Are the Wolverines worthy of being 20-point underdogs? Can the Wolverines’ defense stop Terrelle Pryor and Beanie Wells? The short answers are NO and NO! The 2008 Wolverines have already lost eight games—the most single-season losses in their storied history.
With a revamped Spread Offense, featuring players who had mastered Lloyd Carr’s NFL-style Offense (105th in the country and the worst in the Big Ten!), and a defense that is 66th in the nation and eighth in the Big Ten, the Wolverines don’t stand a ghost of a chance—especially considering that the game will be played in Columbus.
The Buckeyes, on the other hand, have the second best defense in the Big Ten and an offense which features the highly heralded, should-have-been-a-Michigan-man, Terrell Pryor, and the speedster Beanie Wells.
With Pryor’s throwing, 90-of-139 for 1,125 yards, and Wells’ 5.4 yards-per-carry average, the Wolverines will be grateful to fall within a 35-point deficit.
In order for the Wolverines to keep it within 20 points, Michigan’s defensive stars, including Tim Jamison (DE), Brandon Graham (DE) Will Johnson (DT), Terrance Taylor (NT) Obi Ezeh (LB), and Morgan Trent (CB) will need to perform double duty, in order to stop double threat of the Pryor/Wells, while Brandon Minor (RB) and Nick Sheridan (QB) will need to play the best games of their careers.
However, with Michigan’s weak offense (Nick Sheridan will start in place of the injured Steven Threet), the defense will not get much rest. Therefore, fatigue is guaranteed to set in as the game wears on, leaving the door open for OSU to run up the score.
Even if the Wolverines manage to get in a few terrific plays, the Buckeyes did not earn their second place in the Big Ten and 13th in the NCAA defensive rankings for nothing. They flawlessly execute the fundamentals and they will flawlessly shut down the UofM offense.