A lot is on the line this weekend when the #2 Ohio State Buckeyes (11-0, 8-0 Big Ten) clash with the #3 Michigan Wolverines (11-0, 8-0 Big Ten) for a battle of the Big East Division crown. Not only is a trip to the Big Ten Championship on the line, but a spot in the College Football Playoff as well.
The kickoff of Saturday’s showdown is at 12 p.m. EST inside Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. Ohio State is an eight-point favorite, and the over/under total is 56.0 points.
What to Know – #3 Michigan Wolverines
Michigan is back at the doorstep of another Big Ten Championship after defeating OSU last year and knocking off Iowa in the title game. The Wolverines’ defense has been the highlight of this year’s team, holding opponents to ten points or less in over half of their contests.
After splitting contests earlier in the season, the quarterbacking duties have been handled by sophomore J.J. McCarthy. McCarthy is completing 66% of his passes, throwing for 1,952 yards. He has thrown 14 touchdown passes to only two interceptions while adding three rushing scores.
The status of star running back Blake Corum is the major news out of Ann Arbor heading into the weekend. Corum suffered a lower-body injury in last week’s victory over Illinois and is questionable against the Buckeyes. If Corum can’t go, Donovan Edwards will garner the bulk of the carries for the Wolverines.
Senior wide receiver Ronnie Bell has been McCarthy’s favorite target in the passing game, catching 48 passes for 641 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Wide out Cornelius Johnson is the team’s Red Zone threat, leading Michigan with four receiving TDs.
What to Know – #2 Ohio State Buckeyes
The Buckeyes have rolled through their schedule and have looked like the team to beat this season in college football. Ohio State possesses one of the top offenses in the country, averaging 46.5 points per game, that’ll give Michigan’s defense a test.
OSU quarterback C.J. Stroud is one of the top quarterbacks in college football, throwing for 2,991 yards and completing 66% of his throws. The Heisman finalist has thrown for 35 touchdowns and turned the ball over four times.
The Buckeyes might be without their leading rusher this week, so the rushing duties will go to explosive running back TreVeyon Henderson and Dallan Hayden. The two have combined for 1,074n yards and 11 touchdowns.
Marvin Harrison Jr. is a playmaker on the outside, the son of former NFL Hall of Famer Marvin Harrison. The sophomore leads the Buckeyes with 65 receptions, 1,037 yards, and 11 scores. Classmate Emeka Egbuka is another threat, adding 57 catches for 914 yards and eight TDs.
The Pick is In
The old adage in sports goes, “defense wins championships,” and while the Buckeyes’ offense is one of the best in college football, they’ll be going up against a defense that is one of the best as well.
Michigan’s defensive unit hasn’t shown any weaknesses this season, and it’ll create enough stops for the offense to do enough to keep this one close.
The Pick: #3 Michigan Wolverines +8