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All Michael Thomas does is make big plays against Michigan State

Saturday against Michigan State could be Thomas' Ohio Stadium farewell. Let's hope its a memorable one for Buckeye fans.

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Michael Thomas is Keyshawn Johnson's nephew. You almost assuredly already knew this -- it's been repeated ad nauseam.

Here are some other things you might know about Michael Thomas: he spent a postgrad year at prep school, redshirted as a sophomore for maturity reasons, and made an amazing toe-dragging catch that changed the momentum of the Sugar Bowl.

But here's probably the most important thing you need to know about Michael Thomas -- he's been the Buckeyes' best wide receiver all season.

The stats

Year: RS Junior
Height: 6'3
Weight: 210 lbs
Current stat line: 45 rec, 651 yards, 8 TDs

The game situation

The Buckeyes face what's likely their best opponent this season in Michigan State. You may remember the last time Michael Thomas faced off against the Spartans. It involved this:

With an injury ravaged wideout group this year, Thomas has stepped up both his production and consistency. At times it seems like the Buckeyes receiving corp consists of Thomas and a group of H-backs. He's been so good that it's likely Saturday will be his last game at Ohio Stadium before taking his talents to the NFL.

Conversely, Michigan State's secondary is not quite the "no fly zone" it used to be. The Spartans currently rank 86th in passing yards allowed, yet with what's at stake on Saturday and given the defensive wizardry of Mark Danotonio -- the Buckeyes should expect a stiff test.

So if the Buckeyes are looking to take some pressure off the run game and maybe hit one over the top against the Spartan Dawgs, they're going to need Michael Thomas.

What to watch for

The Spartans' secondary has, much like Ohio State's wide receiving unit, been banged up and plagued with inexperience this season. If J.T. Barrett can find his timing with Thomas early, it should help the Buckeyes loosen up the box and open up some lanes for 'Zeke Elliott to run wild.

Thomas is the unique type of athlete that seems to play his best in the biggest games and there has been none bigger this season. And judging from some twitter feuds this one might be a little personal for Thomas.

The conclusion

Thomas shares his uncle's affinity for trash talk, but he'll need to talk with his play on Saturday. Ohio State's offense has sputtered far too often in 2015 and the lack of production from the wide receiving unit has been a root cause. If there was ever was a game to break out of their pseudo-slump there's no better time than the present.

Thomas is not the deep threat of Devin Smith. He probably never will be. But he does need to be a consistent vertical threat for OSU.

The Buckeye offense is at it's best when the running game is moving the ball and can trigger play action over the top. It's been missing far too often this year. Thomas can help fill that void and hopefully give one more memorable performance against Michigan State while leaving The 'Shoe as a winner.

The game may very well come down to a weakness vs. weakness battle (Ohio State WR's vs. MSU DB's). Let's hope Thomas can swing the advantage into the Buckeyes' favor -- he's definitely done it in the past.