Five reasons No. 10 Ohio State football will surprise No. 4 Michigan

Dwayne Haskins Ohio State (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images)
Dwayne Haskins Ohio State (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images) /
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Dwayne Haskins
Ohio State football Dwayne Haskins /

The Ohio State football squad returns home to square off against No. 10 Michigan as a berth in the Big Ten championship game is on the line.

As if the No. 10 Buckeyes couldn’t make things more difficult for themselves, they pulled out arguably their closest victory of the season last weekend.

The Buckeyes won by a single point on the road against the Maryland Terrapins in a game that couldn’t have gone worse. Maryland gave the Bucks their best shot and then some in what could have been a crippling loss.

The Terrapins were operating under an interim head coach, a backup quarterback, and one less primary running back.

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It was a forgettable effort by a Bucks team who often tends to forget to play defense after scoring on the previous offensive possession. Instead of being a dress rehearsal before the big game against TTUN, it turned into a fight to the last breath.

Fortunately, the Buckeyes were able to pull out the win despite giving up over 50 points. The last time the Bucks gave up over or nearly 50 points in a game was when Purdue put up 49 in West Lafayette and Iowa scored over 50 last season. The unfortunate side of this is that the Bucks are left with just a week to recover from their worst defensive performance of the season.

The best thing the Bucks can do at this point is to put that game behind them as they prepare for TTUN.

There is still plenty of upside to take from the victory that will be overlooked due to the final score. The offense was great when it needed to be which included mostly efficient efforts from the run game and Dwayne Haskins which isn’t something that usually happens simultaneously. Lastly, a win is a win at the end of the day.

This series has been dominated by the Buckeyes in recent history. The Bucks have won the last six consecutive match ups and 15 of the last 17. Another favorable fact is the two losses that the Bucks did sustain in this match up occurred in Ann Arbor.

The Buckeyes haven’t lost to TTUN in Columbus since 2000. Since the Bucks’ last loss in this match up, their average margin of victory over TTUN is 10.5 points.

The Wolverines are now in their fourth season with head coach Jim Harbaugh at the helm. Harbaugh has not defeated the Buckeyes in any of his three meetings since joining TTUN as head coach.

Each year brings more pressure for Harbaugh to finally succeed against the Buckeyes. His current track record against the Buckeyes and upper class teams in general has been extremely underwhelming especially considering the hype that followed his hiring in 2015.

Nevertheless, the Buckeyes will have their hands full against this Wolverines team that’s looking and playing like the best they’ve been since the Harbaugh era began.

With that being said, the pressure will be higher than ever in this game for TTUN considering they are entering as the favorite to win.

The last time the Wolverines were favored to win, the Buckeyes beat them by 29 in Ann Arbor.

Recreating a similar effort this time around will be difficult but the Buckeyes have made adjustments at shorter notice before. Expect the Buckeyes to play their best game as they look to finish the season strong against the rival Wolverines.