Ohio State vs. Michigan Preview
THE GAME is here! Regardless of the previous wins and losses, this will be the most physical game either side will play to this point of the season. You are just not playing for your teammates, your University or your families……you are playing for State Pride. Ohio State has been rolling but we noticed some chinks in the armor against Penn St. with putting the ball on the ground and giving up very good field position. TTUN has been hit or miss to date. They can look great on offense and then slump a little, the defense has looked good but has been worn down late in games and given up some key plays. Both teams have been eying this matchup all year and know, that regardless of anything, they will have to leave everything they have on the field. Another pair of gold pants are on the line.
Buckeye Offense – The numbers speak for themselves. Per game; Total yards 530-217, Points 50 -11, Rush 282 – 91, Pass 248-126, third down converts 58%-28% and I could go on but we all know. Fields looked a little sore after last week but I guarantee he won’t feel a thing when he hits that field. He put the ball on the ground a couple times and kept the ball a little more than he should on the RPO’s. The OL has been very good this year but they need to protect Justin, he needs to either commit to the run or throw the ball away and most importantly he needs to protect himself and the ball. JK ran possessed last week and expect the same. We could see Teague a little earlier to keep JK fresh for the 4th. This game is always won in the trenches and OSU has the advantage but again, this will be a different challenge. The receivers just need to catch everything they can regardless of the weather. Use their speed to get the DBs in chase posture and then do something once they get the ball.
Keys: Keep your head with the chaos around you. Don’t try to do something spectacular, play within yourself. Get them down and keep plowing through. OSU’s new coach Al Washington will be a key in providing personnel info and scheme tips. Obviously TTUN will make changes but they know they can’t let JK run it down their throats while they are chasing Fields. They will already be without one defender who will be spying on Justin. Keep them guessing, long drives ending in TDs and zero TOs in our own end of the field. Move the sticks and eat the clock.
Buckeye Defense – The TTUN always has a very good OL. They are big and plow the road for Charbonnet and Haskins. Pass protection has been sketchy but that makes QB Shea Patterson more deadly. As aggressive as the Bucks are they need to keep him in the pocket so expect some stunts where the DEs crash the 3 gap and have the DTs and/or LBs loop out to keep the edge. If the Bucks hold the edge, the interior DLs will press him into making a throw with people in his face and that is not his best asset. The DBs just need to stay home and keep everything in front of them. The Silver Bullets will play man and we will get a PI but the TTUN receivers are big athletic and physical so it will be a battle. Can’t stop Chase, our DBs are Sunday ready and the rest will be ready to go at the kick.
Keys: I expect sacks from the usually offenders but also watch for Hamilton, Landers and Togiai to get to the QB too. Coach Greg Mattison will be helpful as he coached the TTUN OL for years and knows their schemes which are hard to change at this time in the year. Keep Shea in the pocket, limit the big plays, keep contain and fly to the ball. I never want to see RB run wild again in this Game. The TO battle will tell the tale.
Ohio State Special teams – I think I am going to have to wait to see a return to the House but of course, right when I say that……….Demario McCall breaks right, shakes a tackle, gets a block, down the sideline to the House in the Big House Ahhhh! Kickers need to keep it up. P Chrisman needs to pin them back and not give u a big return with hang time. K Haubeil needs to stay as good as he has been all season. Weather could play a part and TTUN will try to block a punt and if the BLOCK call is on, the Bucks may have a chance for a fake depending on field position so from the 35 yd line on UM side and then into our own 40 are good places for both things to be called
Michigan Offense – Most years I would start with the OL but Shea Patterson and the receivers have made this offense go. Charbonnet and Haskins have a little over 1000 yds together but Patterson has been hot the last 2 games throwing multiple TDs in each game and if I remember correctly many of those were on the run. The OL is big but thin (sorry). They get really young when they have injuries. Patterson has 21 TDs vs 5 INTs but is only completing at a 50% clip. WR Collins, Bell, People-Jones and Black are all speedy, long and athletic. Collins and Bell both have receptions of over 70yards and they target 7 receivers including the TEs Eubanks and McKeon who are both good blockers and are good at finding holes on seam routes. The numbers are good not great but they have been playing pretty well this last couple of weeks so confidence is high. They are only converting 40% on 3rd down conversions tell us that they leave themselves in 3rd and long. Their stats are good and should win most games but can they score fast enough……….nope.
Keys: TTUN will try to establish the run to pull the safeties out of deep coverage then go long with the receivers and deep over the middle. Patterson will need to make big plays with his legs and they need to score TDs if they want any chance to win. If the run game doesn’t take and the Bucks pressure Shea in his face, look for them to turn to draws, screens and short slants to move the chains.
Michigan Defense – TTUN has always had an aggressive D. They usually don’t miss tackles and create TOs when they can. They do put pressure on the QB from the edges and have created 9 INTs and 7 fumbles. They are riddled with studs but have been inconsistent. LBs Hudson and Glasgow lead the team in tackles and LB Uche leads the team with 8.5 sacks. He will probably be the one spying JF. DLs Hutchinson, Payne, Kemp and Dana get some penetration and will try to keep Fields from getting loose. The DBs are long and athletic but speed kills. Fields can’t get loosy goosy with the ball. They will be going for the strip
Keys: TTUN must stop the run game and will have to get creative in getting to Justin. They will take chances which could go either way. If they let JK get some momentum they will have to creep the safeties up. The biggest thing the TTUN can do on D is have some patience. Don’t react until they are sure they know where the ball is and then sell out. Make a big play if possible and make stops on 3rd downs.
Michigan Special teams - TTUN specialists are usually unspectacular but effective. The do excel in the return game so the Bucks will try not to give them many, if any opportunities. The punter averages 39 per punt but has limited the returns with hang time. The kicker has missed a few and doesn’t have a huge leg but again, effective. One mistake in this area for TTUN could be crushing so expect them to heavily guard against big plays.
Final Comments – You may have noticed I didn’t mention their “Head” coach much at all. I just don’t like him. Haven’t since the 10th grade and then when he called a Victory before the game in ‘85 when he hit Kolesar for a long one (John’s son Caden is on the team now as a DB for TTUN) to win the game. Then wide right FG in’86 when we owned them most of the game. He has a huge ego and struts around in his khakis, but I still think he gets a little scattered as a coach when the game gets tight. He is a good coach when things go well but if things don’t, he loses focus and starts reaching deep in his bag of tricks too early. Plus, I love hearing him whine like a little whiner when he doesn’t get his way. OK you get it, I don’t like the guy! I think TTUN will come out ready but if the weather cooperates, they haven’t yet seen the extent of our speed, size and aggressiveness. Assuming we play our game and pound them down, I see the final score as;
Overall –Prediction – Ohio State 31 - 17 Michigan
Our condolences go out to the Ohioans that were misguided by TTUN to wear Khaki pants and Clark Kent glasses. Please send cards and flowers to the UM Ag Department for the cheerleaders:
- RB Matt Brown, Solon
- RB Jordan Castleberry, Lakewood
- WR Jake McCurry, Solon
- TE Erick All, Fairfield
- OL Zack Carpenter, Cincinnati
- OL Joel Hemingford, Sugarcreek
- OL Greg Robinson, Hudson
- OL Nolan Ruler, Akron
- DL Gabe Newberg, Clayton
- LB Adam Shipley, Cleveland
- LB Joey Velazquez, Columbus
- DB Cadena Kelsea, Westlake
- P Will Hart, Hunting Valley
- P Brad Robbins, Westerville
- LS Cameron Cheeseman, New Albany
- LS Trey Harper, Dayton
- Check out the Central Ohio Chapter of the NFL Alumni Annual Golf Classic at FIRESTONE CC, August 10th, 2020
For more info go to: www.centralohionflalumni.com
** Check out Matt Finkes’ Winan’s Candies for the best in your Holiday gifts of candy, coffee and wine. Go to Grandviewyard@winanscandies.com
Anyone interested in gathering for the National Championship Game on Monday, January 13th? Let me know, if we get enough folks interested, I’ll set up a place for viewing.
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