2. The Buckeyes will win by limiting turnovers
Attention to detail will mean everything in this match up as both sides are elite at various levels. It will be even more important for the Buckeyes to pay attention to detail as they have more inferior attributes and have struggled in that area specifically. Missed assignments on defense and lack of execution on offense have been mainstays for the Buckeyes this season.
Limiting turnovers has been one of the Buckeyes’ greatest attributes over the years. The Buckeyes have been consistently within the top 50 in least amount of giveaways per game for the last ten years and have been in the top ten for three of those years. Ball control is a necessity when playing in an offense like the Buckeyes’ who don’t always rely on the big play.
The team with the least turnovers has won this match up in every game since 2014. Yes, this is common as every possession counts especially in closely contested games but it’s important to remember that momentum is also a major key in this spot. As noted from the 2016 double overtime victory over the Wolverines, every turnover could be the difference between a win and a loss.
Turnovers have been a problem for the Buckeyes throughout parts of this season. They haven’t came in bunches but they’ve been the killer for multiple drives leading to scores for the opposition. One of the Buckeyes’ biggest problems last week against Maryland was easily their turnovers. The Buckeyes started the second half by throwing a pick-six.
Fortunately, neither of the other two turnovers resulted in points for Maryland. They were almost even more painful though as the first one occurred right before halftime near the Terrapins’ goal line which left them with a wasted opportunity to regain some much needed momentum. The next one occurred in their third possession after halftime in Maryland territory.
It’s imperative for the Buckeyes to win the turnover battle in order to limit the Wolverines’ possessions. The Wolverines do a great job running the ball and moving the sticks so giving them extra opportunities won’t be doing the Buckeyes any favors. The Wolverines are sixth in the nation in least giveaways per game. However, they are just 70th in the nation in takeaways per game. Expect the Buckeyes to use efficiency over being risky in this game in order to keep the ball in their own court.