Blog Entry

Keys to the Game: Ohio State at Michigan

Posted on: November 23, 2011 1:55 pm
Posted by Adam Jacobi

OHIO STATE WILL WIN IF: Bad Denard makes a housecall. If there's one area where Ohio State's struggles have been surprising, it's turnovers. OSU's +4 on the year, so that's good, but that's only because the Buckeyes barely ever give the ball away; they've done so 12 times in 11 games, which is tied with Michigan State for best in the Big Ten. But that +4 margin also means that the defense hasn't exactly been ball-hawking this year. Indeed, the 16 takeaways managed by the Buckeye D is tied for 8th best in the conference, and that's hardly in line with OSU's usual modus operandi (though the fact that one of the teams also tied at 16 is Alabama should tell you how necessary forcing turnovers really is). Still, OSU probably can't just play Michigan straight up and try to bend but not break and hope to come away with a victory; Denard Robinson is too explosive for that. He's also too error-prone for OSU not to take risks and force him into tough situations. A couple instances of Bad Denard this Saturday, and Ohio State could have the opening it needs to win.

MICHIGAN WILL WIN IF: Braxton Miller is forced to throw the ball. Ohio State has done a generally good job during Big Ten play of limiting what Miller is being asked to do, in terms of making reads or otherwise thinking on the fly. That's a recipe for disaster for nearly every true freshman quarterback (which is why most redshirt), so there's a reason why Miller is instead the team's leading rusher (though Boom Herron will probably surpass Miller by the end of the bowl game) this season in addition to his passing duties. Miller still completes fewer than 50% of his passes, and that may help make it easier for Michigan to get OSU into a third and long situation. Now, just because Miller drops back on a 3rd and 9 doesn't mean a pass is necessarily coming; Miller's not quite as gifted a scrambler to the sticks that Terrelle Pryor was, but he's already pretty close, and Michigan's going to need to account for that too. Nonetheless, it should be the Wolverines' goal to keep Ohio State well below .500 on third-down conversions, as that will likely lead to a victory. 

X-FACTOR: Urban Meyer. Ohio State has fought tooth and nail to keep the media's focus on this game and not the future of the program, which by all indications will not be spearheaded by Luke Fickell after this year. The problem is that the athletic department isn't very good at keeping secrets, because while it's certainly plausible that Meyer hasn't inked any contracts yet, the process is far enough along that the Columbus Dispatch is reporting the deal as done. Now, whether the Buckeyes have been able to maintain their focus on game week is the big thing, not whether the media has. And it certainly stands to reason that the players (especially the seniors) care more about the game in front of them than who may or may not be the coach going forward. And yet, and yet, every time the words "Urban Meyer" get said in the locker room, that's one more conversation that isn't about the game.

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Since: Nov 25, 2011
Posted on: November 25, 2011 10:36 am

Keys to the Game: Ohio State at Michigan

Really, Buckeyenation? You don't have anything more intelligent to say other than Mich sucks? I think I would look at my own team before knocking another team who has been MORE successful than mine this year. Just saying...

Since: Dec 2, 2007
Posted on: November 24, 2011 10:11 am

Keys to the Game: Ohio State at Michigan

its Thanksgiving Day!  And yes, tsun STILL SUCKS!!

Since: May 7, 2011
Posted on: November 24, 2011 10:07 am

Keys to the Game: Ohio State at Michigan

This is Michigan's game to lose. Everything's in-line for the Wolverines' taking. The Wolverines have a potent offense that can put up major points,the running game outside of Denard has made major strides in the past few weeks,and I just can't say how much the defense has improved this year due to Coach Mattison. The only thing that the Buckeyes have going for them is a solid defense,but they're going to have their hands full trying to stop the running attack of Denard and "Fitz"! The Buckeyes can't establish long drives and depends heavily on the defense to create turnovers as well as shortening the field for the offense. The only way for them to be in this game is if Denard as well as the rest of the team "shoot themselves in the foot" but I just can't see that happening. In a nutshell,the game will have "heavy hitting" but when it's all said and done......Michigan wins and puts an end to the "7-year drought" against the Buckeyes!CoolCoolCool

Since: Aug 21, 2008
Posted on: November 23, 2011 6:13 pm

Keys to the Game: Ohio State at Michigan

God, your ignorance has no bounds does it? Cheated to win every game. Lmao. What baseless, thoughtless banner from an angry, bitter scUM fan. We wouldn't expect anything else. And someone from Michigan making fun of a city in Ohio? Thats awesome. Columbus> (insert any Michigan city here)

Since: Jun 5, 2011
Posted on: November 23, 2011 3:15 pm

Keys to the Game: Cheaters at Michigan

Ohio should be forced to forfeit, not vacate, every game played during the Tressel era because he cheated to get the players who won the games.  They won't, but hopefully, the NCAA will ignore Gordon Gee's BFF relationship with Mark Emmert and at least give them about half of what they deserve.
As for the game, Michigan should give Ohio what they deserve on the field: a world-class beating.  Ohio still hates Michigan because that's all they really have to do in Columbus, but it won't be enough this year.  Finally, for the first time since Lloyd Carr gutted the roster on the way out the door, Michigan has a majority of upperclassmen in the starting lineup, and a bona fide, experienced major college quarterback running the show.   
Nothing is ever sure in this game, but Ohio has a lot of payback coming, especially considering that they cheated to win every game they won since 2000.   

Since: Dec 2, 2007
Posted on: November 23, 2011 2:19 pm

Keys to the Game: Ohio State at Michigan


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