When: Sat. Nov. 19, 2016; Noon ET
Where: East Lansing, MI; Spartan Stadium (75,005)
All-Time Series: Ohio State leads 29-15
Last Meeting: Michigan Sate won last year 17-14. It hurt.
Line: Ohio State (-22)
Admit it. At the beginning of the season, this game was circled as a mile-marker in the chase for the College Football Playoff. There’s been one problem with that however. The Spartans have broken down on the side of the road with a flat tire. It’s been a disastrous season in East Lansing, and almost a throw-away year with just one Big Ten win to date.
Ohio State is a different story altogether. It seems to have arrived a year early despite being the least experienced team in all of the FBS. After a thrashing of Oklahoma in Norman, a tougher than nails win in Madison against Wisconsin, and numerous blowouts, the team seems to be on the fast track to the big time again.
There’s the one very costly loss in Happy Valley, but aside from that, Ohio State has looked every bit the part of a playoff team.
But then Mark Dantonio and the Spartans have been the one program that has stood toe-to-toe with Ohio State since Urban Meyer began calling the shots. Meyer is just 2-2 against the Spartans — losing two of the last three. It may be down, but Sparty would love nothing more than to ruin the hopes and dreams of all those with fondness of the colors scarlet and gray.
1 Burning Question: Can Michigan State rise up to dash the dreams of Ohio State again?
To say that it’s been a down year in East Lansing will be a gross understatement. Nobody saw this coming, not even Michigan Wolverine fans. Unbelievably, it took the Spartans until last week to get their first Big Ten win of the season. Even more unbelievably, there are only two Big Ten games left, and it’s becoming even more unlikely that Mark Dantonio and company will be going anywhere warm over the holiday season for a bowl game.
But the season’s not over. Far from it.
Over the last two weeks, the Spartans take on Ohio State, and then Penn State. One way or another, they will have a say in who goes to Indianapolis to play for the Big Ten Championship, and perhaps beyond.
But first things first, Michigan State must find a way to rise up, find its defense, find some consistent play at quarterback, and find the demons of recent years to make Ohio State earn its right to stay in the conversation for really, really big things.
It is, after all, November where many dreams go to die. Will this be that case, or will the Buckeyes keep rolling right into the annual grudge match against Darth Vader next week?
2 Key Stats:
— 6. That’s the number of touchdowns the Ohio State defense has scored. Can you say ball-hawk? There’s only one team in the country that has scored more defensive touchdowns on the year, and it too sits in prime position (Alabama at nine). It’s hard enough to move the ball and score against the nation’s third ranked scoring defense, but when it’s also putting points on the board, it can be lights out for opponents.
— 7 and 46. That’s the amount of sacks and tackles for loss the Michigan State defense has this year. That’s No. 127 and 113 in total ranking in the country, and a far cry from what we have become accustomed to under Mark Dantonio. There’s a lot of cracks in the Green and White dam this year, but the poor play on defense might be the most shocking of them all. This team is just not getting push into the backfield of opposing offenses, meaning quarterbacks and running backs are able to find time and running and passing lanes with relative ease. Without any disruption on defense to make life difficult for the bad guys, the good guys just can’t keep up.
3 Key Players:
Curtis Samuel, Ohio State RB:
Yeah. Technically Samuel is listed as a running back, but he’ll lineup in the backfield, in the slot, on the outside, and even in the wildcat formation. Urban Meyer will try to get him in mismatches and out in space to utilize his unique skill set to get the big-play machine going. The goal is for about 13 touches a game, and each time, opposing coaches are left holding their breath. Not since Percy Harvin has an Urban Meyer offense had a talent like Samuel. He’ll be featured in this one as well.
Malik McDowell, Michigan State DL: McDowell is the most imposing defensive player on the Michigan State defense. When he’s healthy and active, he can be a difference maker able to make momentum turning plays. However, he was unable to go last week because of injury and isn’t listed on the depth chart this week. Don’t be surprised it’s a bit of a gamesmanship from Dantonio. He has alluded to him being ready to go, but not quite 100 percent. He’ll need to find someway to be a force against an Ohio State defense that can put up points in bushels.
Tyler O’Connor, Michigan State QB: O’Connor was the fill-in starter in Columbus last year when these two last met. His numbers weren’t off the charts, but his moxie, timely quarterback runs, and leadership under duress carried the Spartans to a springboard victory towards a Big Ten Championship. Obviously the stakes are much, much different this year, but if he can find the same magic he was able to wrangle in 2015, things might get very, very interesting in East Lansing. Things haven’t gone according to plan this season for O’Connor, but here’s a big chance to right some of those wrongs.
4 Staff Predictions:
Andy: Ohio State 48-10
Dave: Ohio State 35-20
Phil H.: Ohio State 34-21
Philip R.: Ohio State 42-17
Zach: Ohio State 42-17
Greg Schiano out at Ohio State, Michigan’s Mattison reportedly in
In terms of rivalries, there is no more intense in the Big Ten than Michigan an Ohio State. It’s one that lives on in the fans, players and coaches for 365 days a year.
On Jan. 7, 2019 things got a whole lot more interesting for the next 365 days that’s for sure.
First, news broke that defensive coordinator Greg Schiano will not be back with the Buckeyes under new head coach Ryan Day. Many believed this past season wasn’t up to par for the Buckeyes and Schiano seemed likely to take the fall for that.
OSU finished this season ranked 72nd in total defense after back-to-back seasons in the top 10 of that category nationwide. The Buckeyes gave up over 400 yards of total offense this year as well.
So, who will replace Schiano? In a really interesting twist, multiple reports have come out stating that Day has his replacement ready — in the form of Michigan defensive line coach Greg Mattison.
According to Mike Sullivan of 97.1 The Ticket, Mattison’s contact with Michigan was about to be up and that Harbaugh chose not to renew his deal.
Thus, he is a free agent and Day has chosen to scoop him up.
Mattison is very familiar with this rivalry, having served as Michigan’s defensive coordinator under Brady Hoke (2011-2014) and then accepting just the defensive line coaching position on Jim Harbaugh’s staff.
His defenses were very consistent in his four seasons as defensive coordinator. Michigan was never worse than 31st in the country in total defense and peaked at No. 6 in his final season at the helm of the Wolverines defense.
Coaches plying their trade on both sides of the rivalry is nothing new, but it is a rarity overall.
BREAKING: Urban Meyer announces retirement
Last week, FootballScoop.com reported that Ohio State Buckeyes head coach Urban Meyer would be stepping down by the end of the 2019 season and likely by the end of this season.
They also reported that Ryan Day would take over as the new head coach once that happened.
After a weekend in which the rest of the media attempted to discredit the report, it is now exactly what is happening.
Doug Lesmerises of Cleveland.com broke the news early this morning. In the report, Lesmerises notes that Meyer is being forced to step down due to complications from a cyst on his brain.
The Rose Bowl game against Pac-12 champion Washington will be the final game he will coach at Ohio State.
Additionally, Ryan Day, who replaced Meyer as interim head coach while he was serving a three-game suspension to start the year will take over as the full-time head coach starting next season.
More information will be made available at a news conference scheduled for 2pm ET.
Meyer has had one of the most successful tenures as a head coach in Buckeyes history. He’ll retire having never lost to Michigan (7-0), won three Big Ten championships and with an 82-9 overall record at the helm of the Scarlet and Gray.
OSU athletic director Gene Smith is the one who decided Day would get the job on a permanent basis, seeing what the Buckeyes did under his leadership in that three-game stint earlier this year and hoping to ride the wave of young coaches making big splashes.
His rise up the coaching ranks comes just as the Buckeyes are putting up some of the most dynamic numbers in the pass game that college football has ever seen.
Star quarterback Dwayne Haskins could potentially top the 5,000-yard and 50 touchdown marks in the upcoming Rose Bowl game.
Talking10 Podcast Episode 100: Something, something Urban Meyer
Ohio State made its decision on Urban Meyer. Andy and Phil are here to break it all down for you and give you the truth in a hazy situation. What better way to celebrate episode 100 of the podcast than to spend 50 minutes breaking down a mess of a situation in Columbus, right?
We’ll talk our reactions to the press conference, break down the actual findings of OSU’s investigative report and we’ll even talk how the media-at-large and the OSU media handled the fallout from Wednesday night’s press conference.
Don’t forget you can listen to the podcast each week via Radio Public and other podcasting apps.
Also, don’t forget to follow us on Instagram and Twitter @talkingB1G
Urban Meyer and OSU AD put on suspension following investigation
The media stakeout of the Ohio State Board of Trustee’s meeting can now end. It only took 12 hours or so, but answers finally came.
According to multiple reports, including from the AP, OSU head coach Urban Meyer is suspended for the first three games of the season. In addition, athletic director Gene Smith will serve the same suspension from Aug. 31 to Sept. 16 — both will not receive pay during that time frame as well.
Both came under fire as this story unfolded. It began just prior to the Big Ten media days in late July, the story that Zach Smith had been arrested for criminal trespassing in April of this year broke and Meyer fired Smith on Monday morning of the start of Big Ten media days.
Brett McMurphy then detailed in an exclusive report that Smith had previously been “arrested” back in 2015 for a second allegation of domestic abuse against his then-wife Courtney Smith.
Meyer was questioned about that arrest and allegation from 2015 at media days and struck out against reporters repeated questioning. He would deny knowing of the arrest report back in 2015.
However, further reporting by McMurphy put that denial in to further question and Ohio State decided to get to the bottom of it.
Once Meyer was put on paid administrative leave, he would put a statement out admitting to knowing about the 2015 incident and alerting athletic administrators of the domestic abuse allegations.
Meyer has stayed silent since that statement and awaited the outcome of the 14-day inquiry in to whom knew what and when and what action was taken.
That investigation ended this past Sunday, with the committee verbally advising the Board of Trustees on Monday morning of its findings. Two days later, the Board of Trustees would come to meet publicly and then behind closed doors to discuss what would happen to Meyer and others involved in this situation.
Meyer’s suspension is for the first three games, and on the field that is a big hit with three FBS games coming at the start of the season. OSU kicks off the year against Oregon State, plays a Big Ten contest against Rutgers and a massive game against TCU at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
We will have more on this situation and the reaction to what Meyer and Smith had to say on the talking10 Podcast tomorrow.