INDIANAPOLIS - Offensive lineman Marcus Hall will not start and linebacker Curtis Grant and wide receiver Corey Brown will be battling injuries in the Big Ten championship game tonight, Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said Friday.
Raising two middle fingers to the Michigan crowd after being ejected for fighting last Saturday cost Hall the start against Michigan State. Meyer did not say how long it would be until Hall got into the game, though.
"He won't start the game. Other than that, we'll see what happens," Meyer said in a press conference on Friday. "He paid the penalty for the fight, which was that he missed three quarters in a rivalry game. I was just really disappointed in his actions after the fight."
Grant has been battling a high ankle sprain the last several weeks.
"There's still a little bit of a wobble but he's getting better," Meyer said.
Brown has caught only two passes in limited action the last two games and Meyer explained that on Friday.
"Philly Brown has a small stress fracture in his leg. That's why he hasn't played as much the last few weeks, but it's healing so he will be maybe not full speed but he will be pretty close."
WORD ASSOCIATION: Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio described Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller as "a magician" and called tailback Carlos Hyde "a bull of a runner" during his press conference on Friday.
"I see a magician, a guy with a sixth sense, a guy that take a bad play and make it a very, very good play," Dantonio said. "Conceptually, you can know what Ohio State is doing and be right on top of it and do what you do to stop it and he can create and make it a big play. Carlos Hyde is a bull runner. He's not just tough, he's fast."
DEFENSE REACTS TO MICHIGAN: Meyer said the reaction from Ohio State's defensive players and coaches after allowing 41 points and 603 yards at Michigan was to go to work the fix the problems.
"I saw a team that went to work. I saw a team and coaching staff that went to work. The bottom line is we won that game somehow. A lot of times the defense has carried the offense and the offense has carried the defense. I didn't see much hanging of heads," he said.
AMONG THE BEST: Meyer said Michigan State is one of the three best defenses he has coached against. He did not identify the other two.
READY FOR TOUGH GAME: "It's a toughness game," Meyer said about tonight's matchup. "It's going to be a physical, hard, tough game and we'll find out if the Buckeyes are a tough team."
THE UNFRIENDLY SKIES: Michigan State calls its defensive backfield "The No Fly Zone."
Opposing quarterbacks have completed only 47.9 percent of their passes against the Spartans this season. MSU ranks first in the Big Ten in passing yards allowed per game (172.9) and fewest touchdowns passes allowed (11).
But when penalty flags fly in the No Fly Zone, it can be a problem.
Michigan State was called for pass interference four times and defensive holding once in its only loss, 17-13 to Notre Dame, on Sept. 21. But the Spartans were called for pass interference only five times in eight Big Ten games.
A RARE DOUBLE: This season is only the second time since 1943 two Big Ten teams went unbeaten in conference games.
The other time in that time span was in 2002 when Ohio State and Iowa were unbeaten in Big Ten games.