Here we are. THE GAME. Everything has been leading up to this moment, and now Ohio State will face “That Team Up North” — the Michigan Wolverines, to determine the 2018 winner of the Big Ten’s East Division. Just as it should be.
As someone who can still vividly recall watching Tim Spencer run the ball for Ohio State against Michigan, the anticipation for this game is pretty much a constant. Even though it has been twelve years since its release, the HBO documentary below is pretty much mandatory viewing within the Minnich household prior to kickoff.
— Chip ❌innich (@ChipMinnich) November 21, 2018
Below are the three areas I will be focused on when THE GAME commences at 12pm on FOX.
Michigan’s Pass Rush vs. Ohio State’s Offensive Line
On our latest edition of The Silver Bullets Podcast, Michael Citro and I discussed Ohio State being able to effectively pass downfield. My concerns are with Michigan’s defensive ends Rashan Gary and Chase Winovich, as Ohio State’s Thayer Munford and Isaiah Prince will be tasked with blocking these stellar pass rushers. Munford is coming off an injury sustained against Maryland, while Prince’s play has noticeably regressed over the last part of the season. Winovich is coming off an injury himself last week, so it remains to be seen how effective he plays, if at all.
Donovan Peoples-Jones vs. Ohio State’s Secondary
Let’s face it, Ohio State’s secondary was atrocious in every way possible last week at Maryland. Donovan Peoples-Jones is a 6’2″, 208-pound wide receiver who is capable of big plays as a returner, runner (averaging 12 yards a carry), and as a receiver (32 receptions, averaging nearly 15 yards a reception, 7 touchdowns). The one-time Ohio State recruiting target warrants extra attention by the defensive coaches in their game plan for this one.
Ben Mason In Short Yardage
Once upon a time, in the not-so-distant past, Ohio State used to have a player on the roster known as a “fullback.” Fullbacks were called upon primarily as the lead blocker within Ohio State’s I-formation offense, and are quite handy to have whenever short-yardage opportunities present themselves, especially near the goal line. Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh has an affinity for fullbacks, especially the one on this year’s team — Ben Mason. Listed at 6’2″, 254 pounds, Mason has only carried the ball 28 times this season for 73 yards, but has scored 6 touchdowns. Look for Mason to get a few carries against the Buckeyes, especially if the Wolverines are close in the red zone.