Angelique S. Chengelis of The Detroit News breaks down Saturday's Michigan-Ohio State game at Ohio Stadium (noon, ABC/WWJ).
Buckeyes to watch
J.T. Barrett, QB: The two-time team captain is 25-3 as a starter. During that time, he has averaged 249.2 yards of offense and accounted for a school-record 99 TDs (69 passing). A junior, Barrett is seven TDs shy of tying the Big Ten record of 106 TDs owned by Purdue QB Drew Brees.
Malik Hooker, S: The 6-foot-2, 205-pound sophomore leads the Big Ten and is No. 7 nationally with five INTs. Hooker’s two INTs returned for TDs ties him with Neal Colzie (1973) for the most in school history in one season.
Curtis Samuel, HB: The 5-foot-11, 197-pound junior leads the Buckeyes with 1,458 all-purpose yards, No. 2 in the Big Ten, and averages 132.5. He leads the team with 14 total TDs. Samuel is No. 2 in the Big Ten with 61 receptions.
All the marbles: Jabrill Peppers said the players will avoid overthinking and will keep doing what they’ve been doing each week, while understanding the “incentives” are bolder on Saturday.
Meyer vs. Harbaugh: Everyone wants a return to the Woody and Bo days, and maybe that’s coming in this next Michigan-Ohio State matchup with Urban Meyer vs. Jim Harbaugh. Harbaugh has joined Fielding H. Yost (1901-1902) as the only Michigan coaches to register back-to-back 10-win seasons in their first two seasons. Meanwhile, the Buckeyes under Meyer have won 92.3 percent of their games since 2012.
Tough place to play: A Michigan quarterback and team haven’t won in Columbus since Drew Henson in 2000. Ohio Stadium is a hostile venue for a veteran quarterback, let alone a first-year starter. If backup John O’Korn starts or starter Wilton Speight is back, it will be a new experience for both.
Peppers effect: Jabrill Peppers said they will “’empty the bag” for Ohio State. Presumably, he was talking about emptying the bag on offense in terms of plays involving him. This could be the last Michigan-Ohio State game in which he plays, and there’s a good bet Peppers will be used as much as possible.
Hype machine: It’s hard to imagine the week of hype and the presence of ESPN's “College GameDay” will affect the players. Neither Jim Harbaugh nor Urban Meyer will let that happen.
Facts and figures
■ This is the 15th time Ohio State has hosted ESPN’s “GameDay.” The Buckeyes are 10-4 in those games.
■ Michigan has been ranked in the AP poll for 57 matchups against Ohio State, and the Wolverines are 29-24-4 when ranked in the Top 25.
■ This is the 11th meeting between the teams when each is ranked in the top five. Ohio State leads 6-3-1.
■ Since Urban Meyer’s arrival in 2012, the Buckeyes are 18-1 in November. Under Jim Harbaugh, in his second year at Michigan, the Wolverines are 5-2 in November.