Coming into the Big Ten title game, the Ohio State Buckeyes are looking like the favorite to head to the national title game at the No. 2 position. The Buckeyes are coming off a close win in a huge rivalry game against the Michigan Wolverines and they will have to face one of the most overlooked teams in the nation this week.
Not many people believed in the Michigan State Spartans at the beginning of the year because of the poor season they suffered a season ago with a 7-6 record. However, Michigan State has proven to be the second-best team in the conference during the regular season and are one step closer to proving they are the best team.
Ohio State is led by Braxton Miller who had hoped to win the Heisman Trophy prior to the season but an injury cut that dream a bit short. The junior quarterback hasn’t lost a game as the starting quarterback since 2011 and it looked like the Buckeyes might be unbeatable under Urban Meyer. Miller has passed for 1,759 yards and 117 touchdowns for the 83rd-ranked passing offense. The run game is the most impressive component of this team’s success, ranking second in the nation in rush yards per game. Carlos Hyde leads the way with 1,290 yards and 14 touchdowns while Miller adds another 891 yards and eight scores.
Michigan State might not have the same firepower on offense as other teams in the conference, especially Ohio State, but the Spartans have been a much-improved offensive team than they were last year — even from the beginning of the year. Sophomore quarterback Connor Cook has won the starting job and hasn’t looked back since week three, passing for 2,119 yards and 17 touchdowns for the 95th-ranked passing offense in yards per game. Bennie Fowler has emerged as the team’s top target, catching 31 passes for 496 yards and six touchdowns. Jeremy Langford has accounted for the most consecutive 100-yard rushing games in school history as the junior has accounted for a total of 1,210 yards and 16 touchdowns on the ground.
Defensively, Ohio State has been solid this season, ranking 18th in the nation in points allowed as well as 41st in yards allowed per contest. Michigan State continues to be one of the best defenses in the nation and this year’s squad could be the best in school history, ranking fourth in points allowed per game as well as first in the nation in yards allowed per game.
Ohio State and Michigan State will meet in Indianapolis for the Big Ten title at 8:17 p.m. EST on Saturday, Dec. 7. The game will be broadcasted on FOX.
PREDICTION: Ohio State 23, Michigan State 27
Connor Muldowney is a columnist for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @Connormuldowney, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. You can also reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.