No doubt the biggest storyline of this year’s Big Ten Championship Game has been the matchup between Ohio State’s high-powered offense and Michigan State’s stingy defense. Who wins out in the biggest battle of the game will depend on stopping the biggest weapons Ohio State can throw at you. That means trying to stop Braxton Miller and Carlos Hyde. If you are MSU, though, you can only pick one to contain. The question is, which one do you pick? According to ESPN college football analysts Kirk Herbstreit, Desmond Howard and David Pollack the answer is very simple—you stop Carlos Hyde. “This offense is where it’s at because of Carlos Hyde, it’s not where it’s at because of Braxton Miller,” said Pollack. “Carlos Hyde is a man-child. When you turn on the tape of Carlos Hyde there’s a lot of takers in the first quarter, in the second quarter there are less takers and in the third quarter it becomes a business decision. I don’t know if there is a more improved running back from last year to this year.” Hyde has rushed for over 200 yards in two of the last three games and despite missing three full games due to suspension, he ranks 16th nationally in rushing yards with 1,290 yards. Miller is no slouch either, though, averaging 6.8 yards a carry. But, if you are Michigan State, putting him in a position to have to win the game is a better proposition than stopping him and letting Hyde go off in the run game. The passing game is…
Stakes will be high for No. 2 Ohio State and No. 10 Michigan State in the Big Ten championship game – though there might be some good consolation prizes for the loser.The Buckeyes (12-0, 8-0 Big Ten) need a win to keep their national title hopes alive and it would help if it was an impressive victory to fend off a one-loss SEC champion in the BCS standings. But even with a loss, the Buckeyes are well-positioned to receive an at-large BCS bid.The Spartans (11-1, 8-0) need a victory to guarantee a desperately coveted spot in the Rose Bowl, where they haven’t played since 1988. But if they lose, and Ohio State plays for the national title, the Spartans could go to the Rose Bowl anyway.”It’s all on the line,” Michigan State defensive back Darqueze Dennard said.The Leaders Division-champion Buckeyes, coming off a 42-41 victory against Michigan, have one of the top offenses in the country, averaging 48.2 points a game to rank third in the country and 530.5 yards to trail just five teams.The Legends Division-champion Spartans are among best on defense, giving up a nation-low 237.7 yards and 11.8 points per game to rank fourth.Soon after Ohio State stopped archrival Michigan on a 2-point conversion Saturday with 32 seconds left to stay undefeated, linebacker Ryan Shazier nailed a scouting report on Michigan State.”They’re a really good team with a really good defense and an offense that’s getting better,” the Butkus Award finalist said. ”I can’t wait to play them in Indianapolis.”The Buckeyes have won 24 straight games, a program record and the longest active streak in major college football.Ohio State also was 12-0 and won its division by two games last year, but its season ended after the regular season because of NCAA sanctions stemming from the tattoo scandal that rocked the program and led to ex-coach Jim Tressel’s exit.The Spartans have won eight games in a row since losing 17-14 at Notre Dame to earn their second berth in the Big Ten title game in three years. They blew their last opportunity to end the school’s Rose Bowl drought.View gallery.”Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio, left, congratulates Kurtis Drummond (27) following a 14-3 win ov …In the inaugural conference championship game two years ago, Michigan State’s Isaiah Lewis ran into Wisconsin punter Brad Nortman to negate a return to the Badgers 3 and give them a first down with 1:37 left in a 42-39 setback.”Tough to lose it as we did, but you have to take tough times sometimes,” Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio said after that game two years ago. ”But we’ll rise again.”Lewis, now a senior, said he’s happy that happened during his career.”You don’t even understand, the last time I was in Indianapolis, I was heartbroken,” Lewis said Saturday after the Spartans beat Minnesota 14-3. ”I was embarrassed to lose that game. The way that I left that game – the play that happened – it just left a bad taste in my mouth.”I’m just ready to go back.”View gallery.”Ohio State’s Dontre Wilson (1) is held back by Michigan defensive back Delano Hill (44) as the two t …When the Buckeyes go to the Big Ten title game for the first time, they might not be at full strength.Ohio State right guard Marcus Hall and kick returner Dontre Wilson were ejected from Saturday’s game at Michigan Stadium for throwing punches during a skirmish following a kickoff. Hall might have added to his potential punishment by putting his arms into the air and extending middle fingers to Michigan fans as he walked off the field.Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer, who said the entire melee was ”unacceptable,” told reporters he would internally handle Hall’s decision to flash the familiar obscene gesture.The Big Ten planned to look at the officials’ written report, review video and to take further action if needed, according to conference spokesman Scott Chipman.—Follow Larry Lage on Twitter: http://twitter.com/larrylageSports & RecreationAmerican Football
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio State has not offered too many uncommitted prospects in the state of Ohio. That could change beginning this weekend when the Buckeyes host a one-day camp on Sunday. One prospect with a legitimate chance at landing an offer is defensive end Terry Ramsey (Clayton, Ohio/Northmont). “I’ve been talking to coach Tim Hinton and he’s saying he can’t wait to see me at the camp,” Ramsey said. “I just can’t wait to get there and show out.
ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Watch List wide receiver Drake Harris (Grand Rapids, Mich./Grand Rapids Christian) reopened his recruitment earlier this year, but didn’t officially decommit from Michigan State until Monday afternoon. Despite the decommitment coming on the tails of three consecutive weekends visiting with Michigan coaches and players in Ann Arbor, Harris said the two aren’t related. “I was already thinking about decommitting for a while,” Harris said.
Four Alabama players facing charges of robbery and fraudulent use of a credit card after a campus attack on two students Feb. 11 are no longer with the team nor enrolled in school. Coach Nick Saban announced Wednesday the disassociation of defensive back Eddie Williams , running back Brent Calloway , defensive lineman D.J. Pettway and Tyler Hayes with the team and school. The four had been suspended indefinitely by Saban and barred from campus by the university after the incident that left one student unconscious. Williams, Hayes and Pettway each face two counts of second-degree robbery. Williams and Calloway were charged with fraudulent use of a credit card. In a separate incident a day earlier, Williams was charged with carrying a pistol without a license. Callway also had a prior arrest on misdemeanor possession of marijuana in October 2011. —Michigan State is expected to name former Ohio State assistant Jim Bollman as its new offensive coordinator, according to multiple reports. Bollman would replace Dan Roushar, who left Michigan State in early …
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Aaron Craft slashed through the lane for a career-high 21 points on Sunday – more than he had scored in the last three games combined – to lead No. 18 Ohio State to a 68-60 victory over fourth-ranked Michigan State. The loss crippled the Spartans’ hopes of catching up with top-ranked Indiana, which now leads the Big Ten race by two full games with four remaining. Deshaun Thomas added 12 of his 14 points in the second half for the Buckeyes (20-7, 10-5), who stand fifth in the conference. Evan Ravenel added 10 points and a crucial block in the final minute. Freshman Gary Harris had 14 points and Adreian Payne and Derrick Nix each had 12 for the Spartans (22-6, 11-4), who have dropped two in a row after winning 11 of 12.
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — It seems every time Michigan State and Ohio State have met on a basketball court in recent years, one team has walked away with a trophy. But that won’t be the case when the No. 4 Spartans square off with the 18th-ranked Buckeyes on Sunday. Coach Tom Izzo’s team (22-5, 11-3) needs a victory to remain within reach of top-ranked Big Ten leader Indiana (24-3, 12-2) as the conference race winds down. The Buckeyes (19-7, 9-5) are trying to maintain a two-game grip on fifth place and cement a first-round bye in the Big Ten tournament. They can also stretch coach Thad Matta’s success rate in 20-win seasons to a perfect 13 for 13. A loss for either team creates headaches that can cause problems down the road.
When No. 18/17 MSU (15-3, 4-1 Big Ten) squares off against No. 11 Ohio State (13-3, 3-1) at 6 p.m. on Saturday (ESPN) at Breslin Center, the Spartans (15-3, 4-1 Big Ten) will be starting a stretch of four games to close out January against three of the four teams who have all shown they could end the conference slate as Big Ten champions.
Cincinnati Colerain has produced several high-level BCS prospects and sends several players to FBS programs annually, and the Cardinals already have coaches inquiring about their 2015 class. Sophomore George Brown Jr., an offensive tackle and defensive end, made several unofficial visits during the fall and has the attention of several BCS schools. “Louisville, LSU, North Carolina, Clemson, Ohio State, Miami, Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Michigan State,” Brown rattled off as the teams showing early interest.
Now Meyer’s approach to video-tape exchange with opponents is under the microscope.
According to the Detroit Free Press, Michigan State’s coaches had an …