#11 Ohio State vs. #13 Michigan State
Saturday, November 11th, 2017, Noon ET
Ohio Stadium (104,955), Columbus, Ohio
Joe Davis (Play-By-Play)
Brady Quinn (Analyst)
Bruce Feldman (Sideline)
RADIO: WBNS (97.1 The Fan). The Urban Meyer pregame show airs 30 minutes prior to kickoff. Paul Keels will call the action with former Buckeye Jim Lachey and Matt Andrews on the sidelines.
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio State hosts Michigan State Saturday at Ohio Stadium in a key Big Ten Conference East Division matchup between teams tied at the top with 5-1 records. FOX will televise the game with Joe Davis and Brady Quinn on the call. Bruce Feldman will be the sideline reporter.
The Buckeyes, at 7-2 overall and 5-1 in the Big Ten, enter Saturday’s contest ranked fourth nationally in total offense with 549.0 yards/game. On the other side of the ball, Ohio State is No. 20 nationally in total defense and No. 17 against the run. The offense has been paced by QB J.T. Barrett, who has thrown for 2,374 yards and 28 touchdowns. On the ground, J.K. Dobbins is on pace to become just the fourth freshman in program history to eclipse the 1,000-yard rushing mark. Ten different receivers have caught touchdown passes, led by Johnnie Dixon’s eight.
Ohio State and Michigan State are meeting for the 46th time. Ohio State leads the all-time series, 30-15, and has won 10 of the last 13 meetings, including a 17-16 victory last year in East Lansing that was keyed by 111 yards rushing from Mike Weber. The Spartans are the only Big Ten school to defeat Urban Meyer’s Ohio State teams twice, including in the 2013 Big Ten title game and in 2015 to snap a major conference record 30 consecutive conference wins.
Setting the Stage: Buckeyes vs. Spartans
- Urban Meyer has a 44-3 regular season record in Big Ten conference play and the Buckeyes are 20-1 in Big Ten home games since 2012.
- Both Michigan State and Ohio State bring in Top 20-ranked defenses into Saturday’s contest. The Spartans are No. 12, giving up 303.7 yards/game. Ohio State is No. 20 (323.0 yards/game).
- RB J.K. Dobbins is No. 1 nationally among freshmen with a 7.7 yards per-carry average.
- Ohio State’s roster includes four players from the state of Michigan: SAF Damon Webb (Detroit), RB Mike Weber (Detroit), OL Michael Jordan (Canton) and OL Joshua Alabi (Detroit). Webb, Weber and Alabi all attended Detroit Cass Tech. Jordan is from Plymouth H.S. in Canton.
- Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio was Ohio State’s defensive coordinator from 2001 through 2003.
- Ohio State’s Johnnie Dixon and Michigan State’s Felton Davis are tied for the Big Ten lead with eight touchdown receptions.
- QB J.T. Barrett is No. 3 nationally with 28 touchdown passes this season. He’s also No. 7 in passing efficiency (168.1).
- Dixon is tops in the Big Ten and No. 3 nationally with a 24.2 yards-per reception average.
SCOUTING MICHIGAN STATE
Michigan State, under the direction of 11th year head coach Mark Dantonio, is 7-2 and 5-1 in the Big Ten East Division after last week’s 27-24 win over No. 16 Penn State that was decided on the last play of the game: a 34-yard field goal by Matt Coghlin.
The Spartans feature the conference’s fifth-ranked total offense, led by quarterback Brian Lewerke, who has thrown for 2,270 yards with 16 touchdowns over the first nine games. He’s fifth in the league averaging 245.2 yards per game while also adding 368 yards (40.9 per game) on the ground. His favorite target has been Felton Davis, who is tied for the Big Ten lead with eight TD receptions. He and Darrell Stewart have combined to catch 85 passes for over 1,000 yards and 10 TD.
Michigan State brings in one of the nation’s best defensive units against the run, giving up an average of just 87.0 yards/game, good for third nationally. Only three teams this year have rushed for over 100 yards, and over the last four games MSU is yielding just 74.2 yards/game. Linebacker Joe Bachie is fifth in the conference with 77 total tackles and has also added 7.5 TFL and 3.0 sacks.
Michigan State started out the season with non-conference wins over Bowling Green and Western Michigan before a 38-18 loss to Notre Dame in week three. It then went on to win its next four, including a 14-10 triumph at Michigan, before falling two weeks ago in triple OT to Northwestern. MSU bounced back with its win over Penn State in a game that was delayed nearly three and a half hours because of weather.
Kendall Sheffield: Cleats & Spikes