rival Michigan and last week took down undefeated Northwestern as a 13-point underdog.
Rocky Lombardi completed 11-of-27 passes for 167 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception. The junior signal-caller also used his legs to his advantage, carrying the ball ten times for 65 yards.
Connor Heyward accounted for 96 of the Spartans’ 195 yards on the ground. Heyward was the team’s bell cow, touting the rock 24 times in the game. Reserve running back Elijah Collins added 13 carries for 34 yards.
Jalen Nailor hauled in three passes for a game-high 99 yards and one touchdown. Jayden Reed chipped in two grabs for 36 yards as well as one score. Both scored touchdowns for the first time since their opener against Rutgers.
The Pick is In
Ohio State has had two weeks to prepare for the Spartans while MSU is coming off an emotional win over undefeated Northwestern last week. The Buckeyes are expected to be without some key players as well as head coach Ryan Day due to COVID-19 protocols.
This could turn into a grind for the Buckeyes as they turn to inexperienced players to take the place of a handful of starters. Ohio State should still win this one comfortably but expect it to be closer than Vegas thinks.
The Pick: Michigan State +24