Ten Things I Think Will Happen For Michigan Against Ohio State
As 22-point favorites over the Black Knights of Army, Michigan escaped with a three-point win in double overtime. As 3.5-dogs against the Badgers, U-M limped away from Madison after a 21-point loss that was actually much worse. The Wolverines were favored by 27.5 over Rutgers and won by 52 in an offensive explosion compared to weeks prior. There was the 10-point offensive clunker against the Hawkeyes that somehow resulted in a win. Then five weeks ago, Michigan inexplicably gave up 25 straight points to Illinois before ultimately winning the game 42-25. A game went somewhat according to plan when Michigan lost by just seven in Happy Valley a few weekends ago and then the Wolverines drubbed the Irish 45-14 in Ann Arbor as slight underdogs. A 31-point win over Maryland was pretty much expected ahead of the bye week but it didn't exactly play out like some thought in terms of game flow and stats. Two weeks ago Michigan punked Michigan State by 34 points, which was pretty much expected, and last week U-M smacked Indiana by 25 points, which was not.
All of that makes these guesses tricky, but here are some specific predictions on how the action will look this Saturday.
Josh Uche will have a strip sack
Uche leads the Wolverines in sacks with 8.5 and has forced two fumbles on the year. Getting to the quarterback is pretty likely for Uche, but stripping the ball is not. I think he'll put an emphasis on trying to get the ball out this weekend because he knows turnovers are going to be paramount.
Khaleke Hudson will lead the team in tackles
Hudson leads the team in tackles with 88 so predicting that he'll lead the team in the category isn't much of a reach. Or is it? Hudson is pacing the Wolverines in tackles but has not led the team in stops since the Iowa game, which was almost two months ago. It seems pretty likely that Hudson could lead the team in tackles but guys like Cameron McGrone, Jordan Glasgow and even Daxton Hill have done it since Hudson last did.
Shea Patterson will not throw an interception
Against Notre Dame, Maryland and Michigan State, Patterson was clean and did not throw a pick. He was damn near perfect last week against Indiana but unfortunately did throw a late interception. He's only thrown five this year so he's actually been pretty good in that regard. Ohio State has picked off 14 passes on the season so it'll be interesting to see which trend plays out.
Donovan Peoples-Jones will score two touchdowns
Peoples-Jones is really coming on as of late and has scored a touchdown in each of his last two games. He doesn't have a multi-score game on the season yet but Saturday will be his coming out party. Maybe he catches one and takes a punt back for a score. However it happens, DPJ will account for 12 points on his own.
Quinn Nordin will kick the game-winning field goal
Nordin seems to be the go-to guy at this point of the season and he's 5-of-8 on the year. His long is 49 in 2019 but he's good from at least 55, which is his career long. If Michigan can keep it close against a more talented Ohio State team, Nordin will get a shot to send the Buckeyes back to Columbus with an L.
Michigan will rush for at least 200 yards
Michigan is only rushing for a little over 155 yards per game and Ohio State is holding teams to just over 91 yards per game, but if the weather gets nasty, U-M will need to pound the rock and I think they can. They showed against Notre Dame that they can run the ball in bad weather against a team with good athletes. If U-M can achieve success like that on the ground, the passing game will work better as well.
Michigan will lead at halftime
As the home team, Michigan would love to get off to a fast start and I think they will. If they can get a score or two on their first few drives it will go a long way to staying in the game and with an Ohio State team that scores a lot of points. Michigan will be able to do that and will go into the break with a small lead.
Michigan will give up three big-play scores (20 or more yards)
The Buckeyes have 24 passes of more than 25 yards and 31 rushes of more than 20 yards on the season. They have a lot of athleticism and speed at every one of their skill positions and a quarterback who can get it to them in Justin Fields. I think we'll see some big play scores by the Buckeyes, but I also think U-M will be able to keep pace.
Michigan will score an unorthodox touchdown
The Wolverines will need to force some turnovers and get a big play that results in quick points in order to win and I think they will. Whether it's Donovan Peoples-Jones on a punt return, Giles Jackson on a kick return or a defender on a pick six or scoop and score, I think U-M makes a huge splash play and gets a very helpful touchdown.
Ohio State will fumble at least three times
Ohio State has fumbled 18 times on the season and has lost 11 of them. If Justin Fields is really dealing with a pretty serious thumb injury after last week's game against Penn State, ball security could be an issue for him. Star running back JK Dobbins had some trouble holding on to the ball last week as well, and I think Michigan will attempt to tee off on both of those areas.
What do you think of the predictions? Which will happen and which won't? What predictions do you have? Comment below!!!