Michigan vs. Ohio State: The whole lot to find out about The Sport

Michigan vs. Ohio State: The whole lot to find out about The Sport

After his workforce had completely mauled Ohio State within the trenches final November, Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh unleashed a verbal uppercut to the breadbasket of his counterpart Ryan Day. 

The jubilant Harbaugh was reveling in his first victory over the Buckeyes since assuming management of his alma mater in 2015 and fired a shot throughout the bow that added one other layer of rhetorical rocketry to this storied rivalry.

“Generally individuals which can be standing on third base assume they hit a triple, you recognize?” Harbaugh stated after his workforce’s 42-27 win at Michigan Stadium. “However they didn’t.”

Harbaugh’s quip appeared to insinuate Day was quite lucky to be named head coach at Ohio State after two years because the workforce’s offensive coordinator. And earlier this week, Harbaugh acknowledged the comment carried retaliatory motives for Day’s remark about desirous to “cling 100” factors on the Wolverines in 2020. Tit-for-tat, apparently.

This yr, Harbaugh sang a far totally different tune in his weekly information convention to preview the primary undefeated matchup between Ohio State and Michigan since 2006. He pushed apart a possibility to expound on the third base remark in favor of extra respectful feedback in regards to the Buckeyes, their gamers and the spectacle of two unbeaten groups vying for a visit to the Massive Ten Championship sport in Indianapolis. The Wolverines, he stated, have been a group of “pleased warriors on a cheerful mission.”

“It is a super workforce,” Harbaugh stated, “and we’re very grateful to be on this place, to have the ability to play on this sport. Winner takes the East, winner takes all proper there. Robust opponent. It is the sort of scenario that provides you the chance to show how robust our workforce is. There is no have to hate. Be glad about the opponent. It is like superheroes: It is by means of a powerful opponent that you just get to seek out out who you might be.

“They have nice gamers; we have got nice gamers. They’ve nice coaches; we now have nice coaches. They’ve gamers with Heisman habits, we now have gamers with Heisman habits. Congratulations. Be grateful to have the chance to play in this type of huge sport.”

The Sport: Ohio State, Michigan to sq. off

The Game: Ohio State, Michigan to square off

RJ Younger is joined by Geoff Schwartz to preview the largest sport of the faculty soccer season between Michigan and Ohio State.

So with that because the backdrop, right here’s a scouting report for The Sport:

The matchup

No. 3 Michigan (11-0, 8-0 Massive Ten) at No. 2 Ohio State (11-0, 8-0 Massive Ten)
Sport time: Midday ET on FOX and the FOX Sports activities App
Odds: Buckeyes by 8 (per FOX Wager, as of Thursday afternoon)

Setting the stage

When Michigan has the ball: A lot of Michigan’s identification has centered on its super operating again Blake Corum, who ranks fourth nationally in speeding with 1,457 yards and tied for second in speeding touchdowns with 18. Between rushes and receptions, Corum has touched the ball on 57.1% of his 448 snaps this season.

Because of this everything of Michigan’s fan base felt their stomachs drop final Saturday in opposition to Illinois when Corum crashed to the turf grabbing his left knee shortly earlier than halftime. And whereas he made a quick return at first of the second half, Corum eliminated himself from the sport due to lingering discomfort. Harbaugh informed reporters there was no structural harm to Corum’s knee and hasn’t supplied any updates since.

“He’s an excellent participant,” Day stated earlier this week. “We’re going to arrange for him to play, we count on him to play. We’ll do the most effective we will. They’re an excellent offense and have loads of operating backs, loads of good gamers. Whereas he’s very, excellent, we’ll proceed to arrange for all of them.”

If Corum is unavailable or inhibited, the popular substitute can be former five-star prospect Donovan Edwards — a participant averaging 6.7 yards per keep on 70 makes an attempt this season, and somebody who gives a official risk within the passing sport. However Edwards sustained an undisclosed damage in Michigan’s win over Nebraska earlier this month and missed final week’s residence finale in opposition to Illinois. As with Corum, his standing for the showdown in Columbus is unclear.

That heaps much more strain on sophomore quarterback J.J. McCarthy to move with higher accuracy than he’s exhibited the previous couple of video games. McCarthy accomplished not less than 69% of his passes within the first seven begins of his profession however has topped 53% simply as soon as within the final month. His sequence of pressure-packed throws within the closing minutes in opposition to Illinois provides McCarthy one thing to construct from.

3 issues Michigan should do to beat Ohio State

3 things Michigan must do to beat Ohio State

Joel Klatt breaks down the keys to a Wolverines victory.

When Ohio State has the ball: The final two video games for freshman tailback Dallan Hayden quelled the nerves of a program hampered by damage woes at operating again. Major ball carriers TreVeyon Henderson (foot) and Miyan Williams (lower-body damage) have bounced out and in of the lineup seemingly all season, however Hayden proved simply how deep the expertise runs in Columbus by gaining a mixed 248 yards and 4 touchdowns in wins over Indiana and Maryland. Watching Illinois tailback Chase Brown carve out 140 yards and two touchdowns in opposition to a stout Michigan protection ought to supply the Buckeyes a lift in confidence.

The extra attention-grabbing matchups are within the passing sport, the place Day and quarterback C.J. Stroud ought to be capable to dictate the appears they like. Michigan’s co-defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach Steve Clinkscale prefers retaining his cornerbacks to at least one aspect of the sector for a whole possession quite than having them observe sure broad receivers. The technique protects the Wolverines from getting caught out of place in opposition to up-tempo offenses, but it surely additionally affords opposing groups the possibility to affect defensive assignments.

Michigan rotates three gamers by means of its two perimeter nook spots, with veterans DJ Turner and Gemon Inexperienced incomes a lot of the snaps. Turner and Inexperienced have mixed to permit simply 38 catches on 85 passes thrown their manner for 492 yards and three touchdowns. Quarterbacks have a greater NFL passer ranking concentrating on Inexperienced (87.2) than Turner (59.6) this season, in keeping with PFF.

How effectively the Buckeyes push the ball downfield to their gifted receiving corps figures to be an attention-grabbing subplot. Stroud has accomplished 23 of 51 passes touring not less than 20 yards past the road of scrimmage for 836 yards, eight touchdowns and one interception. The protection of Michigan defensive coordinator Jesse Minter has solely conceded 22 passes of 20-plus yards all season.

“I talked about gamers who’ve Heisman habits,” Harbaugh stated. “They’ve gamers who’ve Heisman habits; we now have gamers who’ve Heisman habits. No query C.J. Stroud and (wideout) Marvin Harrison Jr. have Heisman habits. Super gamers.”

Why Ohio State’s run sport is the important thing

Why Ohio State's run game is the key

Joel Klatt explains what Ohio State should do to succeed vs. Michigan.

Gamers to look at

Michigan edge rusher Mike Morris: The 2 storylines that emerged from Michigan’s snow-swept win over Ohio State final season have been the bludgeoning operating of tailback Hassan Haskins (169 yards, 5 TDs) and the unblockable performances from edge-rushing tandem Aidan Hutchinson (15 pressures, three sacks) and David Ojabo (4 pressures, one sack).

With Hutchinson and Ojabo now plying their commerce within the NFL, the alpha position was handed right down to Morris, who leads the Wolverines in each pressures (35) and sacks (seven) thus far this season. Together with his 6-foot-6, 292-pound body, Morris is considerably greater than his predecessors however has tormented opposing offensive traces to an identical diploma. Minter makes use of Morris as a standard edge rusher, a hand-in-the-dirt inside rusher, and even drops him into protection at occasions on zone pressures.

Morris missed the win over Illinois with a lower-body damage he described as a tweak throughout a radio look final week. He’s anticipated to be in uniform this weekend, although it’s unclear whether or not he’ll have the identical explosiveness he’s proven all season.

Ohio State security Lathan Ransom: The arrival of latest defensive coordinator Jim Knowles from Oklahoma State ushered in a change that has improved the Buckeyes from 59th in complete protection a yr in the past to ninth this season. Penn State and Maryland are the one groups to attain greater than 21 factors in opposition to Knowles’ toughened, extra basically sound unit.

Among the many keys to the defensive turnaround is Knowles’ use of three safeties on the sector on the identical time, with Ransom, Ronnie Hickman and Tanner McCalister — who adopted his former coordinator from Oklahoma State — turning into affect playmakers within the field, within the slot and within the deeper parts of the sector most frequently related to their positions. The trio has mixed for 5 interceptions, three sacks, six passes defended, two pressured fumbles and one fumble restoration.

Ransom, a junior, could be probably the most versatile of the safeties given what number of locations he’s lined up this season. His 490 defensive snaps have been cut up between alignments within the field (212 snaps), slot nook (100 snaps), broad nook (14 snaps) and free security (156 snaps), in keeping with Professional Soccer Focus). Opposing offense have thrown Ransom’s manner 25 occasions this season, and whereas 17 of these passes have been accomplished — a 72% clip a lot greater than coaches would really like — the completions solely gained 112 yards and haven’t produced a landing. Quarterbacks have an NFL passer ranking of 64.1 when throwing at Ransom, and that’s adequate for No. 2 within the OSU secondary behind McCalister at 51.6.

He additionally blocked a punt throughout final week’s win over Maryland.

How Jim Knowles remodeled the Buckeyes’ protection

How Jim Knowles transformed the Buckeyes' defense

Joel Klatt breaks down how defensive coordinator Jim Knowles circled Ohio State’s protection.

Unsung heroes

Michigan heart Olu Oluwatimi: The switch from Virginia has been getting ready for Saturday’s sport with a heavy coronary heart following the horrific mass taking pictures at his former faculty wherein three soccer gamers have been killed. As well as, Harbaugh informed reporters Oluwatimi’s father just lately underwent a profitable process to take away a mind tumor. As necessary because the showdown with Ohio State could appear, Oluwatimi’s thoughts is being pulled in a number of instructions.

On the sector, Oluwatimi’s stellar play has taken an already gifted offensive line to a brand new degree in 2022. He’s the ninth highest-graded heart within the nation amongst gamers with not less than 700 snaps, in keeping with PFF, with a run-blocking mark that ranks eighth nationally and a pass-blocking mark tied for twenty fourth — all of which exceed what final yr’s heart Andrew Vastardis did in a really strong marketing campaign. Oluwatimi has but to permit a sack this season and has surrendered simply 5 quarterback hits.

“He has the energy of 10 males,” Harbaugh stated after the win over Illinois. “I’ve a lot admiration for him and I’ll ceaselessly be proud to be his buddy.”

Ohio State tight finish Cade Stover: The senior from Mansfield, Ohio, has emerged as a dependable goal for Stroud as defenses dedicate an increasing number of consideration to Harrison and the Buckeyes’ different perimeter threats. Stover ranks third on the workforce in catches (31) and fourth in each receiving yards (386) and receiving touchdowns (5), three of which got here within the final 4 video games.

At 6-foot-4 and 255 kilos, Stover has a barely shorter and thicker construct than many fashionable tight ends however makes use of his energy to interrupt tackles at a powerful fee. His common of 6.1 yards after contact per reception ranks eighth nationally amongst tight ends with not less than 40 receptions, in keeping with PFF, and 49% of his complete yards have been gained after the primary collision with a defender. Eighteen of his 31 receptions have picked up first downs this season.

“There’s not a harder man within the nation than Cade Stover,” Day stated on his radio present earlier this week.

Damage report

Michigan: The largest questions for Michigan are within the backfield, the place Corum (knee) and Edwards (undisclosed damage) will possible be lower than 100% in the event that they’re obtainable for Saturday’s sport. Corum suffered his damage in final week’s win over Illinois, whereas Edwards dropped out of the win over Nebraska earlier this month. The opposite main damage concern includes tight finish Luke Schoonmaker, who has missed the final two video games with an undisclosed damage. Schoonmaker is a featured goal for McCarthy, particularly on third downs, and is second on the workforce with 30 catches for 315 yards and two touchdowns. Punt returner and gadget receiver A.J. Henning can be questionable with an undisclosed damage after lacking the earlier sport.

Ohio State: There’s uncertainty in Ohio State’s backfield as effectively with main runners Henderson (107 carries, 571 yards, six TDs) and Williams (117 carries, 783 yards, 13 TDs) each battling accidents for a lot of the season. Henderson, who’s believed to be coping with a foot downside, carried 11 occasions for 19 yards final week in opposition to Maryland however was unable to complete the sport. Williams can be coping with a lower-body damage and hasn’t performed for the reason that first half of Ohio State’s win over Indiana on Nov. 12. The good unknown is whether or not star broad receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba (hamstring) can be obtainable for the primary time since Oct. 22 when he aggravated an damage that originated within the season opener in opposition to Notre Dame. He has simply 5 catches for 43 yards in 2022.

Numbers sport

12: The variety of conferences between Michigan and Ohio State with each packages ranked within the high 5 of the Related Press ballot, which is probably the most of any rivalry in school soccer. The Buckeyes maintain a 7-3-1 edge in these matchups.  

10: The variety of consecutive wins for McCarthy since beating Cade McNamara for the highest spot on the QB depth chart after Week 2. He has matched Dennis Franklin’s mark for probably the most wins and not using a loss to start a beginning quarterback’s profession in Michigan faculty historical past.

8: The variety of consecutive video games received by Ohio State over Michigan at Ohio Stadium. The Wolverines’ final win in Columbus was a 38-26 victory in 2000. Michigan owns the rivalry’s longest general win streak at 9 consecutive video games from 1901-09.

27.6: The typical margin of victory for Michigan this season throughout an 11-0 begin. The Wolverines are certainly one of three groups with common scoring margins bigger than plus-25 this season alongside Georgia (plus-26.7) and Ohio State (plus-29.5). These are additionally the one three groups to have outscored their respective opponents by greater than 300 factors in 2022: Georgia plus-300; Michigan plus-304; Ohio State plus-325.

2: The variety of years when Michigan and Ohio State did not play one another within the common season finale since 1935. The primary exception got here in 1942, when the Buckeyes ended the yr in opposition to Iowa Pre-Flight in what completed as the college’s first Related Press nationwide title. The second exception got here in 2020 in the course of the pandemic-shortened marketing campaign. Michigan and Ohio State haven’t performed in Columbus since 2018.

Remaining Massive Ten slate

Nebraska (3-8, 2-6 Massive Ten) at Iowa (7-4, 5-3 Massive Ten)
Sport time: 4 p.m. ET Friday on Massive Ten Community
Odds: Hawkeyes by 10.5

Rutgers (4-7, 1-7 Massive Ten) at Maryland (6-5, 3-5 Massive Ten)
Sport time: Midday ET on Massive Ten Community
Odds: Terrapins by 14

Illinois (7-4, 4-4 Massive Ten) at Northwestern (1-10, 1-7 Massive Ten)
Sport time: 3:30 p.m. ET on Massive Ten Community
Odds: Illini by 14.5

Minnesota (7-4, 4-4 Massive Ten) at Wisconsin (6-5, 4-4 Massive Ten)
Sport time: 3:30 p.m. ET
Odds: Badgers by 3

Purdue (7-4, 5-3 Massive Ten) at Indiana (4-7, 2-6 Massive Ten)
Sport time: 3:30 p.m. ET on Massive Ten Community
Odds: Boilermakers by 10.5

Michigan State (5-6, 3-5 Massive Ten) at No. 11 Penn State (9-2, 6-2 Massive Ten)
Sport time: 4 p.m. ET on FS1
Odds: Nittany Lions by 19.5

Learn extra:

Michael Cohen covers school soccer and basketball for FOX Sports activities with an emphasis on the Massive Ten. Observe him on Twitter at @Michael_Cohen13.

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