Michigan Wolverines vs Ohio State Buckeyes Preview
Second-ranked Ohio State hosts No. 3 Michigan on Saturday with major playoff implications on the line in the 113th edition of the storied rivalry (Enter Contest). The Buckeyes have dominated the series over the last decade. They’ve won 11 of the last 12 meetings, including seven straight games in Columbus. This team can send a clear message to the College Football Playoff committee by beating their bitter rival for the fifth straight time overall.
Ohio State has the most difficult path to the Big Ten championship game out of the three remaining teams in contention. The Buckeyes must beat the Wolverines and hope No. 7 Penn State falls to Michigan State, but they could still earn a berth in the CFP for the second time in three years with another win against Michigan. The Wolverines are in control of their own destiny and could claim the Big Ten East title by earning their first win in Columbus since a 38-26 victory on November 18, 2000.
Michigan’s quarterback situation is still murky. Starter Wilton Speight, who missed the 20-10 win against Indiana with a shoulder injury, and John O’Korn have split the first-team reps in practice this week. O’Korn struggled mightily in his first career start for Michigan last weekend. Fortunately, the Wolverines boast one of the top defenses in the country and defensive coordinator Don Brown hopes to put the clamps on an Ohio State offense that has scored 42 points in each of the last three games in the series. Brown has a stellar track record of stopping spread running attacks.
ABOUT MICHIGAN (10-1, 7-1 Big Ten)
O’Korn, who made 16 starts with Houston before transferring to Ann Arbor after his sophomore season, finished 7-of-16 for 59 yards against Indiana. It was the lowest passing output by a Michigan quarterback since 2001. De’Veon Smith was named the Big Ten’s co-offensive Player of the Week. He racked up a career-high 158 yards to go along with two touchdowns on Senior Day. The Wolverines lead the nation in scoring defense (10.9) and total defense (245.6).
ABOUT OHIO STATE (10-1, 7-1 Big Ten)
Mike Weber, who was once committed to the Wolverines before choosing the Buckeyes on signing day, ran for 111 yards in the 17-16 win against Michigan State. He became the third freshman in program history to rush for 1,000 yards. Quarterback J.T. Barrett was held to 86 passing yards against the Spartans but added 105 on the ground for his second 100-yard rushing game of the season. Senior center Pat Elflein was named a finalist for the Outland Trophy, awarded to the nation’s most outstanding interior lineman. The Buckeyes are 18-1 in the month of November under Urban Meyer. Ohio State has won the last four meetings in Columbus by an average of 21 points.