Michigan running back Karan Higdon speaks to the media on Monday, Nov. 19, 2018, in Ann Arbor in preparation for the game against Ohio State.
Nick Baumgardner, Freep
Michigan: Shea Patterson; Ohio State: Dwayne Haskins.
The buzz: These are the two best quarterbacks in the Big Ten, as both should get all-conference votes. Haskins throws more than Patterson, thus giving him greater numbers. But Patterson has been more of a running threat. In overall efficiency, they are two of the best QBs in the league.
Michigan: Karan Higdon, Chris Evans; Ohio State: J.K. Dobbins, Mike Weber.
The buzz: Michigan has been more reliant on Higdon this season, as he has eclipsed the 1,000-yard rushing mark. Evans was limited with an ailing hamstring earlier this season but is back at full strength. Fullback Ben Mason is a powerful weapon for U-M. Dobbins and Weber have combined to rush for more than 1,400 yards for OSU this year. Dobbins will be one of the most explosive players on the field. He ran for 203 yards on 37 carries against Maryland last week.
Michigan: Donovan Peoples-Jones, Nico Collins, Grant Perry; Ohio State: K.J. Hill, Parris Campbell, Terry McLaurin, Johnnie Dixon.
The buzz: Michigan’s receivers haven’t had as many opportunities as Ohio State’s. But they’ve produced when called upon and are also effective blockers. Hill and Campbell are high-volume receivers who have combined to catch more than 100 passes for OSU. McLaurin is a big-play threat, as is Dixon.
Edge: Ohio State.
Michigan: Zach Gentry, Sean Mckeon, Nick Eubanks; Ohio State: Luke Farrell, Rashod Berry.
The buzz: Ohio State does not use its tight ends as much as Michigan does. The Buckeyes use Farrell and Berry as H-backs and blockers, but they don’t catch many passes. U-M uses tight ends often on offense.
Michigan: Jon Runyan Jr., Ben Bredeson, Cesar Ruiz, Michael Onwenu, Juwann Bushell-Beatty; Ohio State: Thayer Munford, Malcolm Pridgeon, Michael Jordan, Demetrius Knox, Isaiah Prince.
The buzz: Both lines have, for the most part, protected the quarterback well this season. Michigan’s offensive line has produced more on the ground more consistently and has been more diverse with its attack overall. Ohio State’s has been rather one-dimensional in large part because of its somewhat average run game.
Michigan: Rashan Gary, Carlo Kemp, Bryan Mone, Chase Winovich; Ohio State: Chase Young, Robert Landers, Dre’Mont Jones, Johnathon Cooper.
The buzz: Michigan’s defensive line is one of the deepest units in the country, as the Wolverines will play eight or nine every game. The Buckeyes lost perhaps the best defensive player in the nation in Nick Bosa earlier this season, and while still outstanding, it’s not quite as deep as U-M’s. That bodes well for the Wolverines, who could be without Winovich on Saturday.
Michigan: Devin Bush Jr., Khaleke Hudson, Devin Gil; Ohio State: Malik Harrison, Tuf Borland, Pete Werner.
The buzz: Bush might be the best inside linebacker in the country. He can blitz, cover and defend the run, and he’s simply the best player on the nation’s top-ranked defense. Harrison and Werner have been active in opposing backfields this season, though Ohio State has struggled at times to defend the run.
Michigan: Lavert Hill, David Long, Tyree Kinnel, Josh Metellus; Ohio State: Kendall Sheffield, Damon Arnette, Brendon White, Jordan Fuller.
The buzz: Both teams will rotate defensive backs into the mix. Ohio State has plenty of athletes, but the Buckeyes gave up nearly 400 pass yards vs. Purdue, 322 vs. Indiana and 286 vs. Penn State. Michigan has been the top-ranked secondary in the Big Ten all year.
Michigan: PK Quinn Nordin/Jake Moody, P Will Hart, KR Ambry Thomas, PR Peoples-Jones; Ohio State: PK Blake Haubeil, P Drue Chrisman, KR Dixon, PR Hill.
The buzz: Michigan played Jake Moody, a true freshman, against Indiana in place of Nordin, and the youngster set a program record in making all six field-goal attempts. Ohio State made a midseason switch to Haubeil, who hasn’t had many chances. Both punters are very good and both return units have good athletes.
Michigan: Jim Harbaugh; Ohio State: Urban Meyer.
The buzz: Harbaugh may wind up as the Big Ten coach of the year and, frankly, he has the better staff top to bottom. Meyer has had Harbaugh’s number, however, and has feasted in big games during his career. If Harbaugh wants the edge here, he must defeat Meyer.
Edge: Ohio State.