We interrupt your week filled with Big Ten bashing to tell you that Ohio State is good. It’s very good, in fact. Probably the best team in the Big Ten and reason to emote some conference pride.
Braxton Miller threw for 179 yards and ran for 130, and No. 14 Ohio State held off No. 20 Michigan State 17-16 on Saturday, giving Urban Meyer a win in his first Big Ten game as Buckeyes coach. Miller put Ohio State (5-0, 1-0) ahead 17-13 with a 63-yard touchdown pass to Devin Smith in the third quarter, and the Buckeyes’ maligned defense held Le’Veon Bell and the Michigan State running game in check.
Andrew Maxwell led Michigan State in the quarter. He threw for 108 yards and one touchdown and caught a 29-yard touchdown pass, but the margin is still four, as the Spartans trail 17-13. Michigan State made the score 7-6 after Dan Conroy drilled a 50-yard field goal to finish off a 49-yard drive. The Spartans used a grind-it-out style on the drive, as no play went for more than five yards.
The teams combined for no points and two turnovers in an ugly second quarter and the margin is still four, as Ohio State leads 7-3.
No. 14 Ohio State racked up 67 rushing yards in the first, and the Buckeyes lead 7-3 at the end of the first quarter. Ohio State got on the scoreboard first, rattling off a seven-play, 75-yard drive that ended in a score when Jordan Hall turned a handoff into a one-yard touchdown. The Buckeyes threw just one time during that series.
Earlier this week I helped take a look at who might land in the 2012 Big Ten Football Championship game. Well, the road to that big game starts Saturday as Big Ten teams put a rocky non-conference run behind them and focus on pounding on each other. In this post, I take a close look at all six games, and then I’m headed to East Lansing to cover Ohio State and Michigan State on Saturday.
Conference play is here – and not a moment too soon. I don’t say that for the reasons you might think (though I’m certainly not complaining about not having to discuss which game this weekend is most important for the Big Ten’s national reputation).
Every week, BTN.com’s Brent Yarina (@BTNBrentYarina) and Tom Dienhart (@BTNTomDienhart) offer their predictions for each Big Ten football game. We also provide a poll for all of the games so fans can vote for their winners.
Saturday, Michigan State hosts Ohio State in one of the week’s top games. Remember what happened the last time these two teams met? Aside from the absolutely putrid offensive effort, that is. Michigan State linebacker Denicos Allen provided one of the best highlights of the 2011 season, when he went all “Waterboy” on a sack of Joe Bauserman, pictured above.
Michigan State’s Mark Dantonio joined “BTNLive” Tuesday night, and the head coach was much more talkative than the last time we saw him in front of the camera. Dantonio, of course, conducted a very short postgame press conference (Watch it) following Saturday’s lackluster victory over Eastern Michigan.
Another Saturday looms. And, I have questions. Here are my most pressing queries for the 11 teams in action entering Week 5, the first week of conference play.