OHIO STATE PREVIEW 2008

The 2008 version of this game features a #10 ranked Buckeye team playing at home with a 9-2 record against a meager 3-8 Michigan team with the worst record in its 129 year history. Ohio State has won 4 in a row, and 6 of the last 7 games against Michigan since Tressel became their coach. Ohio State has never beaten Michigan five years in a row since this series began. This is Coach Rod's first game against Ohio State in this rivalry, and he has never beaten Tressel or Ohio State; his record against Top 25 teams is 12-14 including 4-7 on the road.

On offense, Freshman Terrell Pryor is now engineering the Buckeye offense. He is a dual threat to run and pass just as our old nemesis and Heisman Trophy winner, Troy Smith; however, he is much larger at 6'6" 235 lbs. and probably faster. Pryor averages 51 yards per game in rushing, and has an passing efficiency rating of 152.16 leading the Big Ten as a Frosh; however, their pass offense is ranked #11 in the Big Ten with only 145 yards per game. Ohio State is averaging 27 points per game including nearly 44% on 3rd down conversions, and has the #1 red zone offense in the Big Ten converting on 94.7% of their opportunities (33 of 35 attempts resulting in 20 TDs). Ohio State is ranked #29 in the nation in rushing offense averaging 188 yards per game with Junior Chris "Beanie" Wells returning; he had 222 yards and both Buckeye TDs in last year's game. Although Wells has been injured much of the season, he'll certainly play today and be at his best in the Bucks final home game; he is a load to tackle at 237 lbs. and very fast. Senior Maurice Wells is his backup. Tight end is manned by Senior Rory Nichol with Junior Jake Ballard as backup; both are predominantly blockers. Their offensive line has returnees from last year Alex Boone at Left Tackle and Steve Rehring at Right Guard; both are 5th year players. Freshman Mike Brewster will be working on Senior Captain Terrence Taylor while Sophomore Right Tackle Bryant Browning and Junior Jim Cordle will start at Right Tackle and Left Guard. Cordle started last year's game at Center. Their offensive line is an excellent, experienced group in run blocking schemes, and do a good job protecting the quarterback. This is a typical solid Buckeye offense with a sound running game that converts on 3rd down and red zone opportunities. To beat them, our defense must play their best game of the season forcing turnovers and limiting 3rd down conversions and red zone chances into field goals rather than TDs; the plan has to be to stop the running game and force the Bucks into more passing that may hopefully result in sacks and turnovers. If Pryor were to get injured, Todd Boeckman only threw for 50 yards in last year's game.

Previous 4 Years of Buckeye Offense=Why Michigan has not won
Year Total Offense Passing Yards TD Throws Completions Rushing Yards Rushing TDs Red Zones First Downs 3rd/4th Down Conversions Time of Possession

2007

2006

279

503

50

316

0

4

7/13

29/41

229

12

2

0

2

3

16

24

7 of 18

6 of 12

37:50:00

29:51:00

2005 418 300 1 27/37 37 1 3 25 6 of 12 31:39:00
2004 448 241 2 13/23 145 1 4 18 8 of 18 34:16:00
Ten Best Game Matchups

Michigan Ohio State
Brandon Graham Bryant Browning
John Ferrara/David Moosman Jim Laurinaitis
Tim Jamison Alex Boone
John Thompson Chris Wells
Greg Mathews Malcolm Jenkins
Obi Ezeh Brandon Smith
Brandon Minor Marcus Freeman
Morgan Trent/Donovan Warren Brian Robiskie/Brian Hartline
Terrence Taylor Mike Brewster
Zoltan Mesko A.J. Trapasso

On defense, the Buckeyes are ranked #2 in total, scoring and pass defense, #3 in rushing defense in the Big Ten. Nationally, they rank #13 in total defense, #7 in scoring defense, #13 in pass defense, #14 in pass efficiency defense and #26 in rushing defense. They are a solid group led by Outland Trophy candidate and Senior MIKE Captain Jim Laurinaitis who has 354 tackles in his Buckeye career. With 24 more tackles in two games, he could tie or surpass Pepper Johnson as the all-time Ohio State tackles leader. Senior WILL Linebacker Marcus Freeman, and SAM Linebacker is Ross Homan give them a solid linebacking crew. 5th Year Senior Nader Abdallah is one Defensive End, Tackles are Sophomores Cameron Heyward and Dexter Latimore, Juniors Doug Worthington and Todd Denlinger while Sophomore Thaddeus Gibson and Robert Rose rotate at the other Defensive End. Senior Thorpe Semi-Finalist Cornerback Malcolm Jenkins mans one corner and the other corner is split between Sophomore Floridian Chimdi Checkwa and Junior Donald Washington, and Juniors Kurt Coleman and Anderson Russell at Strong and Free Safeties. Detroiter and Junior, Aaron Gant, backs up at safety. The defensive backfield is pretty much the same group as last year who shut down Mario Manningham and Adrian Arrington. Their defense has the challenge of stopping our offense led by backup quarterback Nick Sheridan with a passing efficiency rating of 97.90 ranking him 110th nationally and an offense ranked nationally 105th in total offense, 106th in passing offense, 87th in scoring offense and 60th in rushing offense of 120 NCAA Division I teams.

The intangibles again favor the Bucks, they are ranked #7 nationally in turnover margin while we are ranked 105th; a turnover advantage is huge in this rivalry and may be the "kiss of death" for the team who fails to win this key in the game. Special teams begins with matchups between two of the best punters in the Big Ten and nation with A.J. Trapasso and Zoltan Mesko and two solid placekickers in K.C. Lopata and Ryan Pretorius. We are ranked #2 nationally in net punting while the Bucks are ranked #11. In field goals, Pretorius has hit 19 of 23 while Lopata has hit 10 of 14. The big advantage the Buckeyes have on special teams is on punt returns with Junior Ray Small; he averages 13 yards per return with a TD and is out of Tressel's doghouse for this one. Our punt coverage team will need to be extra good today. We we feature Frosh Martavious Odoms who isn't quite as sure handed. Neither team has much of a threat in kickoff returns although the Buckeyes have a better kickoff coverage team.

Our only chance is to have a dominating defensive performance that creates turnovers, limits Buckeye scoring chances, 3rd down conversions and red zone opportunities while offensively establishing enough of a running game to maintain time of possession and field position advantage. On offense, it is pretty obvious that we must first establish a running game, and balance our attack so we convert 3rd downs to maintain time of possession. We must be able to also establish a passing game, and that is something we haven't been able to do all year. I don't know if we are up to this offensively or defensively based upon what I've observed this year, and I'm not sure Coach Rod will have a game plan and play calls that will foil the Buckeyes. Tressel and the Bucks know what we need to do and will prepare accordingly. I'm sorry I can't be more optimistic, but I'm hoping in this rivalry that I'm wrong. Statistical advantages are usually negated in a rivalry game; however, my prediction is:

Michigan 10 Ohio State 31

This is the greatest rivalry in all of sports in the United States. They have played every year since 1918, and the game was moved to the last Saturday of the season in 1935. Both teams have outstanding football programs and their fans are loyal and passionate in support. As a result of the talent and emphasis on excellence for both schools in football, it is a closely contested rivalry. Even though Michigan holds an advantage with 57 wins in 104 games; since 1918, the advantage is 45 wins and 41 losses with 4 ties. Michigan's record in Ohio Stadium is 21-21-1, and at the Big House is 21-17-3 since 1918. Michigan's overall record in Columbus is 27-22-2. Every game from 1972-1981 determined the Big Ten representative in the Rose Bowl. The Buckeyes began calling this series the "Gold Pants" which began in 1934 with the series tied at 35-35-4.
Decade Team Record Highlight
2000 Ohio State 6w-2L 2006 #1 vs. #2
1990 Michigan 7w-2L-1T
1980 Michigan 6w-4L
1970 Ohio State 5w-4L-1T Tie and Rose Bowl Vote
1960 Ohio State 7w-3L 50 points in 1968 and 1969 Revenge
1950 Tied 5w-5L Snow Bowl
1940 Michigan 6w-2L-2T
1930 Tied 5w-5L
1920 Michigan 6w-4L 1922 Ohio Stadium dedication game ruined, and 1927 Big House dedication game celebrated
1910 Michigan 3w-1L-1T
1900 Michigan 9w-0L-1T
1890 Michigan 1w-0L

Undefeated Seasons Ruined by Arch-Rival Team Times
1969, 1973, 1993, 1995, 1996 Ohio State 5
1970, 1972, 1973, 1974, 2006 Michigan 5
Undefeated Conference Seasoned Ruined by Arch-Rival Team Times
1939, 1964, 1969, 1973, 1976, 1977, 1980, 1986, 1993, 1995, 1996 Ohio State 11
1968, 1970, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1982, 1998, 2004, 2006 Michigan 10
Category Michigan Ohio State
Legend Coach(es) Bo Schembechler, Fielding Yost and Fritz Crisler Woody Hayes and Jim Tressel
Legend Players Tom Harmon, Charles Woodson and Desmond Howard Archie Griffin, Hopalong Cassidy and Troy Smith
Current Record 3 wins-8 losses, 2-5 in Big Ten 9wins-2 loss, 6-1 in the Big Ten
Heisman winners 3 7
All-Americans 150 169
Bowl Record 19 wins-20 losses, 20 Rose Bowls 18 wins-21 losses, 13 Rose Bowls
Big Ten Titles 42 31
NCAA Titles 11 7
Series Record 57w-41l-6t 41w-57l-6t
Overall Record 872-294-36 807-306-53
Fight Song The Victors Fight the Team
Hate Song Liquidate Ohio State Don't give a damn about Michigan
Rally Song Let's Go Blue Hang on Sloopy
Other Song Varsity Buckeye Battle Cry
Other Song Hawaiian War Chant Hey Cheer
Other Song Yellow&Blue Carmen Ohio
Mascot Wolverine Buckeye (Brutus)
Reward Satisfaction Golden Pants

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