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by ASA - 11/24/2017
OHIO STATE (-12) @ MICHIGAN – Saturday at 12:00 PM ET
OHIO STATE – The Buckeyes have already won the Big Ten East clinching their spot in the Big 10 Championship game a week from today in Indianapolis vs Wisconsin. They have an outside shot at making the College Football Playoff, longshot at best, but need a number of things to fall their way and probably need to win convincingly here and next week. OSU destroyed Illinois last week 52-14 but failed to cover the lofty 41 point spread. The Buckeyes actually dominated more than the final score would indicate if that’s possible. They outgained the Illini 543 to 105 and Illinois had just one offensive TD and that came as the final score of the 4th quarter when the game was out of reach. Their other score came on a 54-yard fumble return for a TD. Ohio State was up 38-0 at half and called off the dogs in the 2nd stanza. Many of the starters on both sides of the ball were able to sit much of the 2nd half so they should be fresh here. Statistically the Buckeyes are the best team in the Big Ten. Their YPG differential (+254) and YPP differential (+2.7) are tops in the league. They have outgained every opponent in conference play with the exception of Iowa and that appears to be an aberration. Not only have they outgained opponents, they’ve dominated them outgaining every conference opponent by at least 150 yards with the exception of Iowa. If you subtract that stinker against Iowa, this offense is averaging 51 PPG in league play and they have scored at least 48 points in every other Big Ten game with the exception PSU where they had 39. Defensively they’ve been very good, again with the exception of the Iowa game when the Hawkeyes scored 55. We’re still not sure how that happened as Iowa has scored only 2 offensive TD’s in their two games since that win. Even the 38 they allowed to PSU wasn’t a terrible outing as OSU held the Nittany Lions to just 283 total yards.
MICHIGAN – The Wolverines are off a 24-10 loss @ Wisconsin last Saturday. The offense, that had been putting points on the board as of late, was shut down by the Badger defense. Michigan came in having topped 30 points in 3 straight games, was held to just 234 yards on 3.7 YPP. After going in to halftime tied at 7-7, the Michigan offense was completely walled off in the 2nd half with 60 total yards and their lone score coming on an 8-yard drive after a Wisconsin turnover that ended in a FG. QB Brandon Peters looked solid throwing the ball in the 1st half putting up 133 yards through the air. In the 2nd half Peters was held to 24 yards passing and was injured late in the 3rd quarter. He is currently in concussion protocol and may not play this weekend. If he can’t go, most likely John O’Korn will be back under center although we don’t want to completely rule out Wilton Speight who was the starter last year and for the first 4 games this season before injuring his back. Speight was cleared to practice last week but non-contact only. They will re-evaluate him this week to see if he’s ready for contact. If so, we wouldn’t be surprised to see Harbaugh send him out on the field as he is by far Michigan’s best option at QB. O’Korn looked very good in relief of Speight in the Purdue game back in late September. However, since that game O’Korn has completed under 50% of his passes with no TD’s and 4 interceptions. The Wolverines have leaned heavily on their staunch defense this season. Coming into last week’s game, this defense had allowed only ONE team all season to top 20 points (Penn State). They played very well in the first half vs the Badgers holding them to under 100 yards of total offense but seemed to run out of gas in the 2nd half as Wisconsin had 226 total yards after the break.
LAST SEASON – Ohio State was favored by 4.5 at home last season and pulled out a 30-27 win in OT. The Buckeyes were down 17-7 late in the 3rd quarter and rallied kicking the tying field goal as time expired to send the game tied at 17-17 into overtime. The defenses dominated the game as OSU had 330 total yards on just 4.0 YPP while Michigan totaled 310 yards on 3.9 YPP.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS – Ohio State has dominated this rivalry as of late winning 12 of the last 13 meetings. The Buckeyes have been favored in 11 of the last 12 meetings and they are 13-6 ATS the last 19 vs Michigan. This is just the second time since 1980 that OSU has been favored by more than 10 @ Michigan. The other was in 2013 when the Buckeyes were favored by 17 in Ann Arbor and squeaked out a 42-41 win. The winning team in this match up has reached at least 30 points in 9 of the last 13 meetings. Michigan has been a home dog of more than 10 (all games) just once in the last 38 seasons and that was the game here in 2013 vs OSU we just mentioned. If you subtract their games vs Ohio State, the Wolverines have been a home underdog only 15 times since 1980 (8-7 ATS).