Matchup breakdowns

Submitted by TK on November 21st, 2018 at 12:35 PM

These are just my opinions, feel free to agree or disagree. 

QB: Slight edge OSU 

RBs: Even

WRs: Slight edge OSU

TEs: Michigan 

OL: Michigan 

DL: Michigan 

LBs: Michigan 

Secondary: Slight edge Michigan 

Special Teams: Even

Coaching: Even. Harbaugh is great but let’s not fool ourselves about Urban. He knows how to win big games. 

Emotional edge: Slight edge UM. I think we want it more. OSU will come to play for sure, but this year I think it means more to us. 

Other intangables: Edge OSU for home field and most likely more friendly officiating.  



November 21st, 2018 at 12:45 PM ^

Why is the QB edge to OSU? Patterson has a better QBR this year and is a better runner. Unless you are chalking that up to the OL advantage (this feels weird to type).

Also Coaching I would put in favor of UM. Meyer has never done anything that has impressed me strategically. Harbaugh has with his game plan last year, and even in 2016 when Speight couldn't throw more than 20 yards. Meyer is aggressive going for it on 4th down, but in the past with their OL and Barrett there is no way they were being stopped on 4th and 1 or 2...


November 21st, 2018 at 12:46 PM ^

Well I will disagree on a few.

QB - ours is better for what they want to do and what we want to do. Haskins might be a better pocket passer, but that's it. 

Secondary - ours is better and it ain't even close. If we get pressure on a consistent basis, this game won't be close either, because they might have to change their approach to protect the QB. I realize they do a lot of quick passes, but if that doesn't work, and we lock down the run, this will be a fun game for a Michigan fan to watch. 

Go Blue!


November 21st, 2018 at 12:56 PM ^

I think the worst part about Haskins is not his lack of running ability but the guy is really bad at scrambling and buying time.  Shea is one of the best in the country at that and this leads me to believe that given the choice Harbaugh would stick with Shea.  The OL, while much improved, will give up some pressure and we need a guy like Shea who can move and doesn't panic when the pocket breaks down.


November 21st, 2018 at 12:52 PM ^

Our secondary is weakest against slants and if they're short slants with quick throws then our D-Line won't have enough time to get to Haskins.  Short throws are OSU's bread and butter.  Haskins is going to throw a lot and complete a lot of these, the question is can our secondary be fundamentally sound and tackle well enough after the completion to avoid disastrous run-after-catch situations.

The statistics say yes (I think Michigan is the fifth best in the nation at tackling immediately after the catch) but OSU receivers are really really good at breaking tackles.  Toughest test our secondary has faced all year.  It will be interesting to watch.


November 21st, 2018 at 1:10 PM ^

I also think Brown is going to fuck with Haskins a ton on those short throws.  Haskins will complete his share, but hopefully there are others that get tipped up into the secondary.  And if Haskins starts hesitating because he's confused or doesn't trust what he's seeing, it's over.


November 21st, 2018 at 5:29 PM ^

I wonder if the OP realizes certain facts about both teams. Michigan has the No. 1 pass defense in the country. Ohio State's offense is rated second but the defense is listed at No. 73. Last week against Maryland, they gave up almost 250 yards rushing in the first half alone. On two of the first three plays from scrimmage, Maryland's top running back, a freshman, scored twice on end run plays that went 80 and 55 yards.

Don't know what the numbers say about either team, except Michigan is pretty stout in stopping the pass game and Ohio State runs more plays than anyone in the country while Michigan is one of the best teams in the nation in TOP. If you're offense is on the sideline you can't score. And if your defense is giving up multiple explosive plays per game, which this Bucknut defense does, it makes your offense even more reliant on the one thing that Michigan is best at defending.

Now, Ohio State will hope all their elusive eligible receivers, and they are loaded with them, can break tackles and turn short pass plays into big ones. But Michigan is also one of the best in tackling after the catch and limiting YAC to about 2.2 yard average.

I don't know what to make of the Buckeye defense. Their linebackers are weak. They have a young secondary and they are not great tacklers but defend the pass fairly well. The Dline is good not great without Bosa. And Dre'mont Jones, their best rusher with Bosa gone, missed part of last week's game with a shoulder stinger. They also lost one of their starting offensive tackles in the Maryland game, and so his status was uncertain heading into Saturday. I presume he will play. Because his replacement was not great.

This game and the matchups are never a function of paper facts or pundit conclusions because the rivalry isn't governed by them. What sets this game apart from all the rest is the understanding of the emotional stakes involved and what victory means to the winning side, and correspondingly what losing also means.

So things that normally apply, like the team that runs the best and controls the LOS, are usually a better barometer in determining which will come out on top, along with all the intangibles like turnovers and penalties. And as we all know from 2016, the game will also hang in the balance based on the officiating.


November 21st, 2018 at 12:48 PM ^

Comparing OL vs OL or DL vs DL seems less useful than.... Our OL vs their DL and their OL vs our DL. Theoretically, having a far superior OL than their OL matters much less if their DL is outstanding and our is not because the true match-up is who they will play against, not who they would be compared directly to as a substitute.


November 21st, 2018 at 1:22 PM ^

I agree with the comments above that say it's silly to compare our WRs to theirs (as opposed to comparing our receivers to their secondary).  But for fun, let's go player-by-player.

Others may disagree with this ranking, but I'd rank M's receivers as follows:

1) DPJ, 2) Nico, 3) Black, 4) Perry, 5) Bell, 6) Oliver

I'd rank OSU's receivers:

1) Hill, 2) Campbell, 3) McLaurin, 4) Dixon, 5) Victor, 6) Olave

I'm not counting Austin Mack, as he's injured.  McLaurin was banged-up too but I believe he's expected to play.

Putting these guys head-to-head, it would be very close but I'd take M's first three guys over OSU's first three guys, but I'd easily take OSU's 4,5, and 6 over M's 4, 5, and 6.  So I think M's are a smidge better at the top end, OSU has more quality depth.






November 21st, 2018 at 2:06 PM ^

I'd give a slight edge to OSU at WR just because they have more reliable depth.  DPJ, Collins and Black is a trio as good as their best three, but then we're talking Ronnie Bell, Oliver Martin and Grant Perry against Dixon, Mack and Victor.  Not to mention, a guy who we consider one of our top 3 wideouts has 1 catch for 5 yards this year because he's been out.


November 21st, 2018 at 1:04 PM ^

I don't know whether it is an intangible or emotional edge, but Michigan sees themselves as a band of brothers with a common goal.  OSU seems like a bunch of players that care more about their draft status than their team (see, e.g. Bosa, Nick).  OSU's defense is littered with 4* and 5* talent, but their total is less than the sum of its parts.  That is partially coaching, but it is also a consequence of their lack of cohesion and team play.  That is a big advantage to Michigan.


November 21st, 2018 at 1:26 PM ^

I agree with this take...and this may well be the biggest advantage in Michigan's favor. It seems as though the collective OSU soul has been lost. If Michigan can pound and pound and stay in the game into the 3rd quarter they can turn the tide in their favor-as they have been doing. But the offense is going to have to do their part and keep the defense off the field. Here, winning the TOP is likely to be another big deal. 


November 21st, 2018 at 1:44 PM ^

This feels very true but a player that I've always had a bit of concern for on our squad is Lavert Hill.  The way that Coach Zordich has talked about him in the past suggests to me that he isn't always 100 percent committed.  He had to get him motivated to improve 2 years ago (literally saying to the media that Lavert can be "as good as he wants to be" implying that he didn't have the drive to get better) and said some of the same things about Lavert again this off-season.  When you couple that with some of his (in my opinion) lackadaisical play (the first quarter against Notre Dame comes to mind when he was repeatedly beaten by the receivers) he just gives me this uneasy feeling when I watch him.  This is why I've always had more respect for David Long as a player and I totally understand why some draftnicks have rated Long better than Hill.

Of course the obvious caveat is I've never met the guy and this is all speculation but I just don't trust Lavert Hill to "bring it" when it matters most.


November 21st, 2018 at 1:19 PM ^

I would rate most of the positions as being "pushes"...lots of talent everywhere-on both sides. I will take Michigan's LBs and TEs. It is going to come down to who makes the plays...and, I guess, in this regard I am glad to have Patterson on the good side. 

Michigan surprised me a lot against Wisconsin and Penn State-hoping for another "surprise" like those two.

steve sharik

November 21st, 2018 at 1:56 PM ^

S&P+ breakdown:

When Michigan has the ball:

  • Standard Downs: Michigan #6, OSU #69
  • Passing Downs: Michigan #39, OSU #120
  • 3rd/long success rate: Michigan #72, OSU #21
  • 3rd/medium success rate: Michigan #14, OSU #16
  • 3rd/short success rate: Michigan #56, OSU #44
  • Red Zone 30-21: Michigan #48, OSU #20
  • Red Zone 20-11: Michigan #127, OSU #85
  • Red Zone inside 10: Michigan #8, OSU #115

When OSU has the ball:

  • Standard Downs: Michigan #4, OSU #20
  • Passing Downs: Michigan #5, OSU #12
  • 3rd/long: Michigan #16, OSU #21
  • 3rd/medium: Michigan #39, OSU #27
  • 3rd/short: Michigan #50, OSU #37
  • Red zone 30-21: Michigan #5, OSU #16
  • Red zone 20-11: Michigan #3, OSU #32
  • Inside 10: Michigan #113, OSU #56

Special Teams:

  • FGs: Michigan #55, OSU #96
  • When Michigan punts: Michigan #27, OSU #44
  • When OSU punts: Michigan #22, OSU #5
  • When Michigan kicks off: Michigan #19, OSU #23
  • When OSU kicks off: Michigan #43, OSU #10

S&P+ Five Factors:

When Michigan has the ball:

  • Efficiency: Michigan #22, OSU #31
  • Explosiveness: Michigan #77, OSU #122
  • Field Position: Michigan #11, OSU #4
  • Finishing Drives: Michigan #68, OSU #44

When OSU has the ball:

  • Efficiency: Michigan #2, OSU #7
  • Explosiveness: Michigan #19, OSU #93
  • Field Position: Michigan #3, OSU #50
  • Finishing Drives: Michigan #79, OSU #24


Michigan 2.6 points of turnover luck, OSU -1.6

steve sharik

November 21st, 2018 at 2:13 PM ^

A little more:

When Michigan has the ball:


  • Overall S&P: Michigan #25, OSU #68
  • Efficiency: Michigan #66, OSU #40
  • Explosiveness: Michigan #35, OSU #125
  • Stuff rate: Michigan #30, OSU #5


  • Overall S&P: Michigan #7, OSU #93
  • Efficiency: Michigan #17, OSU #56
  • Explosiveness: Michigan #42, OSU #102
  • Completion rate: Michigan #23, OSU #13
  • Sack rate: Michigan #25, OSU #31

When OSU has the ball:


  • Overall S&P: Michigan #9, OSU #57
  • Efficiency: Michigan #10, OSU #49
  • Explosiveness: Michigan #17, OSU #114
  • Stuff rate: Michigan #15, OSU #67


  • Overall S&P: Michigan #6, OSU #11
  • Efficiency: Michigan #2, OSU #4
  • Explosiveness: Michigan #13, OSU #68
  • Completion rate: Michigan #1, OSU #3
  • Sack rate: Michigan #3, OSU #11



November 22nd, 2018 at 12:42 AM ^

I’m taking SheaPatterson over Haskins all day.  Haskins has a big accurate arm but runs like a pussy.  This is college football. Shea is no slouch and a much bigger leader.