No matter their record, no matter how the teams are viewed, when Michigan and Ohio State get together for their annual game, it’s going to be a war. It’s the biggest game on the schedule for each team. Beating the other team can turn a down year into an acceptable one. Ohio State under Coach Jim Tressel went 9-1 in the rivalry with a 7 game win streak, although the last win is vacated. Now both teams are with first year coaches and looking to gain control.
Michigan brings in the 6th ranked scoring defense which is a breath of fresh air for fans considering Michigan was in the bottom 10 in the nation last year in this stat. Ohio State brings in the 14th ranked scoring defense as well. Both teams play great defense but Ohio State ranks near the bottom in most offensive categories other than rushing. While Michigan on the other hand has a solid offense that averages 33 points a game. The Wolverines have also been playing stout against the run the past 2 weeks. Michigan is bringing momentum into this game for the first time in years while Ohio State is coming in limping.
All of the signs are pointing toward the Wolverines ending the Buckeyes win streak this year at home. This is a rivalry game however and is tough to predict because each team is going to lay it all out on the line. I do however like the Wolverines to win this one 20-10.
Keys for Michigan
Michigan needs to prevent big plays and play solid against the run. They need to force Braxton Miller to beat them using his arm. By also preventing big plays it will make Ohio State put long drives together which I’m not sure they are capable of. Michigan also must take care of the ball. Too often Michigan turns the ball over in bad areas and put their defense in a tough spot. The biggest key is to forcce Ohio State to sustain long drives to score.
Keys for Ohio State
Ohio State needs to create turnovers in this game. Denard Robinson has had problems throwing interceptions this season so expect the Buckeyes to blitz and provide pressure and try to create turnovers to give their offense short fields. The Buckeyes need to also win the special teams battle. Again if they can get off some big returns they can set their offense up with a short field and take pressure off of them.
Michigan -Fitzgerald Toussaint – Fitz has taken on a large role this season and has done a nice job in doing so. Toussaint is close to eclipsing the 1000 yard mark rushing and with a good game could do so this week. If he can continue to run hard and take the pressure off of Denard to do it all it bodes well for Michigan.
Ohio State – DeVier Posey – Ohio State has been anemic all year passing but with the return of Posey can it become enough to help lead the bucks past Michigan. If the passing game can get on track look for Posey to make some plays for them.