Michigan Football: Ohio State vs. Michigan — Key Match ups
Pure talent, OSU has the advantage over UM, period. There is only one position group where UM has a clear advantage, DE. I would call RBs a wash, the stats for each schools top runner are almost identical ad the top 3 for each have close to same numbers. Other area I call a wash would be specialists, punter and kickers. QBs are tough to judge, Stroud has numbers that dwarf Cade, but look at the weapons. Still give an edge to Stroud, although not as big as in past few seasons at QB.
Biggest key to the game will be UMs O Line vs OSU front 7. OSU plays a hybred defense where the Bull, Hickman is usually the leading tackler. OSU D Line is not as talented as in the recent past. there is no Bosa or Chase Young. What they do have are 3 very athletic interior D linemen and solid pair of DEs. UMs interior O line has been very good at mauling and muscling opponents. Problem is it can take a series or two of pushing and leaning to wear a D Line down. Just not sure UM can have that kind of patience. Against MSU Ohio State was able to eliminate Walker from the game with their passing game. Once up 21-0 MSO had little choice but to go away from what they do best. Same fate could happen to UM if not careful.
I also would keep an eye on UM tackle Hayes. he has struggled at times with the better DEs. Harrison might be a challenge.
Next key is UM DBs vs OSU wide outs. OSUs 4th and 55th WR would start at UM. The trio has over 180 catches for 30 TDs. UM has made a living adding DBs to the box and putting teams behind the chains. Just not sure we have the athletes do this vs OSU. If UM does play man they had better get to Stroud. This is OSUs biggest advantage, they have the best stable of receivers in college football and if UM DBs don’t keep everything in front of them this could be over before we get started.
One area I do think UM can exploit is if All is healthy. The way OSU plays defense short passes to H Back or wing could give them some issues. If you watched the Oregon game and Purdue the short game gave OSU some issue. I know Drn, new DC, but same personally used in similar way. 2 of the 3 leading tacklers for OSUs are their safeties. They really commit hard to the LOS. What we used call waggles or such could give them some issues. Good news is UM has ran these fairly well as of late.
Final key is which QB plays the best. When Stroud is good OSU is hard to stop. When he was off a bit they have some problems. Hutch and Ojabo have to get into his face , make him uncomfortable, and knock his @SS to the ground. If he does not have to pick himself off the ground frequently UM is in deep SH*T. For UM to have any chance Cade has to play his best game of the season, period. If he is only average UM is in trouble. He has to keep OSU defense off balance and UM ahead of the chains. If UM does throw on 1st down he has to be accurate. UM cannot consistently be 2nd and 10 and stay in the game. The best defense against OSUs offense is them standing on the side lines. UMs offense and Cade have to be very consistent. Every 3 and out makes life difficult.
OK I lied one more key. UM has to win the physical battle. UM O Line and D Line have to win the battle. They cannot get pushed around. UM needs to hit Stroud at every opportunity. I know some of my Blue Brothers don’;t like this, but if I am coaching UM I get a bit chippy with OSU. No penalties, but finish your tackles and blocks, don’t stop until the whistle. Get in their faces, fair square legal, nothing dirty, but try an get them off their game a bit. If this game is a bit of brawl, street fight, UMs chance increase IMO.
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