Michigan was unable to pick up its sixth win on Saturday, falling to Maryland 23-16. That leaves one final chance to gain bowl eligibility and avoid a losing season. Unfortunately, that game is in Columbus where Michigan hasn’t won since 2000. Normally, the week of the Michigan-Ohio State game is an exciting one that fans on both sides look forward to all week. But it has never felt so hollow than it does now. Let’s take a look at how the teams compare.
|Ohio State Statistics & Michigan Comparison|
|Ohio State | Michigan||Rank||Defense||Rank|
|Points Per Game||44.3 | 20.3||5 | 111
||22.5 | 20.6||30 | 21|
|Rushing Yards||2,856 | 1,833||1,626 | 1,179|
|Rush Avg. Per Game||259.6 | 166.6||13 | 61
||147.8 | 107.2||41 | 9|
|Avg. Per Rush||5.6 | 4.7
||4.1 | 2.9|
|Passing Yards||2,769 | 1,791||2,008 | 2,141|
|Pass Avg. Per Game||251.7 | 162.8||48 | 113||182.5 | 194.6||15 | 23|
|Total Offense||5,625 | 3,624||3,634 | 3,320|
|Total Off Avg. Per Game||511.4 | 329.5||10 | 114||330.4 | 301.8||19 | 9|
|Kick Return Average||23.7 | 19.9||18 | 82||17.8 | 21.7||15 | 81
|Punt Return Average||12.0 | 6.8||19 | 85||6.0 | 12.8||44 | 116
|Avg. Time of Possession||31:59 | 30:35||20 | 46
||28:01 | 29:25
|3rd Down Conversion Pct||53.0% | 38.0%||3 | 81
||36.7% | 37.0%||40 | 42
|Sacks Allowed-Yards/By-Yards||23-156 | 20-130
||T68 | T54
||32-219 | 29-248
||T18 | T30
|Touchdowns Scored||65 | 25
||32 | 25
|Field Goals-Attempts||10-16 | 15-21
||8-13 | 18-22
|Red Zone Scores||(47-57)82%|(29-33)88%||T67 | T30
||(27-33)82%|(31-38)82%||T56 | 51|
|Red Zone Touchdowns||(40-57)70%|(20-33)61%||(22-33)67%|(18-38)47%|
|Fremeau Efficiency Index (FEI)||.542 | -.241
||11 | 94
||-.435 | -.295||18 | 35|
Ohio State clinched the Big Ten East division with a 42-27 win over Indiana on Saturday. But that doesn’t mean the Buckeyes can afford to take this week lightly. Aside from it being The Game, Ohio State still has a chance to make the College Football Playoff. Currently ranked sixth, and with only one team — Florida State — undefeated, the Buckeyes need all the style points they can get. Despite winning by 15 this past Saturday, the fact that they trailed Indiana — the Big Ten’s only winless team — until late in the third quarter, didn’t win them any style points. The Bucks have just two games remaining — Michigan and the Big Ten title game — to jump at least two of Alabama, Oregon, Mississippi State, and TCU and fend off Baylor.
Ohio State’s offense will be the best Michigan has faced this season. Only Baylor (50.0), TCU (45.9), Oregon (45.8), and Marshall (44.9) average more points per game than the Buckeyes (44.3). In fact, they’ve been held below 30 just once and below 40 just three times. The fewest points they’ve scored all season came in a 35-21 loss to Virginia Tech in Week 2. Michigan has scored fewer than that in seven of 11 games. Following the Week 2 loss, Ohio State averaged 51.3 points over the next seven games.
The catalyst has been redshirt freshman quarterback J.T. Barrett, who ranks 12th nationally in total offense (318.8 yards per game) — one spot ahead of Florida State quarterback and reigning Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston. The combination of Barrett’s rushing ability and running back Ezekiel Elliott has Ohio State’s run game ranked 13th nationally. Elliott is already over 1,000 yards and Barrett is 151 yards away.
The OSU passing game is slightly less potent — 48th nationally — but has two very talented receivers in Michael Thomas and Devin Smith, a rising star in Jalin Marshall, and a solid tight end in Jeff Heuerman. And despite being a first-year starter, Barrett has 33 touchdowns compared to just 10 interceptions.
Put together, Ohio State’s offense ranks 10th nationally in yards per game (511.4). Michigan’s ranks 114th, or 12th-to-last. The Buckeyes convert 53 percent of their third downs, which ranks third nationally.
Defensively, Ohio State is slightly worse than Michigan, but not nearly as bad as last season. The 22.5 points allowed per game are two more than Michigan and rank 30th nationally. Michigan State put up 37 points, which is the OSU has allowed. Only one — Kent State — was held to single digits and only four have been held below 20.
Ohio State’s rush defense ranks 41st, allowing 147.8 yards per game, about 40 more than Michigan allows. Some of that is a result of playing Navy’s triple-option attack that racked up 370 rushing yards in Week 1, but Indiana rushed for 281 last week.
The pass defense is better, ranking 15th nationally with 182.5 yards allowed per game. Again, some of that is a result of playing Navy, which attempted just four passes for 20 yards. But Michigan State passed for 358 and Cincinnati for 352, so the Buckeyes can be vulnerable through the air.
Altogether, Ohio State’s defense ranks 19th nationally. Michigan’s ranks ninth. Despite a defensive line that most considered the best in the Big Ten and one of the best in the country this season, OSU has just three more sacks than Michigan through 11 games. In addition, OSU isn’t as good at keeping opponents out of the end zone once they reach the red zone. The Bucks allow 67 percent of red zone trips to result in touchdowns, compared to 47 percent allowed by Michigan.
Special teams is a big strength of Ohio State as they rank 18th nationally in kick returns and 19th in punt returns. Comparatively, Michigan ranks 82nd and 85th. OSU also ranks 15th in kick return defense and 44th in punt return defense compared to Michigan’s 81st and 116th.
Everything about this game suggests a Buckeye blowout. The way the season has gone many Michigan fans would be okay with that being the final nail in Brady Hoke’s coaching coffin. But perhaps Hoke can rally the troops to make one final stand the way they nearly did a year ago. It’s unlikely, but that’s why they play the game.
|J.T. Barrett (QB)||156||849||9||86||5.4|
|Cardale Jones (QB)||24||188||0||21||7.8|
|Ezekiel Elliott (RB)||25||201||0||22||18.3|
|Jeff Heuerman (TE)||16||194||2||32||19.4|
|Joshua Perry||58||41||99||8.5-31||3.0-18 (1 INT)|
|Vonn Bell||38||24||62||1.0-2||0-0 (3 INT, 8 PD)|
|Darron Lee||33||17||50||11.5-48||4.5-34 (2 INT)|
|Joey Bosa (DE)||27||16||43||18.0-102||11.5-84|
|Kicking||FG Made||FG Att||Long||XP Made||XP Att|
Stay tuned for more on Ohio State in the coming days.