3. Home field advantage will be the defining factor.
To say the Buckeyes have been very good on their home field would be an understatement. They have only lost three games at home since 2011. As it has been for many years, Ohio Stadium will be a key factor in this important match up against the Spartans.
Last time the Spartans and the Buckeyes met at Ohio Stadium, the Spartans pulled off an upset of epic proportions that ended up keeping the undefeated and defending champion Buckeyes at home for the conference championship and the playoffs.
The Spartans ended up winning the conference championship but were less fortunate in the playoffs where they got shutout and lost by 38 points to Alabama.
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Barrett knows the feeling of that brutal loss more than anyone on this team.
The Spartans will be returning standout running back LJ Scott to their lineup. Scott has been key for the Spartans since he began as a freshman in 2015 averaging around five yards per carry over the last two seasons.
He was a major factor in the Spartans’ upset bid last season against the Buckeyes as he trampled the defense with 160 yards and a touchdown. However, Scott is now averaging just 4.4 yards per carry and has just five rushing touchdowns on the season.
Scott’s decrease in productions could be a product of the Spartans’ transition into becoming more successful passing team with the rise of Lewerke. The Spartans are now sixth in the Big Ten in passing offense. Lewerke has thrown for the fifth most passing yards in the Big Ten and the fifth most touchdowns while keeping turnovers at a minimum with just five interceptions.
The Spartans’ only road games this season have come against Northwestern, Indiana, and Minnesota in which they lost to Northwestern and won the other two by eight points or less. Expect Ohio State to prevail as home field advantage will be too much for the Spartans to overcome.