Michigan is fighting to stay alive in the Big Ten, with an outside shot at a Big Ten title berth. Its last chance at a conference win will come at noon ET on ABC against Ohio State this Saturday.
For the Wolverines to pull off this upset, they have to play solid defense and get dynamic plays from the offense. Without a strong perimeter presence on defense and a few big offensive plays, this Michigan team will lose big.
The Buckeyes will host the contest and have done very well in the past decade in games that come in Columbus. Michigan will be looking to pull down an upset win over the undefeated Buckeyes.
The Wolverines have battled through a quarterback change this season and have found a solid starter in Devin Gardner. Through three games, he has been far more consistent that Denard Robinson. He also brings speed to the position, but he lacks the elusiveness of Robinson.
This year has been a good one for the Wolverines defense, and it needs a strong showing this weekend to earn the win.
Braxton Miller will challenge the outside of the Michigan defense, forcing the Wolverines defenders to stay disciplined to their assignment. Miller is a dangerous passer, but his biggest threat comes on broken-down plays, where he improvises and tucks away the football. Another challenge will be moving the football.
The Buckeyes are not having their strongest season defensively, but they play well enough to keep the Wolverines from scoring at will.
Gardner will be starting in his first major rivalry game, and it will come in hostile territory. How he responds will be crucial to the game’s outcome.
Integrating Robinson into the offensive game plan will also be a must for the Wolverines. Last week, Robinson lined up at running back and created a major mismatch for the opposing defense. He would do the same against the Buckeyes.
With Robinson in the backfield as a runner, the Wolverines have two passing and three rushing threats. The dynamics will be nearly impossible to defend, leading to a Michigan upset victory in Columbus.
Both teams are playing for pride, but the Wolverines actually have a shot at winning the Big Ten with a win in this game. Granted, it depends on an unlikely Nebraska loss, but this is still a major win to play for.
Ohio State is looking for a pride victory. This is the end of the 2012 season for the Buckeyes no matter the outcome, so a victory in front of a home crowd would be bittersweet as Ohio State finishes undefeated.
If the Wolverines can play lights-out on defense and find a way to integrate Denard Robinson into the offense led by Devin Gardner, they will snag the upset win in this huge rivalry showdown.