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What we Need to See: Michigan vs Ohio State

Ohio State comes to Ann Arbor as a heavy favorite, but Michigan will look to spoil its national title hopes. What do we need to see if the Wolverines wish to pull off the upset?


Make Braxton Miller one-dimensional

We all know that Michigan's defense isn't capable of shutting OSU down completely, but it is capable of taking away one of the run or pass if it comes prepared. Putting the game on the arm of Braxton Miller should decrease the amount of points put on the board. The game will be over before halftime if Miller is able to run rampant on the ground and combine it with a lethal deep pass game; take one away or die a quick death.

Notre Dame Devin Gardner makes a return

Remember when Michigan had its own quarterback capable of destroying defenses for that one game? That guy, however far away he is, needs to make an appearance in Ann Arbor tomorrow, because Michigan has to get points on the board to win. No more awful interceptions, no more missed deep balls, and no more plays worthy of yackety sax.

Part of this goes on Al Borges, who needs to put Gardner in the right spots early. The correct combination of run and pass plays early on could ignite the same Gardner we saw under the lights a few short months ago; the wrong combination will lead to him being carried off of the field by trainers who feel terrible for him. For the love of all things football, do not run conventional run plays until you have given the Ohio State defense something else to worry about.

Devin Funchess plays out of his mind

Despite all of its struggles in recent months, Michigan's offense still has one weapon who is a lock to remain dangerous: Devin Funchess. Assuming his hands come back, Funchess will always have a chance to make a play on the ball. Since Ohio State should be able to deal with Jeremy Gallon, it's up to Funchess to help drag Notre Dame Gardner back up from the dark abyss. Stop thinking about the catch and just make the damn catch.

Frank Clark, Jake Ryan and company put it all together on defense

If Michigan wants to make Braxton Miller into a one-dimensional player, it needs it's edge defenders to play lights out. Frank Clark absolutely has to play disciplined football, containing Ohio State's backs on read options and keeping Miller in the pocket on passing downs. If Miller escapes on log downs, it's almost certainly because the rush got to ambitious and lost contain of the pocket.

Roughly the same goes for Jale Ryan. The junior linebacker has to continue to play with the same intensity that he brought against Iowa. Don't let pitch men find the edge, and get home to Miller when Mattison inevitably calls your number on one of his signature zone blitzes.

Thomas Gordon, Jarrod Wilson, Raymon Taylor and Blake Countess go all game long

This combination of safeties and corners has been more successful than any other during the season, forcing many to wonder why Courtney Avery and others have received such significant playing time. Playing these four defensive backs for the vast majority of the game will allow them to see more of Ohio State's offense -- and therefore build more confidence. Michigan's young defensive backs have shown great promise at times, but this isn't their game to win.

Play with a controlled hate

We've been over this before, and it has been touched on time and time again during the week, as Brady Hoke uses outdated rhetoric about The Game and why it means so much and why this is Michigan and whatnot.

Truth is, nothing that happened before this game means a damn thing. Michigan doesn't need to play like any teams of the past -- it needs to play like an angry, Buckeye-hating team of 2013. Hate Urban Meyer. Hate Braxton Miller. And use that hate to fuel the best game you've played all year.


Wishful thinking at its very best. Michigan won't get all of the above to happen, and Ohio State could easily beat Vegas' line as a result of it. The program desperately needs this win, which would quiet countless critics and give Brady Home the ever-elusive victory he needs over a truly elite football team. It won't get the win, and we'll all be stuck wondering about the state of the program for another year.