No. 8 Ohio State vs. Michigan Wolverines: What you need to know
Buckeyes need to win and beat No. 5 Wisconsin in the Big Ten championship game
ANN ARBOR – No. 8 Ohio State (9-2, 7-1 Big Ten, CFP No. 9) at Michigan (8-3, 5-3), Saturday, noon ET (FOX).
Line: Ohio State by 11 ½.
Series record: Michigan leads 58-49-6.
WHAT’S AT STAKE?
The Buckeyes need to win and beat No. 5 Wisconsin in the Big Ten championship game to keep their hopes alive to earn a spot in the College Football Playoff. The Wolverines are playing for pride, after losing five straight and 12 of 13 to their rivals, and to improve their postseason positioning.
Ohio State defense vs. Michigan’s running game. The Buckeyes are giving up just 114 yards rushing per game, ranking 12th in major college football. Ohio State has allowed only one of its last six opponents to run for 100 yards. Michigan averaged just 88 yards rushing in losses to Wisconsin, Penn State and Michigan State. In wins over eight teams with losing records, the Wolverines ran for 234 yards on average.
Michigan vs. Ohio State: PLAYERS TO WATCH
Ohio State: J.T. Barrett. The dual-threat QB, who is 35-6 as a starter, needs a victory to tie Art Schlichter (1978-81) for the most victories by a QB. Barrett also holds 35 school records and five Big Ten marks.
Michigan: RBs Karan Higdon and Chris Evans. To pull off one of the biggest upsets in series history, the two running backs may have to team up to do something like Tshimanga Biakabutuka did in 1995 when he ran for 313 yards against the Buckeyes.
FACTS & FIGURES
The Buckeyes are enjoying the best stretch of success in the series since Michigan went 13-0-2 to open the series from 1897 to 1918. ... The Wolverines went 11-4-1 in the rivalry from 1988-2003. ... Ohio State coach Urban Meyer has as many Big Ten losses (three) in six seasons as Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh has this year. ... The Buckeyes have clinched the East Division title, setting up a matchup with the Badgers on Dec. 2 in Indianapolis for the conference championship and a possible spot in the playoffs. ... Ohio State RB Mike Weber has 270 yards rushing, 13.5 per attempt, over the last two games to nearly match his production from the first seven games this season. ... Michigan LB Khaleke Hudson leads the Big Ten with eight tackles for losses, a single-season record for college football’s winningest program.
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