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Jim Harbaugh evaluates Ohio State’s offense & defense

Here’s what Harbaugh had to say about Ohio State’s offense and defense.

NCAA Football: Michigan at Penn State Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports

10-1 Michigan takes on 10-1 Ohio State this Saturday. The Buckeyes have a lot of playmakers on both sides of the ball, and some of their rankings are impressively eye-popping. Michigan will have their hands full, something they’re well aware of.

Here’s what Jim Harbaugh had to say about Ohio State when he spoke to the media on Monday.

Ohio State defense

The Buckeyes defense has improved over the course of the season, currently ranking 9th in total defense. Their rushing defense ranks 30th, they’re 8th in passing yards allowed, and have the 7th ranked scoring defense. When it comes to getting the opposition off the field on third down, they’re great at that as well, ranking 10th.

Harbaugh on OSU defense: “Really athletic, the defensive front is long, athletic. Very physical, really good at taking on blocks, defeating blocks. Taking on blocks, condensing holes with their athleticism and length and their physicality. Blocking is gonna be at a paramount. Again, it will be channeling Bo (Schembechler) and Woody (Hayes). Blocking and tackling, the game will in large part come down to it.”

Ohio State receivers

Ohio State’s depth at wideout is astounding. They have three receivers with over 58 receptions and 800 yards. Chris Olave has 13 touchdowns this season and is the best wideout in OSU history (statistically). Jaxon Smith-Njigba burst onto the scene this year after just 10 receptions a season ago — he leads the Buckeyes in receptions with 69 and receiving yards with 1,132 while also hauling in 6 touchdown receptions. Last but not least is Garrett Wilson with 60 receptions for 939 yards and 11 touchdown grabs. All three of these receivers can dash and gash a defense.

Harbaugh on OSU wideouts: “How good they are, how dynamic. Their route-running ability, their catching ability. Their speed to all parts of the field — horizontally, vertically. Really outstanding.”

Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud

C.J. Stroud was a four-star prospect, a player that Michigan recruited and extended an offer to, but the Rancho Cucamonga, California native chose the Buckeyes. This is Stroud’s first season as Ohio State’s starter, and second year on campus. Stroud played behind 2021 NFL Draft first round pick Justin Fields last season and didn’t attempt a pass.

This year, Stroud’s first as a starter, has catapulted him into the Heisman Trophy conversation — Stroud has thrown for 3,468 yards, 36 touchdowns, and just 5 interceptions. Stroud threw for 6 touchdowns in the first half on Saturday against Michigan State, a game they beat the Spartans 56-7.

Ohio State has the 6th ranked passing offense.

Harbaugh on Stroud: “Phenomenal. C.J. is a fantastic player. We saw it in high school when he played. Knew he was gonna be really good and he’s bringing it all to life. Playing great.”