Ohio State Preview:

The Buckeyes are 8-2, and 5-1 in the Big Ten with losses to Texas at home and at Penn State. They have one of the best defenses in the nation, and this game will be a challenge for our offense.

They are led on defense by their three Senior linebackers, A.J. Hawk, Bobby Carpenter and Anthony Schleigel. Carpenter leads the Big Ten in sacks and Hawk averages nearly 11 tackles per game. These three average 21 tackles and 1.5 sacks per game. These three plan to create havoc for Chad Henne. They lead the Big Ten with 38 sacks; this is twice the amount of sacks that we have. In the backfield, Ashton Youboty is a great cover and has 8 pass break ups; he will be tight on Jason Avant. Junior Strong Safety Donte Whitner, Freshman Cornerback Malcolm Jenkins, Senior Free Safety Nate Salley and Senior Tyler Everett will make thier presence felt in the backfield. When Henne isn't worrying about the linebackers, he'll be looking for Senior Mike Kudla on the pass rush. Junior David Patterson, Seniors Marcus Green and Quinn Pitcock also anchor their line. Their defensive line leads the nation in rushing defense limiting opponents to 78.7 yards on the ground, 198.6 yards in the air, 277.3 yards in total offense and 14.2 points per game. The Bucks lead the conference in total defense. Only 8 rushing and 6 passing touchdowns have been accomplished by Buckeye opponents. Tough Gopher back, Laurence Maroney, who knocked out both our safeties, was held to 13 yards in 7 carries by the Buckeyes in the second half. They have limited opponents to the least first downs, 15 per game, and least 3rd down conversions, 27.2%, in the Big Ten. They have only allowed 10 TDs in 22 red zone attempts. Only two teams have had more than two red zones against the Buckeyes this season: Texas and Michigan State. Texas had 4 red zones and converted 3 while MSU had 5 and converted only 3 with the blocked field goal before haltime resulting in a 10 point turnaround.

On offense, they are led by senior quarterback Troy Smith. He currently leads the Big Ten in passing efficiency with a 150.3 rating. He has only allowed 4 interceptions, and scored 8 rushing TDs while averaging nearly 239 yards in total offense per game. He is a multiple threat option quarterback who can run and throw as he demonstrated last year, and averages 56 yards per game on the ground. His favorite target is Santonio Holmes who averages nearly 19 yards per catch and 78 yards per game; he has 9 TDs. Hall will need to have his best game as a Wolverine to blanket Holmes. They also have Sophomore Anthony Gonzalez who caught a 68 yard TD pass against Michigan in 2004, Roy Hall and Ted Ginn along with senior tight end Ryan Hamby. Their rushing offense has improved and is averaging 196 yards per game. They are led by Sophomore tailback, Antonio Pittman, who is averaging 111 yards per game. They also have Maurice Wells. Their offensive line is led by seniors, center Nick Mangold and tackle Rob Sims. Former Michigan great, Walt Downing, has his son, T.J., starting at right guard. Our defensive line will need to limit their running attack to less than 100 net yards if we are to win in my opinion.

Dangerous Ted Ginn lurks on punt and kickoff returns. He ran one back against Michigan last year, and is itching to execute a repeat performance. This year, the Sophomore has 21 punt returns for a 12.2 yard average with one TD. On kickoffs, he has a 29.6 yard average on 18 returns including one TD against Minnesota. Senior Josh Huston is a solid kicker, and the team's leading scorer; he has 18 field goals (of 21 attempted) and 39 extra points (of 39) and he is the most accurate placekicker in the conference (82.4% on field goals). Sophomore punter A.J. Trapasso is averaging 40.9 yards per punt, and has dropped 17 of his 40 punts inside the 20, another 13 have been fair caught so this only leaves 10 that have been returnable. One can count on the Buckeyes to sport excellent special teams coverage on punts and kickoffs. Breaston will have a difficult time finding room against the Buck's stellar special teams.

Penn State was so successful against the Bucks because the converted both their red zone attempts into rushing TDs, and their defense completely thwarted the Buckeye offense. Also, the Bucks couldn't convert any Penn State mistakes into points. In fact, they had no turnovers and converted 2 Buckeye miscues into points. Texas was successful because they have a solid defense that held the Buckeyes to 13 first downs and 111 yards in net rushing and 255 yards in total offense, and their quarterback, Young, is so awesome especially in the red zone. Still, it took and incredible 24 yard TD pass late in the 4th quarter, and a mistake by the Coach Tressel by inserting Zwick instead of Smith on the last drive that sealed the Longhorn victory.

It will take a perfect game from the Wolverines: no mistakes, no turnovers and the ability to move the ball offensively especially on the ground. We must do enough offensively to keep a time of possession advantage. Defense will need to come up big, and hopefully create some turnovers and at least one red zone opportunitys for the offense. We must stop the Buckeye running attack, and force them to beat us in the air. Special teams will need to contain Mr. Ginn while hopefully breaking some big plays by Breaston. Special teams creates field position advantage, and we must be able to keep the edge there. I'm predicting a Michigan win in another nailbiter. Anyone have a defibrillator?

Michigan 19 Ohio State 17

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