The Game is again a game for No. 2 Ohio St, No. 6 Michigan | MCU Times

The Game is again a game for No. 2 Ohio St, No. 6 Michigan

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) – The game will be a game again, or at least it looks like …

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) – The game becomes a game again, or at least that seems to be the case before No. 2 Ohio State plays No. 6 in Michigan.

The Buckeyes (10-1, 8-0 Big Ten, No. 2 CFP) are favored to win Saturday at the Big House by about a touchdown, according to the FanDuel Sportsbook.

This spread is a relative sign of respect for Wolverines (10-1, 7-1, No. 5 CFP) based on the recent results of the skewed series.

Ohio State has won a school record eight in a row, a smaller than the series brand Michigan set from 1901-09, and 15 of the last 16 games. The last two times they met, the Buckeyes beat the Wolverines with an overall score of 118-66, and the matches did not seem so close.

“It’s our job to continue this legacy,” said Ohio State defensive end Zach Harrison.

Michigan looked to get its mark back this season.

And like Ohio State, which has a lot at stake almost every year in the regular season finale, the Wolverines will have much more than bragging on the line for a change.

“It’s a playoff game,” said coach Jim Harbaugh, whose overall success on his alma mater comes with a glaring 0-5 record against arch-rival Buckeyes. “It’s a rival game at the highest level.”

The winner earns the Big Ten East Division title, a spot in next week’s conference championship game and a road to the College Football Playoff with a potential chance to win it all.

The season will be spoiled for the loser, no matter which bowl it ends up in.

“This is one of the biggest rivalry games in the entire sport,” Ohio State offensive tackle Nicholas Petit-Frere said. “It’s called The Game for a reason. It’s the most energy we’re ever giving to a single opponent we have because we’re preparing for 365 days a year. That’s what makes or breaks our season. “

The Buckeyes, who are 23-0 in conference games under coach Ryan Day, are aiming for a fifth Big Ten title in a row and sixth appearance in the conference championship.

Michigan, meanwhile, has never won a Big Ten division title, and it’s bound into the program’s longest-running conference championship drought, dating to 2004.

SCARLET STRIGER

Ohio State has won 26 Big Ten games in a row, a series that only follows the school’s 30 games from 2012-15 in Big Ten history, since losing on October 20, 2018 at Purdue. The Buckeyes have also won 21 games in a row over ranked Big Ten teams.

THEY WHO STAYED

Michigan defensive end Aidan Hutchinson returned to his senior season, putting his NFL dreams on hold largely to get another chance to beat the Buckeyes.

“That’s why I came back,” he said. “For this team and to beat Ohio State. This has been our focus since January. It’s wild to think that now we’re about to play them. And if we win, we’re going to the Big Ten Championship. If not , see you later. “

Hutchinson has 10 sacks, two off the school single-season record, and is expected to be one of the top picks in the NFL draft.

SENSATIONAL STATISTICS

Ohio State has a chance to become the first Power Five team with a 1,000-yard rusher and a trio of 1,000-yard players to receive.

Freshman running back TreVeyon Henderson and sophomore receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba have already surpassed the mark. Recipients Garrett Wilson (939 yards receiver) and Chris Olave (848) are in the process of helping the group write history.

Olvae, who scored his first two touchdowns as a rookie in a 62-39 win over Michigan in 2018, holds a school record of 35 touchdown receptions to top David Boston’s overall from 1996-98.

This week’s seven times Big Ten freshman CJ Stroud set a school record with six touchdown passes in last week’s 56-7 round against the then No. 7 Michigan State.

To try and beat the Buckeyes, Harbaugh shook up his coaching staff. He hired Baltimore Ravens linebacker coach Mike Macdonald to be his defensive coordinator in place of Don Brown, who started his career before the 34-year-old Macdonald was born.

Day said Wolverines’ new defense is significantly different.

“I think this defensive style is a bit more NFL-oriented as they are structured,” Day said. “I felt Coach Brown was a little bit more college-oriented. They are very good. They have very good staff. They have done a good job this year.”

DAMAGE REPORT

Harbaugh hopes to get key players back in the ranks, but he was not interested in tipping Ohio State with much of an update. Running back Blake Corum and defensive back Gemon Green have missed two plus games with injuries. Corum, who averages 6 yards a carry, has run in 778 yards and 10 touchdowns. Green has one of his team’s seven interceptions.

RENEWAL OF THE RIVAL

The game was not played last season for the first time in 102 years due to a COVID-19 outbreak in Michigan’s program that ended its season prematurely with a record of 2-4.

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Follow Larry Lage at https://twitter.com/larrylage

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