MICHIGAN WOLVERINES (8-3)
at OHIO STATE BUCKEYES (11-0)
Kickoff: Saturday, 12:00 p.m. EDT
Line: Ohio State -3, Total: 55
No. 4 Ohio State tries to close out its season unbeaten when it hosts rival No. 20 Michigan on Saturday.
Entering last year, Ohio State had a seven-game winning streak (6-1 ATS) against Michigan, but the Wolverines outrushed the Buckeyes 277 to 137 in a 40-34 home victory. Denard Robinson piled up 337 total yards and 5 TD that day, but it’s unclear whether he will start at running back in place of injured Fitzgerald Toussaint or at quarterback over Devin Gardner, who has 939 yards and 13 TD in the past three games. OSU QB Braxton Miller had a season-low 145 total yards in last week’s 21-14 OT win at Wisconsin.
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Robinson had no trouble adjusting to his running back position last week, rumbling for 98 yards on just 13 carries (7.5 YPC) in the 42-17 win at Iowa. But as good as he was against OSU last year (14-for-17, 167 yards, 3 TD, 0 INT), he certainly struggled at The Horseshoe in 2010, completing just 8-of-18 passes for 87 yards. He will probably not be in the quarterback role again because of nerve damage in his right below and also because Devin Gardner has played so well under center. In his three starts, Gardner has completed 46-of-70 passes (66%) for 834 yards, 7 TD and 3 INT. He will try to keep this offense rolling, something they haven't always done on the road this year, scoring just 21.6 PPG and 311 total YPG in five away tilts. Defensively, Michigan has the top-ranked passing defense in the entire country, allowing just 152 passing YPG. And this is despite a weak pass rush with a paltry 1.4 sacks per game (T-99th in FBS).
Miller threw for just 97 yards in last week's win in Madison, but was able to throw for 235 yards (2nd-most in his career) in last year's shootout in Ann Arbor. He also rushed for 100 yards and totaled three touchdowns. Junior RB Carlos Hyde has gotten just one carry in his first two meetings with Michigan but he will play a big role in this contest. In his past six games, Hyde has galloped for 666 yards (5.4 YPC) and 13 touchdowns. Defensively, the Buckeyes have to be concerned with Michigan's ground game that piled up 277 rushing yards against them last year. OSU also allowed 206 rushing yards to Wisconsin last week. The Buckeyes have done a poor job of forcing turnovers recently with a paltry four takeaways in the past five games.