It’s arguably the best rivalry in college football. However, it hasn’t been much of a rivalry between No. 1 Ohio State and No. 13 Michigan as of late, with the Buckeyes winning seven straight games. Can that change on Saturday in Ann Arbor? If so, the outcome would heavily change the landscape of the College Football Playoff.
How to Watch:
When: Saturday, Nov. 30
Time: Noon ET
Live Stream: fuboTV (try for free)
Can Michigan’s offense maintain its success against Ohio State? Ever since a 28–21 loss to Penn State on the road, Michigan is averaging 41.5 points and 422.8 total yards of offense over the past four games.
Quarterback Shea Patterson is the most comfortable he’s ever been during his tenure at Michigan. Over the past two games, he is 41-for-58 passes for 750 yards, nine touchdowns and one interception. In a 39–14 win over Indiana, his late interception was his first turnover in 17 quarters.
The Wolverines offense may be clicking at just the right time, but they haven’t dealt with a juggernaut that is the Buckeyes’ defense, which ranks No. 1 in the nation in efficiency and scoring, allowing just 10.5 points per game. Michigan better be ready for defensive end Chase Young, who has a nation-best 16.5 sacks. He’s leading in sacks despite missing two games due to an NCAA violation.
Ohio State’s 28–17 win against Penn State last weekend was its least impressive win of the season. With the win, the Buckeyes locked up the Big Ten East and will play in the Big Ten Championship game. While Ohio State was up 21–0 at one point in the third quarter, three straight turnovers allowed the score to quickly flip to 21–17. The focus has been on quarterback Justin Fields the entire season, but he had three turnovers in the game. Fields has just one interception all season and he finished the game with 188 yards and two touchdowns. The most success the Buckeyes found last weekend was in the run game with J.K. Dobbins, who ran for 157 yards, and Fields, who ran for 68 yards. Dobbins has 1,446 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns. His backup, Master Teague, has more rushing yards (751) than anyone on Michigan’s roster. Receivers Chris Olave, K.J. Hill and Binjimen Victor have a combined 23 receiving touchdowns.
The Wolverines defense may not be on the same level as the Buckeyes, but it still cannot be overlooked. Michigan’s defense has been playing well ever since an early-season loss at Wisconsin. It’s currently the nation’s No. 5 defense, but the interior defensive line hasn’t faced a test like OSU since Wisconsin. The defensive tackles will have to hold up against the run and allow the linebackers to make plays.