Game Preview: Ohio State vs Michigan State

This season has gone quick, and we are already two weeks away from Thanksgiving and The Game. It felt like last week we were enjoying a win against Notre Dame and placing bets if Ryan Day will get in a fight with Lou Holtz. Add to the fact that we are still awaiting a decision on if the Big Ten will place a punishment on Michigan for the sign stealing investigation, and as the days pass with no announcement, the more likely it feels like this will be a season where Michigan won’t see the repercussions until February and Harbaugh has already signed his contract with the Chicago Bears (half joking).
It is easy to look ahead, and as I am getting older, I have to remind myself to cherish the moment, cherish the games as they happen, and enjoy the wins. Carmen Ohio tells us that the seasons pass, the years will roll, and this feels truer than ever as the regular season is winding down, and Championship weekend is almost here. 
The Ohio State Buckeyes (CFP 1, AP/Coaches 3) hosts Michigan State in a night game on NBC in a match up that shouldnt be all that close. For Ohio State, getting healthy, getting better on both sides of the ball, and staying undefeated is the goal. For Michigan State, a second straight win would give them a chance to finish the season bowl eligible and give the team something to build towards. 
“The Standard” is the standard though, and the Buckeyes will be locked in for this game. Lets get hyped…

Know the Opponent:

Head Coach: Harlon Barnett (1st season, interim)
2023 Record: 3-6
Location: East Lansing, MI
Conference: Big Ten

Ohio State Preview

Ohio State will wear premiere their all-gray uniforms for the match up against Michigan State, for their last night game of the regular season. They look sharp….
The undefeated Buckeyes are looking to close out their final 3 games undefeated, and for a lot of these Buckeyes, this will be their penultimate game in the Horsehoe. All of their goals are ahead of them still, and earning a second straight number 1 ranking from the CFP committee tells us that they value the Buckeyes resume up to this point, which is the 20th best in the country, and the highest amongst all of the undefeated teams. But they know they can not rest on their previous wins. The playoff starts now fot them, and to acheive a Big Ten title, CFP game, and a chance for a national championship, they have to keep getting better, and suprisingly this late in the season, the offense is the unit that needs the biggest step forward.
They need to get away from slow starts which have kept games closer than they should have been, especially against Maryland and Rutgers where they were tied or trailed going into halftime for those games respectively. Ryan Day knows that, and he thinks that the team can still turn a corner.Β 
β€œThere are definitely signs that we’re moving in the right direction,” Day said. “But you know, it’s getting late in the season. So our urgency is at an all-time high.”
Kyle McCord will make his 10th overall start, and has passed for 2352 yards this season, with 17 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. The bar the previous starting quarterbacks under Day has not been met, but McCord has been a solid quarterback despite making a few errors. He will need to continue to grow and make mistake-free plays to keep this offense humming, and aide in the quick starts. Devin Brown is expected to be back this week, so we will see if he does have a chance to come into the game, or if we see one of the backups come in for the experience.
TreVeyon Henderson has been the kick in the run game this team has been missing for the past few weeks. He has 585 yards on 90 carries and 7 touchdowns now on the season. One of the biggest improvements too we have seen with him is being a safety net for McCord if the pocket collapses, and needs a target. His 65 yard reception against Rutgers last week was a reminder of how good he is in space, and it is nice to see a healthy Trey on this stretch. Chip Trayanum is the second leading back with 68 carries for 276 yards and 3 touchdowns.
Marvin Harrison Jr’s Heisman buzz might have taken a small hit last week as he only recorded 4 catches, but two of those went for touchdowns, and he has a chance to get more yardage this week against a defense he scored 3 touchdowns against last year. It is evident Ohio State is getting in the promotion for Marv now as they have released several β€œHere Comes the Son” graphics to hype up his chances. Cade Stover suited up last week but did not enter the game, but the expectation is he should be back this week. he has 27 catches for 429 yards and 3 touchdowns. Emeka Egbuka didn’t look like his normal self last week, but it is good to hear that he is getting healthier. He has 26 catches for 332 yards and 3 touchdowns on the season.Β 

Michigan State Preview

Michigan State enters the game 3-6, and ended a 6 game losing streak with a win against Nebraska last week. This season has not gone the way they expected, with losing Mel Tucker after the first two games of the season due to a sexual harassment charge which the university fired him and no longer have to pay the $96 million contract. In his place stepped up Harlon Barnett, who was the secondary coach, and returned back to the Spartans in 2020 after being a DB coach under Mark Dantonio.Β 
Despite the record, Barnett has a lot of confidence in his team, and is not intimidated going on the road against the CFP first-place team under the lights.
“I know what it is to go down there and compete, play hard against these guys,” Barnett said. β€œThey’re beatable guys, just like everybody else. We’re going down there to attack these guys and see what happens.”
The Spartans are led by quarterback Noah Kim, who has 1090 passing yards on the season, and has thrown for 6 touchdowns and 6 interceptions. He also has 27 carries for 53 yards. Behind hum is Katin Houser, who has 675 yards passing with 3 touchdowns and 2 interceptions.
Nathan Carter leads the running back room with 156 carries for 659 yards and 4 touchdowns. The next closest running back is Jalen Berger who has 25 carries for 93 yards and a touchdown.
The Spartans may have even more problems moving the ball without receiver Tre Mosley, who is out with a hand injury. Mosley is tied for the team lead with two receiving touchdowns and ranks second with 28 catches and 288 yards receiving. Montorie Foster leads the group with 33 catches for 436 yards and 2 touchdowns. Jaron Glover could be the receiver who fills in for Mosley, as he is third on the ream with 14 catches for 261 yards and a touchdown.Β 

Buckeye Spotlight

Kyle McCord. The junior quarterback has back to back games with interceptions, and now goes against a Michigan State team that has been susceptible to the pass, especially the last 3 seasons each time these two teams have played. This game will be a big game for him to get confidence in his progressions and getting into a groove with his receivers, especially if Egbuka is healthier this week, and if he gets Mackey semifinalist Cade Stover back.

Spartan Spotlight

Nathan Carter. The Sophomore running back has run for 659 yards and 4 touchdowns for the year. With some injuries for the Michigan State recieving corp, and seeing how Rutgers was able to run for over 100 yards against the Buckeyes last week, he might be the key to chewing clock, and keeping possessions for Spartans.

Water Cooler Stat of the Game

25-7. The Buckeyes are 25-7 when wearing an alternative uniform, which started in 2009 against Michigan where they wore their 1954 throw back uniforms. This will be the 4th color rush uniform, which the boast a 5-0 record.


Let’s be real, this game is the first of a 3 game stretch for the Buckeyes that ends in Ann Arbor, with an expected Big Ten East title and a berth to the Big Ten Championship Game. This is game 1 to keep making strides on offense to gain confidence. As a fan, the anticipation for The Game is insurmountable, but in the Woody, and in the home locker room, this teams focus is on going 1-0 this weekend. Michigan State and the Buckeyes have had a temporary alliance for the past few weeks with the news that is constantly breaking about the sign stealing investigation at Michigan, for on this game, under the lights in an all gray uniform, the Horseshoe is a battlefield.

Ohio State 49 – Michigan State 7

Photo Credit: Ohio State Football

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