NCAA Football Rivalry Picks: (1) Ohio State Buckeyes at (13) Michigan Wolverines

#1 Ohio State at  #13 Michigan

Time: 11 AM CST (FOX)

Spread: OSU -9

Total: 50

Odds c/o 5dimes

The Ohio State Buckeyes defeated then-No. 8 Penn State last week to improve to 11-0 on the season, and in typical fashion, the Buckeyes conclude its season against its worst enemy and foe, the Michigan Wolverines. The Buckeyes are 9-point favorites on Michigan’s home field, with the over/under set at 50 points. The game will air at NOON (EST) on FOX.


Ohio State survived a scare against Penn State last week to score a touchdown and move ahead by 11 in the final quarter, winning 28-17. With that win, Ohio State leaped from No. 2 in the AP Polls to No. 1, and a win in this affair assures (n naturally) a BCS playoff bid. It is sweet redemption for the Buckeyes after being snubbed in an undefeated season a year ago.

Justin Fields completed 16 of 22 passes for 188 yards and two touchdowns, while JK Dobbins rushed an outstanding 36 attempts for 157 yards and two rushing touchdowns. Ohio State limited the Penn State offense to just 227 total yards, despite allowing a pair of rushing touchdowns from its backfield. KJ Hill caught four passes for 46 yards for the Buckeyes, and Ohio State balanced its scoring with two receiving touchdowns to match its two via the rush.

Ohio State did fumble four times, three coming from Fields, and three of those four fumbles were lost. Despite these blunders, the win over PSU was huge and nearly secures OSU its playoff berth, but it must first handle business against its familiar rival this week. It must avoid repeating the turnovers for a second week, especially given the spread hovers in single-digits.

Fields has put together a very impressive statistical season for OSU. He has 2,352 passing yards on 69.4 percent completions, with an amazing 33 touchdowns to his one lone interception. His passer rating borders on absurd at 190.3. Fields is also a rushing threat. He has 105 carries this season for 445 yards, while ranking No. 2 on the team in touchdowns (10).

Dobbins has 219 carries for 1,446 yards with 15 TDs. The Buckeyes averaged 5.9 yards-per-carry as a team with 33 total rushing touchdowns on the season. The receiving core is led by Chris Olave. He has 39 catches (No. 2 on the team) for a team-leading 637 yards and a team-leading 10 touchdowns. The Buckeyes sport eight players with at least 100 receiving yards on the season, though tight end Jeremy Rucket has been somewhat quiet with just 11 catches for 116 yards and three TDs.


The Michigan Wolverines are 9-2 with a 6-2 mark in Big Ten play. Winning this matchup against Ohio State would redeem its season in a big way before eventually finding its way into a good Bowl appearance after this game concludes. Michigan lost to Penn State and Wisconsin this season, but both are AP ranked teams and the Wolverines have to consider this season a relatively successful one, even if a Big Ten title is not in play at all.

Michigan’s offense has been middle-of-the-road, but the defense has been outstanding as usual. The Wolverines allow just 16.2 points per game while scoring 33.7 itself, good for a +17.5 point differential. The passing game has ranked top-50 at 247.5 yards per game, while its rush attack lingers at No. 76 generating 155.1 per contest.

Credit the emergence of Shea Patterson for the successful passing: Patterson has topped 2.5k yards with a 59.5 percent clip on his passing while managing 21 TDs and five INTs. Zach Charbonnet has carried the backfield as the No. 1 RB, with 635 yards on the season.

Hassan Haskins has 483 yards and a team-leading 5.3 yards-per-carry. Charbonnet has scored 11 touchdowns, and Haskins has three, while Patterson has rushed for five this season despite averaging under one yard-per-carry.

Michigan has struggled with its field goal kicking, as Jake Moody and Quinn Nordin have combined to hit 11 of 17. Three of the six misses came from beyond mid-field, though, and Michigan’s long-field goal of the year is a 49-yarder from the foot of Nordin.

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