Ohio State-Michigan matchups


OSU #43 Darron Lee heads to the endzone for a topuchdown after picking up a fumble by Michigan's Devin Gardner in the fourth quater at Ohio Stadium November 29, 2014


QUARTERBACKS

J.T. Barrett has passed for only 196 yards in two games since returning from a one-game suspension. That probably has more to do with (a.) Ohio State’s pass protection, (b.) Michigan State’s defense and (c.) weather conditions than with Barrett.

Iowa graduate transfer Jake Rudock (2,476 yards, 16 touchdowns, 9 interceptions) leads Michigan’s offense. In his last three games, he has thrown for 1,033 yards and 10 touchdowns and completed 69 percent of his passes.

Advantage: Michigan

RUNNING BACKS

Ezekiel Elliott (1,458 yards rushing) will undoubtedly get the ball more this week than the 12 carries that left him so frustrated after a 17-14 loss to Michigan State last week.

De’veon Smith leads Michigan with 621 yards and six touchdowns.

Advantage: Ohio State

WIDE RECEIVERS

Michael Thomas (47 catches, 659 yards, 8 TDs) leads OSU but no Buckeyes receiver, including Thomas, has shown great consistency.

Amara Darboh (52 catches, 635 yards, 5 TDs), Jehu Chesson (37 catches, 535 yards, 7 TDs) and tight end Jake Butt (43 catches, 566 yards, 3 TDs) are Rudock’s favorite targets.

Advantage: Michigan

OFFENSIVE LINE

Ohio State’s offensive line has been puzzling. With four returning starters from a unit that played at a very high level against Wisconsin, Alabama and Oregon at the end of last season, more was expected from them. Producing only five first downs against Michigan State was the low point of the season.

Michigan has a three-year starter (center Graham Glasgow) and four two-year starters on its offensive line but it has been less than dominant.

Advantage: Ohio State

DEFENSIVE LINE

Ohio State’s defensive line had more off sides calls (3) than sacks (2) against Michigan State on a day when it lost more battles than it won.

Michigan will be without one of its best defensive linemen, Ryan Glasgow, who is out for the season with a torn pectoral muscle. But the line is still the area of greatest depth on the Wolverines’ defense. Ends Willie Henry (6.5 sacks) and Taco Charlton (3.5 sacks) and tackle Chris Wormley (12 tackles for losses, 5.5 sacks) have helped Michigan rank first in the Big Ten in overall defense, rush defense and pass defense.

Advantage: Michigan

LINEBACKERS

Raekwon McMillan (105 tackles) and Joshua Perry (88 tackles, 3 sacks) lead Ohio State in tackles.

For Michigan, Joe Bolden (67 tackles) and Desmond Morgan (64 tackles) are the leaders of this position group.

Advantage: Ohio State

DEFENSIVE BACKS

Ohio State has not allowed a passing touchdown in its last two games. The biggest concern for OSU’s defensive backs Saturday might be tight end Jake Butt, one of the best players at that position in the country, who also is a Pickerington native who was not recruited by Ohio State.

Michigan strong safety Jabrill Peppers is living up to the high expectations that were cut short last season when a leg injury ended his freshman season after three games. Cornerback Jeremy Clark has three interceptions and the other cornerback Jourdan Lewis has two.

Advantage: Ohio State

SPECIAL TEAMS

Ohio State has attempted only one field goal in its last two games. Kickers Sean Nuernberger and Jack Willoughby have missed four of their last five attempts.

Michigan kicker Kenny Allen is 14 of 18 on field goals with a long kick of 47 yards. Punter Blake O’Neill is averaging 41.4 yards per punt.

Advantage: Michigan

OSU #43 Darron Lee heads to the endzone for a topuchdown after picking up a fumble by Michigan’s Devin Gardner in the fourth quater at Ohio Stadium November 29, 2014
http://galioninquirer.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/web1_DLeeRuns.jpgOSU #43 Darron Lee heads to the endzone for a topuchdown after picking up a fumble by Michigan’s Devin Gardner in the fourth quater at Ohio Stadium November 29, 2014

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