Game Data: Ohio State at Michigan State

Drew Stanton

We have our Game Data page for Saturday's Big Ten match-up between No. 1-ranked Ohio State and Michigan State at East Lansing (3:30 p.m., ABC regional telecast). We provide the pertinent data, depth charts and a prediction on Saturday's game. Click this free link.

Game Data: Ohio State at Michigan State

* Date, Time: Sat., Oct. 14; 3:36 p.m. (Eastern)

* Location: Spartan Stadium; East Lansing, Mich.

* TV: ABC regional broadcast. Announcers: Brad Nessler, Bob Griese, Paul Maguire and Bonnie Bernstein.

Here is the ABC coverage map:

ABC coverage map

* 2006 Records, Rankings: Ohio State, 6-0 overall, 2-0 Big Ten; ranked first in Associated Press poll and USA Today coaches poll; Michigan State, 3-3 overall, 0-2 Big Ten, unranked.

* Coaches: Ohio State, Jim Tressel (sixth year at OSU, 56-13; 21st year overall, 191-70-2; vs. Michigan State, 3-0); Michigan State, John L. Smith (fourth year at MSU, 21-21; 18th year overall, 131-81; vs. Ohio State, 0-3).

* Series History: Ohio State leads the all-time series 24-12, including 11-5 in East Lansing. OSU rallied to win 32-19 at East Lansing two years ago and did likewise to win 35-24 in Columbus last year.

* Michigan State Schedule: Sept. 2, Idaho, W 21-17; Sept. 9, Eastern Michigan, W 52-20; Sept. 16, at Pittsburgh, W 38-23; Sept. 23, Notre Dame, L 40-37; Sept. 30, Illinois, L 23-20; Oct. 7, at Michigan, L 31-13; Oct. 14, Ohio State; Oct. 21, at Northwestern; Oct. 28, at Indiana; Nov. 4, Purdue; Nov. 11, Minnesota; Nov. 18, at Penn State.

* Michigan State Key Players (2006 Stats): QB Drew Stanton (101 of 163, 1,187 yards, 8 TDs, 6 INTs; 69 carries, 302 yards, 4 TDs), RB Jehuu Caulcrick (64 carries, 289 yards, 6 TDs), WR Kerry Reed (26 catches, 334 yards, 4 TDs), WR Jerramy Scott (16 catches, 240 yards), FS Otis Wiley (46 tackles, 5 TFLs), WLB David Herron Jr. (36 tackles, 1 INT), MLB Kaleb Thornhill (31 tackles).

* Michigan State Fast Facts: Location: East Lansing, Mich.; Enrollment, 45,166; Nickname, Spartans; Colors, Green and White; Stadium, Spartan Stadium (surface, grass; capacity, 75,005).

Depth Charts

Ohio State Offense

SE 80 Brian Robiskie, 6-3, 195, So.

8 Roy Hall, 6-3, 240, Sr.

LT 75 Alex Boone, 6-8, 325, So.

68 Tim Schafer, 6-5, 290, Sr.

LG 71 Steve Rehring, 6-8, 329, So.

68 Tim Schafer, 6-5, 290, Sr.

C 50 Doug Datish, 6-5, 295, Sr.

54 Tyler Whaley, 6-1, 270, So.

RG 72 T.J. Downing, 6-4, 305, Sr.

63 Ben Person, 6-4, 315, So.

RT 74 Kirk Barton, 6-6, 310, Jr.

or 79 Jon Skinner, 6-5, 300, So.

TE 88 Rory Nicol, 6-5, 250, So.

87 Brandon Smith, 6-3, 252, So.

FL 7 Ted Ginn Jr., 6-0, 180, Jr.

4 Ray Small, 6-0, 175, Fr.

QB 10 Troy Smith, 6-1, 215, Sr.

12 Justin Zwick, 6-4, 225, Sr.

TB 25 Antonio Pittman, 5-11, 195, Jr.

34 Maurice Wells, 5-10, 190, So.

or 28 Chris Wells, 6-1, 225, Fr.

FB 89 Stan White Jr., 6-2, 242, Sr.

49 Dionte Johnson, 6-0, 234, Jr.

SL 11 Anthony Gonzalez, 6-0, 195, Jr.

9 Brian Hartline, 6-3, 180, R-Fr.

K 20 Aaron Pettrey, 6-1, 195, R-Fr.

85 Ryan Pretorius, 5-9, 180, So.

Ohio State Defense

DE 99 Jay Richardson, 6-6, 276, Sr.

87 Lawrence Wilson, 6-6, 270, So.

DT 98 Joel Penton, 6-5, 290, Sr.

84 Doug Worthington, 6-7, 274, R-Fr.

DT 90 Quinn Pitcock, 6-3, 295, Sr.

92 Todd Denlinger, 6-3, 280, R-Fr.

DE 50 Vernon Gholston, 6-4, 260, So.

78 Alex Barrow, 6-5, 275, So.

SLB 1 Marcus Freeman, 6-2, 242, So.

or 55 Curtis Terry, 6-2, 234, Jr.

MLB 33 James Laurinaitis, 6-3, 244, So.

6 Larry Grant, 6-3, 225, Jr.

WLB 52 John Kerr, 6-1, 233, Sr.

51 Ross Homan, 6-1, 237, Fr.

CB 2 Malcolm Jenkins, 6-1, 202, So.

13 Andre Amos, 6-1, 180, R-Fr.

FS 3 Jamario O'Neal, 6-1, 200, So.

23 Nick Patterson, 6-2, 210, So.

SS 32 Brandon Mitchell, 6-3, 205, Sr.

23 Nick Patterson, 6-2, 210, So.

CB 14 Antonio Smith, 5-9, 195, Sr.

20 Donald Washington, 6-1, 195, R-Fr.

NB 20 Donald Washington, 6-1, 195, R-Fr.

23 Nick Patterson, 6-2, 210, So.

P 15 A.J. Trapasso, 6-1, 220, So.

48 Jon Thoma, 6-1, 190, R-Fr.

LS 58 Drew Norman, 6-0, 230, Sr.

Michigan State Offense

LT 66 Mike Gyetvai, 6-7, 307, Jr.

57 Rocco Cironi, 6-6, 288, R-Fr.

LG 75 Pete Clifford, 6-7, 300, Jr.

71 Kenny Shane, 6-5, 312, Jr.

C 74 Kyle Cook, 6-3, 295, Sr.

54 John Masters, 6-4, 296, Jr.

RG 73 Roland Martin, 6-5, 325, So.

60 Mike Bacon, 6-4, 296, So.

RT 79 Jesse Miller, 6-6, 306, So.

64 Brendon Moss, 6-6, 289, R-Fr.

TE 81 Dwayne Holmes, 6-0, 277, So.

87 Kyle Sackrider, 6-2, 245, Jr.

Z WR 15 Kerry Reed, 6-2, 198, Sr.

10 Devin Thomas, 6-2, 217, So.

X WR 12 T.J. Williams, 6-3, 184, Fr.

82 Ryan Allison, 6-3, 210, So.

SL 32 Jerramy Scott, 5-10, 186, Sr.

18 Terry Love, 5-11, 177, Jr.

TB 30 Jehuu Caulcrick, 6-0, 260, Jr.

20 A.J. Jimmerson, 5-10, 205, R-Fr.

QB 5 Drew Stanton, 6-3, 230, Sr.

7 Brian Hoyer, 6-2, 210, So.

K 14 Brett Swenson, 5-8, 151, Fr.

Michigan State Defense

STUD 19 Justin Kershaw, 6-4, 254, So.

94 Jonal Saint-Dic, 6-1, 260, Jr.

DT 92 Clifton Ryan, 6-2, 302, Sr.

98 Bobby Jones, 6-4, 302, Jr.

DT 99 Ogemdi Nwagbuo, 6-4, 297, Jr.

17 David Stanton, 6-3, 290, Sr.

RUSH 51 Ervin Baldwin, 6-2, 252, Jr.

47 Brandon Long, 6-4, 244, So.

WLB 41 David Herron Jr., 6-1, 245, Sr.

55 Adam Decker, 6-2, 240, R-Fr.

MLB 43 Kaleb Thornhill, 6-1, 239, Jr.

49 Steve Juarez, 6-1, 232, Sr.

BLB 27 Sirdarean Adams, 6-0, 230, Jr.

42 Rob Tabatchnick, 5-11, 206, Jr.

CB 29 Greg Cooper, 5-11, 186, Sr.

34 Jelani Nantambu, 5-9, 186, So.

SS 3 Nehemiah Warrick, 6-1, 203, Jr.

13 Travis Key, 5-10, 185, Jr.

FS 21 Otis Wiley, 6-2, 209, So.

33 Dan Fortener, 6-1, 191, R-Fr.

CB 9 Demond Williams, 5-9, 174, Sr.

38 Kendell Davis-Clark, 5-11, 195, So.

P 8 Brandon Fields, 6-6, 235, Sr.

Breaking It Down

* When Ohio State Has The Ball: The Buckeyes did not run the ball all that much or all that effectively against Bowling Green last weekend. In fact, OSU seemed content to run between the tackles with a plethora of heretofore unseen two-tight end sets. Antonio Pittman missed the 100-yard mark for just the second time in six games this season. My guess is MSU, ranked fifth in the Big Ten in rushing defense, will see a steady diet of Pittman going inside but also, and more importantly, going outside. He had 18 carries for 101 yards in last year's OSU win in Columbus.

MSU has only managed six quarterback sacks in six games this season. That tells me that Troy Smith should have carte blanche to pick out the receiver he likes and throw to him. MSU is eighth in the Big Ten in passing, while Smith is the Big Ten's top-rated passer (and seventh nationally). Moreover, he threw for 249 yards and three touchdowns against the Spartans a year ago.

Ted Ginn Jr. has four touchdowns in his career against MSU. He returns to the scene of his first breakout game as he scored on a run, a punt return and a catch in OSU's come-from-behind win at MSU in 2004. And, if the Spartans want to try and jam up Ginn, that should only mean that Anthony Gonzalez, Roy Hall and Brian Robiskie are ready, willing and able to pick up some of the slack.

* When Michigan State Has The Ball: Like Hayden Fry used to say, the Michigan State offense is "boogered up, battered and bruised." The Spartans have lost starting tailback Javon Ringer for the season with a torn MCL. It seems that standout TE Matt Trannon (25 catches already this year) will likely also miss this game. QB Drew Stanton was dinged up in the Illinois game and did not play exceptionally well last week against Michigan.

But Stanton is a three-year starter as a senior and he has shown to be extremely dangerous running and throwing the ball. The Buckeyes never gave him a chance last year as they sacked him 12 times. The key, once again, will be to get sufficient pressure on Stanton and make him make a critical mistake – as he did in the come-from-ahead loss to Notre Dame and also did with two picks last week against Michigan.

Ringer's loss means that OSU will have to contend with a lot of 260-pound bruiser Jehuu Caulcrick. He has mostly been used as the short-yardage and goal-line guy over the last year and a half. But now he gets his shot to be an every down back. He is averaging 4.5 yards per carry on the year, but he only netted 29 yards in 14 carries last week against Michigan.

The OSU defense has come this far. The Buckeyes can master this challenge by gang tackling on Caulcrick and not letting him bully them for 8- and 9-yard gains. They will also succeed if they keep the heat on Stanton. Playing without Trannon really hurts MSU because he was a great safety valve to dump the ball off to. Receivers Kerry Reed and Jerramy Scott are steady but not necessarily dynamic threats.

* How It Will Go: Michigan State is much better than their record would attest to. They led Notre Dame 31-14 at halftime and 37-21 after three quarters before going into complete collapse mode. Beginning with the fourth quarter of that game and on through the Michigan game – a span of nine quarters – MSU has been outscored 73-33. That includes the unthinkable home loss to Illinois, which had not won a Big Ten game dating back to 2004.

Compound the injury situation and you can see why someone might say the MSU program – under the somewhat erratic John L. Smith – seems to be in complete disarray.

But let's stop right there. This is still a dangerous team. History tells us that Michigan State almost always plays Ohio State tough. One could argue that MSU outplayed OSU the last two times they played, but only had 13- and 11-point defeats to show for it. This year, MSU went into Pittsburgh and dealt the Panthers their only loss to date (38-23). That was a week before they played so well (and then so poorly) against Notre Dame.

My feeling is Ohio State will come out with the same approach that served it so well at Texas and Iowa – jump on MSU early and take the almost certainly hostile Spartan Stadium crowd out of the game. A review of the Iowa game shows that OSU slammed the door on Iowa's first possession, scored on its own first possession, scored just before halftime and then scored to start the second half to put the game away. That's what you do when you're on the road. You don't give a team even half a chance to think it's in the game.

MSU is going to rebound and come out of this funk at some point. Heck, they may even win four of their last five games to get to a bowl somewhere. I think the Spartans give Ohio State another tough game. But MSU will come up just a bit short. I've got it: Ohio State 34-20

* For The Record: I am 6-0 straight-up and 4-2 against-the-spread with Ohio State. (As of Tuesday, OSU was listed as a 14-1/2 point favorite.)

* Other Picks: On this week's Bucknuts Radio Hour, all of the panelists picked Ohio State. Mr. Bucknuts picked OSU 31-10. Jerry Rudzinski said OSU 30-24. Dave Biddle said OSU 34-16. Kirk Larrabee said OSU 33-20.

-- Steve Helwagen

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