Ohio State Football: 119th Edition of The Game Features Undefeated Top 3 Matchup

Ohio Against the World | Image Credit: The Ohio State University Department of Athletics
Ohio Against the World | Image Credit: The Ohio State University Department of Athletics

The Ohio State Buckeyes and Michigan Wolverines are set for another classic Saturday afternoon in Ann Arbor. 

The Game. The best rivalry in all of sports. The Scarlet and Gray vs the Maize and Blue. However you want to word it, this game is more than just a game. The countdown begins the moment the previous matchup ends, and is tracked all year long.

The 11-0 No.2 Ohio State Buckeyes face the 11-0 No.3 Michigan Wolverines Saturday at noon in what is expected to be yet another classic in the history of The Game. Both teams are undefeated and 8-0 in Big Ten play, with the winner heading to Indianapolis next week to take on the Iowa Hawkeyes in the Big Ten Championship.

TTUN has not really been tested matchup-wise this season, with their first big game coming just two weeks ago at Penn State. They ran the ball well and prevailed 24-15, and had an even closer matchup last weekend at Maryland. That game resulted in a 31-24 win, which will have Buckeye fans excited about the chance to expose a team that has had their closest games late.

Ohio State played at Notre Dame in a top-10 matchup early on in the year and learned quickly what kind of team they had. The answer is a gritty team with a top defense and offensive playmakers due to breakout at any moment. The momentum carried into a midseason top-10 showdown with Penn State, one Ohio State won somewhat comfortably. Ohio State has had two easier home matchups the last two weeks against Michigan State and Minnesota, covering in both and giving up just three points in each.

The Wolverines are led by junior quarterback J.J. McCarthy, who has completed 73.8 percent of his passes in the 2023 season. He has thrown for 2,335 yards thus far, with 18 passing touchdowns and four interceptions. Senior wide receiver Roman Wilson has been his target of choice, posting 37 catches, 612 receiving yards, and 10 touchdowns. The ground game is powered by Blake Corum, the senior running back has 888 rushing yards and 20 rushing touchdowns on the year.

Other big weapons for the Wolverines include junior running back Donovan Edwards, senior wideout Cornelius Johnson, and sophomore tight end Colston Loveland. The defense is anchored by junior Junior Colson and senior Michael Barrett in the middle of the field, who have registered 60 and 42 tackles respectively. Defensive lineman senior Jaylen Harrell and junior Josaiah Steward have wreaked havoc in the backfield with 10 combined sacks. Senior defensive back Mike Sainristil has five of the 14 interceptions on the year.

The Buckeyes have stayed with junior quarterback Kyle McCord under center, who has completed 66.4 percent of his throws. He has 2,899 passing yards with 22 passing touchdowns and just four interceptions. Junior wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. continues his Hesiman form every week and has totaled 62 catches, 1,093 receiving yards, and 13 receiving touchdowns. Senior tight end Cade Stover has 38 catches, 534 yards, and five touchdowns, while junior wideout Emeka Egbuka has added 32 catches and 427 yards.

Junior running back TreVeyon Henderson has been amongst the best in the country since returning from injury. He has averaged 6.7 yards per carry and has 794 rushing yards with 10 rushing touchdowns in his third year. Senior running back Chip Trayanum has added 336 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns as well.

The Silver Bullets defense has been led by captain and senior linebacker Tommy Eichenberg. He has 73 total tackles on the year, and rested an injury last week against Minnesota. The defensive line has totaled 21 sacks on the year and is led by juniors Tyleik Williams, Jack Sawyer, and JT Tuimoloau. Juniors Jordan Hancock and Denzel Burke have been huge in the secondary for the Buckeyes and need to play well this weekend.

Whoever wins the line battle on both sides of the ball will likely win the game, and the cold weather implies Henderson versus Corum could be a huge factor in the game. With great matchups all over the field, the game could be lower scoring than past games, and whoever can make the big plays when needed will pull off the victory.

I expect TreVeyon Henderson to be leaned upon and continue his great form even against a good defense. This should open up the passing game where a variety of guys can mak plays for their quarterback. The defense can hopefully force the Wolverines to throw, and hoping for a turnover or two to setup the offense. In the end, head coach Ryan Day will show his fire and avoid a third-straight loss in the series. The Buckeyes will prevail.

Prediction Ohio State 24 TTUN 20