Ohio State Preview

#20/20/19 MICHIGAN @ #4/-/- OHIO STATE
Saturday, Nov. 24, 2012 • Noon ET • Columbus, Ohio. • Ohio Stadium (102,329)
ABC • Announcers: Sean McDonough, Chris Spielman, Quint Kessenich
Series: Michigan (58-44-6), Ohio State (43-58-6) • Last Meeting: Nov. 26, 2011: Michigan 40, Ohio State 34

Ohio State Vitals
(11-0 overall, 7-0 Big Ten)
Coach: Urban Meyer
     Career: 115-23 (11th year)
     At Ohio State: 11-0 (1st year)
Offense: Spread
     Rush: Braxton Miller (207-1,214 yards, 13 TDs)
     Pass: Braxton Miller (134-236, 1,850 yards, 14 TDs)
     Rec.: Corey Brown (52-574 yards, 2 TDs)
Defense: Multiple
     Tackles: Ryan Shazier (110 tackles)
     Sacks: John Simon (9.0-73 yards)
     Int.: Travis Howard (4-51 yards)

Man, how is it Ohio State week already? This season flew by, right? It's not just me?

Did you happen to catch my Michigan-Ohio State hype video?  You really should. It's quite something.

This.


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When Michigan has the ball
Like most rivalry games, especially Michigan and Ohio State, it typically comes down to which team can control the line of scrimmage and the running game. So in that case, I think the edge goes to Ohio State. There are certainly exceptions to those rules, so it's going to be important for Michigan to exploit their advantages.

What are those advantages?

The addition of Denard Robinson back into the Michigan offense at positions other than quarterback proved to be too much for a beleaguered Iowa defense to handle. I suspect we'll see more of this tomorrow, mixed in with some looks that we haven't seen yet. Hoke said that Borges came up with about 15 different looks with Denard lined up elsewhere than QB. We maybe saw 6 of them against Iowa. The prospect of Michigan being able to keep OSU's defense guessing simply by using different personnel and different formations is a big time advantage. But that's only going to get you so far.

The rest is going to come down to hustle. Can Michigan move the football through the air AND the ground? Can Devin control this offense in a very hostile environment? How much will Denard be involved in the passing game? Can he even throw? Does it even matter?

A lot of the pressure is going to be put on Michigan's ability to run the football. I think we'll continue to see a running back-by-committee. With Fitz out, more weight falls on to the shoulders of Rawls, Smith, Hayes, and of course Denard and even Devin. Denard and Devin will probably have the most success on the ground among the backs. Ohio State's defense is good...although they've been exposed a few times this season.

Ohio State has the 17th ranked rushing defense in the nation, so the Michigan run O vs OSU run D matchup is worrisome. It's going to be very important for Michigan to play controlled football...no turnovers, no dumb penalties...no beating ourselves, really. Michigan can and should be able to move the ball well if they can do more of what they did last week. Nothing can shut up a hostile crowd like long scoring drives. I really like guys like Roy Roundtree and Jeremy Gallon in this game. Drew Dileo and Devin Funchess also going to be a big targets for Devin. They're going to have to be.

When Ohio State has the ball
Is this matchup strength vs. strength? If it is, then Michigan is sitting in a good place. Ohio State is woefully one-dimensional on offense, and Michigan's pass D is ranked #1 in the country. Braxton Miller is the heart and soul of everything OSU can do. If he has an off-day, which I doubt, then things get much easier for Michigan.

OSU ranks 100th in the nation in passing offense. They're going to hit a few throws here and there, but they're not going to control the game with it, unless Posey is somehow reincarnated into this offense. They really are a run-first, run-second, pass maybe if they have to offense. But they do run the spread very well, so they're dangerous on almost any down. Is this the best offense Michigan has faced this season? No. But Miller ranks right up there with guys like Cain Coulter from Northwestern and Conner Dietz from Air Force in terms of elusiveness and play-making ability. And that's a scary prospect for Michigan fans.

I really do think Mattison will have Michigan's defense ready for this game. They've had plenty of opportunities to prepare for mobile quarterbacks this season. Miller could be the best overall spread QB we've seen. And playing in a hostile environment is going to be tough. I'm just glad it's not a night game, where Michigan is 0-3 on the road.

OSU's offense will be the toughest test Michigan has faced this season. Even being one-dimensional statistically, they're still averaging 245.45 yards rushing per game, ranking 9th overall in the country. And overall, they average 426.27 yards per game. Urban knows how to operate the run-first spread, and he's doing a fine job doing so in Columbus. If Michigan can force some 3rd and longs and possibly force some turnovers, that could prove to go a long way in this game.


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Relevant links from sites we trust
Know Your Foe via the MZone. Maize & Brew preview. MLive's Kyle Meinke's 5 Keys. Mgoblog's FFFF.

Wojo breaks down the game.
After a brief period in which Michigan stopped tackling and Ohio State refused to stop cheating, The Game is back, almost as big as ever. Michigan is 8-3 and can win its division if Nebraska commits 15-16 pass-interference penalties and somehow loses to Iowa. The Buckeyes are 11-0 and on probation, but could win a national championship if drunken AP voters somehow overlook they've been lyin' dogs.

From The Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20121122/OPINION03/211220327#ixzz2D3wixovB
After a brief period in which Michigan stopped tackling and Ohio State refused to stop cheating, The Game is back, almost as big as ever. Michigan is 8-3 and can win its division if Nebraska commits 15-16 pass-interference penalties and somehow loses to Iowa. The Buckeyes are 11-0 and on probation, but could win a national championship if drunken AP voters somehow overlook they've been lyin' dogs.

From The Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20121122/OPINION03/211220327#ixzz2D3wixovB
After a brief period in which Michigan stopped tackling and Ohio State refused to stop cheating, The Game is back, almost as big as ever. Michigan is 8-3 and can win its division if Nebraska commits 15-16 pass-interference penalties and somehow loses to Iowa. The Buckeyes are 11-0 and on probation, but could win a national championship if drunken AP voters somehow overlook they've been lyin' dogs.

From The Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20121122/OPINION03/211220327#ixzz2D3wixovB
After a brief period in which Michigan stopped tackling and Ohio State refused to stop cheating, The Game is back, almost as big as ever. Michigan is 8-3 and can win its division if Nebraska commits 15-16 pass-interference penalties and somehow loses to Iowa. The Buckeyes are 11-0 and on probation, but could win a national championship if drunken AP voters somehow overlook they've been lyin' dogs.
ESPN's bloggers take a swing at the prediction thing.
Adam Rittenberg: The Game has become a lot more interesting for two reasons -- Devin Gardner's emergence at QB for Michigan, and Ohio State's progress on the defensive side. Gardner will make some plays and get Michigan out to an early lead on a scoring pass to Roy Roundtree, but Ohio State will respond behind RB Carlos Hyde, who will get the ball more (as Urban Meyer said he would) and finish with 120 rushing yards and two scores. The Game lives up to its billing and goes down to the wire. Braxton Miller scores the game-winning touchdown with 25 seconds left. ... Ohio State 24, Michigan 21

Brian Bennett: Meyer said Tuesday he would open up the offense after getting conservative at Wisconsin. Combine that with Gardner and Denard Robinson on the other side, and I think we're in for a shootout. I could see either side winning, but after 11 straight wins, how can you pick against the Buckeyes? Miller wills them to another victory, finishing with 375 total yards and four touchdowns. ... Ohio State 35, Michigan 31 
Not really relevant to the Ohio State game, but here's the Denard feature from BTN's The Journey which I thought was pretty darn amazing.


Make boisterous comments on Twitter if...
• Anything Michigan is doing on offense look's like last week.
• Denard is doing Denard things.
• The defense is not giving Miller the edge, or the middle.
• Jake Ryan is taking over the game.

Cancel recording on your DVR if...
• Miller is doing Denard things.
• Carlos Hyde is getting his name called a lot.
• Turnovers/penalties are stopping Michigan drives.
• Ohio State is moving the ball well through the air.

Prediction
Michigan 28 Ohio State 27