Can UM Beat OSU with their Run Game?

Submitted by ScruffyTheJanitor on November 23rd, 2016 at 8:40 AM

So, as I was debating our chances in The Game this weekend, something occured to me: is it possible that we go all 2nd half of the Indiana game and just run, run, run the ball? 

I have watched some OSU games this year and I still don't feel like I have a good grasp of their front seven. My impression is that this front doesn't have the best depth and a run-heavy approach (assuming the game is close) might pay big dividends in 4th quarter. Additionally, if Speight is less than 100 per cent, or if O'Korn is starting, a run heavy attack might mean a clean pocket and some juicy opportunites in the play-action game. 

So my question for the board: how good is Ohio State's front seven, and could Michigan win with a rushing-heavy game plan? 



November 23rd, 2016 at 11:53 AM ^

...broadcasters are compelled to say is true for this game:
X has to win the battle in the trenches
X has to establish the run game
X has to keep their defense off the field
X has to protect the ball
X has to find a way to get the ball in the hands of their bell cow Y
X has to come away with points in the red zone
X has to convert on these short third downs
X has to be more disciplined - these penalties are killing them.

Hopefully this helps everyone turn off the sound and enjoy the game. I'll be at my wife's friends house and listening to the other people in the room discuss uniform colors, cocktail recipes and good private schools.

(Did I mention I'm in LA?)


November 23rd, 2016 at 8:46 AM ^

But which ever QB plays, will have to be able to stretch the field occasionally. They will stack the box to take away the run. Jake Butt will be a QB's best friend.


November 23rd, 2016 at 9:04 AM ^

Yes, we are much easier to stack the box on than Ohio State is since they spread you out horizontally.  Teams have shown that you can stop Michigan's running game if you stack the box and run blitz.  Even UCF was able to do it.

We are not fully Stanfordized yet where we can just Manball our way down the fiels at will.  We are going to have to hit some shots down the field to loosen up the running game. 


November 23rd, 2016 at 8:47 AM ^

You're asking a couple things here.  Can we beat them with just a running game? No, not a chance.  Can we use a run-heavy plan to open up some play-action passing to give Speight/O'Korn a better look at the secondary and time to operate? Absolutely.  I think this will be our plan.  It is up to Speight/O'Korn to make the most of the opportunities.

I don't believe their defense is better than Sparty or Iowa, and for sure not as good as Wisconsin.  They are probably the most athletic defense we will have faced this year but I'm hoping Harbaugh can play some mind games with their youngsters.


November 23rd, 2016 at 9:50 AM ^

In addition the normal run plays,  jet sweeps (or spin offs from the jet sweep) might be a good option.  State Penn and Wiscy consistently hurt OSU with the jet sweep. With McDoom/Chesson/Peppers, we should take advantage of this known weakness.

I am not usually a fan of trick plays but OSU seems to over pursue alot so a reverse may be in order as well. Think Peppers jet...toss to McDoooooooom. 

Go Blue and Happy Thanksgiving all!!!


November 23rd, 2016 at 9:54 AM ^

Never understood the line of thinking that somehow "trick" plays are less worthy. In my opinion, if it's a legal play and will be successful, it is the smartest play at that time. You go where the defense is not. Pretty simple really.


November 23rd, 2016 at 10:11 PM ^

Not less worthy, But they are a gamble in that if they don't work not only are you dealing with lost yardage and "behind the chains", there is greater possibility of a turnover. There is the risk that you send the "message" to you team and theirs that you aren't good enough (or "man enough") to beat them straight up.

That said, I like them anyway and think they are worth doing occaisionally, as they put pressure on the opponent to prepare for such things and stay on their toes and adjust, so they can't just know what to expect and just tee off on you.

Bill Walsh said he liked to call their 'Specials' early, before the other team did.


November 23rd, 2016 at 8:50 AM ^

OSUs secondary is very strong. Based on our passing game the past two weeks this doesn't bode well for us. Our run game is decent but not elite. I don't think our run game alone will win it for us. I feel like we're going to have to win the turnover battle by +2 and/or have special teams create some points for us in order to win. Hope I'm wrong.

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November 23rd, 2016 at 10:31 AM ^

Their secondary is opportunistic. There will be room for completions against them, but they will capitalize on mistakes. That has to be avoided as that is how many of their blowouts happen. If they are allowed to score with their defense, or set their offense up with short fields, things can snowball in a hurry. Take care of the ball and make that offense have to drive the length of the field, and we will be in good shape with the defense we will be putting out there. That will also give our offense an opportunity to try and grind out the run.

The Fan in Fargo

November 23rd, 2016 at 11:50 AM ^

I don't for one second believe that little Damon Webb and Gereon Conley are elite players in stopping a good run game. Yeah, they have speed but they are just little young pups. Also, just take a look at Conley. You cant tell me this little punk on the shallow end of the gene pool is an elite athlete tough enough to shut down a Jabrill or Deveon on the edge. Get real guys. So sickening listening to your backwards logic.


November 23rd, 2016 at 8:51 AM ^

with this weekend just bugs the hell out of me. Given the last 10-12 years of shit luck UM has had against osu I can just feel another punch in the fucking dong coming. And since god apparently hates the shit out of UM fans, I can see it now: UM loses, because obviously osu deserves more good things than UM. PSU beats MSU and gets into the B1G championship game because they REALLY deserve more good things than UM. Can't you just see this shitshow coming at us like a freight train?

Dammit do I ever hope I'm wrong. Jimsus, puhleeeeeze beat those godless heathens!


November 23rd, 2016 at 10:35 AM ^

about being a fan. My confidence level means jack and shit. My hope level means just as much. If UM won according to my hope level they'd have never lost since 1982 when I started to become aware of things. You realize my post was not saying what I hoped or expected to happen right? It was what I dreaded would happen. Well, sort of expect to happen I guess Because -again - god, fate, and whatever other weird shit people believe in nowadays apparently hates the hell out of us.