Matich: Michigan State might not score vs. Ohio State
Michigan State’s 2015 squad doesn’t have offensive firepower like the 2014 squad, which was the highest scoring unit in program history.
The Spartans struggled to score against the likes of Central Michigan, Michigan and Purdue. They delivered their lowest offensive output of the season last week against Maryland, though it came with Connor Cook sidelined with a shoulder injury for the second half.
ESPN college football analyst Trevor Matich doesn’t like the Spartans chances against defending champion Ohio State on Saturday.
In fact, he took it a step further.
“Michigan State might not score,” Matich said on College Football Live on Wednesday. “Their offensive line has had a lot of injuries, their running game is not very good and Ohio State’s defense is phenomenal.
“It’s going to come down to Connor Cook at quarterback and if he’s fully healthy, they’ll have a chance. But if that throwing shoulder is a bit weak and he’s not able to get every inch of talent out of his capability, then it’ll be a rough day for Michigan State.”
Cook said he’s fine and that he’ll be good to go for Saturday. But even if Cook is at 100 percent, he’ll have to deal with the nation’s eighth-ranked pass defense.
The Buckeyes did allow an average of 261 passing yards to the likes of Wes Lunt and Mitch Leidner. And last year in East Lansing, Cook racked up a then-career high 358 yards in a 49-37 loss to Ohio State. The senior also enters Saturday as the nation’s winningest quarterback with a streak of 25 straight games of at least 24 points.
Still, Matich expressed his concern with the blocking miscommunications he saw last week against Maryland.
While Matich called out the MSU offense, he also said the Buckeyes could have issues in their passing game. He said MSU should try to force the Buckeyes to the air with J.T. Barrett as much as possible.
“The vertical presence I think is going to be the key because Michigan State — and really everybody — has come up to the line of scrimmage,” Matich said. “Illinois and Indiana put nine guys within four yards of the line of scrimmage, daring Ohio State to throw it over the top but they didn’t really try it as often as I thought they would.
“In this game, they’re going to match up with a Michigan State secondary that’s given up a ton of deep passes. This is the day for Ohio State’s offense to break out deep.”
And Saturday will be the day that we can finally watch this highly anticipated showdown.