4. The Spartans will struggle to defend the Buckeyes’ balanced offense.
Like the Buckeyes, offense hasn’t always been a first priority for the Spartans. Having a great offense is a plus but it isn’t a necessity as defense is the strong suit for teams in the Big Ten.
Teams that have competent scoring offenses have caused trouble for the Spartans this season. In their two losses, the Spartans allowed 38 points or more.
Their first loss was to Notre Dame who has the seventh best scoring offense in the nation and their second loss was to Northwestern. Believe it or not, the Wildcats can also put up points as they are in the top six in the Big Ten in scoring offense and top four in passing offense.
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The Spartans have improved their own offense a bit in this season with first year quarterback Brian Lewerke at the helm. Their passing offense improved from 72nd in the nation last season to 51st which is also good for sixth in the Big Ten.
After Ohio State’s first loss, they began to play their best on offense than ever before. The Bucks averaged over 50 points a game up until last weekend.
This makes it more likely than not that they will bounce back. In fact, Ohio State would only have to score half of that amount to beat the Spartans’ scoring average of just 24 points per game.
The Spartans have been great on defense but they will have a hard time slowing down the Buckeyes’ balanced attack. If the Buckeyes can find a way to establish the run with Dobbins and Weber early then it shouldn’t take long to open up clear passing opportunities.
This is especially true considering the Spartans are in the bottom half of the Big Ten in passing defense at sixth worst. The Buckeyes’ offense is still one of the best and they will return with a vengeance this weekend.
There are some holes in the Spartans’ defense such as the secondary where the Buckeyes’ talented receivers can burn them. Barrett will have a much easier time cooking up some production on his home field where he has enjoyed some of his greatest games over the years.
Expect the Bucks’ offense to play closer to their potential against the Spartans.