In order to beat Ohio State:
1-We must rush for over 100 yards,
but 200 would be our goal! Perry and Askew need to have big days;
Sanderson will need to log more playing time. Our offensive line
has improved and they must wear out the Buck defense. Wilhelm
is the key guy to block along with Doss. The Bucks lead the Big
Ten in rushing defense only allowing 75 yards per game (we are
4th with 116).
2-We must win the turnover battle,
we must be plus in turnovers! Gamble, Doss, Wilhelm, Smith and
Nickie cause a lot of turnovers so we'll have to be poised and
make good decisions including being ready for some awfully hard
hits. Then, we'll need to look to our turnover specialists: Jackson,
Heuer, LeSueur and Hobson to create some turnovers. We must get
solid play from our WILL linebacker: Sarantos and McClintock.
3-We must convert on 3rd down! We
are 8th in the nation in this category (Ohio State is 65th), and
we need to keep drives alive and put our offense in red zone opportunities
to convert. Time of possession will be a key factor along with
field position; last year, the Bucks had an advantage of nearly
4-We must get points in our red zone opportunities: touchdowns
and field goals. The Bucks are third in the Big Ten in red zone
conversions (we are 10th), and defensively limiting red zone points
from opposing offenses; they are first and we are 7th. We must
get in more red zone position opportunities than the Bucks, and
convert these into points.
1-We must limit the Buckeye rushing
attack to under 100 yards! The Bucks are hurting at running back!
Maurice Clarett, Lydell Ross and Maurice Hall must be halted and
contained much better than we did with Anthony Davis.
2-We must force turnovers! We must
win this battle, and be plus here!
3-We must not allow "big plays"
to Gamble, Jenkins or Vance! They beat Illinois, Purdue, Penn
State and others with big passing plays to these excellent receivers.
Jackson, LeSueur and Markus Curry must be solid and our safeties,
June and Drake (Shaw and Shazor) must not give us the deep pass.
4-We must limit their 3rd downs
conversions! Krenzel must not be allowed to scramble for 1st downs
like he did with the Illini; we must contain him with our ends
and outside linebackers: Stevens, Orr, Hobson, Sarantos and McClintock.
We must also get some sacks and put the heat on with the blitz
5-We must limit points in red zone
opportunities: field goals rather than touchdowns (or better yet,
1-We must not have any blocked punts!
They have a great punter, Groom, and so do we, but our net punting
and field position as a result of punts needs to put our defense
and offense in a strong positions. I don't see why we are using
Jermaine Gonzalez in punts when we have Marlin Jackson; I'd rather
see LeSueur or Calvin Bell rather than Markus Curry or Gonzalez.
I don't think we can afford to put Markus Curry back there after
the fumble on the punt that changed momentum in the Iowa game.
2-We must not have any punt returns
for points, and we must limit yards in punt returns (Gamble)!
Last year, Manning blocked one of their punts; this year Woods
looks like our best chance for a block; Avant is also working
here. We must not give up a block to them (I don't think we've
had one blocked all year).
3-We must not allow any kickoff
returns over 35 yards! Neither team is too much of a threat here,
but anything can happen especially if they put Gamble back on
4-If we can block a punt, extra-point
or field goal, it is a bonus and equivalent to a turnover! Nugent
is one of the better kickers in the nation along with Groom being
one of the best punters; Finley and Brabbs must step up this week.
Hopefully, we can avoid having Brabbs run the football.
We will be the best team that Ohio
State will play this year, and we must play like the best team
They are a solid second half team
so we must be even better in the second half. They have outscored
every opponent in the second half until Illinois, and they still
won in overtime.
Common Opponents: Wisconsin 21-14
(home) vs. 19-14 (road); Penn State 27-24 OT (home) vs. 13-7 (home);
Minnesota 41-24 (road) vs. 34-3 (home) and Purdue 23-21 (road)
vs. 10-6 (road)
Our seniors vs. their seniors: Askew,
Hobson, Drake, Lazarus, Rumishek, June, Julius Curry, Williams,
Joppru, Bellamy, Petruziello, Casseus, Denay, Sgroi, Nasif, Dubuc,
etc. vs. Doss, Wilhelm, Peterson, Nickey, Grant, Vance, Groom,
Stafford, Kuhnlein, Thompson, etc.
1-B.J. Askew & Scott Sanderson
vs. Matt Wilhelm; Brandon Joe vs. Carl Diggs-blocking down on
the middle linebacker is usually the responsibility of the fullback
and this will decide whether either team will establish dominance
in the running game. This will also be a marquise matchup for
blitz situations. Wilhem is cut from the same mold as Tom Cousineau,
Randy Gradishar, Pepper Johnson and Chris Spielman; he'll be tough
2-Tony Pape vs. Will Smith and Courtney
Morgan (Demetrius Solomon) vs. Darrion Scott; Shane Olivea and
Ivan Douglas vs. Shantee Orr and Larry Stevens (Dan Rumishek)-How
each team is able to handle the pass rush will be a key. Smith
had two sacks, two tackles for loss and a fumble recovery in last
year's game; he must be neutralized by Pape. Each team is looking
to establish the run so this is a key area.
3-David Baas and Dave Petruziello
(Matt Lentz) vs. Kenny Peterson and Tim Anderson; Adrien Clarke
and Bryce Bishop vs. Shawn Lazarus and Grant Bowman (Norm Heuer)-Good
matchups here, fairly similar to last year with one huge exception:
All-American LeCharles Bentley graduated for the Bucks. We must
win the battle inside for running the ball and stopping the pass
4-Braylon Edwards vs. Chris Gamble
and Ron Bellamy vs. Dustin Fox; Chris Gamble vs. Marlin Jackson
(Brandon Williams) and Michael Jenkins vs. Jeremy LeSueur (Markus
Curry)-Last year, Jenkins and Gamble only had one catch each against
us. We cannot give up a big play on a deep pass! Last year, Jackson
was injured and didn't play so this is his first Ohio State game;
hopefully, he'll respond with great cover like he's done on Charles
Rogers and Reggie Williams. Edwards and Bellamy must find a way
to get separation from Gamble and Fox, and we must certainly limit
5-Ben Joppru vs. Cie Grant; Ben
Hartsock vs. Victor Hobson-Hartsock only had one catch in last
year's game. Grant started at corner last year, and has now grown
into a linebacker so he'll be good on cover. Still, I like the
matchups on both sides of the ball. I don't see Joppru being stopped,
and I don't see Hartsock as a threat.
6-Chris Perry vs. Michael Doss;
Maurice Clarett (Lydell/Ross/Maurice Hall) vs. Charles Drake-Last
year, Perry and Askew combined for 99 yard in 23 attempts and
our rushing attack sputtered for 117 yards; we must get 200 or
more to win. Also, last year Jonathan Wells rushed for 129 yards
in 25 carries (almost everything in the first half) with 3 TDs
led by blocking fullback Jamar Martin; both are gone. The strong
safety will be in the box in most running situations.
7-John Navarre vs. Donnie Nickey;
Craig Krenzel vs. Cato June (Jon Shaw)-Last year, Navarre threw
4 interceptions and was sacked 3 times; in order to have a chance,
he'll have to have zero interceptions or at least a plus TD passes
to picks. Last year, we were only 6 of 17 on 3rd down conversions;
this must be much better if we are to be in red zone situations
and given a chance to win. The Bucks were only 5 of 19 last year
in 3rd down and forced to punt 11 times, but didn't need to worry
with a 23-0 halftime lead hanging on for a 26-20 win. Krenzel
was only picked once last year by Todd Howard after they were
up 21-0 shortly before the end of the first half. The free safety
is the quarterback of the defense, and they'll be battling both
quarterbacks so they don't complete long plays.
8-Adam Finley vs. Andy Groom; Adam
Finley vs. Mike Nugent-We know that we are weak in field goals
compared to the Bucks, but we must improve our net punting and
hit the field goals we attempt. Our net punting is only one yard
per punt behind the Bucks, but our field goal attempts are 40%
(last in the Big Ten) while they didn't miss an attempt all season
until last week when they missed two. We can't predict the weather
and the wind's affect on the kicking game, but in November it
usually is a factor.
9-Dave Pearson vs. Robert Reynolds;
Alex Stepanovich vs. Joey Sarantos (Scott McClintock)-Someone
must clear the way up the middle and that's usually the center.
I'm guessing McClintock will log most of the playing time because
of his size.
I really like our chances in this
game; I think we execute and come up with a win, 24-16!
Michigan finishes 10-2 and goes
to the Capital One Bowl in Orlando against Florida, Arkansas or
LSU (Penn State to the Outback against one of these; Colorado
goes to the Cotton against the other); Ohio State goes to the
Orange Bowl against Notre Dame, Florida State and Georgia tangle
in the Sugar Bowl, Washington State or UCLA plays Iowa in the
Rose Bowl and Oklahoma plays Miami-Florida in the Fiesta Bowl