BCS #10 Ohio State at Michigan
Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
All is wine and roses in Buckeyeland as Ohio State has wrapped up at least a share of a fifth consecutive Big Ten Championship and their first appearance in the Rose Bowl since 1996. Could there be anything to make this Scarlet and Grey sundae any sweeter? As a matter of fact there is and “That Team Up North” is going to be the cherry on top of it all. Michigan turned a lot of head early on in the season as they started out 4-0 including a big win over Notre Dame but since then has gone just 1-6. The Wolverines need a win to stay bowl eligible and the Buckeyes need a win just because it’s Michigan. Don’t count the Wolverines out of this one, they have the fire power to be something special and since it’s “The Game” nothing will be held back. The same goes for the Buckeyes as they have nothing to lose in this game, outside of self respect that is. Michigan will give the Buckeyes their best game this Saturday. Unfortunately for the Wolverines, Ohio State will be doing the same.
The game plan against Iowa last week was painfully conservative, almost as if Jim Tressel was doing a “Script Don’t Screw This Up” on the field. Now that the conference championship and a Rose Bowl have been secured, we will all see a different Ohio State offense this week; one that will play to win and win big. The Michigan defense has given up an average of 39 points per game in the Wolverines last four losses. While defensive back Donovan Warren and defensive end Brandon Graham continue to shine, the rest of the defense has not performed well. Jim Tressel will limit quarterback Terrell Pryor’s passing attack and allow him to manage the game with his running abilities while taking a few shots down field. If Pryor is on, the Michigan defense will look foolish.
Michigan leads the Big Ten in scoring (31.3 ppg) and is second in the conference in rushing (195.8). Freshman quarterback Tate Forcier and senior running back Brandon Minor have been an effective duo all season. Forcier has five receivers with 15 catches and over 220 yards each and Minor has hammered in eight touchdowns this season. The Wolverine offense however has had a nasty turnover problem fumbling the ball 12 times and getting picked of 11 times in 2009. The OSU ball hawking aggressive defense will be looking to continue this trend and keep the high scoring Michigan offense off the field.
While still the weak link, the OSU offense should put some points on the board. Jim Tressel has typically opened up the playbook for the Michigan game and we should see a more aggressive approach to the play calling. The Buckeye defense will take care of business by stopping the run and daring Forcier to throw. Will it be like last years 42-7 smack down, not likely but it should still be a dominating effort from start to finish. This game means a lot to Tressel and he will not let us down.
OSU 24 – Michigan 13
Why OSU will win:
-The Buckeye defense is really really good and will shut down the high scoring Michigan offense.
-The offense will lean on the rushing attack to control the speed of the game.
Why OSU will lose:
-If the Bucks fall behind by two touchdowns and have to rely on Terrell Pryor’s arm to bring them back, Ohio State will lose.
Crazy stat of the game:
The Buckeye defense has allowed 136 points so far this season (12.3 per game). The record for fewest points allowed in a season during the Jim Tressel era is 166. Michigan averages 31 points per game. Do YOU thing Michigan will score 31.3 points against this Buckeye defense?
Last time they met was…
A 42 -7 OSU beat down of Michigan in the ‘Shoe.
Michigan players to watch:
Freshman QB #5 Tate Forcier
Senior RB #4 Brandon Minor
Senior DE #55 Brandon Graham
Junior CB #6 Donovan Warren
Freshman WR #12 Roy Roundtree