Inconsistent Wolverines And Buckeyes Clash In Michigan

jt barrett buckeyes 2017One of the games drawing most attention during Rivalry Week is the Big Ten matchup taking place in Ann Arbor between the Ohio State Buckeyes (9-2) and the Michigan Wolverines (8-3).

Although Ohio State has won the last five games of the series against Michigan, the Wolverines are looking to play spoiler against their Big Ten rivals and ruin their slim chances of making the College Football Playoffs.

To do that the key for Michigan is to run the football, however, as simple as that may sound the Wolverines have been very inconsistent on the ground.

In victories, the Wolverines are running for 222 yards per game for an average of 5.2 yards per rush; but in losses, Michigan totals just 82 rushing yards per game for an average of 2.3 yards per attempt.

This is troublesome because if the Wolverines can’t find a way to establish the run they will lose this game.

Ohio State, ranked 9th in the nation, has also been very unpredictable all-season long. The offense has struggled to put consistent numbers in some games because it’s at times one dimensional and leans too much on quarterback J.T Barrett.

In the game against Iowa, J.T Barrett threw four interceptions and the Buckeyes were crushed 55-24; while in other games they dismantled their opponents scoring more than 50 points (as they did against Maryland, Nebraska, and Illinois).

While Barrett and his supporting cast are as talented as anybody in the country, they have failed to perform consistently week in and week out and that may not be good enough against a very good Michigan defense on the road.

Despite the great job that Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh is doing some fans are starting to question his record in rivalry games (1-4) and his record against teams in the top 10 (1-6).

Not only is Michigan coming off a 24-10 loss to Wisconsin, but also Ohio State’s head Urban Meyer has a 5-0 record against the Wolverines since being named the Buckeyes head coach.

More importantly, Meyer boasts a 2-0 record against Harbaugh and some of the Wolverines most ardent fans want to see those numbers in pivotal games start to change with a victory this Saturday.

Dating back to 2004 the Buckeyes are 12-1 against the Wolverines so if Harbaugh wants to silence his critics he needs to prove that he can make Michigan relevant in this rivalry once again because he’s about to end his third year in charge of this program.

 

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