(14) Ohio State vs. (20) Michigan State
Time: 3:30 PM EST, Sat.
Spread: MI ST -3
M/L: MSU -145, OSU +125
OSU Week 3:
The Buckeyes won on a 72-yard Braxton Miller TD pass to Devin Smith with 3:26 left, and the then No. 12 ranked Buckeyes snuck out with a victory. The narrow victory caused them to drop to No. 18 in the polls this week, but they should get back on track against this UAB squad.
“Our guys found a way,” Meyer said in reference to last week’s win. “I’ve been in games before I thought we were going to lose. I just kept waiting, I thought someone would make a play. I really did.”
The Buckeyes are going to win a lot of games like that, because Miller will be there to make that play. He completed 16 of 30 passes for 249 yards while throwing four TDs in that game, while he was intercepted once. He had more yards in the air than Cal’s standout QB Zach Maynard. The battle of the QB position had been billed as the story of the game, but it was Miller, whose dual-threat abilities make him a top tier NCAA QB, who got the best of this matchup.
OSU Week 4:
OSU failed to come anywhere near covering the spread last week against UAB. Despite coming into the game as 37 point favorites, they won by only two touchdowns, and led by just one at the half, 21-14.
Braxton Miller rushed for two TDs and despite the win, coach Urban Meyer was very disappointed with the Buckeyes performance. It was, after all, against a Blazers team that has now dropped their first three games, and even WR Corey Brown shared Meyer’s sentiments, saying “We’re not playing to our potential,” while OSU lineman Johnathan Hankins added “We weren’t as aggressive as last week.”
For OSU to win this game against Michigan State, they are going to have to allow Miller to do his thing, and go with what the Spartans defense permits. Braxton Miller has the talent even as a sophomore to make an outside run at a Heisman award, but that is a bit of a stretch considering he entered last week as 15/1 to win it, and the team failed to dominate a much worse Blazers team. MSU isn’t going to give the same margin of error, and the Buckeye receivers are going to have to get going to win this tough road game against one of their biggest Big Ten rivals.
Michigan State’s defense has made them what they are up to this point. They haven’t allowed more than 17 points yet, and have held three of their four opponents to a touchdown or less. Last week, against Eastern Michigan, the Spartans were led by Le’Veon Bell, who rushed for a career high 253 yards, but the game was too much of a struggle against a team that was expected to have no chance by analysts and college football oddsmakers.
What was worse was that MSU trailed for most of three quarters, before rallying and scoring back-to-back field goals in the third quarter and a pair of scores by Dion Sims on a 10 yard pass from Andrew Maxwell and a one yard goalilne score by Bell.
Bell feels the team has the talent to win a lot of games, but must “(avoid making) those plays when guys are dropping balls or (having) turnovers.” Maxwell did a good job of that, as he threw no interceptions, nor was sacked. If he and the Spartans can execute well offensively, their defense may take care of the rest, and enable them to win this game as college football oddsmakers predict them to.
Braxton Miller has a lot of talent, but hasn’t faced a defense quite on the level of MSU’s yet.
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