Ohio State is simply a better team than Michigan, to begin with. On top of that, though, Michigan also doesn't match up very well with Ohio State. "Styles make fights."
The only offensive "style" that has given the Silver Bullets trouble this season is what we might call "power option." Nebraska dusted off a 1990s triple option attack, which was very effective for one series. Ohio State made adjustments and Nebraska didn't go back to it.
More recently, battering ram Tim Tebow-esque QBs - Langan (Rutgers) and Levis (PSU) - have caused problems because they could shed arm tackles from defenders who were clutching at them while getting blocked.
The Silver Bullets have destroyed "speed option" attacks, though. And Patterson ain't exactly a battering ram. If Buckeyes defenders get their hands on Patterson, they will throw him down like a rag doll.
Michigan could try to insert McCaffrey for a few series, but now the Silver Bullets have spent the past two weeks practicing against these types of players.
MICHIGAN STRUGGLES AGAINST ELITE RUNNING TEAMS
Michigan "just happened" to struggle earlier in the season when they played the two best rushing offenses on their schedule - Army and Wisconsin. If Michigan's defense has a weakness, it's against elite power rushing teams. According to FEI's DL rankings, Michigan's DL is weakest at Power Success Rate (63rd) which is stopping offenses on 3rd or 4th and short, and Stuff Rate (58th). Michigan is 48th in the country in Tackles For Losses. If Michigan can't put Ohio State in 2nd and 3rd and long and can't stop them on 3rd or 4th and short, they are in for a very long afternoon.
Conversely, Michigan's offense just isn't very good at running the ball. Their recent renaissance supposedly started in the 2H against PSU, coming back from a 21-7 deficit. Keep in mind, though, that Michigan could not run the ball at all in the first 4-5 series of that game as PSU built its original 21-0 lead, while Michigan's typical series went. "Pass, incomplete, incomplete, pass, INT." Michigan ran the ball effectively late in the game against PSU's nickel defenses.
The ONLY team they've run all over was ND and this is perhaps ND's worst DL in years. It's a young, raw DL that is pretty good at pass rush, weak in the trenches, and lacks depth. After bullying that ND group, Michigan has averaged the following yards per carry:
- Maryland: 4.6 yards/carry
- MSU: 2.4 yards/carry
- Indiana: 3.0 yards/carry
Fortunately for Michigan, none of these teams could run the ball, themselves, and Patterson had all day to throw against them. Good luck trying that against Chase Young, fellas. 'Cause I bet ya get knocked out!