Eighth-ranked Ohio State looks to stay in the hunt for a College Football Playoff spot when it travels to Ann Arbor to face Michigan in one of the greatest rivalries in sports. The Buckeyes trounced Illinois 52-14 to clinch a berth in the Big Ten Championship game against No. 4 Wisconsin on Dec. 2 and hope to continue their mastery of Michigan by downing their arch rivals for the 13th time in the last 14 meetings.
“This rivalry is not a one-week deal, it’s just not. … I think it’s in your blood and in your DNA,” Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer told reporters. “We’re just extremely focused and I can’t imagine many more having more respect for this rivalry than I do myself.” The Wolverines are left to lick their wounds after losing quarterback Brandon Peters in the third quarter of the 24-10 setback to the Badgers. Peters was carted off with a head injury and is currently in the concussion protocol, and the Wolverines may be forced to turn to John O’Korn, who has thrown one touchdown compared to five interceptions in 2017, as they hope to salvage a disappointing season by avenging a controversial 30-27 overtime loss to the Buckeyes last year. “We put the game in the hands of the referees and that’s one of the worst things you can do so we’ve got to make sure we don’t make that same mistake this year,” Michigan running back Karan Higdon told reporters. “I think everyone knows we definitely won that game but it is what it is.”
TV: Noon ET, FOX. LINE: Ohio State -11.5
ABOUT OHIO STATE (9-2, 7-1 Big Ten): Senior quarterback J.T. Barrett, who was named one of three finalists for the Davey O’Brien Award presented annually to the top quarterback in college football, threw for 141 yards and two touchdowns to go along with a rushing score in limited action during the blowout win against Illinois. Mike Weber, who hails from Detroit, rushed for 108 yards and a pair of touchdowns against the Fighting Illini to give him four TDs in his last two games. Linebacker Dante Booker has missed the last two games with a concussion but has been cleared to play on Saturday.
ABOUT MICHIGAN (8-3, 5-3): Higdon was limited to 20 yards on seven carries against Wisconsin after rushing for 408 yards in his previous three games. Running back Ty Isaac suffered an undisclosed injury in his first game back since sitting out the previous three with a head/neck injury while starting cornerback Lavert Hill is ready to return after missing last weekend’s loss to the Badgers with a concussion. Quarterback Wilton Speight, who has missed the past seven games with a fractured vertebrae, is practicing with the team, but hasn’t been given the green light to participate in contact drills.
1. Ohio State has won six of the last seven meetings in Ann Arbor.
2. Barrett has accounted for three touchdowns or more in 10 of his 11 games this season.
3. Michigan is ranked third nationally in total defense (261.2).
PREDICTION: Ohio State 35, Michigan 17