Ohio State football key to win over Michigan in The Game


Everyone knows that one of the best parts of being a sports fan is debating and dissecting the most (and least) important issues in the sports world with your friends. So, we’re bringing that to the pages of LGHL with our favorite one-on-one column: You’re Crazy.

In You’re Nuts, two LGHL staff members will take different positions on the same issue and debate their opinions passionately. Then, in the end, it’s up to you to decide who’s right and who’s crazy.

The question of the day: what is the No. 1 key to ohio stateis victory in The Game?

Jami’s Hold: Stop TTUN’s Run Game

When Bozo the Clow… I’m sorry Jim Harbaugh finally beat the Buckeyes last season in Ann Arbor, it was largely because of OSU’s defense and their inability to stop the run.

The defense started the season with what seemed like a miracle turnaround under new defensive coordinator Jim Knowles, but they’re not the only ones to have improved this year — Wolverines have too. And as the season progressed, holes appeared in the Buckeyes defense, leaving fans wondering if they can stop an offense that appears to be training for a marathon.

Last year, Hassan Haskins of TTUN tied a Michigan school record with five rushing touchdowns against OSU, helping propel them to a 42-27 victory over our dear old Buckeyes. His 169 rushing yards on 28 carries, coupled with running back Blake Corum’s 87 yards on 6 carries, made the OSU defense look like the Tasmanian Devil had circled around them just a few occasions.

Michigan’s running game was — to put it lightly — dominant. And if Brutus and his gang of crazies hope to leave the Shoe with a win this year, Buckeye’s defense absolutely needs to stop Michigan’s running game.

The Maryland game revealed a few holes for the Buckeyes, though it wasn’t the running game that caused OSU problems. Despite the close call and Maryland having rushed for 402 yards in the game (OSU had 401), Jim Knowles’ defense kept the Terrapins to just 84 rushing yards.

But the Maryland running game is not the Wolverines running game. Between Corum, who has rushed for 1,349 yards and 17 touchdowns on 227 attempts so far this season, and Donovan Edwards and CJ Stokes, who are averaging 6.7 yards and 5.5 yards per carry respectively, the Michigan’s ground efforts are a whole different beast than what we’ve seen. against Maryland.

It’s unclear if the Buckeyes are ready for that. They’ll have to be if they’re going to have any chance of winning The Game, heading to the Big Ten Championship, finishing the regular season undefeated, or eating a bowl of cereal with Jim Harbaugh’s tears.

The Michigan call run plays about 62% of the time, averaging 44.7 carries per game. With the No. 4 running offense in the nation, Michigan has the potential to run all over the Buckeyes.

I may sound pessimistic so far about the Buckeyes’ chances, but don’t worry – all hope is not lost. The key to victory for OSU will be shutting down Corum and Edwards. Because as much as Michigan shines on the ground, they have room to grow in the air.

While Wolverine quarterback JJ McCarthy has speed that makes him a rushing threat, paired with an incredibly accurate arm all things considered, he’s struggled to connect on deep balls this year.

The No. 1 key to winning The Game will therefore be to force McCarthy into situations where he needs to throw deep. If its running channels are shut down, OSU will have the ability to force McCarthy into situations with a margin of error; mistakes that could mean turnover opportunities for the Buckeyes or a way to quickly get OSU’s offense back on the field.

The other problem with Michigan’s racing game is the clock implications. When a team dominates on the pitch, they also tend to dominate the clock. By forcing McCarthy into the air, OSU can keep control of the clock while potentially forcing Michigan into making mistakes.

The game is likely to be hard fought on both sides of the ball this year, and neither side can afford to be sloppy. So if the Buckeyes can create chances by forcing McCarthy and Wolverine’s offense out of their comfort zone, that could be the most important key to another pair of golden pants.

Matt’s Take: Stopping TTUN’s pass rush

Everything Jami said is true and makes perfect sense. After all, running the ball is TTUN’s entire offensive identity and Blake Corum is a legitimate Heisman-level weapon when healthy. However, I’m going to go in a different direction, because ultimately I don’t think the story of this game is going to be told when the Skunk Bears get the ball.

We still don’t know if Corum will play on Saturday, and if he does, what his health will be. However, it seems pretty sure that Donovan Edwards will be back in the rotation after missing out on last week’s narrow win over Illinois. But, again, what will be his health?

While I think there are still a number of areas where the Buckeye defense needs to improve significantly if they are to win a national title, the unit is already leaps and bounds ahead of it. was in 2021, so even if the Corn and Blue had a healthy race hall, I would expect the Silver Bullets to perform better than last year.

So, I’m going to look at what Ohio State needs to do on offense to have the best chance of winning. There’s a reason CJ Stroud is the overwhelming favorite to win the Heisman Trophy. When he’s at his best, he’s arguably the best quarterback in college football who throws to the best collection of wide receivers in college football.

However, what we’ve seen throughout the season, especially in the second half of the schedule, is that if defenses can put guys in the quarterback’s face, he tends to become a gunslinger at full-fledged and relying on his prodigious athletic gifts to make plays, abandoning his technique and mechanics.

Thanks to the fact that he was throwing insanely talented players like Marvin Harrison Jr., Emeka Egbuka, Julian Fleming and Cade Stover this season (not to mention overmatched defenses), Stroud was able to get away with a little more reckless approach than this. which would otherwise be advisable. He can’t do that against the Harboys.

In last year’s edition of The Game, Aidan Hutchinson recorded three sacks on Stroud and David Ojabo added a fourth. Luckily for the Scarlet and Gray caller, these two gentlemen are now in the NFL. While the Mitten Men are still a respectable 22nd nationally in sacks per game with 2.82 (coincidentally tied with Ohio State in that category), they’re not as scary as they were a year ago.

So the key to giving Stroud the best opportunity to land passes is to keep the pocket clean. There’s a very good chance the Buckeyes will be without a starting offensive lineman in the game, as right guard Matthew Jones was ejected from the field in last week’s game against Indiana. Reading the ever-insightful tea leaves from Ryan Day’s press conference on Tuesday, it looks like fourth-year player Enokk Vimahi will start in his place, with Josh Fryar as a backup for the tackle positions.

So if Vimahi and the rest of the OSU offensive line — which has been pretty strong all year, allowing just seven sacks all season, good for second-best nationally — can stop Stroud from moving on. the Weasels pass, he should be able to complete passes against a secondary that has been very good this year, playing against virtually anyone who could step out of his shadow.

The Buckeyes’ defensive improvements have been phenomenal and much appreciated, but this team will succeed or fail because of their offense, and their offense is the passing game. So if the o-line can give CJ Stroud the best opportunity to see the field and hit the pitches, it should be a pretty good day in The Shoe for the good guys.


Who has the correct answer to today’s question?

  • 79%
    Jami: Quitting TTUN’s Run Game

    (74 votes)

  • 20%
    Matt: Stopping TTUN’s pass rush

    (19 votes)

93 voices in total

Vote now


Comments are closed.