After defeating Nebraska last weekend for its first win of the Big Ten season and the Harlon Barnett era, Michigan State football will travel to Columbus to take on one of the top teams in the country, the No. 3 Ohio State Buckeyes.
The Spartans have not had much success in recent years against OSU, as they are winless in their last seven meetings. The last time these two teams met, Ohio State dominated the green and white by a score of 49-20 last season.
OSU also leads the all-time series by 21 wins with a 36-15 record, on top of being 17-9 at Ohio Stadium, but MSU is tied with the most wins against the Buckeyes in the Big Ten since 2011 with three. Two of those wins came in big time matchups.
In the 2013 Big Ten Championship, No. 10 MSU knocked off No. 2 OSU to snap a Buckeye program record 24 straight wins. That win also sent the Spartans to the Rose Bowl for the first time in 26 years. In similar fashion to the Big Ten Championship, the No. 9 Spartans downed the No. 2 Buckeyes, who were on a 23-game win streak at the time, with a game winning field goal by Michael Geiger in 2015. They also beat Ohio State in 2011 on the road by a score of 10-7.
It is no secret that Buckeye junior wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. is one the best players in the entire country, as he is viewed as a Heisman hopeful and the best receiver in the upcoming NFL Draft. Along with senior wide receiver Julian Fleming and junior wide out Emeka Egbuka, MSU’s defense, especially the secondary, will have to be wary of all the weapons that OSU possesses.
Sophomore safety Jaden Mangham has been a bright spot for the Spartan secondary though, as he has recorded back-to-back interceptions against Minnesota and Nebraska to give him four on the season. He is tied for second in the conference with that number and tied for eighth in the entire FBS.
While it is unclear that true freshman quarterback Sam Leavitt will burn his redshirt and appear in the primetime contest this weekend, expect the green and white to rely heavily on redshirt freshman quarterback Katin Houser, who has three touchdowns in eight appearances in 2023.
Michigan State's defense tied a season high with seven sacks and had 12 tackles for loss, which was the second most this season in the three point win over the Cornhuskers on Senior Day. If the Spartans want to pull off the upset, they will have to put up similar numbers to make the OSU junior quarterback Kyle McCord feel pressured.
This matchup marks the first time Michigan State has played a team ranked first in the College Football Playoff rankings. The 9-0 Buckeyes topped the initial CFP rankings last week and are listed at No. 3 in both the Coaches and AP Poll following a 19-point win at Rutgers last weekend.
Kick-off is set for 7:33 p.m. on NBC.
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