The defense of the Ohio State Buckeyes has been up and down all season.
Defensive improvement is a must if they want to beat the Michigan State Spartans in the Big Ten Championship game. The Ohio State offense was its usual explosive self against rival Michigan Wolverines on Saturday, but their defense was what almost cost them the game, their undefeated season, and their school record 23-game winning streak.
The Michigan offense has struggled all season, recording negative rushing yardage in back-to-back games against the Spartans and the Nebraska Cornhuskers. They have continually switched up the offensive line and have yet to find a combination that works, and their quarterback Devin Gardner struggles with turnovers week after week. Ohio State’s defense surprisingly gave up 603 total yards to this much inferior offense, most of which was in the passing game.
The bottom line is that if Ohio State’s defense does not show improvement this Saturday they could be in trouble against a very good Michigan State team. The Spartans’ offense is not the best, but it’s better than Michigan’s; and we already know how the Ohio State defense fared against the Wolverines. Michigan State’s defense and Ohio State’s offense are both so good that it will likely come down to Michigan State’s offense and Ohio State’s defense to determine the outcome of the game. Their defense needs to outplay the Spartans’ offense if they want to win the game.
If they play the way they did against Michigan, then the Spartans’ offense will definitely win that battle. They have a 1,000-yard rusher in Jeremy Langford, and quarterback Connor Cook continues to improve each week. Early offensive struggles were obvious for the Spartans, but once they established who their quarterback would be their offense has only continued to improve. It matches up well with the Ohio State defense if the defense is playing at their best.
Many have been looking forward to this matchup all season and for good reason. It surely won’t disappoint.