Buckeyes get first road test with struggling Spartans

By Jim Naveau - [email protected]

COLUMBUS – After playing its first five games at home, No. 3 Ohio State (5-0, 2-0 Big Ten) faces its first test in an opponent’s stadium when it goes to Michigan State (2-3, 0-2 Big Ten) Saturday.

What are the things Ryan Day is looking for from the Buckeyes in their first game outside the friendly confines of Ohio Stadium?

“It’s a new challenge for us, a new test. It’s been unique that we’re into Week 6 and haven’t played a game on the road. The first things you look for when you go on the road are focus and composure. You have to do a great job with leadership. The older guys who have done this before have to lead the way,” Day said on Tuesday at his weekly press conference.

“If you haven’t done that before it’s hard to simulate going into a hostile environment like we’re about to do. There can be a lot more distractions on the road in terms of when you’re at the game. The good thing is when you’re traveling together there are fewer distractions in terms of all the outside stuff.”

Ohio State has beaten Michigan State six times in a row since a 17-14 loss to MSU in 2015 cost the Buckeyes a chance to try to be repeat national champions. Ohio State hasn’t lost a game at Michigan State since 1999.

Some other thoughts from Day:

– ON JAXON SMITH-NJIGBA: Ohio State’s No. 1 receiver, who has played in only two games because of a presumed hamstring injury, might play on Saturday but that is subject to change, Day said.

“We’re hoping to get him back this weekend. But it’s so hard to tell. We can come in today and they’ll say he had a little bit of a setback or no, he’s doing really well and trending to play on Saturday. With the type of injury he has it can linger or it can get better quick. We’re hoping it’s the latter of the two,” he said. Day also talked about having a lot of plays featuring Smith-Njigba in the playbook that OSU hasn’t been able to use.

“We’re looking forward to getting Jaxon back and getting him going. He brings another element to our whole entire offense,” he said.

“I guess it’s been a silver lining that we’ve kind of had to go down the road of some other packages. You can see those guys have embraced it. You have to credit our staff and kids for really embracing it and putting it on the field. It wasn’t something we spent a ton of time on in the off season. It’s one thing to practice it and it’s another thing to put it on the field and be successful.”

– CAM BROWN’S STATUS: Starting cornerback Cam Brown has missed the last two games because of an unspecified injury and it is uncertain if he will be able to play Saturday.


By Jim Naveau

[email protected]