Matt and Zac Snyder of Bleacher Report and mittensportsreport.com break down this week's University of Michigan football matchup.
When Michigan Has the Ball...
Michigan's Passing Attack vs. Ohio State's Secondary
Zac says: A return to the lineup by Martavious Odoms would give the passing game a big boost. The emergence of Roy Roundtree over the past few weeks has been encouraging but the passing game has remained inconsistent nonetheless.
Tate Forcier completed 20 of 26 passes last week and will need an efficient performance Saturday to give his team a chance against Ohio State's stout defense. Advantage: Ohio State
Matt says: Michigan simply hasn't been able to get the passing game going in a consistent way this season. Tate Forcier is still stuck in the habit of holding onto the ball for too long, and putting the ball on the turf too often. Roy Roundtree has been a nice surprise in the season's second half, but they'll need more than one receiver to be successful against the Buckeye defense. Advantage: Ohio State
Michigan's Running game vs. Ohio State's Front Seven
Zac says: Brandon Minor will reportedly miss the game this week. Carlos Brown has stepped up admirably in his absence earlier in the year, although Saturday's game may feature a running back-by-committee effort. An effective running game and ball control will be keys for the Michigan offense.
Fortunately, the running game has been the brightest spot of the team. Unfortunately, it hasn't shone as brightly against some of the other top defenses in the league. Advantage: Even
Matt says: The Michigan running game will take a huge hit if Brandon Minor is unable to play. Vincent Smith and Carlos Brown have both shown that they are capable playmakers, but neither have stepped up as an every down back to carry the load without Minor.
The Wolverines will need to mix up the runners and establish a successful ground game early in order to have much offensive success. Advantage: Even
When Ohio State Has the Ball...
Ohio State's Passing Attack vs. Michigan's Secondary
Zac says: Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor hasn't been asked to carry the offensive load on his arm alone. Pryor has averaged just 160 pass yards per game on the year and has thrown for 15 touchdowns compared to nine interceptions.
Thirteen touchdowns have been caught by wide receivers DeVier Posey and Dane Sanzenbacher. Pryor has thrown the ball effectively when he's had to, but that may not be necessary this week. Advantage: Ohio State
Matt says: Although Terrelle Pryor hasn't had the season that most expected out of him, he's still capable of making big plays. Michigan's pass coverage has been soft, at best, this season, and Ohio State will be more than willing to take advantage of that fact. As long as Pryor can take care of the ball, OSU can have a big day through the air. Advantage: Ohio State
Ohio State's Running Game vs. Michigan's Front Seven
Zac says: Brandon Saine and Dan Herron are the kind of thunder and lightning combination that most teams covet. The Buckeyes have put up some impressive rushing totals as of late to drastically close the gap on Michigan for the Big Ten's top rushing attack. The Michigan defense has allowed nearly twice as many rushing yards as the Ohio State defense. Advantage: Ohio State
Matt says: The Buckeyes' dynamic duo of Saine and Herron have combined for over 1,000 yards rushing this season. Throw in a little over 600 yards for Pryor and it's easy to see that the Buckeyes are one of the better running teams in the conference. The Wolverine front may be in over their heads in this one. Advantage: Ohio State
Zac (7-4) says: Expect a disappointing end to a second consecutive disappointing season in Ann Arbor. Ohio State might be a overrated this season but Michigan should still have quite a bit of trouble with the Buckeyes on both sides of the ball. Terrelle Pryor's high school coach stated earlier this year that Pryor may have chosen the wrong school.
I'm sure Terrelle would love to prove he made the right decision. Final Score: Ohio State 33, Michigan 23
Matt (5-5) says: It's never easy to predict what will happen in a rivalry game, but the recent trends speak for themselves. The Wolverines come in as losers of six straight games against FBS opponents, and ride a five year losing streak against the Buckeyes.
Michigan will need to eliminate turnovers and come up with a few takeaways in order to have a chance in this one. If the Buckeyes get out to an early lead, it'll be goodnight sweetheart time, but I'm sure the Wolverine Seniors will be fired up for their final game in "The Big House". Final Score: Ohio State 35, Michigan 17