Ohio State cornerback Doran Grant's father played receiver at Michigan State, and he never lets his son forget it. Ted Jones caught 118 passes for the Spartans from 1980 to '82 and still shares the school record for catches per game. He also retains his loyalty.

Ohio State cornerback Doran Grant's father played receiver at Michigan State, and he never lets his son forget it.

Ted Jones caught 118 passes for the Spartans from 1980 to '82 and still shares the school record for catches per game. He also retains his loyalty.

"All he talks about is Spartan this and Spartan that. 'Go Green' and 'Go White,'" Grant said, adding that his father regularly sings the Michigan State fight song.

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Grant told Jones that his loyalty this week had better be with his son and not his old school. He believes his father is on board.

"He's pulling for me," he said with a smile. "He's definitely pulling for the Buckeyes. He has no choice, or he's not coming to the game."

Grant will be a key player on Saturday. As a senior playing opposite freshman Eli Apple, it stands to reason that Grant will handle more of the coverage against Spartans star receiver Tony Lippett, who leads the Big Ten in receiving yards per game with 111.

Improving Miller

Defensive end Steve Miller has been an underrated factor in the improvement of Ohio State's defense. The senior became a starter after Noah Spence's suspension was extended and started slowly. In the Buckeyes' first five games, Miller had only nine tackles. In the last three, he has had 12, including nine solo.

"He's playing the best football of his career right now," coach Urban Meyer said. "The players all respect him because he goes so hard. He gets back at 4:30 in the morning from playing Penn State, and I get a report that he's with the tutors getting hours and hours of tutoring in the early afternoon. Steve's a grinder, and I always appreciate and admire guys like that."

Injury front

Meyer said that nickel cornerback Armani Reeves (undisclosed injury) had not been cleared. He said that Cam Burrows would replace him. Meyer said that Apple had a strained hamstring but would be fine to play.

brabinowitz@dispatch.com

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