Ohio State Preview

Ohio State's Numbers
11-0 overall, 7-0 Big Ten
Head coach: Urban Meyer
     Career: 127-23 (12th year)
     at OSU: 23-0 (2nd year)
Offense: Pro Style
     Rush: Carlos Hyde (138-1,064 yards, 13 TDs)
     Pass: Braxton Miller (132-195, 1,626 yards, 19 TDs)
     Rec.: Corey Brown (49-596 yards, 9 TDs)
Defense: Multiple
     Tackles: Ryan Shazier (108 tackles)
     Sacks: Noah Spence (7.5-64 yards)
     Int.: Bradley Roby (3-120 yards, 1 TD) and Doran Grant (3-40 yards, 1 TD)

When Michigan has the ball
Ohio State doesn't have the greatest defense in the country, but they are stout against the run...ranking 6th nationally. If Michigan wants to do anything against the Buckeyes, it will have to be done through the air. Jeremy Gallon, making his final start in the Big House tomorrow, will be counted on to provide the spark Michigan needs. He, Drew Dileo and Devin Funchess must have big games tomorrow. Devin Gardner is going to need all the help he can get.

Defensively, Ohio State holds a sizable advantage over a Michigan offense that has really lost it's way down the stretch this season. The offensive line woes against Michigan State really hurt this offense, and Devin Gardner especially. Since then, it's been a tough road for Old 98. Poor pass protection, poor running game, poor blitz pickup have all combined to turn 2013 into a tough season offensively.

Anyone looking for an advantage for Michigan here will need to look really hard. As we pointed out yesterday, to win this game, it's vital to out-gain your opponent on the ground. That's going to be next to impossible for a Michigan offense that ranks 101st in the nation in rushing yards per game...going up against the 6th best rushing defense in the country.

When Ohio State has the ball
Ohio State is a pro-style offense by design, but likes to throw in plenty of spread to mix things up. They're versatile enough to pull both off. They run to set up the pass...and when they pass, they like to go deep...right for the heart.

Carlos Hyde and Braxton Miller are Ohio State's main weapons offensively. Hyde is a power runner who can gouge defenses for big yards between the tackles. Braxton is a very dangerous passer/runner who is a threat to do both. This is probably the best one/two punch Michigan will face all year.

The secret to Ohio State's success, averaging almost 50 points per game, is their offensive line. Four of their front five are seniors. They are all very good and play very well together...like a good OL should.

Philly Brown and Devin Smith are Braxton's favorite targets, and TE Jeff Heuerman is 3rd in receptions for the Buckeyes offense.

Greg Mattison, who was Urban's DC in Florida, knows what it will take for Michigan to slow down Ohio State tomorrow. Expect to see plenty of LB/CB/FS blitzes and lots of 8-9 man fronts. Michigan's defense was very good last year, especially in the 2nd half when they were put in bad situations by turnover and an inept UM offense, and only have up 2 field goals.

This game scares the crap out of every Michigan fan and for good reason. Ohio State has made a lot of teams look awful this year, and that's bad news for a Michigan team that has had no problem looking awful all by themselves. The Buckeyes' MO is that they fly out of the gate and jump out to big early leads, and then sort of coast from there.

If Michigan can slow down the initial punch, or punch back right away, that could throw Ohio State off their game and swing the momentum. A lot of things need to go right for Michigan to even have a shot tomorrow...but I suppose it's possible.

So far this season, Ohio State's road opponents, Cal (1-11), Northwestern (4-7), Purdue (1-10) and Illinois (4-7), have combined conference records of 1-29. So an argument can be made that the Buckeyes have looked vulnerable on the road against bad teams.

I don't think Ohio State rolls to a huge blowout win, but they probably do pull away in the second half. The talent gap, plus the momentum/direction that both programs are going makes it almost impossible to think this game could end any other way. Urban Meyer is good coach and will have the Bucks prepared for this game. No John Cooper threat here.

If it does come down to the 4th quarter, it's going to come down to who wants it more, and who blinks first.

Tweet obnoxiously if...
• Michigan is getting good protection and a decent push by the OL.
• The Gardner-Gallon show is in rare form.
• Turnovers plague Ohio State and shifts the momentum.
• The Buckeyes' overconfidence resembles mid-90's John Cooper levels.

Commence panic if...
• Hyde can't stop running for first downs.
• Devin has no where to hide as the OSU blitz makes an impact.
• It's 14-0 in the first quarter and Michigan is punting.
• The OH-IO chant is in full effect before the game even starts.

Ohio State 31 Michigan 13

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