2019 Game Preview: Ohio State vs Michigan

Ohio State clinched the Big Ten East with their win against Penn State last week. Although it was not pretty, they still beat a top 10 team by 11 points, and held them under 230 yards. Now, this week, its The Game. Forget the records, which thankfully both teams have had a good season, and forget what has happened the past 7 years. Even though Urban’s footprint is all over this Buckeye roster, this is Ryan Day’s first game as the head coach. Jim Harbaugh is 0-4 up to this point in the rivalry, and always tends to have his team playing well towards the end of the season, but I a sure he gets to breath a slight sigh of relief to know Urban is not on the opposite sideline. 

This game is so drenched in tradition and history, that it is easy to look past when you realize Ohio State has dominated this rivalry this century. The Woody Hayes and Bo Schembechler 10 year war set the tone, and this rivalry goes beyond one game, it is a 365 day hate.

Bragging rights are on the line. Ryan Day wants to keep his perfect season, and get his first win. Jim Harbaugh has had a lot of criticism on his performance and record in big games, and he is trying to shake that off, and win for the first time against the Buckeyes. 

The weather will be cold, and rainy, and the Big Noon Kickoff will be on location for this noon kick. Ohio State. Michigan. The Game. That is is all you really need to say, and is must watch TV. 

Head Coach: Jim Harbaugh
2019 Record: 9-2
Location: Ann Arbor, MI
Conference: Big Ten

Ohio State Preview: Ohio State moved up to the number 1 spot in the recent College Football Playoff rankings, and based on who they have to play, and who LSU plays, it will be hard to see them drop from this spot outside of a loss. Ohio State continues to be one of the most dominant teams in the country, and still rank number 1 in scoring offense and scoring defense. They were finally challenged to playing a 4 quarter game last week against Penn State, but still never lost control in that game.

Ohio State can also be on the cusp of history. Statistically they have been one of the most dominant teams not just this year, but in the history of College Football. If they are able to win out and go 15-0, the talent and success can be compared to the likes of the 2001 Miami Hurricanes, and the 1995 Nebraska Cornhuskers. This team has gotten a lot of praise nationally, and although some fans and analysts might disagree with Ohio State’s newest ranking, there is no denying that they have bene a complete team.

Ryan Day’s first season has been a success, and the fact he was able to win the Big Ten East, when the team was projected as low as 4th in the beginning of the year, it says a lot about how he has coached this team, and have the pieces in place in his coaching staff to maximize on their talent. Day should be a serious candidate for Big Ten Coach of the Year as this might be the only year he would have a chance to win it. An Ohio State coach has not won the award since Earle Bruce, which is a travesty within itself. 

Justin Fields enters this game with 2352 yards passing to go along with 33 touchdowns and still 1 interception from the Michigan State game. On the ground, he has 445 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns. He is still on pace to potentially break Dwayne Haskins total touchdown record for a season.

JK Dobbins was a huge part of the win last week against Penn State. He now has 1446 rushing yards for the season and 15 touchdowns. He is the 4th leading rusher in the country and 2nd in the Big Ten. Master Teague had a very limited role last week, but still is second on the ream with 751 rushing yards and 4 touchdowns. 

Chris Olave is the top receiver with 637 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns on 39 receptions. Ben Victor has 480 yards on 29 receptions and 6 touchdowns. KJ Hill has 469 yards on 42 receptions and 7 touchdowns. 

Michigan Preview:  Michigan did not start of the season looking like one of the top 15 teams in the country, with an overtime win against Army, and a big loss to Wisconsin and Penn State, but they have turned their season around, and playing more like a top 10 team. The Josh Gattis experiment on offense took some time to develop, and the Wolverines are seeing that patience starting to pay off with big offensive performances since the Penn State loss. 

They rebounded with a huge win against Notre Dame, winning 45-14, and rattled off high scoring wins against Maryland, Michigan State and Indiana last week. They dont have a conference title to play for with the outcome of this game, but they have a chance to make a statement win and potentially make a New Years 6 bowl game. The real question is can Harbaugh finally get a win against Ohio State, and he currently has his team playing well on both sides of the ball to pose a challenge.

Shea Patterson has 2523 yards passing so far this season, along with 21 touchdowns and 5 interceptions. He is not as much as a dual threat as Fields, but still has 66 rushing yards and 5 touchdowns on the ground. 

Zach Charbonnet is the leading running back with 635 yards on the ground for the season with 11 touchdowns. Hassan Haskins has also split carries with 483 yards rushing with 3 touchdowns.

Nico Collins is the leading receiver with 649 yards on 31 receptions and 7 touchdowns. Ronnie Bell is another favorite target with 37 receptions and 616 yards along with 1 touchdown. Donovan Peoples-Jones is in the mix as well with 30 receptions and 335 yards.

Buckeye Spotlight: Justin Fields. Dobbins was the workhorse last week, but the Fields will be the one in the spotlight, and he will need to be cleaner with with ball. His 43 total touchdowns for the season is impressive, and this will be the biggest stage he will have played in this season. Even though they have already clinched the division, a win against Michigan is still a must, and Fields has a chance to be immortalized in this great rivalry. 

Wolverine Spotlight: Shea Patterson. Or Sugar Shea Patterson as the team likes to call him. He has thrown for 750 yards and 9 touchdowns in the last two games. His confidence in the offense has helped the Wolverines change gears and been a better offensive force than they were at the beginning of the year. The success of how this team can move the ball against the Buckeyes will start with him, and if he can avoid Chase Young.

Water Cooler Stat of the Game:  .730. Ohio State and Michigan are tied for overall win percentage. If Ohio State wins this game, they will be in first place in the FBS for win percentage. 

Prediction:  Michigan has turned its offense around since the second half of the Penn State game. Ohio State on the other hand has been as consistent as it has been and still leads the country in most statistical categories. With the weather and the ran, this might be a more ground and pound style of play, which the Buckeyes employed last week against Penn State. If they are able to hold onto the ball, and control the ball, they will win this game easily, and I know that the Buckeyes prepare for this game all year long. Ryan Day will move to 1-0 against Michigan, and make a statement as the number 1 team in the country.  

Ohio State 35 – Michigan 14

Photo Credit to SB Nation

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