Ohio State vs Michigan Preview

By: Quentin Ison

“The Game” will begin another storied chapter tomorrow at Noon in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Traveling from Columbus and coming off a disappointing loss, is the Buckeyes who enter the game at 10-1. The Wolverines are perhaps one botched play away from playoff consideration but find themselves still alive in the Big Ten East Division with a 9-2 record.
The long-awaited showdown between Urban Meyer and Jim Harbaugh has finally come to center stage. Harbaugh and the Wolverines will be looking to end a drought against their arch-rivals, a game they haven’t won since 2011. The Wolverines are perhaps the best equipped they have been in the past decade to knock of the Buckeyes. The stellar defensive play and the emergence of Quarterback Jake Rudock have been the main stories this year. Harbaugh and Meyer’s team need a bit of help from Penn State to play undefeated Iowa in the Big Ten Conference Championship game.
The Buckeyes enter the game with many of the same questions that have surrounded them all season. When will the offense show up? Outside of standout tailback Ezekiel Elliot, Ohio State has struggled to muster the offensive firepower that led them to a National Championship last season. It will be imperative for Elliot to run well and create opportunities for Quarterback J.T. Barrett and the play action to keep the tenacious Michigan secondary led by Jabrill Peppers and Jordan Davis off-balance.
There is no doubt that there will be plenty of energy flying around come kickoff at “The Big House”. Michigan may have the edge in terms of momentum, but in a game that means more than anything to both, records don’t matter. I expect this to be agrueling, physical game. (Sounds a bit like a Woody vs. Bo game, doesn’t it?). I have a gut feeling this game will come down to field position and turnovers. I do know one thing; this game is going to be very fun to watch.
In the end, I expect the Buckeyes to rise to the occasion. Elliot finds his grooves and the Buckeyes are able to escape the clutches of the “Big House” with their pride intact.
Ohio State 28 – Michigan 24

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Ohio State Vs. Penn State Preview

The Buckeyes enter the game against division rival Penn State undefeated and still clinging to the number one ranking by a slim margin. The two quarterback system yielded much success against Maryland last Saturday. J.T. Barret looked masterful in the red zone, but will the Buckeyes deploy the same strategy against the Nittany Lions (5-1 Overall, 2-0 Conference). The Buckeye offense scored on all six trips to the red zone against the Terrapins. On Monday, Coach Urban Meyer confirmed Cardale Jones is still the starter until proved otherwise. However, the Buckeyes will be unveiling something new when the take the field on Saturday. Perhaps taking a page out of Penn State’s “white out” book, Ohio State will sporting all black jerseys in an attempt to “black out” the Horseshoe.

The Nittany Lions lone loss was to Temple in the season opener, a debacle which led to 10 sacks of quarterback and potential top 10 NFL Draft pick, Christian Hackenberg. Ohio State will look to get pressure of the edge with NFL bound ends Joey Bosa and Aldophus Washington. Since the Temple game, Hackenberg has taken 9 sacks and hasn’t played the best of football. He has only thrown for over 60% once this season. The offense has run through the ground game, running back Akeel Lynch  has looked impressive at times but is questionable for this Saturday. If ready he can make a big impact since it is no secret the Buckeyes have struggled against the run this season. The good news is that OSU will be able to pin their ears back in passing situations and not have worry about a scrambling quarterback (something they struggled with last week).

Ohio State tailback Ezekiel Elliot looks primed to continue his streak of 100 yard rushing performances against Penn State’s 38th ranked run defense, which only surrenders 117 yards per game. Elliot will have to rely on his offensive line to find holes and take the pressure off Cardale Jones.

Ultimately this game comes down to whether Ohio State gets hot early or spins the wheels. If the Buckeyes score as efficiently as they did last week, the Nittany Lions will be in trouble. My prediction for the game: Ohio State 45 Penn State 17.

-Q

Note: All Stats via ESPN.com