Sports

Ohio State vs Michigan State game to be intense, physical football

The tension between The Ohio State University football team and Michigan State will be high this afternoon as the Buckeyes face the Spartans in East Lansing in a must-win game that is expected to be physical.

The last time the Buckeyes went out on the road they got embarrassed by the Boilermakers with a frigid performance against Purdue.

Today, when they face Michigan State it will be even colder in East Lansing than it was in West Lafayette, Indiana. But it's a perfect day for a physical brand of football and that's exactly what you're going to see from both Ohio State and Michigan State said NBC4 Sports Director Jerrod Smalley.

The Buckeyes will put their running game to a true test because Michigan State has the top-ranked rushing defense in the country, Smalley said.

"This is part of the year is Big 10 football. You've got to put your hand in the dirt. You have to run the ball. And for an O lineman to have your head coach and O line coach look at you and be like this game is on ya'll, the O line, that's exciting. You got to get hyped for that," said Demetrius Knox, a senior offensive guard at Ohio State.

While the Spartans are No. 1 in the country in rushing defense, they're ranked 98th against the pass, Smalley said.

Coach Bill Conley said Michigan State's team is built on defense.

Head Coach Mark Dantonio is a coach with a defensive philosophy and recruits for defense.

"He knows that if you have a chance to stop somebody you have a chance to win the game," Conley said. 

Conley said the other reasons why the Spartans rank so low against the pass is because they not scoring a lot. 

"They're not getting a great performance by a quarterback. They've been running two guys in there. Their best wide receiver is out and they've had three different running backs. They all do a good job, but nobody does a great job. There's no real breakaway threat in their running back position right now," Conley said.

The No. 18 ranked Spartans are currently 6-3. They held a Purdue team that beat Ohio State by 49 to 13 and held the Maryland Terrapins under 30 yards rushing in a 24-3 rout.

'"They really handed it to them. ... It was just a dominant performance. If you watched it, it looked worse," Smalley said of the Terrapins.

Smalley said today's game will rely on the offensive linemen, Knox, Michael Jordan and Malcolm Pridgeon.

"This is a challenge. Last week was their best week running the football and now the offensive line has got tremendous confidence. Now they want to say that's no fluke. We can do that every week," Conley said. "They know it's going to be a physical football game."

Ohio State has not lost a game when the temperature at kick off has been below 40 degrees since 2000.

"It's not very often that you cheer for cold weather, but we'll do it this week," Conley said.

 


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