Michigan State vs. Ohio State Scouting Report and Prediction

Hondo S. Carpenter

Michigan State vs. Ohio State Scouting Report and Prediction

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There are ten different criteria I use when I look at a game and break it down. I have Ohio State favored in six of them. If this game was played at Spartan Stadium under the exact same circumstances ten times, I would think that MSU would win four. The question is whether or not today is one of them.

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Now let me say that I have been to every MSU game and I have watched every one of MSU’s games at least ten times and I have watched all of OSU’s games at least three times.

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A closer look…

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Special Teams

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The Spartans have an incredible long snapper and punter and the lack of blocks against MSU is more because of their speed then the protection. OSU has the best punt block attacks in the Big Ten. Aaron and Alex however can’t get a punt off if Bates is under pressure. One area to keep an eye on tomorrow is if the Bucks can block a punt. If they don’t, that is a plus for the Spartans.  The Spartans are far better with field goals however. I am with this are judging them in totality and not as individual units. When the Spartans punt, I have to give an edge because of the OSU attack.

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Jim Tressel has all of his horses playing on special teams and I have said many times that Mark Dantonio follows the same blue print. I have to give the edge on all special teams to OSU, but not by much.
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Offensive Lines/RB

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The Spartans offensive line along with Javon Ringer is better then the Buckeyes. You saw Wells calling out his coaches this week for the game plan and that isn’t the heart of a team player. I am not disrespecting the Buckeyes, but the Spartans are better and they get the edge.
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Defensive Line

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The Spartans have given up a lot on the ground. The Bucks have not given up as much. Thy Buckeyes are without a key player, but the Spartans defensive line has been disappointing to me in the amount of yards they have given up. On the DL I have to give the edge to the Buckeyes.
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QB

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I give this to the Spartans. Pryor may have a lot of raw talent, but he makes mistakes and hasn’t mastered the game plan. He makes mistakes and has yet to learn (like most freshman) that his legs aren’t always the answer. I have reason to believe that they will give Boeckman some reps. I would favor the Buckeyes if they were starting Boeckman, but they aren’t. Brian Hoyer isn’t Elway or Marino (and truthfully how many are) but he is a very good game manager. He doesn’t take the sacks or make an abundance of stupid plays. My BIGGEST concern with Hoyer is his protection of the ball when in scoring position. If Pryor starts, I have no problem saying I give the edge to the Spartans.
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WR’s & TE’s

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I wish I didn’t have to say this, but this isn’t even close. The Spartans have a lot of talent, but they drop far too many passes. You can’t drop passes against a great team like the Buckeyes. Chances to move the ball are at a premium and the Spartans have yet to prove they can step up and make the catches on a consistent basis. Don’t get me wrong, with maturity they will., just not tomorrow. I give the edge to the Buckeyes.

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LB’s

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The Spartans are a good group, but they are young. Laurinaitis is a star that has NFL scouts drooling and for the record he is a terrific kid. If you want to know what Greg Jones will look like as a senior, simply look at Laurinaitis. I think the Spartans are good, but I think the Bucks are better. I don’t think Ringer will have trouble getting passed the DL, but his day will be determined by how the Bucks LB’s play. The same is true for the Spartans against wells. I like our Spartans, but I have to give the edge to the Buckeyes.

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Defensive Backs

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The Spartans may not have the star power as the older Bucks, but they play better as a unit. I have watched the Bucks super DB’s take risks and for lack of a better term make mental mistakes that must only come from believing too much in themselves. Harlon does a great job reminding his guys after a great play or a bad play to stay in the game. If you were judging this only on names, I would go to the Buckeyes. I am not. Pryor hasn’t learned the Big Ten game yet (and let’s pray he doesn’t latter today) and I think the MSU guys are confident, but not arrogant. As a unit, having watched all of both teams games, I will take the Spartans.
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Atmosphere

No matter if you love or hate the Buckeyes, they have the best fans in college football. They will travel, good or bad anywhere to watch their Buckeyes. I believe MD will build MSU to that level. With that said, this is a home game and the crowds this season have been nothing short of spectacular. The Spartan Nation has brought it strong and although I personally don’t like all the cheers of the students, they have brought it strong and the rest of the stadium could take lessons. I estimate that 20% of the stadium will be Buck fans, but I think the atmosphere will rock and I give the edge to the Spartans.

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Coaches

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I have made no secret of my admiration and respect for my friend Mark Dantonio. I would not trade him for any coach in the nation. I also am proud to call Jim Tressel a friend and I have said many times that, in my opinion, he is the greatest football coach in the nation. I do think Dantonio will take that title from him. He will have to win a national title to do it however. I think that Tressel may be a better coach now, but MD has the better staff. I give the edge to the sweater vest: Jim Tressel.
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Intangibles

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The Spartans are playing with house money. If you look back I predicted them to be 6-1 just like they are. The problem is that the Spartans lack the team depth that it takes to win a Big Ten title. They also have to learn to win these games just like they did the Indiana types.Â

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This team is doing very well, more so because of superior coaching then great depth and talent. I am not saying the Spartans lack talent, they LACK depth. The Spartans already are fighting injuries.

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I love my Spartans and I am so proud of what MD is doing, but the intangibles have to go to the team that has been there and OSU has. I give the edge to the Buckeyes.

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Prediction

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My heart wants to say MSU. Like I stated previously, if this game was played ten times, MSU would win four of those ten.  I have always promised my readers and viewers that when I give predictions, I only speak what I truly believe and since I think MSU would win four of ten, I have to predict the Buckeyes. Make it OSU 21 and MSU 20.

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Please now join me in a word of prayer that this is one of the four and I am wrong. Either way, this is going to be a classic battle. 

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