Plenty riding on Ohio State – Michigan State battle


The Associated Press



The Associated Press

No. 9 Michigan State (9-1, 5-1 Big Ten, No. 9 CFP) at No. 2 Ohio State (10-0, 6-0, No. 3 CFP), 3:30 p.m. (ABC)

Line: Ohio State by 13.

Series record: Ohio State leads 29-14.

WHAT’S AT STAKE

A Michigan State loss ends its hopes of winning the East Division and playing in the Big Ten championship game, as well as a shot at the College Football Playoff. Ohio State is three wins from reaching the CFP semifinals and a chance to defend its national championship.

KEY MATCHUP

The Michigan State defensive front against the Ohio State line. The Buckeyes looked vulnerable in pass protection last week vs. Illinois, especially RT Chase Farris, leaving quarterback J.T. Barrett as a target. Michigan State boasts DE Shilique Calhoun (8 1-2 sacks, 11 tackles for losses this season) and DT Malik McDowell (3 1-2 sacks, 11 TFLs).

PLAYERS TO WATCH:

Michigan State: Connor Cook, the quarterback from Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, who was not recruited by Ohio State, has a 32-4 record as a starter, including 21-2 in Big Ten play. Cook injured his shoulder and did not play the second half against Maryland last week but no one expects him to sit this one out.

Ohio State: WR Mike Thomas. Devin Smith torched the Spartans for a 44-yard touchdown pass among his 129 receiving yards last season. But Thomas, the current big-play receiver, also had a big game with 91 yards, including a 79-yard TD reception. He has caught a pass in 26 straight games.

FACTS & FIGURES

Ohio State has 23-game winning streak. Michigan State ended OSU’s 24-game win streak with a 34-24 victory in the 2013 conference title game. That is coach Urban Meyer’s only loss to a Big Ten opponent (30-1) while at Ohio State. . This will be only the third trip to Ohio Stadium for MSU coach Mark Dantonio, a former Ohio State assistant under Jim Tressel (2001-03). The Buckeyes won 24-17 in 2007, but the Spartans prevailed 10-7 in 2011.

Ailing grandson of former Michigan coach honored by rivals

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — The grandson of former Michigan football coach Lloyd Carr is bringing together the Wolverines’ biggest rivals as he enters hospice.

The Detroit News reports Friday that Michigan State and Ohio State players will wear helmet decals designed to honor 5-year-old Chad Carr when they play Saturday. It features the image of a boy flexing his muscles and “ChadToughFDN” after the foundation created by his parents Tammi and Jason Carr, a former Michigan quarterback.

Michigan interim athletic director Jim Hackett says he received a call from Ohio State about the plan. Hackett says Lloyd Carr was touched by the gesture.

Chad was diagnosed last year with a rare, inoperable form of brain cancer.

Michigan players wrote “#ChadTough” on their helmets last week. Last year, bands from Michigan and Michigan State joined to form #ChadTough on the Spartan Stadium field.

The Associated Press

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