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Hoke wants U-M mood balanced ahead of Ohio State game

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News

Michigan coach Brady Hoke believes there is a delicate balance between being overhyped and too even-keeled when preparing for a rivalry game.

Michigan plays at arch rival Ohio State on Saturday in the 111th meeting between the two programs.

"You've got to have some poise and composure, but you want that intensity," Hoke said Tuesday on the Big Ten conference call. "It's that fine line as a coach, and you don't want your team peaking early when you look at (things) during the week. The game is Saturday at noon — that's when we want to play our best."

Ohio State, the Big Ten's East Division champion, is a 20-point favorite. The Buckeyes have won nine of the last 10 meetings with Michigan, which is 5-6 overall and needs a win to become bowl eligible.

"This is an exciting week around here, preparing for a great football rivalry, probably the best rivalry in sport," Hoke said. "It's a fun game to prepare for, it's an intense game on the field. We're focused on having our best performance, obviously, of the year in Columbus, playing a very balanced football team, a very good football team in all areas.

"We've had a good week so far, and our guys understand the significance of this great rivalry."

Michigan has struggled all season, and Hoke was asked Tuesday if turnover margin has been the Wolverines' biggest issue. The Wolverines are minus-14 in turnover margin.

"There's no question we haven't done as good a job as we'd like," Hoke said. "We've been better lately taking care of the football. At the other end of it, we haven't created those opportunities for our offense by getting the ball back."

Hoke praised Ohio State as a complete team and said the offense clearly starts with redshirt sophomore quarterback J.T. Barrett.

Hoke was asked about the noon kickoff and said as a traditionalist, that's when Michigan-Ohio State should always kick off.