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I Got 5 on it: The resistible force versus the movable object

The anxiety of Michigan State week is back!

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Big Ten Championship Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Welcome to I Got Five on it, where I just realized I spent three hours of my life last week photoshopping Binjimen Victor’s face on a $100 bill. I assure you there will be more photoshop stupidity this week, but not before we take a moment to intro tomorrow’s game versus Michigan State.

The last time we saw Sparty, Ohio State’s coaches were in a post-Iowa world of remembering they have more talent than literally everyone but Alabama (a lesson they’ve already forgotten, somehow), and trampled MSU by 42 points, leaving Fox no choice but to run this hilarious montage:

It was a surprise beatdown in a series filled with close games as of late, and set the tone for the Buckeyes to win out and finish the season strong. Can they use this game similarly, or will we see more of the head scratching play we’ve come to associate 2018 Ohio State Football with?

We’ll find out tomorrow. Until then, here are the five things I’m thinking about:


Same

Let’s run through the similarities between MSU’s offense and Ohio State’s defense:

  • Season-ending injury to top star (Spartans WR Felton Davis III and Nick Bosa)
  • Vastly under-performing unit holding the team back (Michigan State’s offense ranks 95th (!) in S&P+, Ohio State’s defense ranks 45th)
  • Bad coordinator who keeps his job due to friendship with the head coach (Former friend of the program, and now-MSU Co-Offensive Coordinator Jim Bollman, very much not friend of the program Greg Schiano)

Let’s stick with the matchup of the coordinators for a second. Here’s how I picture Schiano and Bollman squaring off:

[Extremely Mike Tirico yelling like Mike Nugent is drilling a 57-yarder voice] Jim Bollman! Greg Schiano! Who will lead their respective unit to defeat first!

In a rational world, Ohio State’s defense shouldn’t have any problems with this offense. Kansas, Rutgers, and Northwestern are the only power five teams averaging fewer yards per play than MSU currently. Starting QB Brian Lewerke has also been hurt recently, and is coming off a game where he threw for 87 yards (!) on 20 attempts (!!!!) Ohio State’s defense hasn’t existed in the rational world lately, though, so who knows what we’ll get here.


Where is he?

On the subject of defense: Anyone seen Chase Young lately? After what looked like a breakthrough against Penn State, he’s almost been an afterthought, with only a half sack in the four games since.

Some of this is probably because of the extra attention he’s receiving due to Nick Bosa’s injury, but Young is way too talented to be this silent. If Ohio State’s defense is going to improve for the stretch run, it has to start with him tomorrow.


Program definer

I already said it on this week’s Hangout in the Holy Land, but I’ll repeat here:

This is one of the most important games of the Urban Meyer era.

After 2012, Ohio State hasn’t had a season where they’ve been eliminated from national title contention before December. Even in years they didn’t make the Playoff/BCS Title, there’s either been an appearance in the Big Ten Championship (2013), or the hope that the committee would put them in the top four (2015, 2017). If Ohio State loses tomorrow, that’s over.

With everything that’s happened the last 5 months —on and off the field— I’m not sure this team can finish strong without a Big Ten/National Championship carrot to chase. Add Meyer’s health to the mix, and it’s not hard to draw comparisons between what’s going on right now, and what happened at the end of his run at Florida.

The Ohio State program is bigger than one regular season game, but the stakes are high in East Lansing. A win keeps the Buckeyes afloat heading into the final two weeks of the season, while a loss pretty much erases all their dreams, and leaves them in a spot they’ve never been before. SHOULD BE FUN.


Talk that talk

It felt like JK Dobbins was letting out a season’s worth of frustration on Nebraska, both in the way he ran, and the shit he was talking:

After a combined 59 yards on 21 carries against Minnesota and Purdue, Dobbins exploded for 163 yards and 3 touchdowns, and put the Huskers to bed with a few punishing runs. It reminded me that despite Dwayne Haskins’ brilliance, this offense is still at its best when No. 2 is the engine driving it. Ohio State’s going to need more of that against an MSU defense that’s doesn’t give up much on the ground. (2nd in Defensive Rushing S&P+)

Unfortunately, a lot of his success depends on the coaches keeping him involved, and whether the guys in front of him can block. They’ve done neither of those things well lately, but it’s clear that this is a much different offense with Dobbins heavily featured.


That guy’s good; play him

Here’s a quick guide to whether Brendon White should start or not:

Science.