ATB: Michigan State
The Buckeyes also managed to do what everyone knows you need to against MSU: Stop the run, stop the Spartans. Before Hoyer left with his injury, he was more of a liability to MSU than an asset. Once backup Kirk Cousins stepped in, the State offense actually improved a bit.
What I didn’t see: I might have seen him do it 5 times, but I certainly didn’t notice a whole lot of AJ Trapasso’s punting. Ohio State managed to score early, and by the time Trapasso got off his second punt, the Buckeyes were already winning by three touchdowns.
Michigan State’s holding onto the ball was… lacking. They showed that it might be the entire state of Michigan having fumbling troubles, and the OSU defenders capitalized on all three times Sparty put the ball on the turf. Twice, the offense didn’t even need to hit the field, as Thaddeus Gibson and Jermale Hines each took one back all the way.
Who I watched: Pryor, Beanie, and the offense were spectacular. The defense didn’t give up much, and they got a few points of their own.
Most importantly, it really seemed like the offensive line had a very good game for this first time this year. Of course, whether that was a product of some newfound competence or rather the incompetence of the Spartans remains to be seen.
What I expect to see next week: This should be a really good game to watch. I honestly think the Nittany Lions are a bit more well-rounded as a team, particularly on offense due to the veteran quarterback. Ohio State likely has the talent advantage despite what they give up in experience, however.
The game should be a little more low-scoring than most of Penn State’s blowouts so far, but not quite as low as the scores Ohio State’s been putting up. Ohio State has not had a competitive game against a good-to-mediocre team yet, and I think that might slow them down a bit in the beginning.
It should be a close game, but Penn State looks really good at this point in the season, and Ohio State’s inconsistency might lead to struggles. I see the Nittany Lions pulling off a hard-fought road victory.
What this can tell us about The Game: If last week showed us that, with a little bad luck and some inconsistency, the Buckeyes are beatable, the game against Michigan State did the exact opposite. Whereas last week the offense sputtered and a blocked punt provided the only points on the day, this week the fumble returns and such were just the icing on a particularly delicious cake in the eyes of OSU fans.
Alas, this is the effort Michigan is more likely to see out of Ohio State (the Wolverines and Buckeyes always get the other’s best effort), instead of the Purdue sleeper. However, Michigan fans can look at the last two Ohio State games and see that it is indeed possible to beat the Buckeyes if they don’t show up to play.
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