Pregame notes ahead of Week 11 matchup versus Michigan State

On3 imageby:Andy Backstrom11/11/23


COLUMBUS — No. 1 Ohio State (9-0, 6-0 Big Ten) is hosting Michigan State (3-6, 1-5) Saturday night in the Buckeyes’ second-to-last home game this season but first and only primetime matchup in the Horseshoe this year.

Lettermen Row has pregame notes:

Pregame updates:

+ Ohio State backup quarterback Devin Brown not doing much of anything in the first round of pregame warmups. His right ankle is pretty heavily wrapped again. Brown went through both rounds of pregame warmups last week at Rutgers and was technically “available.” He hasn’t played since the Penn State game.

+ Ohio State cornerback Denzel Burke is going through the first round of pregame warmups. He’s missed two of the last three games but is available tonight.

+ Starting quarterback Kyle McCord and true freshman quarterback Lincoln Kienholz side-by-side in the stretching lines. As you can see, McCord still has that left ankle wrapped. No changes there.

+ McCord spinning it pregame. Eye black on, as always.

+ Ohio State true freshman Malik Hartford and sophomore Sonny Styles warming up together. The underclassman pairing finished last week’s game playing alongside each other at free safety and strong safety, respectively. They could be starting together tonight with Josh Proctor and Lathan Ransom out.

NOTE: Ransom is in a boot and on a scooter.

+ Ohio State wideouts are warming up. The order of the first four in the receiving line: Marvin Harrison Jr., Emeka Egbuka, Julian Fleming and Xavier Johnson.

+ Kienholz uncorking the deep ball in the first round of pregame warmups. It’s not out of the question he makes his debut late Saturday night if Ohio State has the game in hand against Michigan State.

Injury note: LB Tommy Eichenberg, S Lathan Ransom & S Josh Proctor OUT

Ohio State will be without three defensive starters against Michigan State: linebacker Tommy Eichenberg and safeties Lathan Ransom and Josh Proctor. Eichenberg left the Rutgers game in the fourth quarter with an apparent arm injury. Proctor exited in the third quarter after his heads-up hit and deflection that led to cornerback Jordan Hancock’s game-changing pick-six. Then Proctor spent the rest of the game in concussion protocol. Ransom missed the Rutgers game with an apparent non-contact, lower-leg injury that he suffered on Oct. 28 at Wisconsin.

Cody Simon will likely replace Eichenberg at middle linebacker. In the second half of last week’s game, true freshman Malik Hartford filled in for Proctor at free safety. He was playing alongside sophomore Sonny Styles, who got the start in Ransom’s place at strong safety after starting much of this season at “nickel.” Cornerback Denzel Burke — who has missed two of the last three games — was not listed on the injury report, meaning that he’s “available” Saturday.

Safety Cameron Martinez — who has played limited snaps at nickel this season — is listed as “questionable.”


Stats to track…

  • Before last week at Rutgers, Ohio State running back TreVeyon Henderson had never strung together three straight 100-yard rushing performances. Despite playing only six games so far, Henderson entered the week tied for the third most runs of 15-plus yards (10) of any Big Ten RB this season, per Pro Football Focus.
  • Ohio State has held its last four opponents to a combined 14-of-62 (22.6%) on 3rd Down. Michigan State is 110th nationally & 13th in the Big Ten in 3rd Down conversion rate (33.88%).
  • Ohio State came into the week tied with seven other teams, including Michigan, for the most defensive touchdowns this season (four). Buckeyes defensive scores in 2023: Tyleik Williams fumble recovery vs. Western Kentucky, Jermaine Mathews Jr. pick-six vs. WKU, Josh Proctor pick-six vs. Maryland and Jordan Hancock pick-six vs. Rutgers.
  • Michigan State sophomore safety Jaden Mangham has recorded four interceptions this season. The Spartans are tied for third in the Big Ten with 15 takeaways this season.
  • Michigan State quarterback Katin Houser — who has started the last four games — is averaging 6.2 yards per pass attempt this season. He’s thrown for just 674 total yards in his eight appearances in 2023.

Ohio State vs. Michigan State: Game time, details

Ohio State has won the last seven meetings with Michigan State, taking the last six by double digits. The closest margin of victory for Ryan Day against the Spartans is 24 points — interestingly enough, that was in 2019 when the Buckeyes had their best team under Day.

The Buckeyes lead the all-time series versus Michigan State, 36-15. But Michigan State has spoiled undefeated Ohio State seasons in the Horseshoe before. Interim head coach Harlon Barnett, a former Michigan State player and longtime assistant for the program, knows what that’s like. Can the struggling Spartans do it again under the lights on Saturday night? They have an uphill climb, but they are back in the win column after taking down Nebraska last week, a win that snapped a six-game skid.

  • Time: 7:30 p.m. E.T.
  • TV Channel: NBC
  • Date: Saturday, Nov. 11
  • Location: Ohio Stadium, Columbus, Ohio
  • Weather: At kickoff, 42º RealFeel of 40º, 0% chance of rain, winds 6 mph
  • The line: Ohio State is a 31.5-point favorite, per FanDuel.
  • FOver/under: 47.5 points

Series fun fact

In the last seven games against Michigan State, Ohio State has outscored the Spartans, 282-74. That stretch, however, started with the then-No. 2 Buckeyes scraping out a 17-16 win against a three-win Michigan State team in 2016. This season, Ohio State has a similar setup against the 2023 Spartans, who also have just three wins. Plus, the Buckeyes are not just a top-two squad — they’re the No. 1 team in the College Football Playoff rankings. And, of course, they’re at home instead of East Lansing.

  • The Buckeyes are 5-3-1 against the spread this season. The Buckeyes had covered the spread in every game since it started 0-2 against the number, with the exception of the push at Notre Dame. But they failed to cover by a half-point against Wisconsin two weeks ago.
  • The total has gone under in 6 of the last 8 games between Ohio State and Michigan State
  • The total has gone over in 14 of Ohio State’s last 19 games against a Big Ten East opponent
  • The Buckeyes have went over the total just twice in their eight games this season
  • Michigan State is 4-4-1 against the spread this season
  • Michigan State is 2-4 against the number in Big Ten play this season
  • The total has gone over in four of the last five Michigan State games
  • Ohio State has won seven straight games over Michigan State
  • Ohio State is 8-0 against the spread in its last 8 games played in Week 11

Bold predictions for Buckeyes against Michigan State

The Lettermen Row staff thinks Ohio State will handle Michigan State in the Horseshoe. But the crew went deeper than their score picks to make bold predictions about what will happen in the Buckeyes’ Week 11 matchup.

READ: Bold Predictions as Buckeyes return home for primetime Michigan State matchup

Stick with Lettermen Row for wall-to-wall game-day coverage

Lettermen Row will be on site for comprehensive coverage of the latest Ohio State home game, as the Buckeyes host Michigan State in Columbus Saturday night. Follow along on XInstagram and YouTube for experienced coverage.

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