It's arguably the biggest game to be played in Ann Arbor since the arrival of Jim Harbaugh back in 2015, and it's set to take place in less than a week. While the matchup between No. 5 Michigan and No. 2 Ohio State is always one that garners national interest, this year's contest has taken on a whole new level of significance. With just one game remaining in the 2021 regular season, the Big Ten East will be decided when the two programs meet on Saturday - with the winner punching its ticket to Indy.
Former Michigan Wolverine Charles Woodson is already on location as part of Fox's Big Noon Kickoff Coverage - and he's clearly already in rivalry mode.
"This is what we all wanted", said Woodson as he previewed Saturday's top five matchup from Ann Arbor.
Perhaps nobody wanted this matchup more than the man nearly the end of his seventh season as head coach of the Michigan Wolverines. Speaking with Jon Jansen on the ‘Inside Michigan Football’ radio show, Harbaugh said he can sense the confidence in his team heading into Saturday's matchup with No. 2 Ohio State.
"I see it in their eyes. I hear it in their voices, said Harbaugh. We're all feeding off of each other like that. I look at them, it feels like I'm looking in the mirror. I'm seeing the same confidence in them that I feel inside of me."
At 10-1 on the season, the Wolverines have every reason to feel confident heading into Saturday - regardless of the previous outcomes.
Offensively, junior quarterback Cade McNamara has elevated his level of play and is peaking at the right time. Though McNamara only accounted for five touchdown passes through the first seven weeks of the season, he's tossed a total of nine over the last four games - with just one INT.
After sophomore running back Blake Corum went down with an injury against Michigan State, Hassan Haskins settled in comfortably to the role of "workhorse' - averaging 134 yards per game over the last three games.
Defensively, the Wolverines feature the top edge-rushing duo in the nation with Aidan Hutchinson and David Ojabo. In fact, both have been projected as top-ten picks in the 2022 NFL Draft - meaning you'll likely be witnessing their final game inside of Michigan Stadium this weekend. There's a lot to like about this Michigan football team and it all seems to be coming together at the perfect time. Even with confidence at an all-time high, Harbaugh knows that the task ahead will require a total team effort if Michigan is to emerge victorious on Saturday.
“We’re going to have to play really good as a team — offensively, defensively, special teams,” Harbaugh said. “It’s going come down to individuals really knowing their role, staying in their role, starring in their role. Back to playing really good as a team. You play really good, you’ve got a chance to win the game. You don’t play really good, you have a really good chance to not to win the game.”
No. 5 Michigan and No. 2 Ohio State will kick off at 12 pm ET from The Big House on FOX.