The game we’ve all been waiting for is finally here. No. 3 Michigan heads to Columbus to take on No. 2 Ohio State. Both teams are 11-0 with sights on Indy and the CFP. Above all, both fight for the pride and bragging rights of their program and their state. Which team will emerge victorious?
Almost a year has passed since Michigan beat Ohio State at home and Michigan fans haven’t let them forget it. For the first time in nearly a decade, the maize and blue faithful have their heads high. The Wolverines leaped over the proverbial OSU hump and now it’s time to prove that again.
The Buckeyes had an entire year to mull over the game and all the Michigan talk. They won’t make Saturday easy as they seek to prove they are the better team. It’s been over two decades since the Wolverines last won in the Shoe. Can the Wolverines end another streak? Or will Ohio State retain their dominance on their home turf?
After considering that, I think it’s important to discuss the factors that can play into a Wolverines victory. Obviously a lot hinges on a healthy team, especially their top two running backs. Head coach Jim Harbaugh gave a usual non-answer during an injury update in an attempt to have minimal information available for opponent game planning. Unfortunately that leaves Michigan fans in the dark too.
Another factor can only be described as rising to the occasion. The last few weeks Michigan’s passing game has been mediocre at best. I think it’s Michigan’s most worrisome aspect of play. The Wolverines have immense talent in their receivers and their quarterback, but they’ve looked out of sync for some time. From dropped passes to open receivers not getting targets, this level of play hasn’t gained a lot of confidence. They need to come out firing on all cylinders because settling for field goals won’t cut it.
Lastly is Michigan’s defense. After a clash with a top defense last week, going against a top five offense will be the ultimate test for the Wolverines. The Ohio State offense vs. the Michigan defense will be where the game is won. Whichever one prevails with a more overwhelming force will be the winner on Saturday.
It seems so simple to say it that way, but we have seen top defenses from Michigan before and they didn’t have success. What is promising from this group is their ability to have multiple players make big plays and make adjustments when need be. They are the key component to a Michigan victory and as such they need to be ready.
What if the worst scenario occurs? Michigan travels to Columbus and loses. How would you see this season? Would it be successful or not? Can Michigan’s season be successful without a win? I don’t know if I have an answer for these questions yet honestly, mostly because thinking about losing is bad luck. It’s a lot to consider, but at least we can agree that Michigan would be much more in control of their own fate with a win.
A game of potential historic proportions is tomorrow. Both teams meet undefeated for the first time this decade. A win means everything. So I ask, is Michigan ready? Are they ready to take on Ohio State in Columbus? Can they get a win and snap a two decade losing streak in the Shoe? If so, how can Michigan overcome Ohio State for the second year in a row?
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