Game Data: Michigan State at Ohio State

Better late than never, we have our weekly look at the key information, TV coverage map, depth charts and one man's opinion on how Saturday's showdown between No. 7 Ohio State and No. 14 Michigan State (noon, ABC regional telecast) will go.

OSU-Michigan State Game Data

* Date, Time: Sat., Nov. 8, 12:07 p.m. (Eastern)

* Location: Ohio Stadium (capacity, 101,568); Columbus

* TV: ABC (regional coverage; commentators, Brad Nessler, Bob Griese, Lynn Swann)

Click here for the ABC coverage map

* 2003 Records, Rankings: OSU, 8-1, 4-1 Big Ten, seventh in AP poll; Michigan State, 7-2, 4-1 Big Ten, 14th in AP poll.

* Coaches: OSU, Jim Tressel (third year at OSU, 29-6; 18th year overall, 164-63-2; vs. Michigan State, first meeting); Michigan State, John L. Smith (first year at MSU, 7-2; 15th year overall, 117-62; vs. OSU, first meeting).

* Series History: Ohio State leads series, 21-12, including 11-7 in Columbus.

* Michigan State Schedule: Aug. 30, Western Michigan, W 26-21; Sept. 6, Rutgers, W 44-28; Sept. 13, Louisiana Tech, L 20-19; Sept. 20, at Notre Dame, W 22-16; Sept. 27, Iowa, W 20-10; Oct. 4, Indiana, W 31-3; Oct. 11, at Illinois, W 49-14; Oct. 18, at Minnesota, W 44-38; Nov. 1, at Michigan, L 27-20; Nov. 8, at Ohio State; Nov. 15, at Wisconsin; Nov. 22, Penn State.

* Michigan State Key Players: QB Jeff Smoker (201 of 313 passing, 2,324 yards, 13 TDs, 6 INTs), RB Jaren Hayes (129 carries, 586 yards, 5 TDs), WR Agim Shabaj (43 catches, 574 yards, 4 TDs), FS Jason Harmon (62 tackles), DT Matthias Askew (6 sacks), DE Greg Taplin (6 sacks), OLB Mike Labinjo (3 INTs).

* Michigan State Fast Facts: Location: East Lansing, Mich.; Enrollment, 44,937; Nickname, Spartans; Colors, Green and White; Stadium, Spartan Stadium (surface, grass; capacity, 72,027).

Depth Charts

Ohio State Offense

QB 16 Craig Krenzel (6-4, 225, Sr.)

15 Scott McMullen (6-3, 215, Sr.)

SE 12 Michael Jenkins (6-5, 215, Sr.)

82 Roy Hall (6-3, 228, R-Fr.)

LT 77 Rob Sims (6-4, 305, So.)

72 T.J. Downing (6-5, 300, R-Fr.)

LG 63 Adrien Clarke (6-5, 330, Sr.)

64 Adam Olds (6-4, 290, So.)

C 55 Nick Mangold (6-4, 280, So.)

76 Alex Stepanovich (6-4, 300, Sr.)

RG 76 Alex Stepanovich (6-4, 300, Sr.)

79 Bryce Bishop (6-3, 312, Sr.)

RT 71 Shane Olivea (6-5, 320, Sr.)

52 Mike Kne (6-4, 300, Jr.)

TE 88 Ben Hartsock (6-4, 264, Sr.)

80 Ryan Hamby (6-5, 240, So.)

FL 4 Santonio Holmes (5-11, 170, R-Fr.)

3 Bam Childress (5-10, 185, Jr.) or

7 Chris Gamble (6-2, 200, Jr.)

TB 30 Lydell Ross (6-1, 210, Jr.)

28 Maurice Hall (5-11, 200, Jr.)

FB 38 Branden Joe (6-0, 245, Jr.) or

43 Brandon Schnittker (6-1, 250, So.)

K 85 Mike Nugent (5-10, 170, Jr.)

Ohio State Defense

DE 75 Simon Fraser (6-6, 265, Jr.)

97 David Patterson (6-3, 285, Fr.)

DT 56 Darrion Scott (6-3, 280, Sr.)

94 Marcus Green (6-3, 290, So.)

DT 54 Tim Anderson (6-4, 289, Sr.)

90 Quinn Pitcock (6-3, 300, R-Fr.)

DE 93 Will Smith (6-4, 265, Sr.)

57 Mike Kudla (6-3, 275, So.)

WLB 47 A.J. Hawk (6-2, 230, So.)

41 Thomas Matthews (6-2, 210, Jr.)

MLB 46 Fred Pagac Jr. (6-1, 225, Sr.)

5 Mike D'Andrea (6-3, 240, So.)

SLB 44 Robert Reynolds (6-3, 242, Sr.)

42 Bobby Carpenter (6-3, 240, So.)

CB 37 Dustin Fox (6-0, 190, Jr.)

26 Ashton Youboty (6-1, 195, Fr.)

CB 7 Chris Gamble (6-2, 200, Jr.)

13 Harlen Jacobs (6-1, 197, Jr.)

FS 21 Nate Salley (6-3, 205, So.)

32 Brandon Mitchell (6-3, 190, R-Fr.)

SS 4 Will Allen (6-2, 190, Sr.)

9 Donte Whitner (5-11, 185, Fr.) or

6 Tyler Everett (6-1, 185, So.)

P 21 B.J. Sander (6-3, 212, Sr.)

Michigan State Offense

QB 9 Jeff Smoker (6-3, 224, Sr.)

5 Drew Stanton (6-3, 222, R-Fr.)

TE 4 Eric Knott (6-3, 267, Jr.) or

81 Jason Randall (6-5, 255, Jr.)

LT 72 Stefon Wheeler (6-5, 319, So.)

71 Gordon Niebylski (6-4, 308, So.)

LG 68 Joe Tate (6-5, 295, Sr.)

60 Joe Brooks (6-4, 315, Sr.)

C 51 Chris Morris (6-4, 291, So.)

69 Kyle Cook (6-4, 287, R-Fr.)

RG 57 Paul Harker (6-3, 302, Sr.)

76 William Whitticker (6-6, 317, Jr.)

RT 77 Steve Stewart (6-5, 312, Sr.)

79 Sean Poole (6-6, 301, Jr.)

X-WR 6 Matt Trannon (6-6, 228, So.)

82 Ziehl Cavanaugh (5-11, 180, Sr.)

Z-WR 10 Aaron Alexander (6-5, 205, So.) or

3 Kyle Brown (6-1, 205, So.)

SLOT 2 Agim Shabaj (5-10, 194, So.)

32 Jerramy Scott (5-10, 185, So.)

TB 31 Jaren Hayes (5-9, 184, So.)

34 Tyrell Dortch (5-10, 203, Jr.)

K 16 Dave Rayner (6-2, 203, Jr.)

Michigan State Defense

RUSH DE 94 Greg Taplin (6-5, 259, Sr.)

52 Clifton Ryan (6-2, 279, R-Fr.)

DT 95 Matthias Askew (6-6, 299, Jr.)

88 Luc Mullinder (6-4, 286, Sr.)

DT 97 Kyle Rasmussen (6-4, 290, Sr.)

91 Kevin Vickerson (6-5, 298, Jr.)

STUD 59 Clifford Dukes (6-3, 264, Jr.)

40 Michael Bazemore (6-2, 258, So.)

MLB 44 Ronald Stanley (6-0, 234, Jr.)

35 Mark Goebel (6-2, 228, Sr.)

WHIP LB 42 Mike Labinjo (6-1, 252, Sr.)

48 Seth Mitchell (6-2, 249 So.)

BANDIT 45 Monquiz Wedlow (5-11, 203, Sr.)

33 Robert Flagg (6-2, 202, Jr.)

CB 22 Darren Barnett (6-0, 187, So.)

12 Ashton Watson (6-0, 177, So.)

FS 25 Jason Harmon (5-11, 195, Jr.)

29 Greg Cooper (5-11, 183, Fr.)

SS 36 Eric Smith (6-1, 205, So.)

27 Derron Ware (6-3, 223, So.)

CB 17 Roderick Maples (5-10, 190, Jr.)

24 Jeremiah McLaurin (5-11, 190, Sr.)

P 8 Brandon Fields (6-5, 219, R-Fr.)

Breaking It Down

* When Ohio State Has The Ball: It is pretty simple, actually. After all of the hubbub regarding who will play quarterback for Ohio State this week, I truly believe this game hinges on what Lydell Ross and the running game can put together. OSU would do well, obviously, to see how Michigan and Chris Perry trampled MSU for over 200 yards on the ground last week. No one is saying that Ross should carry the ball 51 times. (It seems about 21 or 22 is his limit.) But if the running game can produce, say, 160 yards, OSU should be in good shape. That would be quite an accomplishment against a run defense ranked 19th nationally (101.2 yards per game).

And, as for the quarterback position, the "platoon" of Craig Krenzel and Scott McMullen -- boy, it is weird to say that -- should also fare well. MSU is 103rd nationally in pass defense, allowing a hefty 264.0 yards per game. Krenzel should have every chance to find a rhythm against this defense. If he falters and/or OSU falls behind, I would expect to see McMullen, though.

* When Michigan State Has The Ball: Jeff Smoker is the unquestioned leader of the MSU offense and everything flows through him. MSU is a distant 95th nationally in rushing, so they will lean on Smoker to move the sticks. His one main deep threat is Agim Shabaj, but he has several other big targets to throw to. He has only thrown 6 picks in 313 attempts this year, so he is hard to rattle. Luckily, OSU has already seen this kind of passing attack in the form of Washington, San Diego State, N.C. State and Northwestern. The way he plays and distributes the ball should not be a big shock.

I look for MSU to go nowhere on the ground against the nation's top-ranked run defense (49.4 yards per game). If the Buckeyes can "contain" Smoker to, say, 235 yards and a couple of touches, everything should be good. It would help if the defense could force a turnover or two.

* How It Will Go: As I said above, I think this game kind of hinges on how well Ohio State is able to duplicate Michigan‘s success in running the football against MSU. It is not glamorous, but with a strong defense behind you a good running game controls the tempo of the football game. I expect Smoker will deliver some heroics that will have everybody on the edge of their seats. But this is still Ohio Stadium, isn't it? And it goes without saying that we'd like to see both Krenzel and McMullen come through here.

I see Ohio State earning a ninth win and moving one step closer to a Big Ten championship, defeating Michigan State 24-21.

-- Steve Helwagen


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