Preview: Michigan Defense vs. Ohio State Offense

Preview: Michigan Defense vs. Ohio State Offense


November 29, 2019

You can find the Michigan offense vs. OSU defense posts here (LINK).

Hit the jump for the second half of the preview.

RUSH DEFENSE vs. OSU RUSH OFFENSE

The Wolverines are #13 in rush defense (106 yards allowed/game) and #8 in yards allowed per carry (2.77). They have allowed 14 rushing touchdowns, which is tied for #39 in the country. Khaleke Hudson has a chance to get to 100 tackles on the year (he has 88), and fellow linebacker Jordan Glasgow is #2 on the team with 72. Defensive end Kwity Paye has 11 tackles for loss, and fellow end Aidan Hutchinson has 8.5. Both of them have been effective against the run and the pass. Ohio State is #4 in rushing offense (282 yards/game), and the top three teams are all military academies running traditional triple option offenses. They have scored multiple rushing touchdowns in every single game this year, and last week against Penn State was the lowest yards per carry (3.75) of the season, with every other game at 4.94 yards/carry or more. Junior running back J.K. Dobbins (5’10”, 217) looks more like the back that burst onto the scene in 2017 than he did the one who was just so-so in 2018; he has 1,446 yards and 15 touchdowns on 6.6 yards/carry. Backup Master Teague (5’11”, 220) averages 6.5 yards/carry on 116 attempts, too. The wild card is quarterback Justin Fields, who suffered an ankle injury against PSU and is rumored to have an injured thumb on his non-throwing hand. He averages 4.2 yards/carry and has 10 touchdowns.
Advantage: Ohio State

PASS DEFENSE vs. OSU PASS OFFENSE

Michigan is #4 in pass defense (161 yards allowed/game), #14 in passer efficiency defense, and tied at #54 in interceptions (9). For all the talk about Michigan’s secondary, I am less impressed with Michigan’s secondary than their numbers might suggest. Other people are higher on cornerbacks Lavert Hill and Ambry Thomas than I am; they are good but they grab a lot and don’t have great length. Safeties Brad Hawkins (if healthy) and Josh Metellus are a little limited athletically, though freshman Daxton Hill and his 4.4 speed could be a bit of a wild card. Michigan is tied for #12 in sacks, led by LB/DE Josh Uche (8.5) and end Kwity Paye (6.5). Ohio State is tied at #83 in sacks allowed (25), even though quarterback Justin Fields (6’3″, 223) is a good runner. They are #48 in passing offense (248 yards/game) with an absurd stat of 40 touchdowns to just 1 interception on the year. (Note: Only triple option-oriented Georgia Southern has fewer interceptions, with 0 thrown in just 126 attempts this year.) Fields is completing 69% of his passes for 9.4 yards per attempt, 33 touchdowns, and the 1 pick. Last year’s pain-in-the-butt Chris Olave (6’1″, 185) has returned to lead the team with 637 yards and 10 touchdown; he’s the slick route runner, while Binjimen Victor (6’4″, 199) is like Gumby, and K.J. Hill (6’0″, 195) leads the squad with 42 receptions. There’s not just one target to fixate on for a defense, which makes it difficult. I remember seeing OSU left tackle Thayer Munford (6’6″, 310) as a recruit and thinking he was certainly headed for offensive guard in college, so he might be Michigan’s best chance to exploit via Paye and/or Uche, but if the Buckeyes can hold up along the line, this should be a good matchup for the Scarlet and Gray.
Advantage: Ohio State

This is a different team from what Michigan faced last year, when quarterback Dwayne Haskins threw the ball all over the place because he was unable and unwilling to run it, at least with the same proficiency that J.T. Barrett, Braxton Miller, and others showed. The receivers aren’t quite as explosive overall, but Fields offers them the ability to run and pass.

PREDICTIONS

  • The Penn State game looks like a blip for OSU’s offense.
  • The Buckeyes shut down Michigan’s running game and have planned for the Shea Patterson running game that the Wolverines have kept in their back pocket most of the year. Michigan rushes for less than 90 yards total.
  • Shea Patterson gets rattled and throws 2 picks.
  • Ohio State 42, Michigan 17

I hope the Wolverines prove me wrong.

15 comments

  1. Avatar
    Comments: 1609
    Joined: 1/19/2016
    je93
    Nov 29, 2019 at 12:49 PM

    Holy crap, I mean, I wouldn’t be shocked at a blowout, but come on …

    ohio hasn’t had to travel, and we play our best at home. I want sooo badly to predict the upset, but instead I see a “moral victory”
    24-31, bad guys

    • Thunder
      Comments: 3358
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Nov 29, 2019 at 12:57 PM

      I just don’t see any real weaknesses on Ohio State’s team, unless Justin Fields is hurt. And I don’t think anything’s significantly wrong with him. The ankle didn’t look bad, and the thumb (if it’s an issue) is his non-throwing hand. There ARE weaknesses on Michigan’s team, including a mediocre running game, a lack of depth in the secondary, and a lack of depth on the defensive line.

      • Avatar
        Comments: 1609
        Joined: 1/19/2016
        je93
        Nov 29, 2019 at 2:06 PM

        If we were traveling, I’d 100% agree

        But ohio hasn’t had to play a good team on the road; Nebraska was a joke. Maybe Indiana? That team continued to our newfound “momentum”

        I don’t think Fields is much of a passer at this point of his career. He’s not awful, but benefiting from a loaded offense, dynamic system, and unchallenging schedule. I thought sparty had him rattled in the first half, and think we can do the same or more

        Maybe I’m wrong? Probably, as I tend to believe a lot more in the last hours prior to kickoff

        Go Blue

  2. Avatar
    Comments: 47
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Nick.
    Nov 29, 2019 at 2:58 PM

    Unfortunately I have to agree with you here Thunder. While Michigan has begun to gel and show some signs of life, I just think the difference in the quality of athletes is still there. Ohio State has been a juggernaut most of the year and they will be ready for THE game. Michigan has shown significant improvement over the last month, but can they handle the play from OSU at all levels of the game? Until Ohio State takes a significant step back or Michigan takes a significant step forward this is going to continue to be a lopsided match up. Here’s hoping that Michigan can play a perfect game tomorrow!

  3. GrandLake
    Comments: 76
    Joined: 8/22/2019
    GrandLake
    Nov 29, 2019 at 3:32 PM

    Feel like this game is really up to the OL for UM to win. Ohio is going to score and the question is can OL provide enough protection for Shea to get the ball downfield and open up enough holes for UM to get a reasonable run game going. UM WRs are the best group OSU has seen this year and they do give UM a chance assuming Shea has time to throw. In a way, there is actually a lot of pressure on Ryan Day – if he loses this game with his “invincible” team he will learn very quickly how fast the OSU fan base will turn against him. No matter how many other games he wins only one matters to group of fans whose self-worth is defined on one Saturday of the year. Just ask John Cooper. UM 31 Ohio 24

  4. JC
    Comments: 266
    Joined: 8/17/2015
    JC
    Nov 30, 2019 at 8:22 AM

    Nothing you’ve said is wrong.

    They are the better team.

    But in regards to your prediction, my mind is telling me no. But my body. My body is telling me yea.

    M 31. OSU 30

    For the love of all things good and holy, please have D. Hill ready to cover the slot.

    • Avatar
      Comments: 1609
      Joined: 1/19/2016
      je93
      Nov 30, 2019 at 10:21 AM

      RKelly😂

  5. Lanknows
    Comments: 5498
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Nov 30, 2019 at 8:41 AM

    I don’t think we’ll get blown out. I hope we do not get blown out. Please do not get blown out.

    • Lanknows
      Comments: 5498
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Nov 30, 2019 at 8:47 AM

      OSU is clearly the better team but that’s why they play the games.

      Our secondary is faster than it was last year. Our LBs, despite losing Bush, are faster. Our coverage packages are more diverse.

      Our offense is mostly the same guys and appear to have settled in. They put up 19 on OSU the first half and 20 the second.

      I agree that the OL is the key to the game. Last year Michigan’s DL got completely shut down by OSU’s OL. Michigan needs to return the favor.

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 5498
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Nov 30, 2019 at 9:45 AM

        One advantage Michigan has – they have played a tougher schedule. 5 toughest games for:

        Michigan
        @PSU, @Wisc, Iowa, ND, @Ind

        OSU
        PSU, Wisc, @Neb, Cinci, @Ind

  6. Avatar
    Comments: 348
    Joined: 12/24/2016
    INTJohn
    Nov 30, 2019 at 1:49 PM

    Michigan making tooo many mistakes to even give themselves a chance.
    Close the first half with 2 nice drives inside the buckeye red zone and Michigan nets -4 points…….

    Just can’t beat a team like OSU playing the way they have. IF OSU scores to open the 2nd half this game is over – hell it might be over now………
    INTJohn

  7. GrandLake
    Comments: 76
    Joined: 8/22/2019
    GrandLake
    Nov 30, 2019 at 4:40 PM

    That didn’t go so well. Thought Gattis had a good game plan on offense but D didn’t get much pressure and looked to blow a bunch of coverages on the long plays. Throw in some mistakes that UM just can’t make like jumping offside on 4th and 4 punt as if a blocked punt might somehow be worth 19pts, fumbling snap on 6 yard line and DPJ dropping TD and here we are. Sadly it doesn’t look like it is changing anytime soon. I think if UM doesn’t shoot themselves so many times they could have at least kept the game within reach. At least the basketball team looked good this week.

  8. Lanknows
    Comments: 5498
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Nov 30, 2019 at 5:44 PM

    It should have been tied at the half but for Michigan’s unforced errors.

    Gattis did great. Saw stuff you usually see from the other side – taking advantage of LB matchups in coverage, finding the weakest link in the secondary, wide-open players in space. The pass protection was excellent and Young was neutralized. To me – this was big time progress.

    But then the second half. The WR drops just killed us. Thunder’s predicted blowout came to fruition for bit 42-19.

    Haskins kept fighting after that, to his credit. The maligned direct snap play worked again – TD, 2 point conversion, and oh so close to another huge run on the 4th down play on the next series. But Haskins din’t follow his blocker and that was that.

    The silver lining of this game is that the offense looked like it could go toe to toe with OSU for the first time in a while. If they can hold on to Warriner and Gattis the future is bright.

    Back to the drawing board again for Brown. He needs to adopt the mentality that Urban Meyer preached — beating OSU needs to be a way of life, all year long. Our corners weren’t beat much but our safeties got worked. Vets like Metellus and Hudson had bad days. That’s probably more on the coaches than the players. I don’t know that their replacements will be better.

    On the DL – we knew this was a problem in the offseason. Brown did a brilliant job of mitigating it all year. We need more impact players. We all know it – But OSU has been neutralizing NFL talents like Gary and Winovich – this year it was Uche who disappeared.

    Michigan needs to get breaks to beat OSU. Didn’t happen. Dobbins fumbles and it bounces right back to him for a big run. Patterson fumbles and we get a redzone turnover. So it goes in this rivalry lately.

    • GrandLake
      Comments: 76
      Joined: 8/22/2019
      GrandLake
      Nov 30, 2019 at 8:00 PM

      Agree that there was good progress today regarding Gattis and the game plan- if OSU has weakness it is def the LBs in coverage esp Werner who got away with a lot of grabbing in coverage. Can’t imagine LSU and Clemson aren’t taking note of that. Hinton looked decent today also and like an actual interior DL, he will be a welcome addition next year with some more reps and a few more pounds. I thought today would be Uche’s day to shine and can barely remember seeing him out there.

  9. Avatar
    Comments: 348
    Joined: 12/24/2016
    INTJohn
    Nov 30, 2019 at 7:14 PM

    After 5 years of Harbaugh its time for me to completely revamp my opinion of Him, His coaching, recruiting and Michigan football in general. And I don’t mean this negatively. I think Harbaugh has in fact brought Michigan to a place where the Wolverines are as good as they can be. Getting beat a couple times a year by someone and then getting totally waxed by OSU is the moderne era state of Michigan Football that will never be bettered.

    We’ll see if/when Harbaugh gets a contract extension. He has but 2 years left on the current contract. IF an extension doesn’t come soon for recruiting sake alone then assume he’s gone prolly back to the NFL.

    OSU is just that much better than the rest of the B10. Period. Its become the Big 1 and the mediocre 6 and the lil 7………
    Michigan is destined to fight PSU for 2nd place in the East. Once in a while someone will beat OSU butt it will simply be an aberation and just like Bobby “Can’t beat Miami”
    Harbaugh Cant Beat OSU………
    Deal With It Michigan………..INTJohn

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