Michigan State (9-1, 5-1) at Ohio State (10-0, 6-0)
When: Saturday, November 21st 2015
Where: Ohio Stadium, Columbus, OH
Time: 3:30 ET | TV: ABC
Michigan State has a shot on Saturday to get back into the College Football Playoff picture when they visit the Ohio State Buckeyes in Columbus. The only blemish they have on their 9-1 record is a 39-38 loss at Nebraska in which the Huskers scored two touchdowns in the final two minutes to shock the Spartans. Michigan State is coming off a 24-7 win over Maryland, but quarterback Connor Cook had to leave with an injured shoulder. He says he’s good to go for Saturday, but all competitors will say that. Cook is having an outstanding season completing 56.1% of his passes for 2,472 yards, 21 touchdowns, and only 4 interceptions. His favorite target is wide receiver Aaron Burbridge. The senior has career highs in receptions (64), yards (1,011), and touchdowns (6). He’s just the seventh Spartan to record over 1,000 yards in school history. Sophomore running back Gerald Holmes has taken over for the 92nd ranked rushing offense and has 200 yards and two touchdowns in his last two games. The Michigan defense is very good against the run ranking 18th in the nation and they’ll get a big test today from Ohio State’s Ezekiel Elliott. Senior defensive end Shilique Calhoun has 25 career sacks, including a team-best 8.5 this season.
Ohio State looks to keep their hold on one of the top 4 playoff spots and clinch the Big Ten East title with a victory. Ezekiel Elliott has emerged as a Heisman Trophy candidate with big running games of late. The junior running back has compiled 15 consecutive 100-yard outings and is 204 yards away from passing former Heisman winner Eddie George for second on Ohio State’s all-time list. Elliott has 16 touchdowns to go along with his 1,425 yards. J.T. Barrett is back under center for the Buckeyes and he passed for 300 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 86 yards and two scores in last season’s 49-37 win over the Spartans. In Ohio State’s latest two blowout wins over Illinois and Rutgers, Barrett has completed 29-of-41 passes for 373 yards, 4 touchdowns, and only 1 interception. The Buckeyes defense ranks 2nd in FBS in points allowed with 13.8 and ninth in total defense. Sophomore middle linebacker Raekwon McMillian has a team-high 97 tackles and sophomore defensive end Tyquan Lewis leads the defense with 6.5 sacks.
Ohio State’s defense and running game with Elliott are going to be too much for Michigan State to handle. I can see the Spartans keeping it close for a half, but the Buckeyes will wear them down in the second half and cruise to a victory.
Pick: Ohio State -13.5