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Ohio State: Now or never for Buckeyes to show championship mettle

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Urban Meyer and Ohio State proved their toughness in adverse conditions the last time at Michigan State. (Mike Carter/USA TODAY Sports)

Question Of The Day

Ohio State: Now or never for Buckeyes to show championship mettle

The speculation, debate and conversations about Ohio State never end, and Lettermen Row is always ready to dive into the discussions. All week long, senior writer Austin Ward will field topics on Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes submitted by readers and break down anything that’s on the minds of the Best Damn Fans in the Land. Have a question that needs to be tackled, like the one today about the game prediction for Ohio State and Michigan State? Send it in right here — and check back daily for the answers.

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Ohio State is a road favorite in a Big Ten battle at Michigan State on Saturday. (Bovada/Courtesy)

This is the test for Ohio State.

Leadership? The Buckeyes need to ensure that the standard is being met and that adverse conditions won’t have anybody backing down at Michigan State.

Rushing attack? For J.K. Dobbins, Mike Weber and the offensive line, the challenges don’t get bigger than taking on the best rush defense in the country. The Buckeyes have to prove last week’s improvements weren’t a fluke.

Shaky defense? If Ohio State can’t slow down these suspect Spartans, the problems might be far deeper than anybody has previously imagined.

The Game on Nov. 24 stands all on its own. That’s always the ultimate measuring stick matchup for the Buckeyes, and nobody in the program is ever going to put Michigan State on that level in terms of a rivalry. But in order for Ohio State to put the maximum stakes on the table again at the end of the regular season, what they do against the Spartans will be hugely significant and reveal whether Urban Meyer has a legitimate championship contender or not.

It’s that simple.

Given the talent on the roster, the amount of money invested in an experienced coaching staff and all the potential motivational factors working in their favor, there’s no reason for the Buckeyes to show up with anything less than a performance that puts it back in the thick of the College Football Playoff race. And the expectation is that will happen, even if it won’t be easy.

Now or never for the Buckeyes to look like champions again? Bet on now.

The Pick: Ohio State 27, Michigan State 21.

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David

If the game is going to be won, it has got to be through the air. I don’t think the O-line has the resolve to match up against the MSU D-line. The line will get too antsy trying to cover their assignment that they’ll jump offsides, or, worse yet, hold. It has been a pattern for far too long this year. Not sure that any RB for MSU has proven their grit – although I thought Connor Heyward had the chance to show it early in the season. If the D-line can get to Lewerke early and often, Ohio State… Read more »

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David

Boy, was I wrong! Michael Jordan could have played a better game, but overall the offense looked much better than the past few games. Mike Weber rushed for 100+ yards and had a score. If you had told me that prior to the game, I wouldn’t have believed it.

Defensively, the Buckeyes looked solid. Causing three turnovers and getting one score.

Dru Chrisman should be the player of the game. Bad start for him, but he finished as strongly as anyone.

Great game, Buckeyes!!

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Austin Ward is Lettermen Row's senior writer covering Ohio State football and basketball. The award-winning journalist has covered the Buckeyes since 2012, spending five of those seasons working for ESPN after previous stints at the Casper Star-Tribune and Knoxville News Sentinel.

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