Favored by 16 points and still vying for a national championship, the No. 3 Ohio State Buckeyes continue their storied rivalry with Michigan on Saturday afternoon at Michigan Stadium.
The Buckeyes are trying to keep pace with Florida State for the second slot in the national title game, and while a win over the Wolverines would help, next week’s matchup against No.11 Michigan State holds the key to their future.
The Wolverines have lost three of their last four, but can send their seniors off with one final victory over Ohio State. Other than a win in 2011, Michigan has lost eight of the last nine meetings. However the Wolverines own the all-time record 58-44-6.
Michigan will have to find a way to thwart the Buckeyes sixth ranked rushing attack, averaging 314.7 yards per game, and will have to breakthrough their eighth ranked defense allowing 18.4 points per contest.
Quarterback Braxton Miller and running back Carlos Hyde power Ohio State’s offensive machine, with Hyde responsible for six straight 100-yard rushing games. Miller’s shown plenty of poise in the pocket, only tossing four interceptions to 19 touchdowns, and rushing for another five scores.
The Wolverines counter with junior Devin Gardner, who’s had some struggles with his accuracy, but has only thrown one interception to six touchdowns and rushed for four in the last five games.
Senior receiver Jeremy Gallon has been Gardner’s best target all season. Ranking second in the Big Ten, Gallon’s hauled in 71 receptions for 1,109 yards and eight touchdowns.
Gallon can take full advantage of Ohio State’s middling pass defense. The Buckeyes are 10th in the Big Ten allowing 238.1 passing yards per game and 19 touchdowns on the year.
Betting Odds: Ohio State favored by 16.5 points
Time: Saturday, 12 p.m. ET
Prediction: Ohio State 34, Michigan 24