Ohio State football vs. Michigan: Complete preview and prediction

It’s been a year in the making. Ohio State was upset by Michigan in Ann Arbor, which ultimately led to a Wolverine playoff berth.

The Buckeyes gained the nice little consolation prize of heading to Pasadena for the Rose Bowl. But in today’s world, championships are what matter, and OSU was left out of the College Football Playoff thanks to its archrival.

This year’s edition of The Game will feature the No. 2 and No. 3 teams in the land. Both are undefeated and hungry for more. Michigan stoked the fire by getting its first win over Ohio State in more than a decade. And Wolverine fans have ridden that wave for as long as they can, agitating Buckeye fans every chance they get.

The stakes are always high when these two teams meet, but when you add that this game is for a Big Ten Championship berth and possible playoff invite … well, you can bet emotions are going to be high.

Time to get ready for the greatest rivalry in all of sports!

Records and Broadcast Information

Records

Ohio State (11-0), Michigan (11-0)

Broadcast, TV, Game Time

Date: Saturday, Nov. 26
Game Time: Noon EST
Network: Fox
Venue: Ohio Stadium (Columbus, Ohio) Capacity: 104,944
All-Time Series: Michigan leads, 59-51-6
Last Meeting:
Michigan defeated Ohio State, 42-27, in 2021

Ohio State Potential Game Plan for Victory

We’ve been saying it all year. Ohio State must establish the run game if it wants to win in November and beyond. *Updated: The weather conditions are looking favorable, which means the Buckeyes should have an advantage making it easier to move the ball through the air. However, it will still be as important as ever to get the ground game going against a talented Wolverine defensive line.

The running back room has been hurting all season. It seems as if each week, either Miyan Williams or TreVeyon Henderson has been nursing some kind of injury. Enter true freshman Dallan Hayden. Henderson came up a little gimpy after his 30-yard touchdown reception and was not able to run effectively the rest of the game.

However, Ryan Day kept going with his RB1 despite not gaining much traction. Until the second half when Hayden came into the game and ran wild. It remains to be seen if either Williams or Henderson will be 100 percent or if they will even suit up. If not, Hayden has more than earned the opportunity to be the bell cow for the Buckeyes. That’s not to take anything away from Ohio State’s star running backs, but a healthy Hayden is going to provide more upside than backs that are ailing.

Defensively, it’s no secret Ohio State must be able to stop the run. Michigan has been one of the most effective teams in the nation at moving the ball on the ground. Most of that comes courtesy of Heisman contender Blake Corum. However, Corum left the game last week with an apparent knee injury. Corum claims he’ll be ready to go, but knees are tricky, and we will not know until closer to game time.

Donovan Edwards is a back OSU will have to contain, if he is healthy. Edwards sat last week’s game, and it remains to be seen if he’ll play this week. Without either of their most talented backs, the Wolverines struggled to get that ground game moving, putting the ball in the hands of quarterback J.J. McCarthy.

McCarthy has proven he can move the ball with his legs when needed. However, it seems he tries to do too much at times and forces some plays. Ohio State must focus on stopping the run and put Michigan in obvious passing situations. McCarthy has not shown he can be consistent in moving the chains if forced to throw. The Bucks will need to keep a spy on the speedy UM quarterback as he is more than capable of scrambling for big gains.

It really comes down to good old-fashioned Big Ten football and who can control the line of scrimmage and run the ball better.

Two Key Players for Ohio State

Dallan Hayden – Running Back

Dallan Hayden was our key player last week, and he again draws the nod this week. With the status of Miyan Williams and TreVeyon Henderson unknown, Hayden becomes a key piece in getting the Buckeye offense moving. Having a fully healthy running back who can hit the holes hard will keep the pressure off C.J. Stroud and will open the passing game.

J.T. Tuimoloau – Defensive End

J.T. Tuioloau has been a breakout player in Year 2 for the Buckeyes. Ohio State will need Tuimoloau to get pressure on J.J. McCarthy. Ohio State should stack the box to force Michigan into throwing situations. Not letting the young Wolverine quarterback get comfortable or scramble for big plays will be a big key for the Buckeyes to take care of business on Saturday.

 

The Prediction

This is the one we’ve been waiting for Buckeye fans. And I think I can say with a fair amount of certainty that the coaches and players have as well.

This game has the makings of a good ‘ol fashioned Big Ten battle and both teams have something to prove. Michigan desperately wants to lay claim to the conference crown again after playing second fiddle to Ohio State for the previous 20 years. And the Buckeyes so very much want to prove that last year was a fluke more than a changing of the guard.

The Buckeyes have heard for a year now how soft they are. A man can only take so much of that kind of chatter and Wolverine fans have been poking the proverbial bear persistently for close to 365 days now. Emotions will be high and I expect a few scuffles to break out early on. However, an early dose of Dallan Hayden gets the ball rolling and opens the door for the OSU passing attack. With a home crowd backing the team, the Buckeyes punch their ticket to Indianapolis and avenge the loss from a year ago.

Final Score

Ohio State 38, Michigan 27

TIPICO Line

Ohio State -7.5

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Story originally appeared on Buckeye Wire