Detroit News predictions: Michigan vs. Ohio State
Angelique S. Chengelis, Matt Charboneau, John Niyo and Bob Wojnowski of The Detroit News offer their predictions on the outcome of Saturday’s Michigan vs. Ohio State game at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor (noon, Fox/950).
► Angelique S. Chengelis: Michigan has zero margin for error heading into this game with Ohio State, the No. 1 team in the College Football Playoff rankings. No news flash here, but this is an outstanding Ohio State team led by defensive end Chase Young and quarterback Justin Fields. The Wolverines, however, have won seven of their last eight games this season, including the last four, and have been a vastly improved offense in that recent stretch, averaging 41.5 points a game. One key has been the dropoff in turnovers from the first part of the season and that will have to be maintained against the Buckeyes. This will be the Buckeyes’ first real road test of the season, considering they’ve played at Indiana, Nebraska, Northwestern and Rutgers, which are a combined 7-25 in Big Ten play. Michigan is 6-2 in the conference. Then there’s the weather factor – various forecasts project snow before the start of the game and possibly a rain-snow mix during. Everyone knows what Michigan was able to do against Notre Dame in the rain the first half, but OSU is a completely different task. Ohio State 34, Michigan 24
► Matt Charboneau: The Wolverines have been on a roll ever since the second half at Penn State and optimism is at its peak that the skid against the Buckeyes will come to an end. Of course, there’s the fact Ohio State is arguably the best team in the nation, which means it’s loaded with talent on both sides of the ball. The defense has been outstanding and will make life difficult for Shea Patterson, who is playing his best right now. Michigan has been nearly as good defensively, especially against the run, which will keep this game from getting out of hand. In the end, the Buckeyes are simply the better team and seem destined for the playoff. Ohio State 28, Michigan 17
► John Niyo: This Ohio State team is about as talented as it gets, and the defensive statistics are eye-opening. But if the weather is as expected, this seems like a game that’ll be decided by the Buckeyes’ offensive line. Can Michigan dial up enough run blitzes and create enough negative plays to throw them off schedule? I think they can, but it’ll take a few turnovers — and several big plays from Michigan’s receiving corps — to pull the upset. Ohio State 27, Michigan 24
► Bob Wojnowski: The No. 1 Buckeyes have the talent advantage, especially with pass-rusher extraordinaire Chase Young. But Michigan should have motivational advantages, with the game at home and images of last year's 62-39 thumping never far away. The Wolverines' defense is the unit that could — I said, could — be the key to pulling the upset after seven straight Ohio State victories. Defensive coordinator Don Brown has been cooking up new schemes all season, and while Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields has been tremendous, he doesn't have much big-game experience. Jim Harbaugh will nudge closer and the game will be decided in the fourth quarter, but until the Wolverines win one of these, it's hard to pick them. Ohio State 23, Michigan 20