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Michigan’s keys to victory vs Ohio State

Here. We. Go.

Christopher Hall- Maize n Brew

‘The Game’.

The keys to victory.

Play Loose

Easier said than done, but this might be the Michigan team that is able to take the field at Ohio Stadium and not be overly nervous. When the team has played their best this season, they’ve been having fun in a focused manner. They’ve had a great year, and now is the time to believe in themselves and be excited for the challenge, not to be fearful. Whether Michigan wins or loses, I expect them to play loose, there are far too many players who believe in each other and their own abilities to curl up and back down. Expect these guys to embrace the challenge and have some fun in what could be one of the best days or worst days of their life.

Rattle Haskins early

QB Dwayne Haskins might get his licks in against the Michigan D, he is the best QB they’ve faced thus far this season. Where Haskins does appear to be vulnerable is when pressure is in his face. Only then will Haskins force a throw into double coverage. When he has a clean pocket and clear vision of the entire field, he either picks a defense apart or is smart with the football. Defensive coordinator Don Brown will not be changing his overall philosophy for this game, and that bodes well for Michigan’s chances of success. Pressuring Haskins will be important for all four quarters, but the sooner they can get Haskins on his back feeling a bit of pain in the cold the better.

No turnovers

There are some keys to victory that can be used any given week, but this one is more important on the road in Columbus. When objectively looking at this matchup, Michigan appears to be the better team. From there, we then must try and find what variables could still make Michigan lose a game they should probably win. The first variable is it being a road game in a playoff atmosphere. This is the biggest game most of these players have ever played in their lives. The second variable is giving the game away to the other team. Michigan’s defense should be able to keep OSU’s offense in check enough for Michigan’s O to outscore the Buckeyes. However, if we see a couple fumbles along with one or two interceptions, things could get real dicey. The OSU offense is one of the best in the country, and giving them more opportunities to score will be playing with fire. Shea Patterson and Co. should be aggressive, but they can’t be reckless. Play smart. No turnovers.

Playbook opened all the way

Yes, Michigan will run the ball plenty, but we’re going to see every facet the offense has to offer vs OSU. Shea Patterson will be running on read-options, this may be the most we’ve seen the pistol formation in a game to this point, and I’d be surprised if we didn’t see new variations of the spread and bunch formations. Whatever the coaching staff feels will put Michigan in the best position to win on a down-by-down basis will be implemented. There’s no more withholding plays ‘til next week,

Handle up-tempo attack

Indiana did a fine job against Michigan last week of implementing a no-huddle hurry up offense. For the first half, it confused the U-M defense enough to keep the game close. In the second half, adjustments were made, the defense clamped down, and IU stopped moving the football with regularity. OSU has an up-tempo attack themselves, they’ve surely watched the film of the IU game, and they’ll be looking to dash and gash Michigan quickly before they even know what hit them. Michigan’s D must communicate effectively with one another, grind out downs where they may be winded, and get OSU off the field before their hurry up offense does damage.

Time of possession will be important

Keeping Haskins off the field and allowing Michigan’s D to rest up and regroup as much as possible will be highly important. Scoring as quickly and as much as possible is priority number one, but Michigan would love to have a few long drives that lead to touchdowns.

Be cool

Emotions will run high, the game will be chippy. While Michigan won’t back down from a challenge, they have to be smart and not pick up unnecessary penalties related to after the whistle pushing and shoving or trash talking. Things like that can extend drives, and even one silly penalty could lead to points being scored. What if a penalty such as that decided the game. Don’t get baited, Michigan.

Fired up Harbaugh

Let’s face it, you love when Jim Harbaugh is yelling at officials, chest bumping his players, and amped. Harbaugh is going to push his players to dig down deep in this one and will be delivering words of wisdom aplenty. You’re going to see playoff Harbaugh, a man who doesn’t eff around. Oh, and Don Brown will be fired up too. All college football fans should love it.