Ohio State football: 5 reasons the Buckeyes will beat Michigan

COLUMBUS, OH - NOVEMBER 18: J.T. Barrett /
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COLUMBUS, OH – NOVEMBER 18: Patrick Nelson
COLUMBUS, OH – NOVEMBER 18: Patrick Nelson /

5. The Wolverines have struggled against proficient rushing offenses.

One thing that the Wolverines have done well since coach Harbaugh’s arrival has been defense. The Wolverines have been in the top three in the nation in total defense since 2015. This shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise though considering his defenses have been great since his days as an NFL coach. The San Francisco 49ers were in the top five in total defense every season that Harbaugh was at the helm.

The Wolverines may be in the top three in total defense once again this season but they have had their share of flaws. They have given up considerable yardage when facing ranked opponents and more specifically against opponents who have proficient rushing threats.

This list includes top Big Ten teams who have defeated the Wolverines including Michigan State, Penn State, and Wisconsin. The Wolverines have failed to hold any of these teams near their current rank of 15th in the country in rushing defense which is 117 yards per game.

The Michigan State Spartans ran for 158 yards and a touchdown even without their starting running back LJ Scott in the lineup. Let’s not forget about the game where the Wolverines got embarrassed by the Penn State Nittany Lions on national television. The Nittany Lions ran for 224 yards and five touchdowns against the Wolverines. The Wisconsin Badgers easily ran over the Wolverines last weekend to a tune of 182 yards and a touchdown on the ground.

All of this favors the Bucks considering the fact that they have held those teams that ran all over the Wolverines to minimal production themselves. In comparison, the Bucks held Penn State to 91 rushing yards and Michigan State to just 64 rushing yards.

The Bucks have been very productive in the run game. In fact, the Bucks are just as good if not better at running the ball than last season’s team. The Bucks’ rushing offense consisting of a triple threat attack with J.T. Barrett, Mike Weber, and J.K. Dobbins has been effective.

This will be a major problem for the Wolverines if they cannot slow down the likes of Michigan State, Penn State, or Wisconsin who have hardly more than one capable rushing threat each. The Bucks had Mike Weber last season in this match up but now they have added J.K. Dobbins to the mix to make it extra dangerous.

The Bucks currently rank first in the Big Ten in rush offense while the Wolverines rank fifth in rushing defense. With the Wolverines struggling to stop teams like Michigan State and Penn State who are now just middle of the pack in rushing, how can they expect to stop the Bucks? There should be ample space for the Bucks to run on Saturday against the Wolverines so expect Weber and Dobbins to continue to be productive.