Saturday’s Big Ten matchup between No. 2 Ohio State and No. 3 Michigan will be the 117th edition of The Game.
With both teams coming into the contest undefeated, there are plenty of historical elements surrounding the game, as well as massive postseason implications. The winner will claim a spot in next week’s Big Ten Championship Game in Indianapolis and stay on track to earn a College Football Playoff bid.
But even without the enhanced stakes, this is a rivalry between two teams that have dominated their conference for the past half-century, combining to win 43 Big Ten titles since 1973. Additionally, decided 25 of the last 50 meetings between these rivals. by single digit points.
This year’s version of The Game has all the makings of another instant classic as it marks the first time the Buckeyes and Wolverines have met as undefeated teams since 2006.
FOX Sports college football analyst Joel Klatt broke down his keys to the game on a recent episode of his podcast, “The Joel Klatt Show.”
Three keys to Michigan beating Ohio State:
The Michigan Wolverines must do these three things to beat Ohio State
Joel Klatt breaks down the three things the Michigan Wolverines need to do to beat the Ohio State Buckeyes.
1. Strength in the state of Ohio
“They have to run the ball. Not only because that’s their DNA, but because that’s how you beat Ohio State. The last two times we’ve seen Ohio State win, it was mainly because the opposition was able de controls the terms of the game with his rushing attack. You have to limit the number of snaps CJ Stroud gets, and you do that with a quality rushing attack. That takes shape with a great offensive line.”
2. Limit explosive games
“Tackling well and eliminating explosive plays will generally keep the yards per play for Ohio State’s offense under 7.5. If you can keep them under 7.5 yards per play, you have a opportunity”.
3. Force them to shoot field goals in the red zone
“Teams that beat Ohio State usually held a touchdown percentage of 66 percent or less. Last year there was only one team that could do all three of those things and still lose to Ohio State: Nebraska.
Three keys to Ohio State beating Michigan:
How Ohio State’s defense needs to play to get a win over Michigan
Joel Klatt breaks down what the Ohio State Buckeyes defense needs to do to succeed against the Michigan Wolverines.
1. Need to increase defense
“Ohio State got crushed physically last year, and it’s a lot of the same. This is going to be personal for Ohio State’s defense, especially their front seven. Those guys are going to have to play really well because this is absolutely the best offensive front they’ve faced, and this is the biggest test they’ve faced.”
2. Be physical
“They have to answer the bell to play physical against Michigan because right now, Michigan’s players and staff are very confident that they can come out and beat the Buckeyes. There are only a handful of Michigan players that have really lost against State of Ohio. Fewer still have played in the “Sabata. They don’t have a lot of scar tissue.”
3. Run in the red zone
“The games they struggle are always the games they have to settle for field goals in the red zone. It’s one of the reasons they struggled against Penn State and it’s one of the reasons they lost the season past Oregon and Michigan in this matchup.
Each week, FOX Sports college football analyst Joel Klatt dives into his top 10 teams, answers questions and discusses college football’s biggest stories on his podcast. Download “The Joel Klatt Show” here.
Get more from college football Follow your favorites for information on games, news and more