Michigan State will play host to No. 3 Ohio State this weekend in what will be the toughest opponent the Spartans will face all season.
The Buckeyes have outscored the Spartans 108-19 in the last two matchups between these programs, and Fox Sports' college football analyst Joel Klatt thinks we'll see more of the same this Saturday in East Lansing.
“Watch out," Klatt said on his podcast, The Joel Klatt Show. "This is a terrible matchup for Michigan State. They’re getting 26.5. The Buckeyes, on the road, in the Big Ten, against a team that won 11 games last year is favored by 26.5. And, you know what? I find it hard to believe they’re not going to cover that.”
As per usual, the conversation quickly turned to Michigan State's secondary, which is struggling once again this season after finishing last in the nation in passing yards allowed in 2021.
“The Spartans have the 115th-ranked pass defense in the country," Klatt said. "Last year they were dead last. This Spartan defense is not anywhere near good enough to stop Ohio State.”
The one question that Klatt raised about Ohio State's offense, which is ranked No. 1 in scoring and No. 3 in total yards, is if the Buckeyes will be as efficient as normal given that this Saturday will be their firs road game of the year.
"That remains to be seen," Klatt said. "I think it helps that you’ve got a second-year quarterback and not a first-year quarterback. That’s why I would say, ‘Hey, C.J. Stroud is used to this. He’s going to go out there and play well, regardless.’”
In addition to the offensive firepower that Ohio State brings into this game, Klatt's confidence that the Buckeyes will cover the spread comes from OSU's improved defense.
“This difference with Ohio State this year, and why it might be easier to cover a 26.5 number, is the fact that their defense is also really good," Klatt said. "They are Top 25 in both total and scoring defense this year. That is a huge mark for them…from what they were a year ago.”
Michigan State's offense has taken a significant step backwards in 2022 following the departure of star tailback Kenneth Walker III, who was limited in last year's matchup against the Buckeyes as well.
“In back-to-back weeks, in the last two games, we’ve seen Michigan State score seven and 13 [points]," Klatt said. "That ain’t cutting it. By the way, that seven was against Minnesota, and it was in, like, the last minute of the game. They were basically shut out. So, it’s not like coming home is going to help them all that much.”
To put it simply, Klatt thinks that Saturday will be a long day for the Spartans.
“Michigan State’s in trouble," he said. "Ohio State is on a mission and that 26.5 might not be big enough.”
Joel Klatt's full Week 6 preview can be viewed below. His comments on the Michigan State-Ohio State game begin at the 1:30 mark in the video.