Ohio State isn't the same Ohio State of the recent past. That's been well documented. Terrelle Pryor is gone, but today may very well be the day everyone falls in love with Braxton Miller. MSU statistically has the best defense in the nation. Theoretically the balance of the game should fall on the shoulders of Kirk Cousins. I'm not sure that it will get that far.
The MSU offensive line is in a world of hurt. Dan France has been such a disappointment that he is now going to split time with Micajah Reynolds, a former guard who couldn't hack it there and moved to DT where he couldn't hack it. Many people looked at this game as being the final game the tatted Buckeyes had to sit out. Spartans got hope from that. The sad truth is that at Ohio State they usually have 5 star guys backing up other 5 star guys.
Odds are the game will come down to Kirk Cousins' decision making. As I said during the game last week, his accuracy and decision making were lacking. Other than that he had a great day at quarterback. It's time for Cousins to put his speech at Big Ten Media Day out of everybody's minds. When you think of Kirk Cousins I want you to think of what he does on the field not off of it. As Doug Lesmerises from the Cleveland Plain Dealer said of the game and Cousins, "Man, Kirk Cousins sounds smart on a podium. Michigan State needs him to be just as smart in the pocket today." That has not happened yet. Hell, it hasn't really happened much since his sophomore year.
The other Spartan who needs a game to get back to the level of hype he was at in the preseason is Jerel Worthy. This is the game where he can prove that he is indeed the top DT prospect for the NFL draft. He is going against Michael Brewster today at center for OSU. I know it's not fun to watch lineman battles during a game, but if you do have a DVR or are old school and still tape things, go back and watch this matchup. This will dictate how the day goes. With Braxton Miller in at QB it's obvious the Buckeyes will be running. If your center is winning up front against Worthy and White, it becomes a lot easier to run. I'm giving the battle up front to Brewster. Worthy is working on hype while Brewster has demoralized opponents on his resume.
The mistakes against Central didn't have any consequences (other than the TD from the blocked punt). That won't be the case today. Ohio State, no matter who is playing or coaching, seems to have a knack at converting on mistakes. This game has a feel to me of being a big let down. MSU needs to come out and take control early and put points up on their first possession. Sadly I see a short run followed by a short run resulting in an incomplete pass on 3rd and long forcing MSU to punt.
The more we see of Reynolds, the worse it is for MSU. All throughout the fall MSU coaches raved about Dan France and the transition he was making to tackle. Clearly they were lying. Now there is no other option but to play him or somebody else who used to play defense. Maybe Will Gholston can play over there. It can't get any worse.
I don't like MSU's chances today. They don't play well against Ohio State. They don't play well at the Horseshoe. Most importantly, they left too many things unproven in non-conference play. The defense will keep on pace with their total yards numbers. That will be misleading though because OSU will run for 200 while only throwing for 100. Kirk Cousins will pull the Kirk Cousins and throw 2 interceptions that leave you wondering why on earth he would ever make the throw.
Ohio State wins 27-17.
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