Ohio State football: 5 reasons the Buckeyes will beat Michigan

COLUMBUS, OH - NOVEMBER 18: J.T. Barrett /
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ANN ARBOR, MI – NOVEMBER 28: Quarterback J.T. Barrett
ANN ARBOR, MI – NOVEMBER 28: Quarterback J.T. Barrett /

4. The Wolverines lost too many key players on defense.

What ultimately hurt the Wolverines the most after their close loss in Ohio Stadium last season was the realization that it was most likely their best shot. That Wolverines’ starting lineup consisted almost entirely of seniors. Those weren’t just any seniors though, they ended up being a record setting group.

The Wolverines had the most players selected in the NFL Draft last season over every other school. Many of those players were from their defense including two first rounders. Jabrill Peppers and Taco Charlton were among the many defensive players on TTUN selected early in the draft.

At least nine out of the eleven starters on the Wolverines’ defense were seniors. Their defensive starters this season include just two seniors with the rest being sophomores or freshman and one junior. However, they were able to retain a few solid contributors from last season.

Second leading tackler behind Ben Gedeon last season was linebacker Mike McCray. He will be returning this season along with other notables such as defensive end Chase Winovich and Rashan Gary. Winovich was tied for the third most sacks on the team last season and Gary was the top overall prospect out of high school in the class of 2016. Winovich leads the Wolverines in sacks this season.

The Buckeyes suffered from a major turnover of defensive starters in wake of the NFL Draft as well. This includes defensive leader Raekwon McMillan along with just about the entire secondary. The defensive losses have had a greater effect on the Wolverines though because their offense has been even worse.

The Wolverines have not had the same veteran leadership to guide them through the big games as they had last season. This explains their incompetence versus stronger Big Ten opponents this season. Though they have remained the third ranked defense in the nation, the Wolverines are simply not the same beast they were a season ago. Expect the Bucks to navigate the Wolverines’ defense with ease on Saturday.