Michigan Football: Michigan at Ohio State — “THE GAME” — Initial Game Preview
Once upon a time it was called the game nationally. Then, through many causes, one of which was Michigan losing several games in a row, the game became tarnished. There is still drama to play out this year for Ohio State, less so for Michigan. Ohio State is 11-0 but going nowhere in the bowl scenario. Michigan is 8-3 having lost to the current top two teams and top 15 Nebraska. Michigan’s bowl status may not even change, win or lose this Saturday.
Ohio State has had several near escapes, but the team keeps escaping. The defense is very talented and healthy. Several members of the defense are NFL caliber, especially the defensive backfield. C. J. Barnett, Christian Bryant, and Bradley Roby have all had moments, good and bad, but this threesome is high on talent.The linebacker spot has been vulnerable, but the return of Etienne Sabino and the switch to linebacker by Zach Boren has greatly helped. Ryan Shazier is a very high level talent and a warrior.
The front four is not impenetrable, but somewhat difficult to run against. Wisconsin’s power game is going to get yards on about anyone, so discount the yardage given up last week as indicating softness, this is not so. The front four starts with Johnathan Hankins, all 322 pounds of him. Senior Nate Williams is an excellent defensive end that is mobile and makes plays. The lynchpin of the defensive line is Senior John Simon. He plays as hard and as well as any defensive lineman in the Big Ten.
Ohio State has been fortunate, like Michigan, in not having big injuries to the offensive line. The players on the line get good push and provide Braxton Miller time to maneuver. Last week Wisconsin played a nice umbrella with the front seven and caused Braxton and the line some problems. Jack Mewhort switched to tackle and had a very good year. He has potential at the next level.
Braxton Miller needs no introduction or explanation to any football observer. He possesses elite speed and maneuverability. A team that lets him get to the edge on a sprint out against one average athlete on contain is going to give up big yards. His passing is better and the quarterback iso and quarterback draw are options that hurt teams.
Ohio State has by far the best stable of running backs in the Big Ten. But right now 232 pound Carlos Hyde is the mail carrier. Hyde running blasts and Miller to the edge is tough to defend. Michigan sees similar qb speed in practice, but not the line push and power of Hyde and Ohio State.The wide receivers of Ohio State were decried as inferior last year and through spring practice by observers and Urban Meyer. The truth is that this bunch is pretty high end. Philly Brown has Manningham type ability and is starting to put up some numbers. Local product Jake Stoneburner remains a very capable tight end. He can make the possession catch or score on the deep ball to the end zone.
Ben Buchanan is the punter and he has been a little up and down. The place-kicker is Drew Basil and he has been outstanding. The return men of Ohio State, Hyde and Brown are very dangerous and could pose a major problem for Michigan’s so-so kick coverage. A kick return last week was the difference against Wisconsin.
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Written by GBMWolverine Staff
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