It’s finally here … the best week in college football. Rivalry week!
Maybe the stakes have never been higher in what is a de facto playoff game. The winner is almost certainly in if it can get past Iowa, and the loser would need an extraordinary amount of help.
But put all of that aside for a moment. With two lopsided losses for the Buckeyes in the past two years and the allegations of cheating by the Maize and Blue, this is going to be an absolute brawl. What used to be a rivalry built on equal parts respect and hate is now heavily leaning toward the latter. And when that happens, there are bound to be fireworks.
Buckle up as we get ready for what promises to be another epic showdown in the greatest rivalry in all of sports.
Records and Broadcast Information
No surprise here 🏈😤
Next Stop:📍Ann Arbor 〽️ pic.twitter.com/2GnpUAr0DB
— Big Noon Kickoff (@BNKonFOX) November 19, 2023
Ohio State (11-0), Michigan (11-0)
Broadcast, TV, Game Time
Date: Saturday, Nov. 25
Game Time: Noon ET
Network: Fox – Stream fuboTV (watch here)
Venue: Michigan Stadium (Ann Arbor, Michigan), Capacity: 107,601
All-Time Series: Michigan leads, 60-51-6
Last Meeting: Michigan defeated Ohio State, 45-23, in 2022
Ohio State Potential Game Plan for Victory
It has only been a few years, but it feels like an eternity. Ohio State hasn’t felt the thrill of victory over Michigan since 2019. And for the Buckeyes to get back on the right side of the win column, they will have to play their best game to date.
First and foremost, this game is going to be played with a high level of emotion … even more so than most years. The Wolverines feel like they’ve been doubted, their coach unfairly punished, that maybe their wins are tainted. Because of that, this team feels like it has something to prove.
Ohio State, too, will be playing with great emotion, and the team may feel more pressure now than ever. With no Harbaugh on the Michigan sidelines, a loss here could be devastating for Ryan Day and the Buckeyes. Day will have to find a way to keep his team level for four quarters as penalties could come back to bite the Buckeyes if they can’t keep emotions in check.
Everyone knows the Wolverines have an outstanding one-two punch at running back: Blake Corum and Donovan Edwards. However, the offensive line seems a little banged up, which may result in key players being unavailable or not 100% for the game. The Ohio State defense has been stout against the run, giving up only 108 yards on the ground per contest. Any absences on the Michigan line give the Buckeyes an advantage in stopping the talented duo of running backs.
If the Buckeye front four can hamper the Michigan running game, a lot more pressure falls on the shoulders of quarterback J.J. McCarthy. Yes the OSU secondary was torched by McCarthy last year, but Jim Knowles has learned from his mistakes. On top of that, McCarthy has been very pedestrian throwing the ball the past few games. Either he’s hurt or the coaching staff is trying to cover up some areas of deficiency. Whatever the story is, it plays to the Buckeyes’ strength.
Michigan is ranked as the top defense in the land. But it’s safe to say the Wolverines haven’t seen a high-octane offense like the one they’ll see on Saturday. The OSU offensive line is coming together at the right time. The skill positions are elite. The biggest question mark is Kyle McCord. Can he manage a game of this magnitude and not make costly mistakes? The good news is McCord faced a similar task early in the season on the road against Notre Dame and passed with flying colors.
The Michigan defense will look to pressure McCord and force him into poor decisions. However, with TreVeyon Henderson back and fully healthy, McCord should look to Henderson often who is a home run threat every time he touches the ball.
Lastly, Michigan has been calling Ohio State “soft” for almost three years. If the Buckeyes hope to win this game, they must win in the trenches. As with most games, whichever team can assert their dominance there will most likely find itself on the right side of the scoreboard.
Key Offensive Player for Ohio State
Say what you will about Kyle McCord- but I was at that ND game where he led the game winning drive and saved the season. I believe that did more than any of us can imagine to prepare him for Saturday. That stadium was hostile the entire game and he didn’t flinch. Have some faith. pic.twitter.com/WfxvyOc99R
— Emily (@ewiedmax) November 21, 2023
Kyle McCord – Quarterback
Kyle McCord doesn’t have to win the game by himself on Saturday. He just needs to play smart football. If McCord can play within himself, get his playmakers the ball, and not commit turnovers, Ohio State will have a real chance to upset the Wolverines.
Key Defensive Player for Ohio State
THE RUSHMEN ARE ELITE.
— The Silver Bulletin (@tSilverBulletin) November 18, 2023
JT Tuimoloau – Defensive End
JT Tuimoloau has quietly put together quite a season. While he hasn’t done any one thing that sticks out, he seems to be everywhere. But this is the game Ohio State needs the former five-star end to have a game like the one he had at Penn State last season. Even if he doesn’t quite live up to that kind of performance, the Buckeyes are going to need Tuimoloau to ball out to beat Michigan.
The guide to THE Ga❌e! 🏈
— Ohio State Buckeyes 🌰 (@OhioStAthletics) November 21, 2023
I know in SEC country they like to say “It just means more …” but is there a game that has more on the line year after year than The Game? I say you’d be hard-pressed to find one. And this year is no different.
If you had asked me a month ago how I felt about going to Ann Arbor on Nov. 25, I would’ve had my doubts. While I’m nowhere near overconfident, I feel a whole lot better today than I did then.
Ohio State has been progressing in the right direction as the season has worn on while Michigan seems to be showing some cracks. As always, the game will come down to who can control the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball, and right now, I believe the team in Scarlet and Gray is doing the better job. With everything on the line, the Buckeyes come out on top to right the wrongs of the past two years.
Ohio State 27, Michigan 24