Spartans Respectful but Not Intimidated by Strong Buckeye Team

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Welcome to Ohio State week. The Buckeyes are up and they can be beat. The luster is off the program after losing two national championship games and getting beat soundly by USC. So they are not as invincible as they appeared at the beginning of the season.

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The advantage for the Spartans is that they are at home and firing on all cylinders. I believe field position will be critical in this game. Defensively the Spartans need to bottle up Pryor

and the Buck offense in their own end, and more importantly, force turnovers for MSU to win. This will give the Spartan offense a short field to work with against a solid defensive club like the Buckeyes have. Again, the Spartans need to be physical, especially with skill players like Pryor and Wells. The Spartans must stop the run and put the game on the right arm of Pryor. He can beat you that way, but if the Spartans again make plays on the ball, they will win this phase of the game. If that happens, the Bucks should be forced into mistakes, especially after struggling last week against Purdue on this side of the ball.

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The Spartans need to be ready for anything as Tressel will want to bring the unexpected to the game especially after having offensive struggles last week, and they have tossed the ball deep a few times of late to keep opponents off guard.

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Offensively, MSU needs to get ahead and have OSU play from behind. Kory Sheets found a week spot straight up the middle against the strong lateral pursuing Bucks. In addition, probably the most important guy in this game will be Brian Hoyer. USC threw four touchdowns against their secondary, and yet many opponents have come away with nothing but interceptions for this feast or famine third tier unit that Ohio State has. He needs to make accurate throws, and receivers need to do a good job of getting open and hanging onto the ball. Lastly, the Spartans have got to get some offensive touchdowns.

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This game will be a challenge for the Spartans no doubt, and while the Bucks don’t have the creativity of the Wildcats in terms of play calling, they more than make up for that in terms of individual talent and a belief they can win. A belief the Spartans will have to have to match to come out on top, and why not, they can win this game. How bad do they want it? That’s the question.

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Finally, I believe it will come down to a hard-hitting physical game dependent on field position (more than anything else), defense, special teams and someone making more big plays than the other. A game that Duffy Daugherty or Woody Hayes would have loved.

Let’s hope the good guys come out on top, after all, a championship is riding on it.

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