Ohio State is hoping to extend their win streak against Michigan to eight games, which would mark their longest ever stretch of success against the Wolverines.
They are, however, facing a Michigan squad that has some momentum on their side. They have won each their last four games by at least 25 points, and have scored at least 38 points in all of them. Their defense has gone ten straight quarters without giving up a touchdown. And they have won 13 straight in Ann Arbor, where 2019's rivalry game will be played.
Quarterback Shea Patterson has seemed comfortable of late, with nine touchdown passes in his last two games, throwing to a deep crop of wide receivers that includes Nico Collins, who averages almost 21 yards a catch, as well as Ronnie Bell and Donovan Peoples-Jones, who are both averaging around three receptions a game.
Patterson is not the most mobile of signal callers. He has fewer rushing yards (66) than his backup Dylan McCaffrey (67), even though McCaffrey has only registered carries in three games this season. Patterson's rushing numbers, it should be noted, have been hurt by the number of times he's been sacked. Michigan is ranked No. 52 nationally in sacks allowed, and in the last two games alone, opponents have gotten to Patterson six times.
The run game has not necessarily taken off with the rest of the offense. In their first four games of the season, Michigan averaged 3.48 yards per carry and they registered ten touchdowns. In the next four games, they averaged 4.8 yards per carry, and also saw ten rushing touchdowns scored. However, in their most recent three games, those totals have dipped to 3.35 yards per carry and four rushing touchdowns.
That's partly the result of their youth at running back with freshman Zach Charbonnet and sophomore Hassan Haskins getting the bulk of the team's carries.
Defensively, the Wolverines are No. 13 against the run. Linebacker Khaleke Hudson paces the team with 88 tackles this season, while senior Josh Uche leads the way with 11.5 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks. That sack total, by the way, is better than all but 15 college football players this season.
Where Michigan has really excelled, however, is against the pass. They only allow 161.1 yards per game through the air, good enough to rank them No. 4 nationally in that category.
Their defensive line has batted down eight passes. They have given up only nine passing touchdowns, which they have countered by recording nine interceptions.
Levert Hill has three of those picks. In past seasons, he has returned two interceptions for scores. The Wolverines other starting corner, Ambry Thomas, also has three picks. Those go along with his three tackles for loss.
Ohio State and Michigan meet in THE GAME today at noon. Our pregame starts at 9:00 a.m. live from Ann Arbor.
Other Michigan notes:
- Ohio State enters the contest as one of only two teams since 1996 to hold their first 11 opponents of the season to fewer than 300 yards. The other is this year's Clemson squad.
- The Buckeyes are 11-9-2 against Michigan when both teams are in the top ten, with OSU winning the last three such battles.
- Both Ohio State's and Michigan's opponents this year have combined to win 63 percent of their games.
- There are 16 Michigan players from the state of Ohio, and two are starters: punter Will Hart and long snapper Camaron Cheeseman.
- Michigan has blocked two punts this season.
- With their reliance on the pass game, Michigan is ranked No. 74 in time of possession.
- The team with more rushing yards has won this game every year since at least 2000.