When looking at the Michigan Wolverines overall body of work compared to that of Ohio State, it’s clear one team is better than the other.
You can see this in the win-loss record of both teams, and in the statistics of each team as well.
For this piece, we’re taking a look at how Michigan’s offense might fare against Ohio State’s defense. Here are the team stats from those two units.
Who has the true edge? Are the stats deceiving?
Clearly one side is way superior than the other, on paper.
But what about when we look at their recent body of work? Specifically Michigan’s offense.
- The past two games, against two top 20 defenses, the Michigan offense had dominated through the air. Against Michigan State and Indiana, quarterback Shea Patterson has passed for 750 yards (11.5 YPA) with 9 touchdowns and just 1 interception. The offense as a whole had 920 total yards in all vs. MSU and IU and scored 83 points.
- Ohio State’s defense is a little harder to gauge as far as recent success, because one of -their last two games was against Rutgers. It’s difficult to quantify those stats in any meaningful way beyond giving a tip of the cap. However, what we can diagnose is how the defense performed against a pretty good Penn State offense.
- Against the Nittany Lions, the Ohio State defense allowed only 227 yards of total offense. Sean Clifford and Will Levis combined to go 16-of-28 for 128 yards an an interception. The Buckeyes harassed Clifford and Levis all day and tallied five sacks against PSU. The only ‘success’ anyone really had for Penn State was running back Journey Brown who rushed for 64 yards and a score on just 11 carries.
- Limiting the damage that defensive end Chase Young creates will be a pivotal key to this matchup, and the Wolverines will have to do a variety of things in hopes of slowing him down.
- Shea Patterson is playing confidently at the quarterback position, but it’ll be interesting to see if Michigan believes the best way to attack the Buckeyes defense is passing the ball. Michigan’s offensive line will have a major say in this one, if they give Patterson time to operate and he isn’t laying on his back early and often, the trend we’ve seen that past couple weeks might continue (i.e. pass-heavy offense).
- What would aid Ohio State’s defense greatly, what has aided them all season long, would be Michigan playing from behind all game. When any offense becomes predictable they’re destined to fail more often than not. Michigan can’t allow itself to be put in a position to where the OSU pass-rush is foaming at the mouth and able to tee-off repeatedly.
- What Michigan can hold onto as fact is the offense has been playing their best offense of the season the past two weeks/month. This creates more of a level playing field than the stats may indicate currently.
- Michigan’s offense is better than it was a season ago, but so is Ohio State’s defense. Looking at stats alone it would be easy for someone to come to the conclusion that Patterson is going to get sacked multiple times, he’ll throw an interception, and the Michigan run game won’t do well either. That’s a limited view, though, and although there aren’t any apparent weaknesses on the Ohio State defense, the Michigan coaches have been working around the clock trying to exploit an underlying deficiency in some way.
- If the passing game for Michigan has even remotely the same amount of success as it’s had the past two weeks, things could swing in Michigan’s favor. Of course that’s a major “if”, but the Wolverines have a ton of play-makers at receiver and the offense now looks like a force to be reckoned with. Despite what the stats look like above, it’s strength vs. strength when it comes to Michigan’s offense vs. Ohio State’s defense. And the same can be said for Michigan’s defense vs. Ohio State’s offense. Maybe these teams are more evenly matched than it appears. Maybe not. It’s hard to get a feel on this one, and something tells me the coaches for both teams feel the same way.