Buckeyes (11-0) vs. Wolverines(11-0): Match-Up Preview 11/25 12:00 PM EST.

November 25, 2023

Andy Billman

Gameday Preview Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Michigan Wolverines

Buckeyes Prepare for Game 12 of Season Against Michigan on Saturday: 

1 – Quarterback battle 

If no cheating scandal resulted in a suspension for Michigan’s head coach Jim Harbaugh, the biggest story nationally would be the quarterback competition between Kyle McCord and JJ McCarthy.

The numbers between the two are very similar, but because of McCarthy’s experience, many experts see this match-up as a disadvantage for the Buckeyes.  What a massive opportunity for McCord to show up the Wolverines and pundits.

Remember that Marvin Harrison Jr. is the best player on the field.  McCord must get him the ball.

2 – Day must win

No Harbaugh for Michigan is an advantage for Ohio State and head coach Ryan Day.  It is also another added layer to the storyline.  Day will feel a lot of pressure to win this game, and if OSU loses on Saturday without the opponent having their coach on the sideline, the loss will not be forgivable.  

This game is everything; Day can’t return to Columbus with three straight losses to the hated Wolverines.

3 – Run game

Even with all of the added drama, this game is returning to its roots- the ability of both teams to run the ball.  Whoever runs the ball and can control field position along with the clock will win the game.

TreVeyon Henderson vs. Blake Corum is the most critical match-up on Saturday.


Most college football fans will root for Ohio State over Michigan, and the Buckeyes will play the underdog, a rare occurrence in the past twenty years of this historic rivalry.

The Buckeyes and the Wolverines have talented defenses, and OSU can not allow the big plays that happened last year. 

The offensive lines for both teams are about even, and neither has a great O-line heading into the game. 

The Buckeyes have the best player in the country and will figure a way out of Ann Arbor with a victory.  I believe Henderson will have a big day and carry the team to victory.  

OSU wins 20-17, take the -3.5.

Ohio State Buckeyes Notes

Ohio State has consistently handled business in each game this season, showcasing prowess in both offense and defense. Their recent victories over Michigan State (38-3) and Minnesota (37-3) exemplify sheer domination. In the latest triumph against Minnesota, they limited the Gophers to a mere 159 total yards, with Treyvon Henderson leading the charge, accumulating 146 yards rushing and two touchdowns for the Buckeyes in less than three quarters. The ability to rest their starters in the fourth quarter demonstrated Ohio State’s control.

While the Buckeyes’ defense has been formidable, a minor concern has surfaced regarding their offense. Despite the defense’s shutout performance against Minnesota, the offense struggled to put up only 13 points in the first half. Quarterback Kyle McCord completed 20 of 30 passes for 212 yards and two touchdowns, but star receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. was limited to three catches for 30 yards, albeit securing a receiving touchdown.

McCord has had a commendable season, boasting a 66.4% completion rate for 2,899 yards, 22 touchdowns, and four interceptions. However, unlike his predecessors, he lacks the running threat, with negative 62 rushing yards. Henderson leads the team in rushing with 794 yards and 10 touchdowns, maintaining an impressive 6.7 yards per carry. Despite facing significant attention, Harrison Jr. has contributed 62 catches for 1,093 yards and 13 touchdowns at an average of 17.6 yards per catch.

Overall, Ohio State’s strength lies in its defense, ranking third by allowing only 252.9 yards per game. They excel in pass defense, conceding just 144.4 passing yards (1st), but their rush defense ranks 21st, allowing 198.5 yards per game. They boast an outstanding record of giving up only 9.3 points per game, ranking second. On the offensive side, they average 429.3 yards per game (35th), with 283.7 passing yards and 145.5 rushing yards (86th).

Wolverine Notes

In the absence of the suspended Jim Harbaugh in their second game, Michigan faced some challenges but managed to secure a victory against Maryland on the road last week with a score of 31-24, despite being a 17.5-point favorite. Mike Sainristil, the defensive back, showcased an impressive performance with two interceptions, while running back Blake Corum found the end zone twice in the first half. The Wolverines’ defense effectively limited Maryland to a mere 15 rushing yards, but the Terps posed a threat with 247 passing yards. Michigan struggled in their passing game, with J.J. McCarthy completing only 12 of 23 attempts for 141 yards and one interception.

Stepping into the role of head coach, offensive coordinator Sherrone Moore faced and conquered a challenging test as the Wolverines defeated Penn State 24-15 on the road on Nov. 11. While Moore handles sideline duties, the overall leadership remains with Harbaugh, who continues to run practices throughout the week. A strong performance from McCarthy is crucial, considering his impressive season stats of completing 73.8% of passes for 2,335 yards, 18 touchdowns, and just four interceptions. Leading the offensive charge, Blake Corum boasts 888 yards and 20 touchdowns with an average of 4.9 yards per carry. Roman Wilson, the wide receiver, leads the team with 37 receptions for 612 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Michigan stands out nationally for its defensive prowess, leading in both yards allowed (235.5 per game) and points surrendered (9ppg). Additionally, they rank second in passing yards allowed (144.8) and ninth in rushing yards per game (107.8). On the offensive front, they average 399.6 yards per game, with 228.6 passing yards and 171 rushing yards. Their offensive efficiency is reflected in their 11th rank for points per game, averaging 38.3ppg.

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