“Put You On The Game”

Campus Clash 

(1) Ohio State Buckeyes at (13) Michigan Wolverines 

Ohio State: Throughout the regular season, they have coasted through. They’ve won a large portion of their games by at least 25 points. Talk about being dominant. Saturday heading into the game against Penn State, I think everyone expected them to just roll over their division rivals. In the words of the legend, Mr. Lee Corso: Not so fast!! When it appeared that the Buckeyes were going to run away with it, Penn State continued to throw counter punches. They made it a game. Ohio State would end up winning the game, but only by 11 points. This would also be their fewest points they’ve scored all season long (28). I was happy to see them get this type of challenge. At first, I thought the Wisconsin Badgers would provide that test for them, but that didn’t necessarily go as expected. They got that physical test from the Nittany Lions. Justin Fields was pressured and taken down. You didn’t see much of that through the season. My biggest takeaway from the game was J.K. Dobbins. There was so much attention on Fields that it opened the field up for J.K. What else can I say about this defense? Chase Young comes back and the entire team thrives off his presence. You talk about having an impact, that’s exactly what he did. For the third straight season, the Ohio State Buckeyes are champions of the Big Ten East. They will also be playing in their third consecutive conference championship game. Urban Meyer built up this foundation, Ryan Day has continued to keep things afloat. To close out the regular season, a trip to the big house is next on the schedule. It’s rivalry week!

Michigan: They were dealt with some challenges early in the year. They looked terrible against the Wisconsin Badgers. They fought back against the Penn State Nittany Lions, but still fell short. That loss gave them two on the season. They really regrouped against Notre Dame under the lights where they’ve struggled. To this day, that’s the most complete game they’ve played all year. Now, the Michigan Wolverines are 9-2. They can’t win the division, get to the conference title game or make the playoffs. It’s been a pride thing for them. Let’s talk about Shea Patterson, the quarterback. I remember when he was inserted in to be the starting quarterback, so many questioned the move. Obviously, Jim Harbaugh knows a thing or two about working with quarterbacks. When he was the head coach at Stanford, Andrew Luck had a great college career then would go onto become the number one overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. How about when he became the head coach of the 49ers? Alex Smith had the best year of his career under Jim. A year later, Colin Kaepernick did well for him. It was only a matter of time before Shea became comfortable within the system. The Wolverines offense is at its best when they run the football. They want to establish the ground game to help the passing game. In the beginning, I was worried about their defense which was expected because they seemed different. Defensive coordinator Don Brown has a way to bring the best out of so many guys that play for him. As the year has continued, the defense has improved. This will always be a staple of Michigan Wolverines football, a consistent defense. It’s time to finish out a regular season against a rival.

Ohio State Player to Watch: K.J. Hill– I really like what he is to their offense. He’s a difference maker. He’s also that security blanket for Justin Fields. K.J. is such a consistent threat over the middle of the field. He’s shifty, he catches the screen passes, he helps move the chains, he moves well with the football in his hands after the catch and he’s dynamic in space.

Michigan Player to Watch: Cameron McGrone– He’s their fastest player within that front seven. Don Brown sends him often on last minute blitzes up the middle. What I enjoy is his consistent pursuit of the football. He’s that spy in the middle of the field. He’s aware always. Cam watches the ball snap, then he’s off to the races. Keeping Fields contained will be a big-time key (if he’s 100 percent)

Final Analysis: This is my fourth straight year getting to preview this rivalry. I’ve often referred to this as “College Football’s version of Duke and North Carolina”. No matter the records or their rankings, this matchup will always be discussed. It may not have the excitement that it did last season, but it’s still fun to discuss. The biggest key for Michigan will be to double Chase Young. Penn State continued to block him with one guy which I don’t understand. I’m chipping him with an additional tight end or a running back. You can’t let him ruin your game plan. How healthy is Justin Fields? Ohio State needs to keep giving Dobbins the football. That’s the best way to attack this Michigan defense.

Prediction: Ohio State 31 Michigan 20

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