Ohio State exorcised some serious demons on Michigan State last week, dominating the first half. In an ideal world for the Buckeyes, the result is similar this week against their hated rivals from Ann Arbor. However, with Mike Macdonald at the helm of the Michigan defense, the Wolverines will be ready for OSU's offense.
Cade McNamara plays turnover-free football, and Michigan is close for three quarters. However, C.J. Stroud makes the big plays against a worn-out Wolverines defense in the fourth quarter. It's a particularly heart-breaking rendition of The Game, given the circumstances and how close this one will be.
Ohio State 30, Michigan 24
The 117th edition of "The Game" is finally here. And, yet again, the Wolverines, which have lost eight in a row against the Buckeyes, are the underdogs, even at home, against their hated rivals from Columbus, Ohio. In fact, Ohio State is an 8.5-point favorite, going into Saturday's matchup.
The key to victory for Michigan, in my opinion, is getting pressure against Buckeyes quarterback C.J. Stroud, a Heisman frontrunner in 2021.
Wolverines EDGE rushers Aidan Hutchinson and David Ojabo will need to get after Stroud all game long and will need to prevent him from having a sufficient amount of time to get the ball out to his receivers, specifically Chris Olave. Olave thrashed the Michigan State Spartans last week, to the tune of 140 yards and two touchdowns.
If Stroud is able to get the ball out freely to Olave, it will be a long day for the Michigan defense.
I believe Hutchinson and Ojabo will give Stroud a run for his money and make him look like a non-Heisman QB for most of the afternoon. However, the Buckeyes are still too talented and too deep on both sides of the ball for the Wolverines to pull off the upset at The Big House.
Jim Harbaugh falls to 0-6 in his coaching career against the Buckeyes.
Ohio State 31, Michigan 27
It's here. "The Game" has finally arrived. In my opinion, this day should be a national holiday. Honestly, I'm probably going to be in the minority with this prediction, but that's OK. I'll just come right out and say it... give me Michigan over Ohio State, for nothing other than the fact that I hate the Buckeyes. Michigan needs this victory very badly. Otherwise, I feel like we could be looking at the beginning of the end of the Harbaugh era in Ann Arbor.
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Contrary to popular belief, this game has the potential to be a lot closer than most people think, and I certainly don't expect the Wolverines to get blown out as badly as the Spartans did last week. I know Michigan hasn't won since 2011. I know the odds are against them. I know this is a really good OSU team. I understand all of that.
However, Michigan is deploying one of its better teams in recent years, so I fully expect the Wolverines to be extremely competitive and to play hard. As long as they do, anything can happen. I am very much looking forward to seeing how it all unfolds.
Michigan 27, Ohio State 24
Today is the day all Michigan fans having been waiting for all year. It's time to test themselves against one of the best programs in the Big Ten. I think Michigan will try to run the football and avoid getting into a shootout with Ohio State.
If the defensive line can win consistently, then Michigan will have a chance to be in the ballgame. I just believe Ohio State is the better team and will showcase it at Michigan Stadium Saturday afternoon.
Ohio State 27, Michigan 20
This will be Ohio State's biggest road test of the season. The Buckeyes haven't played any one on the road, and they haven't looked impressive in those road trips.
On the flip side, this will be the biggest game Michigan has played in the Jim Harbaugh era. A win and the Wolverines will have a shot at their first Big Ten title and a chance to play in the College Football Playoff.
Harbaugh has wilted in the spotlight of these big moments in the past, and has coached himself out of important games. I don't think this tiger changes his stripes.
However, I think this Michigan team plays up to its ability, and it stays close as the Buckeyes are challenged on the road.
In the end, Ohio State's offense has too much of a punch for a Wolverines defense that will press and make C.J. Stroud's day a tough one.
Ohio State 38, Michigan 31