The Buckeyes had won 24 consecutive games under head coach Urban Meyer. They were the clear favorites to win the Big Ten Championship and head to Pasadena to play Florida State in the National Championship. However, the Spartans had other plans.
The Spartans upset Ohio State, and went on to win a Rose Bowl Championship, while the Buckeyes went on to lose to Clemson in the Orange Bowl.
Starting quarterback Braxton Miller was just recently sidelined for the season with a shoulder injury, so it is likely that redshirt freshman T.J. Barrett will try to seek revenge on Miller’s behalf at Spartan Stadium.
This game will be the first-ever night game to take place in November in East Lansing, and may likely determine who will represent the East division in the 2014 Big Ten Championship game in Indianapolis.
Ohio State led the fifth best rushing attack in the country last year. Dual-threat Miller picked up over 1,000 yards rushing and passing in 2013.
On defense, OSU finished 28th overall in 2013, allowing an average of 22.6 points per game. The Buckeyes have experience on both sides of the ball, with seniors leading the offensive and defensive line, as well as returning starters in the defensive backfield.
When the players reported to fall camp, many experts were picking Ohio State to beat MSU and win the Big Ten. Now with the injury to Miller, it changes the shape of this game significantly. With an unproven starting quarterback, it is unlikely that the Buckeyes will be favored to win this game.
What the Spartans Need
Defensively, stopping the run early is huge for the Spartan defense. Forcing Miller to beat MSU will allow Trae Waynes and Kurtis Drummond to set the tone on defense. If sophomore corner Darian Hicks can step up, the Spartan defense can be confident that they will hold the Buckeyes to a low scoring game.
Offensively, quarterback Connor Cook will need to be effective in the air. With arguably the best wide receiving core in Spartan football history, Jim Bollman and Dave Warner will have to make use of every weapon they have in order to put points on the board and beat a very good Ohio State team.
PredictionsSpartan Redzone: Bradley: 17-0 MSU | Dan: 27-20 MSU The Pact: Fino: 20-13 MSU | Yales: | Faith: 24-14 MSU | Austin: Lions Den: Higer: 31-20 MSU | Louis:
Way-Too-Early Predictions: Jacksonville State (Aug. 29) Oregon (Sept. 6) Eastern Michigan (Sept. 20) Wyoming (Sept. 27) Nebraska (Oct. 4) Purdue (Oct. 11) Indiana (Oct. 18) Michigan (Oct. 25)
Bradley Allen is a multimedia journalist for Impact Sports.
Photo: David Defever/Impact Sports