Big Ten play officially begins when the Ohio State Buckeyes take on the Michigan State Spartans Saturday afternoon at Spartan Stadium.
The No. 14 ranked Ohio State is still unbeaten after a poor showing against UAB last Saturday, but managed to squeeze out a 29-15 victory.
UAB raced out to a 9-0 lead after a 20-yard blocked punt return and a 47-yard field goal, but the Buckeyes went on a 29-6 tear from there with three rushing touchdowns.
Ohio State did gain 204 yards rushing, led by senior tail back Jordan Hall who had 105 yards on 17 carries, and sophomore Braxton Miller tallied two touchdowns along with his 64 yards on the ground.
Still the Buckeyes have a long way to go according to their coach.
"You've got to think about where this team was, now. This is not a finely tuned machine right now, it hasn't been for a while," Buckeyes head coach Urban Meyer said. "Obviously, there's some growing pains and it's not as easy. I thought we'd be further ahead."
At least Ohio State’s lackluster performance resulted in a win, and 20th ranked Michigan State can say the same.
A week after the Spartans fell to Notre Dame, they too had trouble with a weaker opponent in Eastern Michigan, before prevailing 23-7 last Saturday.
Running back Le’Veon Bell posted a career-high 253 yards rushing, and junior receiver Dion Sims made six catches for 112 yards, with both scoring touchdowns, but both came in the fourth quarter with EMU hanging around late.
"Everybody knew that we didn't play like we should. So it was kind of a down mood," Spartans linebacker Denicos Allen said. "We need to do our job better and prepare better, especially going into Big Ten. We can't make the mistakes we did today. All the dropped passes, and missed tackles -- all the little things we need to fix."
The game begins at 3:30pm and will be broadcast by ABC.
Betting Odds: Michigan State is favored by 3 points; Over/Under: 41 points
Prediction: The Spartans are only getting the points because they are home. These teams are very similar as they are run-first offenses with finesse defenses. Turnovers and who will capitalize on them should make the difference in a Ohio State win.
Predicted Score: Ohio State 24 , Michigan State 17
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