|#8 Ohio State 10-1, 6-1 Big Ten Roster | Schedule||November 27, 2010 12:00 PM ET - ABC —— Ohio Stadium Columbus, OH||Michigan 7-4, 3-4 Big Ten Roster | Schedule|
Rich Rodriguez brings his third Wolverine squad into Ohio Stadium Saturday for the 107th matchup between two of the more storied programs in college football history. Hired as an innovative break from the old guard, the beleaguered coach actually has a potent offense this year.
The offense, led by dynamic sophomore Denard Robinson (#16), is averaging over 514 yards per game, good enough for 5th in the nation. The high point was a 721 yard effort against Bowling Green in week four and the 676 yards they put up in the overtime thriller against Illinois earlier this month. Further illustrating the potency of the group, it has put up over 400 yards rushing and passing in different games, depending on what the opposing defense is willing to give up.
Oh, but that defense. GERG's Tickle Bear Crew is 112th in the nation in yards allowed, giving up 445 per game. Compare that to a great, but not elite Ohio State defense giving up just 241 a game. The putrid defense is a great reason why Robinson will likely not be returning as the DC and just about every team the Wolverines have played have been able to exploit it. If Michigan's defense was capable of playing at a level anywhere near where the offense currently does, it would be a very dangerous team. But alas, it doesn't.
To his credit, Rodriguez does finally appear to "get" the rivalry, saying all of the right things at his presser earlier this week. This game may not be vital to him keeping his job -- the seven wins likely bought him another year -- but upsetting the Buckeyes in Columbus tomorrow would be quite the icing on a third year cake that's seen improvement both in morale and on the scoreboard for the Wolverines.
For Ohio State, a win would likely capture a sixth-straight conference title, matching Woody's run from 1972-77 and would also likely earn Tressel an 8th BCS bowl berth in just his 10th season in town. Like all games in this series, it will be intense, chippy and will be the hardest hitting team either will play this season. As we learned so well during the Cooper era, you can throw out the records and previous results when the two get together.