Nov 23, 2022 - Sports

The Game: Ohio St. and Michigan's undefeated seasons on the line

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh celebrates with fans after last year's win over Ohio State

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh celebrates with fans after defeating Ohio State last season. Photo: Mike Mulholland/Getty Images

👋 Howdy, Everett here. I'm a 30-year-old Michigan alum coming to terms with Saturday being the biggest football game of my life.

What's happening: The Game. Undefeated Michigan vs. undefeated Ohio State, Saturday at noon in Columbus or on Fox.

Why it matters: The matchup has been played since 1897, and this is the first time both teams go into it unbeaten since 2006.

  • The winner clinches a spot in the Big Ten Championship with an excellent shot at making the College Football Playoff.
  • The loser waits for their postseason assignment, likely the Rose Bowl.

Between the lines: This has not been much of a rivalry. Michigan won just once between 2004 and 2019 and churned through some truly awful coaches (both on and off the field) to try to return to form against OSU.

The latest: It's unclear if four top Michigan players — running backs Blake Corum and Donovan Edwards, plus edge rusher Mike Morris and tight end Luke Schoonmaker — will play Saturday.

How Ohio State wins: By doing what it has done all season. Relying on an explosive offense and trusting the defense to limit the big plays.

  • Ohio State leads the Big Ten in touchdowns scored this year by a whopping 17 and is first in most passing categories, even while missing star wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba for most of the season.
  • Yes, and: One could argue the Wolverines have no shot if just Corum doesn't play — if all four don't play, this might be over by the first quarter.

How Michigan wins: Corum is healthy, a run-first offense dominates the trenches and the best defense in the Big Ten shuts down star Buckeye QB and Heisman-candidate C.J. Stroud.

  • This is likely the only winning scenario for the Wolverines, who will struggle against a large deficit.
  • Quarterback J.J. McCarthy has thrown for more than 230 yards one time this season. Going down a few scores early could spell trouble.

The bottom line: My stomach has hurt all week despite an intentional avoidance of cheese.

  • But if that's the price to pay for an actual rivalry, I'll take it!

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