Ohio State is ranked No. 1 in all three national polls and leads the nation in total defense and scoring defense. Additionally, the Buckeyes lead the Big Ten in pass efficiency, pass efficiency defense, passing yards allowed and rushing yards allowed. Michigan State is No. 1 in the Big Ten in total and scoring offense, kick returns and tackles for loss.
Two of Ohio State's nine losses as the nation's No. 1-ranked team have come against Michigan State. The Spartans got the better of the Buckeyes in 1974 and '98 while the Buckeyes came out on top in games played in 1969, '70, '73 and 2006.
Last week the Buckeyes scored touchdowns via all three units – offense, defense and special teams – in the same game for the first time since 1997. That year in a 37-13 win over Michigan State, OSU safety Gary Berry returned an interception 45 yards for a score and recovered a blocked punt at the MSU 1-yard line and took it in for another TD. The Buckeyes' offensive TDs came on an 11-yard reception by David Boston from Joe Germaine and a 3-yard run by Pepe Pearson.
Michigan State has lost its last six games against teams ranked in the Associated Press Top 25. That span includes the Spartans' last two matchups with Ohio State.
Ohio State opponents are averaging 9.3 punts per game while scoring just 6.6 points.
Rex Kern, who wore No. 10 as Woody Hayes' quarterback from 1968-70, will be honored on campus this weekend for his pending induction to the College Football Hall of Fame. The native of Lancaster, Ohio, who was an All-American in 1969, will be formally inducted to the hall in December.
This week Ohio State returned to the No. 1 spot in the national rankings for the 16th time since 1942.
Ohio State has won 17 conference games in a row, 14 more than the next-best active streak (Michigan, 3). The Buckeyes have matched their school record for conference wins, set from 1954-56 and matched from 1967-1969 and 1974-76, and will have the second best streak of all time if they beat the Spartans this weekend. Michigan won 19 Big Ten games in a row from 1990-92.
Speaking of streaks, Ohio State's 25-game regular season winning streak is the longest in the Big Ten in more than 100 years. Michigan won 26 straight regular season games from 1903-05.
Ohio State has played 74 games as the nation's No. 1 team, posing a 64-9-1 record in those games.
Michigan State receiver Devin Thomas leads the Big Ten and is second nationally in all-purpose yards with an average of 212.4 per game. The 6-2 junior has 690 yards receiving, 627 on kick returns, 160 rushing yards and 10 on punt returns this season. Additionally, 127 of his rushing yards have come in the Spartans' three Big Ten games.
The 1957 Buckeye squad Hayes coached to the national championship will celebrate the 50th anniversary of that season at a reunion this weekend.