#25 Michigan State at #4 Ohio State
When: Saturday, October 5 at 7:30 p.m. ET
Where: Ohio Stadium in Columbus, OH
Ohio State appears to be the clear favorite in the Big Ten as things stand. They have dominated their competition all year and host a questionable Michigan State team this weekend. The Buckeyes are coming off a blowout win over Nebraska while Michigan State needed a last-second field goal to beat an iffy Indiana team.
Brian Lewerke has to do a better job of leading the Spartans in big games and against tough defenses. He has completed just 59.8 percent of his throws this season, but he does have just one interception. Playing it safe will not be enough against the Ohio State defense though.
Redshirt senior wide receiver Darrell Steward Jr. is having an incredible season for the Spartans. He leads the team with 35 catches for 556 yards and three touchdowns. He will have a tough task at hand with Ohio State’s secondary but it will be a fun one.
Defensive end Kenny Willekes continues to impress me. He has 3.5 sacks and two fumble recoveries in five games for the Spartans.
Linebacker Joe Bachie is the leader of the defense, leading the unit with 47 tackles. He also has 5.5 TFLs, one interception, and four pass deflections. Both guys are flying up draft boards and could be steals in the 2020 draft.
Ohio State has put a beating on each of their opponents so far this season. Transfer quarterback Justin Fields is a Heisman candidate and he might be the top prospect for 2021. In five games, Fields has contributed to 23 touchdowns with zero interceptions.
He is aided by two dominant running backs. J.K. Dobbins has a chance to be a top-50 selection in the 2020 NFL Draft, especially if he keeps up his strong play. He has 654 yards on 92 carries and five touchdowns on the season. Master Teague has 326 yards and three scores of his own.
Jeffrey Okudah has emerged as the top cornerback in the 2020 class. His ball skills are impeccable and he has shown his ability to be a lockdown presence on the outside. He already has three interceptions and a forced fumble in 2019.
Chase Young is a top-three prospect in the class as well. The edge rusher already has 8.0 sacks and has made it look easy. He blends power and speed, along with great technique and hand usage, to get to the quarterback consistently. Young may be the first overall pick in the 2020 draft depending on how the order falls.
The Buckeyes have a ton of talent on the defensive side of the ball. Unfortunately, there is only so much you can focus on. Keep an eye on Okudah and Young this weekend.