When: Saturday, November 24th, 2018
Where: Ohio Stadium | Columbus, OH
Time: 12:00p ET
For the first time since 2004, Michigan is favored over Ohio State in Columbus. The Buckeyes and Wolverines will collide as Top-10 teams yet again in this rivalry in what should be The Game of the Year.
The stakes are as high as they can get in 2018 as Ohio State and Michigan are both Top-10 teams with College Football Playoff aspirations. The greatest rivalry in all of college football is at its pinnacle and everyone will be watching.
Urban Meyer’s Buckeyes and Jim Harbaugh’s Wolverines are set to go toe-to-toe in another heavyweight bout in Columbus this Saturday.
The Buckeyes’ No. 2 ranked high octane offense will look to pick apart the Wolverines No. 1 ranked defense. Michigan has tormented their opponents all season as they are always sniffing for blood and ready to feast at any sign of weakness.
Last year, Dwayne Haskins got a taste of The Game when he came in cold off the bench after JT Barrett was shaken up the previous play. Haskins, with the assistance of Mike Weber and JK Dobbins, led Ohio State back from a six-point deficit to win The Game 31-20.
This year, however, look for Haskins to need to make short routine throws early so he can settle in against arguably the best defense he will face all season.
Similarly to the Penn State game, the usage of the screen game and getting the speed guys in space will be an important part of Ohio State’s offensive game plan in an attempt to get the Michigan defense out of position.
Another area on the Ohio State offense to watch is running the football off tackle or toward the boundaries with Mike Weber and JK Dobbins to get outside and utilize their speed.
However, the quarterback run will likely be a factor now with either Haskins on a keeper or Tate Martell in the Wildcat. Expect the Tate Martell package to be turned to in short yardage situations and even in the red zone.
The top ranked Michigan defense is sound in every facet of the game. However, one outstanding weakness is their inability to slow teams down in the red zone. Their opponents’ success rate inside of the 20 is not what one would expect as it is 15/16 on the year for overall scoring opportunities according to ESPN.
The individual matchup to keep a close eye on is Ohio State’s linebackers containing Shea Patterson. The Buckeyes have been prone to giving up big play all season. In fact, last weekend against Maryland, Ohio State allowed a season high five plays of 40+ yards. Patterson has proven he has the ability to extend plays with his legs whether on an RPO, scrambling, or by a designed run.
Ohio State will also need to account for Karan Higdon. Higdon has already rushed for over 1,000 yards this season for Michigan. Patterson and Higdon have been a great 1-2 punch for the Wolverines on offense and have been instrumental in their success.
The Game will not disappoint as these storied rivals will, again, show why this is the greatest rivalry in all of sport. As usual, this will be the toughest test of the season for Ohio State and Michigan.
In the most emotional and physical game of the year, expect the Buckeyes and Wolverines to be at their best. Be sure to tune into FOX at noon to watch Ohio State and Michigan clash for the 115th time in The Game.
Image Credit: Samuel Silverman | Director of Design for Ohio State Football