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Michigan-Ohio State preview: Stopping Barrett huge task

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News

Ohio State players to watch

J.T. Barrett, QB: The redshirt freshman has had a surprising season, filling in when Braxton Miller suffered a season-ending injury, and has played himself into Heisman Trophy consideration. Barrett has thrown for 2,658 yards and 33 TDs and has rushed for an average of 77.2 yards a game and nine TDs. He averages 318.8 yards of offense per game.

Ezekiel Elliott, RB: The sophomore has five, 100-yard rushing performances and has rushed for 1,061 yards and eight TDs. The 6-foot, 225-pound Elliott is sixth in the Big Ten in rushing, averaging 96.5 yards a game.

Joey Bosa, DE: A 6-foot-5 sophomore, Bosa is a Lombardi Award finalist and Bednarik Award semifinalist. He leads the Big Ten in tackles for loss with 18 and sacks with 11.5 and ranks eighth and six, respectively, nationally. He has had a tackle for loss in 16 of the last 17 games. Bosa also has forced three fumbles, all of which have led to Ohio State scores.

Intangibles

One and done: As if it needed more motivation to play Ohio State, but Michigan needs to win to become bowl eligible. Michigan is coming off a home loss to Maryland, thought to be its best chance in its final two games to get a victory.

Overcoming Ohio State: It will not be an easy task to pull off a win in Ohio Stadium, especially against a team that has won 23 consecutive regular-season Big Ten games. The Buckeyes have won five straight over the Wolverines at Ohio Stadium. Michigan hasn't won at Ohio State since 2000.

Win for Hoke: This is thought to be the final game for Michigan coach Brady Hoke, whose future has been speculated for weeks. Will his players be able to send him off with a win in the rivalry game he so greatly values? By the way, Ohio State coach Urban Meyer is 2-0 against Hoke.

Negate Barrett: Michigan's defense will try to slow Ohio State QB J.T. Barrett, but has any defense been able to do that? Obviously not, and that's why Barrett is now in the Heisman Trophy conversation. He has a strong, accurate arm and that will pose problems for the Wolverines secondary.

Find some offense: Generating consistent offense has been Michigan's biggest issue. The Wolverines average 20.3 points a game, a tick better than what Rich Rodriguez's offense averaged during his 3-9 season. UM also is minus-14 in turnover margin.

Facts and figures

* If Ohio State wins, it will become the first Big Ten team since Minnesota from 1933-35 to go undefeated in the Big Ten regular season three consecutive seasons.

* The Buckeyes are 10th nationally in total offense (511.4 yards).

* Ohio State DE Joey Bosa leads the Big Ten with 18 tackles for loss.

* Ohio State has won 23 consecutive regular-season Big Ten games.

* The Buckeyes winning percentage under coach Urban Meyer is .918 (34-3).