Ohio State defensive end Joey Bosa will challenge MSU football's top-ranked offensive line
It’s not often that the big guys up front get the glory in football, but for No. 8 MSU (7-1 overall, 4-0 Big Ten) and their fifth-ranked scoring offense, it all starts with the offensive line.
However, No. 13 Ohio State (7-1 overall, 4-0 Big Ten) brings their front seven to East Lansing with a lot of hype, but more importantly, the respect of the MSU offensive line.
OSU sophomore defensive end Joey Bosa is on the finalist list for the Lombardi award as the nation’s best offensive or defensive lineman. The Florida-born standout had an impactful freshman season but is making an even larger impact this season.
“Obviously he’s a great player,” sophomore offensive lineman Jack Conklin said. “He bounces around a lot so the whole offensive line has to be ready to play against him. I’m excited to play against such a great player.”
Bosa has recorded 10 sacks this season and gathered one sack in last season’s Big Ten Championship Game against MSU.
The MSU offensive line has protected junior quarterback Connor Cook well this season, as they are tied for fewest sacks given up in the nation with only five.
Conklin, who has yet to give up a career sack, said facing the Ohio State defensive line is why they decided to come to East Lansing.
“You come to Michigan State to play the best teams,” he said. “I’m excited to play against Bosa and our whole offensive line is excited to play one of the best D-lines in the nation.”
Conklin has been one of the better players on the line this season, and senior offensive lineman Travis Jackson has noticed.
“He’s got great feet, and you should see the size of his arms,” he said. “He’s been a special player not only to watch grow but to play next to and a lot of times on game day he makes my job at lot easier.”
Despite their success this season, Jackson acknowledged that the entire OSU defensive line, not just Bosa, deserves attention. He said they play an over-front that is similar to the kind of defense MSU plays.
“We’ve seen this kind of front before,” he said. “What makes their front seven so special is the players in the front seven.”
Although MSU has been one of the best in the nation at stopping opposing pass rushers, the identity of the offense remains being physical, and running the ball with senior running back Jeremy Langford.
“That was our focus, overpower the other team,” Conklin said. “If we’re physical like that we can break Jeremy loose, if we can take care of the front seven, he’s going to make the next guy miss.”