The Ohio State Buckeyes will host their biggest rivals, the Michigan Wolverines, on Saturday in a game with extreme importance. This is always one of the biggest and best games of the college football season, but this game has added importance. The winner of this game will win the Big 10 East Division and will keep their College Football Playoff dreams alive.
Michigan comes into this game as the fourth ranked team in the College Football Playoff rankings and for good reason. The Wolverines have rattled off ten straight victories after a season opening loss to Notre Dame. Ohio State comes in ranked number 10, with their only loss of the season coming in blowout fashion at Purdue. The Michigan Wolverines are 4.5 point favorites on the road in this rivalry game.
Michigan Defense Is Relentless
The strength of the Michigan team this season has been their relentless defense. Michigan has allowed just 13.5 points per game this season, and have held four opponents to less than eight points this season. The Michigan defense could be without their leader, defensive lineman Chase Winovich, for this matchup. The Wolverines will need to find a way to get pressure on Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins to have a chance in this matchup.
Quarterback Shea Patterson has had a monster first season with the Maize and Blue. Patterson has completed over 65 percent of his passes this season, and has thrown 18 touchdowns to just four interceptions. Running back Karan Higdon has rushed for over 1,100 yards this season, and has found the end zone 10 times. The Michigan offense has not been explosive this season, but they have done just enough to win games.
Haskins Leads Explosive Buckeyes Offense
The Ohio State Buckeyes have been explosive on offense this season, with quarterback Dwayne Haskins leading the way. Haskins is on the short list for Heisman Trophy candidates this season but will need a solid performance against the Wolverines. The dual threat quarterback has thrown for over 3,600 yards and 36 touchdowns this season, and is not afraid to throw the deep ball. Look for Ohio State to try to hit some big plays against an aggressive Michigan defense.
The biggest question facing Ohio State this season has been the inconsistent play of their defense. The Buckeyes are giving up 24.6 points per game this season, which is a much higher total than the rest of the top-10 teams in the rankings. Ohio State is coming off of a game in which they allowed 51 points to an average Maryland team, and they must play better in this game.
Buckeyes Beat Michigan Again
This game has featured some instant classics in recent years, and this edition should be much of the same. Michigan has been the better team so far this season, but winning at Ohio State has been almost impossible for the Wolverines. Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer has yet to lose to Michigan, and that likely won’t change in this game. The Wolverines are great, but Ohio State will be better in this matchup. Bet the Ohio State Buckeyes +4.5 over Michigan on Saturday.