There’s one final game to play in the 2013 Big Ten season. On Saturday in Indianapolis, the Ohio State Buckeyes will meet the Michigan State Spartans in the Big Ten Championship. Ohio State enters with a record of 12-0 and have won 24-straight going back to last season. The Spartans have a record of 11-1 and are appearing in the game for the second time in the three-year history of the championship. The winner of the Big Ten traditionally earns a birth in the Rose Bowl. However, if Ohio State comes out victorious, the Buckeyes will most likely land in the BCS National Championship Game, as they are currently ranked second in the country.
This game is the classic matchup between the top-scoring offense and the top-scoring defense in the conference. The Buckeyes are the top offense in the conference, while the Spartans boast the best defense in the conference. This has the potential to be a great game that’s entertaining till the end.
Ohio State has been unstoppable at times on offense. Quarterback Braxton Miller is a dual-threat athlete who’s one of the most dangerous weapons in the nation. This season, he threw for 1,759 yards and 21 touchdowns. He also did damage with his legs, rushing for 891 yards and eight touchdowns.
Running back Carlos Hyde is another dangerous weapon on the Ohio State offense. Hyde rushed for 1,290 yards and scored 14 touchdowns. He’s proven tough for any opposing offense to stop this year.
While the focus at Ohio State is on the running game, the Buckeyes also have several talented receivers that can create matchup problems in the secondary. Devin Smith and Philly Brown both have over 600 yards receiving and have combined for 17 touchdowns.
As far as defense, the Buckeyes are good on that side of the ball as well, ranking fourth in the conference in total defense. Ohio State has some impressive players on defense. Linebacker Ryan Shazier is the Big Ten’s leading tackler. Defensive lineman Noah Spence and cornerback Bradley Roby are also stars who make big plays.
The Spartans entered the 2013 season with a lot of questions on offense. The biggest problem was finding a replacement for running back Le’Veon Bell. Jeremy Langford has had a great season at running back. He rushed for 1,210 yards and 16 touchdowns this season, far better than what could have been hoped for at the start of the year. Michigan State had nothing but question marks in the backfield before this season started.
Quarterback Connor Cook has been a pleasant surprise after taking the starting job from last year’s starter Andrew Maxwell. Cook did a great job of being consistent, throwing for 2,119 yards with 17 touchdowns and just four interceptions. His favorite target, receiver Bennie Fowler will look to have a big game against the Ohio State secondary.
While the Spartans won’t light the world on fire on the offensive side of the ball, it’s the defense that will be the key to the game. Michigan State has dominated on defense this year, ranking third in the country, giving up just 11.8 points a game to opponents. The defense is led by a couple of upperclassmen. Linebackers Max Bullough, Denicos Allen and safety Kurtis Drummond make moving the ball on this defense extremely difficult.
If the Spartans are going to have a shot at pulling off the upset, they are going to need a monster game from their talented defensive unit.
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