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November 30, 2013

Keys To The Game: U-M vs. OSU

Keys To The Game

The Basics
Quote of the Week
The Teams: Nebraska (11-0) at Michigan (7-4)
The History: Michigan holds a 58-44-6 all-time record in the series. Ohio State has won 10 of the last 12 meetings.
The Depth Charts: Ohio State and Michigan
The Place: Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor
The Time: 12:00 p.m. EST
The Line: Michigan +15
The Broadcast: ABC
The Updates: Follow the game on The Fort or follow us on Twitter: Borton, Balas, Spath, Reid and Sullivan.

"I know they've probably given up 1,000 tackles for loss this season."

-- Ohio State linebacker Ryan Shazier on the Michigan offensive struggles. .
The Essentials
By the Numbers
  • TheWolverine.com Tailgate Show: Featuring the staff and former players Phil Brabbs and Ron Simpkins. Watch it, love it.
  • Game Preview: TheWolverine.com speaks with Ohio State play-by-play commentator Paul Keels about Saturday's game. Click here to listen to the podcast.
  • Staff Predictions: This is a rivalry game, so who really knows how it will play out? How do we think the game will go? Click here to find out.
  • Burning Questions: Our very own Chris Balas answers the biggest questions heading into The Game. Click here to read.
  • Matchups: TheWolverine.com takes a look at the most important matchups on the field, the U-M offensive line vs. the pass rush. Click here to read the rest.
3.3: Michigan's average yards per offensive snaps in the month of November. On the season, Miami (Ohio) ranks last nationally, averaging 3.7 yards per snap.
5-3-1: The combined record against Ohio State in all Michigan coaches' third year on the job.
12.5: Career tackles for loss made by junior defensive end Frank Clark in eight games in November. He has 8.5 tackles for loss in the 16 games he has played that did not take place in November.
23: Conesecutive games won by Urban Meyer to begin his tenure in Columbus.


Five Players To Watch
1. Devin Gardner, redshirt junior quarterback: This has not been the season Gardner - or anyone, for that matter - though the quarterback would have in 2013. After five impressive starts at the end of the 2012 season and a quick start to 2013, including an highlight win over Notre Dame, Gardner and the offense have sputtered in the month of November. In four games this month, the offense has been responsible for 42 total points. But nothing can change a season, or a legacy, quite like a huge win over Ohio State - an undefeated Ohio State, at that.


2. The Michigan Interior Offensive Line: This is going to be a massive challenge for a unit that has struggled to keep the pass rush away from Gardner in recent weeks. In the last five games, the Wolverines have surrendered 20 sacks and 47 tackles for loss (at least 10 in each game). In the last four games, the Buckeyes have tallied 20 sacks (at least four in each game). Michigan will have to keep Ohio State away from Gardner and out of the backfield to have a chance to win.


3. Ryan Shazier, linebacker: Shazier has done a little of everything for the Buckeyes this season. In 11 games, he has racked up an incredible 108 tackles, 19.5 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks, two pass breakups, five quarterback hurries and four forced fumbles. He seems pretty confident in Ohio State's chances (see quote above), and he expects to have another big game Saturday. Can the Wolverines slow him down, given their recent offensive struggles?


4. Redshirt junior outside linebacker Jake Ryan: Last week, Ryan looked like his old dominant self for the first time all season, possibly. He has worked himself back in the lineup since an ACL injury in the spring, and against the Hawkeyes, he really hit his groove. He didn't put up eye-popping stats, but he smacked quarterback Jake Rudock, which caused a pick-six, made some big plays in the flats and was a disruptive force. Against the high-powered Ohio State offense, he will need to have another big game.

5. Braxton Miller, quarterback: Miller lost in his first appearance in The Game, throwing a late-game interception that sealed Michigan's 40-34 win in Ann Arbor in 2011, the Wolverines' first win in the series since 2003. Last year, he was bottled up for most of the afternoon but did enough to pull out a 26-21 win. How will he play in this one, with a second-straight undefeated regular season on the line?




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