CFB: Breaking down the match-ups that will decide Michigan vs. Ohio State

darren cooper
Darren Cooper
NCAA Football Sports News


  • Ohio State travels to Ann Arbor to meet the Wolverines Saturday at noon in a match-up of 11-0 teams.
  • The favorite has covered the spread four years in a row, while the over in this rivalry has hit nine straight years.
  • Michigan has won the last two games in the series, but Ohio State has won 16 of the last 19.

Michigan and Ohio State have given the world of sports some incredible memories over the decades and a new chapter is going to be written Saturday.

The Big Ten East title is on the line, but also so much more than that. It’s 11-0 Michigan against 11-0 Ohio State. It’s No. 2 in the country against No. 3. It’s two great defenses, Heisman candidates on both sides, plus a swirling controversy over Michigan’s scouting tactics and a suspended coach.

This is the biggest sports betting in Michigan moment of the year. PointsBet has Michigan as an early four-point favorite at home. FanDuel will have markets on the game and props.

You know you’ll be watching Saturday, or maybe you’re one of the lucky 100,000 people or so with a ticket (tickets on the secondary market are going for hundreds). This is what you should be watching for.

Michigan’s Ground And Pound 

Michigan hasn’t just beaten Ohio State the last two years, they’ve beaten them into the ground. Offensive linemen don’t get a lot of praise, but Michigan’s heart is a powerful and experienced offensive line.

The Wolverines ran for 297 yards against the Buckeyes in 2021 and 252 in 2022. Zak ZInter and Drake Nugent are part of the Wolverines offensive line in front of running back Blake Corum. They are the Wolverines unsung heroes.

Can Ohio State stop Michigan? The Buckeyes rank 21st in the nation against the run, but did allow 232 yards to Rutgers and 176 against Notre Dame. That doesn’t bode well for Ohio State.

Junior Achiever 

On offense, Ohio State wants to get the ball to star receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. as much as possible. With the game being like it is – undefined pass interference, great pass route concepts, accurate quarterbacks – a player like Harrison Jr. is pretty much unstoppable when he gets going.

Michigan’s defense ranks No. 2 in the nation against the pass, but I’m a bit skeptical on this because the Big 10 isn’t exactly full of great passing teams….except for Ohio State. Michigan will need to get a pass rush on Ohio State QB Ryan McCord, but they only have 27 sacks this season. More bad signs for Michigan, they gave up a season-high 247 yards to Maryland through the air Saturday. You know Ohio State will study that film and copy it.

Under The Headset  

Unless you’ve been under a rock, you know that Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh won’t be on the sidelines for the Wolverines Saturday. He’s serving a suspension for his alleged role in the Wolverines sign-stealing saga.

But what Harbaugh has become is a martyr, automatically giving the Wolverines a cause to rally around. Meanwhile, Ohio State fans are still waiting to see if coach Ryan Day has the chops to be the Buckeyes coach. Day is 1-2 against Michigan in his career.

This is the game where legends are made. All of America will be tuning in.

Born and raised in Louisiana, Darren Cooper has a fond appreciation for bayous, Mardi Gras beads and the sports betting industry. Darren has worked for multiple print and online publications since 1998, primarily as a sports columnist in the Northeast. He’s covered a Super Bowl (it was a blowout), the World Series (same) and the NBA Draft (man, those guys are tall). For the last few years he’s dug deep into the sports gambling industry as it exploded across America, learning how the legal sausage is made and how while all the sportsbooks look the same, they all have different identities and styles. He’s learned to always bet within his means -- and take the under. When not in front of his computer creating, Darren spends time with his three boys. He runs, reads and is always looking for the next big thing to write about.