Recap: Ohio State vs. Penn State
I’m gonna keep this part short and sweet. It’s Rivalry Week and Penn State is not a rival, so giving them any time or thought seems silly.
Like normal, I had a couple of predictions that were close, but had several others that fell flat.
Where I was close on my predictions:
- J.K. Dobbins had his highest carry total of the season, rushed for well over 100 yards, and scored 2 TDs.
- K.J. Hill had 4 catches and a TD.
- Olave had a TD. (water is wet)
- Mack and Victor had 2 receptions each.
- Drue Chrisman booted the ball for an average of 41.3 yards per kick… a whole tenth of a yard more than I’d projected.
Where I was less close:
- The score.
- When you have 52 points being put up for the Buckeyes and the final is only 28, there will be many gaps in the projections.
- Justin Fields rushing output.
- He carried the ball 15 (!) more times than I had anticipated.
- A few other things… but who cares? Let’s not focus on me being “wrong,” and instead move on to Michigan.
November 30 – Ohio State at Michigan
Let’s do this! For “The Game,” it’s pretty widely known that:
- Ohio State will win.
- Aside from the aforementioned bullet point, how it all shakes out is often unpredictable.
Just last year, for instance, Michigan was the betting favorite and came into the contest with the best statistical defense in the nation. That is, until Urban Meyer looked like Red Beaulieu with a stolen playbook. Jim Harbaugh and Don Brown (collective Coach Kleins in this Waterboy comparison) had no answer for a Buckeye team that put up 62 points and won by 23.
So, how does one compete with a rivalry that often throws remarkable curveballs at its viewing audience? With boring averages and random guesswork, that’s how!
Justin Fields is averaging 16 completions per game this year on 23 attempts, so that’s exactly what you’re getting in this one. Boring average? Check.
Random guesswork? Yea, got that covered too. I think he’ll throw for more than his game average, largely because of a huge catch and run TD from Chris Olave. Fields will complete another touchdown in the game, and will also rush for one. Like Penn State, we’ll see him used much more in the run game than we’ve been used lately. He carries 14 times for 61 yards.
Running Back Projections
We’ve reached that part of the year, and especially in this game, where the coaching staff unleashes the dogs. It’s scary to think that Dobbins has been somewhat tethered until now, but it’s the truth. Until last week against the Nittany Lions when he toted the rock 36 times, he had not had a single game in which he had 25 carries.
This season, in games in which he carries the ball 20 or more times he also averages 6.5 yards per carry. Though I have that ypc average dropping a tad in this battle, I think J.K. gets the ball 28 times on the ground and bruises this good Michigan defense to the tune of 148 yards rushing and a score.
Master Teague III will spell him a few times in the matchup, mostly in the 4th quarter. He won’t get into the endzone, but will bulldoze his way through a couple of linebackers as he seeks out contact with Wolverine defenders and stays in bounds to run the clock.
Pass Catcher Projections
I’m just going to rip the Band-aid off and dive right into this section, since it will inevitably be wrong.
- Chris Olave, who you may remember from such Michigan highlights as this, or this, or this, will make their fans cry with his performance again this year.
- The sophomore receiver (a little louder for the people in the back… he’s just a SOPHOMORE) will end the game with 4 catches, nearly 100 yards and a score.
- K.J. Hill and Binjimen Victor wind up with very similar stats, each catching 3 passes for around 40 yards.
- Austin Mack and Garrett Wilson move the chains a couple of times themselves, each hauling in a pair of passes.
- Last, but not least, Luke Farrell snags a TD pass over the middle, proving to UM fans that we use tight ends too.
Blake Haubeil scores 8 points in this contest on 5 extra points and a field goal. For all of my friends keeping me accountable for any terrible projections or stat mistakes, this includes a rushing score by Fields, 2 passing TDs, 1 rushing TD by Dobbins, AND a defensive score. I don’t want to give too much away and say specifically who causes it, but it rhymes with “ace sprung.”
Drue Chrisman boots 4 punts in this one, pinning UM deep twice and averaging just over 40 yards per kick.
Ryan Day and OSU bounce back from a somewhat sloppy win over Penn State (bounce back from a win… I know, I know <eye roll emoji>), take care of the football, and beat Michigan for an 8th consecutive time. The Game is close for much of the first half, with Ohio State taking a small lead into the break. A quick start in the 3rd quarter puts the Buckeyes up by 14 and they cruise to another victory over their rival. The main factor slowing down the Buckeyes is the weather in Ann Arbor, but they still win by 18.
Final Score Prediction
Ohio State 38 – Michigan 20