Well, it’s here. But unlike last season, there isn’t as much on the line in terms of the standings for the Wolverines but they will have the chance to play spoiler to the Buckeyes.
Ohio State heads into the game sitting at #9 in the latest CFB Playoff ranking with an outside chance to make the top four. But to do so, the Buckeyes would need to blowout the Wolverines while team chaos would need to take place this weekend (#2 Miami has already loss). So, it’s likely Urban Meyer will be coming into the Big House guns blazing.
Will Jim Harbaugh and the young Wolverines be able to withstand the talented Buckeyes and ruin OSU’s season? It will come down to Michigan’s offense and if (insert starting quarterback) and the running game can put up enough points. But with so many questions surrounding that side of the ball, it’s hard to see that happening.
Check out the four things to watch in the 2017 Michigan vs. Ohio State game:
1. Will Peters Play?
Rumors are out there that Brandon Peters will be cleared to play. But nothing is official. So, will he play or not? That’s by far the biggest question heading into this game. With Peters, Michigan is a much different team. The offense plays with more of a rhythm and consistently moves the ball. So, if he’s out and John O’Korn is the only option, it’s hard to feel very confident in Michigan’s chances.
O’Korn and the offense struggled mightily in the Michigan State and Penn State games. For Michigan to pull off the upset with O’Korn, it’ll need Karan Higdon and Chris Evans to show out. But they’ll likely have to do it with a stacked box in front of them.
2. Winning the Turnover Battle
With the offensive struggles for Michigan, it’s likely that the Wolverines defense will need to show up and show out. Turnovers will need to take place and it’s likely they will take place as the Buckeyes have already committed 23 turnovers this season. However, Michigan isn’t much better with 22 turnovers this season. It’ll come down to whose defense can take advantage.
Michigan will have the crowd. Can Don Brown and the Wolverines defense make the plays to win the game? It may end up being one of the biggest factors in the outcome.
3. Being Special on Special Teams
Like with winning the turnover battle, Michigan will need to score points in other parts of the game. Defense is one but the special teams is even bigger. The field positioning will be important all game so Michigan will need punt returner Donovan Peoples-Jones and kick returner Ambry Thomas to set up the offense as well as possible, one return touchdown would be gigantic. kick off specialist James Foug and punter Brad Robbins need to pin Ohio State deep. And Quinn Nordin won’t be able to miss a field goal in this game. He’ll need to find his game like Ricky Vaughn at the end of Major League 2, and put points on the board whenever possible.
It’s also very important for Michigan to make plays with Ohio State struggling mightily on that side of the ball all season long.
4. Do Something Unexpected
While there’s a little bit of hope, most are expecting Michigan and Jim Harbaugh to lose another big game. And when you look at everything going into the game, it’s hard to argue that thought. That is why it would be even bigger for this young Wolverines team to “shock the world” and get a win in this rivalry for the first time in five years. It’s a bit of a long shot but crazier upsets have happen.
Can Michigan pull off the upset? What will be the biggest factors in the game? Let us know in the comment section below!
Photo Credit: Patrick Barron/MGoBlog