The OSU vs. Michigan game is one of, if not THE, best rivalries in college football. Michigan leads 58-46-6 and won the majority of the games in the early 1900s, but it has since evened out with back and forth contests through the rest of the century. The 2000s have been a different story with the Buckeyes dominating 11-3. The game was made famous by Michigan coach Bo Shembechler and OSU coach Woody Hayes.It has always been a physical contest with a lot of hard hits, fights, and ejections. This game is usually close and entertaining because of how tight this rivalry is. Fans take it very seriously, making bets, showing school spirit, and often taking the day off to watch. Tickets must be bought at least a year in advance and prices skyrocket over regular tickets. Even people who are not regular fans or have no ties to these states will be tuning in Saturday for what looks to be a great game as always.
This year is a big one for the University of Michigan because of the addition of new head coach Jim Harbaugh, a former Michigan QB who was most recently the coach of the San Francisco 49ers. His offensive system has proved to work well in Michigan despite an early loss to Utah and a last second heartbreaker to rival Michigan State. They played some close contests in Indiana and Minnesota but also blew out BYU, Maryland, and Northwestern while not allowing a single point in any of those games. Their offensive success is partly due to transfer quarterback Jake Rudock from Iowa who has amassed 2,476 passing yards, sixteen touchdowns, and nine interceptions. The key for the Wolverines to beat the Buckeyes is to get Rudock into a rhythm. Shutting down the run game and forcing the Bucks to throw will be crucial in Saturday’s matchup. Michigan has a history of ruining or beating OSU during great season such as the 13-9 win in 1996 or the 31-23 win in 1995, which prevented the Bucks from going to a national championship.
Ohio State is the defending national champions and was undefeated until last weekend. They have not played as well as last year and struggled on offense consistently. They beat teams like Rutgers, Penn State, and Illinois by large margins but have had close games with Indiana and even Northern Illinois. All three star quarterbacks returned, but none of them can seem to find consistency. Their offensive success is mainly due to running back Ezekiel Elliott who has run for 1,458 yards and seventeen touchdowns. On defense they have done well against the run up until last week. Joey Bosa and Joshua Perry have been the main culprits in shutting down the run most of the season, but the secondary has been in-consistent. If they can shut down the run game and force Rudock into throws he does not want to make, that could prevent U of M from getting into a rhythm and slow down the defense. If the offensive line does their part, unlike last week, then the quarterbacks will have more time to throw, and Elliott will have more holes to run through. If they can do all these things, then maybe their success against Michigan in the past decade will continue.
The game this year looks to be evenly ranked with a lot of similarities. Ohio State is ranked eighth, and Michigan ranked twelfth. They both have had close games against teams that were never given a shot against them, and they both have had major success at times in games and shown why they are both ranked so high. Backed by the usual emotion and rankings not only in the Big Ten but in all of college football on the line. This is the first time in a while in which these teams are so closely ranked. One thing for sure is that both of these teams hate to lose to each other,and it is always a long year for the loser. It is worthwhile to watch; tune in to your local ABC station this Saturday at noon to see this great rivalry.