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Next at No. 3 is MSU. When Ohio State plays No. 2 Michigan, they try not to…….

MSU is next as No. 3 Ohio State tries not to look ahead to showdown with No. 2 Michigan

Michigan State (3-6, 1-5 Big Ten) at No. 3 Ohio State (9-0, 6-0, CFP No. 1), Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET (NBC)

Line: Ohio State by 31 1/2, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.

Series record: Ohio State leads 36-15.

AVERAGE RISK?

The Buckeyes are rolling right along, although the games haven’t all looked pretty.

Last week, they battled Rutgers for a while before ultimately winning in a match that was closer than the 35-16 score suggested.

Theoretically, Ohio State should have an easier time against Michigan State, which defeated Nebraska last week for its first Big Ten victory after losing six straight games following the suspension and eventual firing of former coach Mel Tucker.

The Buckeyes are hurtling toward the much-anticipated showdown with No. 2 Michigan on the Saturday after Thanksgiving in Ann Arbor.

To make any sense, though, they must defeat Michigan State and Minnesota the following week.

KEY MATCHUP

Michigan State secondary versus Ohio State wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. Harrison has shown he can beat double coverage and out-jump most defensive backs. The likely first-round NFL draft pick has 52 catches for 918 yards and 10 touchdowns.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Michigan State: Montorie Foster Jr. caught four passes for a season-high 94 yards in the Spartans win over Nebraska last week, including a 25-yard TD that gave them a 20-10 lead in the fourth quarter.

Ohio State: RB TreVeyon Henderson has been fantastic since missing three games after being injured against Notre Dame on Sept. 23. After rushing for 162 yards and a touchdown against Wisconsin the previous week, he ran for 128 yards and a touchdown against Rutgers.

FACTS & FIGURES

The Buckeyes have beaten Michigan State for seven straight years since a 17-14 win by the Spartans in Columbus in 2015. … Ohio State won last year 49-20 in East Lansing. … Nathan Carter is the Spartans leading rusher, compiling 659 yards and four touchdowns. … Michigan State interim coach Harlon Barnett is 1-6. … Ohio State coach Ryan Day is 4-0 vs. Michigan State as a head coach with his teams outscoring the Spartans 191-49. … The Spartans have beaten a Top 5 Ohio State team five times, including in 1974 and 1998 when the Buckeyes were ranked No. 1. … A win Saturday would give Ohio State its 30th season in school history of having at least 10 wins. … Ohio State has been ranked in all 55 weeks of the College Football Playoff era. … Ohio State quarterback Kyle McCord completed his final seven passing attempts against Wisconsin Oct. 28 and his first 11 against Rutgers last week to set a new school record of 18 consecutive completions over two games.

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