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Michigan vs. Ohio State: Preview and Prediction

Photo courtesy of USA Today.

What is At Stake?

A spot in the B1G championship game and a CFP berth will be at stake this Saturday when the Michigan Wolverines host the Ohio State Buckeyes. The game has the same vibe as last year’s matchup between the two programs. Michigan ended an eight-game losing streak against their hated rival and finally appeared in the B1G championship game. The Wolverines would go on the clinch their first-ever college football playoff berth. Saturday marks the 118th time that Ohio State and Michigan will play each other. The Wolverines lead the series 59-52-6.

Why Michigan Will Win

Michigan’s roster does not have NFL-level talent on the level of Ohio State’s CJ Stroud, Marvin Harrison Jr., TreVeyon Henderson, or Jaxson Smith-Njagba. However, they present one of college football’s most vaunted rushing attacks. The main guy at the top is running back Blake Corum. So far, he has rushed 1,457 yards and 18 touchdowns.

The Michigan rushing attack has reached at least 200 yards in many games this season. Corum ran for a career-high 243 against Maryland in Week 4. When it comes to defense, the Wolverines are at the top of the list.

The unit is only allowing 11.2 points per game from opposing offenses. If the Wolverines’ ground game gets off to an excellent start, it could be a long afternoon for the Buckeyes. At certain moments, we have seen Ohio State play down to their competition. That may happen on Saturday if Michigan can build a strong lead.

Why Ohio State Will Win

In all of the games Michigan has steamrolled through, can we say there were a few Ohio State-level teams on the schedule? Probably not. Penn State is the third-best team in the conference, but at this time, both Ohio State and Michigan are on an entirely different level. Dating back to last year, quarterback CJ Stroud has shown why he is a projected top prospect in the 2023 NFL Draft. Stroud is ranked fourth in the country in touchdown passes with 35 and first with an 89.7 QBR.

On the outside, the Wolverines’ defense may have their hands full. Prospect Marvin Harrison Jr has been making crazy catches similar to how his father used to pull it off with the Indianapolis Colts. Harrison Jr is the Buckeyes’ leading receiver, with 65 catches, 1,037 yards, and 11 touchdowns. Because of numerous injuries, the running game is now by committee.

Injuries to TreVeyon Henderson had allowed Miyan Williams to take over the position. He would become the Buckeyes leading rusher with 783 yards and 13 touchdowns. Williams was carted off with a leg injury that occurred in the 56-14 rout of the Indiana Hoosiers. He has not seen action since the injury occurred. The status of both players for Saturday’s game has not been released.

Predicted Outcome

While Michigan may have the number-one-ranked defense in the country, the unit has not dealt with the firepower that the Ohio State Buckeyes contain. Expect Michigan to attempt to control the time of possession by utilizing their running attack. But Ohio State will overcome what Michigan is trying to do and pull away with a win this Saturday. However, even though Michigan may not appear in the conference championship game, they may still be able to clinch a CFP berth. A lot of attention will be on the Notre Dame versus USC matchup and next week’s Big 12 title game that features playoff-hopeful TCU.

Ohio State 38, Michigan 27

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