The top spot in the wacky and wild Big Ten East will once again be up for grabs on Saturday afternoon, as Michigan State travels to Columbus to take on Ohio State. Both sitting at 7-2 overall and 5-1 in the conference, the winner will have an inside track to the Big Ten championship.
Kickoff for the crucial matchup is scheduled for Noon ET and will be broadcast on Fox. If you don’t have cable or can’t get to a TV, you can watch Fox online, on your phone or on another streaming device via one of the following over-the-top, cable-free, live-TV streaming services. They cost a monthly fee but all come with a free trial, so you can watch the game for free if you’re in a select market:
FuboTV: Fox (live in 70-plus markets) is included in the “Fubo Premier” channel package. It costs $19.99 per month for the first two months and $39.99 per month after that, but it comes with a free 7-day trial. You can watch on your computer via your browser, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the FuboTV app
DirecTV Now: Fox (live in 39 markets) is included in all four channel packages. They range from $35 to $70 per month, but it comes with a free 7-day trial. You can watch on your computer via your browser, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the DirecTV Now app
Sling TV: Fox (live in 17 markets) is included in the “Sling Blue” channel package. It costs $25 per month, but it comes with a free 7-day trial. You can watch on your computer via your browser, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the Sling TV app
If you thought you had the Big Ten East figured out after Ohio State’s win over Penn State a couple of weeks ago, you were probably left scratching your head last weekend, as then No. 24 Michigan State took down the then No. 7 Nittany Lions, while the Buckeyes were absolutely demolished at the hands of Iowa. All of a sudden, the Spartans are up to No. 12 in the college football rankings, just ahead of both Ohio State and Penn State.
As such, Saturday’s contest essentially serves as an elimination game, with both teams needing a victory to not only grab the top spot in the East, but also to stay alive in the playoff chase. But despite how close these two are in the standings, Ohio State is still regarded as a whopping 14.5-point favorite back at home.
For Michigan State to prove the oddsmakers wrong, quarterback Brian Lewerke will have to continue to play at a high level. The sophomore QB has completed 72 of 103 passes for 845 yards, six touchdowns and two interceptions over the last two games, giving the Spartans some much-needed balance on offense.
“I visited with our defensive staff, and he’s thrown for 800 yards the last two games,” Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer said. “He’s throwing at a very high level, and they’re a much different team. They used to be kind of a 70-30 run-pass (ratio). It’s not that right now.”
The Buckeyes, meanwhile, have been somewhat susceptible to the passing game, ranking 30th in the nation in yards per pass allowed (6.5) and 58th in opponent completion percentage (57.71). They gave up five passing touchdowns to Nathan Stanley a week ago and will have to be better in that regard on Saturday.
Of course, the most intriguing matchup is probably on the other side of the ball, where J.T. Barrett and Ohio State’s No. 4 ranked offense clashes with Mark Dantonio’s No. 11 ranked defense in a battle of strength vs strength. While there are a lot of other potential deciding factors, whoever gets the best of that matchup will likely leave Ohio Stadium in control of their own destiny in the Big Ten.