Michigan vs. Ohio State: Keys to Wolverines Ending Buckeyes' Winning Streak

Rick WeinerFeatured ColumnistNovember 23, 2012

ANN ARBOR, MI - NOVEMBER 26: Denard Robinson #16 of the Michigan Wolverines tries to get around the tackle of Ryan Shazier #10 of the Ohio State Buckeyes at Michigan Stadium on November 26, 2011 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Michigan won the game 40-34. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

It's been more than a decade since Drew Henson threw three touchdown passes for the Wolverines at the Horseshoe in Columbus, leading Michigan to a 40-34 victory over Ohio State back in 2000.

While the faces on both sidelines have changed, this week's game between the Michigan Wolverines (8-3) and Ohio State Buckeyes (11-0) is going to end the same way—with the Wolverines walking out of Ohio Stadium with their arms raised in a "V" and Ohio State wondering what just happened.

Here's how the Wolverines can get the job done.


Contain Braxton Miller

Nobody is going to argue that Braxton Miller isn't a dynamic player who can beat any team with his arm or his legs, but the sophomore has struggled mightily as of late, and Michigan needs to make sure that streak of ineffectiveness continues.

Over his last four games, Miller is completing less than 50 percent of his passes (49.3 percent), with only three touchdowns and two interceptions.

While he's added four more touchdowns running the ball, he's coming off an awful game against Wisconsin where he accounted for only 145 yards of total offense and failed to find the end zone.

Keeping Miller off of his game—forcing him to win the game with his arm—is key to Michigan being able to shut down the Buckeyes' offensive attack.


Keep Devin Gardner Under Center

Devin Gardner has been ridiculously good for Michigan over the past two weeks.

He's completed 65 percent of his passes for 600 yards, five touchdowns and two interceptions. Gardner has also carried the ball 18 times for 84 yards and five touchdowns.

He's simply a more accurate passer than Denard Robinson, though Shoelace is the more dynamic threat to take off and run with the ball.

Which leads me to my third point.


Give Denard Robinson The Bulk of the Carries

With Fitzgerald Toussaint out of action, the natural choice to replace him would be another running back, namely Thomas Rawls.

But it's former starting QB Denard Robinson who should get the heavy workload.

As we saw last week against Iowa, Robinson lined up behind Gardner gives Michigan's offense an entirely new dimension.

While Robinson had what was a so-so day (for him) running the ball, picking up 98 yards on 13 carries—Iowa's defense was a mess trying to figure out who to cover with the two of them on the field at the same time.

Ohio State's defense is markedly better than Iowa's, but the result is the same. Chaos and mayhem ensue for the defense, who risk Robinson airing it out if they try and attack him when Gardner pitches him the ball. At the same time, they can't give him running room, for they know he can take off running.