Ohio State-Michigan match-ups


Ohio State running back Mike Weber (25) stiff arms Michigan State’s Montae Nicholson (9) during OSU’s 17-16 Big Ten win over the Spartans last Saturday in East Lansing, Mich.


QUARTERBACKS

J.T. Barrett has rushed for five touchdowns and passed for two more in seven quarters against Michigan the last two seasons. OSU will need more of the same from him this year.

Unless starter Wilton Speight (2,156 yards, 15 touchdowns) is a quick healer from a broken collarbone, Michigan will start John O’Korn, who was 7 of 16 for 59 yards in a 20-10 win over Indiana last week.

Advantage: Ohio State

RUNNING BACKS

Redshirt freshman Mike Weber (1,046 yards), a Detroit native, faces the team that almost signed him for the first time. OSU is looking for big plays from Curtis Samuel (650 yards rushing, 61 catches).

Michigan’s De’Veon Smith (750 yards rushing, 10 TDs) had a career-best 158 yards rushing against Indiana. Chris Evans (547 yards) and Jabrill Peppers (163 yards, 3 TDs) also get carries.

Advantage: Ohio State

RECEIVERS

Noah Brown has had only two touchdown catches since finding the end zone four times against Oklahoma on Sept. 17. If he can make some catches, it could be a game changer.

Wide receiver Amara Darboh (44 catches, 758 yards, 6 TDs) and tight end Jake Butt (38 catches, 460 yards, 4 TDs) have been Michigan’s top pass catchers.

Advantage: Michigan

OFFENSIVE LINE

Just when OSU’s offensive line seemed to have hit its stride, it gave up three sacks to a Michigan State defense that had gotten only seven of them in its first 10 games. Michigan leads the Big Ten with 36 sacks, so the challenge will be much greater this week.

Michigan is second in the Big Ten in rushing offense and third in fewest sacks allowed despite losing starting left tackle Grant Newsome to a season-ending knee injury in early October.

Advantage: Michigan

DEFENSIVE LINE

Ohio State’s defensive line saved its best for last against Michigan State when it overpowered MSU’s offensive line on the Spartans’ final two plays, which resulted in a sack and an interception. Getting pressure on O’Korn could make a difference this week.

Michigan might have the best defensive line in the Big Ten. Ends Taco Charlton (6 sacks) and Chris Wormley (5 sacks) and nost tackle Ryan Glasgow lead a group that has helped the Wolverines rank No. 1 in the Big Ten in scoring defense (10.7).

Advantage: Michigan

LINEBACKERS

First-year starter Chris Worley has been more visible in recent weeks, including an interception that kept Michigan State from taking the lead with less than five minutes to play last week. Raekwon McMillan, Jerome Baker and Worley rank first, second and fourth in tackles for OSU.

Ben Gedeon (91 tackles, 13.5 tackles for losses), Mike McCray (64 tackles, 11.5 tackles for losses) and Peppers (65 tackles, 16 tackles for losses) play a very aggressive style of defense.

Advantage: Michigan

DEFENSIVE BACKS

Ohio State is tied with Wisconsin for the most interceptions in the Big Ten (15) and has scored touchdowns on six of those.

Cornerback Jourdan Lewis (two interceptions) was first-team All Big Ten last year and the other corner, Channing Stribling, leads Michigan with four interceptions.

Advantage: Ohio State

SPECIAL TEAMS

Punter Cameron Johnson (46.3) leads the Big Ten and kicker Tyler Durbin is 16 of 17 on field goals.

Kicker/punter Kerry Allen is 14 of 18 on field goals and averages 41.8 yards per punt. Michigan has returned two punts for touchdowns.

Advantage: Ohio State

Ohio State running back Mike Weber (25) stiff arms Michigan State’s Montae Nicholson (9) during OSU’s 17-16 Big Ten win over the Spartans last Saturday in East Lansing, Mich.
http://limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/web1_WeberMSU.jpgOhio State running back Mike Weber (25) stiff arms Michigan State’s Montae Nicholson (9) during OSU’s 17-16 Big Ten win over the Spartans last Saturday in East Lansing, Mich.
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