Game Data: Ohio State at Michigan

We take a look at the pertinent data, television coverage, depth charts and one man's prediction on Saturday's 102nd rendition of The Game, the Ohio State-Michigan game, set for 1 p.m. on ABC. Click this free link for more.

Game Data: Ohio State at Michigan

* Date, Time: Sat., Nov. 19, 1 p.m. (Eastern)

* Location: Ohio Stadium

* TV: ABC (70 percent of the nation will get this game on ABC; the remaining 30 percent – primarily the West Coast -- should be able to watch it live on ESPN).

* 2005 Records, Rankings: Ohio State, 8-2 overall, 6-1 Big Ten, ranked ninth in Associated Press poll and USA Today coaches poll; Michigan, 7-3 overall, 5-2 Big Ten, ranked 17th in AP poll and USA Today coaches poll.

* Coaches: Ohio State, Jim Tressel (fifth year at OSU, 48-13; 20th year overall, 183-70-2; vs. Michigan, 3-1); Michigan, Lloyd Carr (11th year at UM, 102-32; vs. OSU, 6-4).

* Series History: Michigan leads the all-time series 57-38-6, including 30-17-4 in Ann Arbor. OSU won 37-21 last year in Columbus and has won three of the last four in the series. But Michigan has won seven of the last eight in Ann Arbor. The series is dead even at 24-24-2 over the last 50 years. For a complete look at the OSU-Michigan rivalry, click this link:

History of the OSU-Michigan Rivalry

* Michigan Schedule: Sept. 3, Northern Illinois, W 33-17; Sept. 10, Notre Dame, L 17-10; Sept. 17, Eastern Michigan, W 55-0; Sept. 24, at Wisconsin, L 23-20; Oct. 1, at Michigan State, W 34-31 (OT); Oct. 8, Minnesota, L 23-20; Oct. 15, Penn State, W 27-25; Oct. 22, at Iowa, W 23-20 (OT); Oct. 29, at Northwestern, W 33-17; Nov. 12, Indiana, W 41-14; Nov. 19, Ohio State.

* Michigan Key Players (2005 Stats): QB Chad Henne (177 of 303 passing, 2,033 yards, 19 TDs, 7 INTs), RB Mike Hart (122 catches, 573 yards, 4 TDs), WR Kevin Grady (110 carries, 455 yards, 4 TDs), WR Jason Avant (70 catches, 900 yards, 7 TDs), WR Mario Manningham (20 catches, 341 yards, 5 TDs), WR Steve Breaston (18 catches, 230 yards, 2 TDs), ILB David Harris (72 tackles, 5 TFLs), OLB Prescott Burgess (67 tackles, 4 TFLs), CB Grant Mason (72 tackles, 2 INTs), RLB LaMarr Woodley (41 tackles, 14 TFLs, 5 sacks).

* Michigan Fast Facts: Location: Ann Arbor, Mich.; Enrollment, 36,031; Nickname, Wolverines; Colors, Maize and Blue; Stadium, Michigan Stadium (surface, FieldTurf; capacity, 107,501).

Depth Charts

Ohio State Offense

SE 4 Santonio Holmes, 5-11, 190, Jr.

8 Roy Hall, 6-3, 240, Jr.

LT 50 Doug Datish, 6-5, 295, Jr.

75 Alex Boone, 6-8, 315, Fr.

LG 77 Rob Sims, 6-4, 310, Sr.

59 John Conroy, 6-3, 295, Sr.

C 55 Nick Mangold, 6-4, 290, Sr.

50 Doug Datish, 6-5, 295, Jr.

RG 72 T.J. Downing, 6-5, 305, Jr.

59 John Conroy, 6-3, 295, Sr.

RT 74 Kirk Barton, 6-7, 325, So.

or 75 Alex Boone, 6-8, 315, Fr.

TE 81 Marcel Frost, 6-5, 255, So.

87 Brandon Smith, 6-3, 240, R-Fr.

FL 7 Ted Ginn Jr., 6-0, 175, So.

5 Albert Dukes, 6-1, 190, R-Fr.

QB 10 Troy Smith, 6-1, 215, Jr.

12 Justin Zwick, 6-4, 225, Jr.

TB 25 Antonio Pittman, 5-11, 195, So.

34 Maurice Wells, 5-10, 185, Fr.

FB 89 Stan White Jr., 6-3, 242, Jr.

49 Dionte Johnson, 6-0, 250, So.

SL 11 Anthony Gonzalez, 6-0, 195, So.

85 Brian Robiskie, 6-3, 190, Fr.

K 23 Josh Huston, 6-1, 195, Sr.

85 Ryan Pretorius, 5-10, 190, R-Fr.

Ohio State Defense

DE 97 David Patterson, 6-3, 285, Jr.

99 Jay Richardson, 6-6, 276, Jr.

DT 94 Marcus Green, 6-3, 290, Sr.

97 David Patterson, 6-3, 285, Jr.

DT 90 Quinn Pitcock, 6-3, 295, Jr.

98 Joel Penton, 6-5, 290, Jr.

DE 57 Mike Kudla, 6-3, 265, Sr.

50 Vernon Gholston, 6-4, 260, So.

SLB 42 Bobby Carpenter, 6-3, 255, Sr.

33 James Laurinaitis, 6-3, 231, Fr.

MLB 51 Anthony Schlegel, 6-1, 251, Sr.

5 Mike D'Andrea, 6-3, 248, Jr.

WLB 47 A.J. Hawk, 6-1, 240, Sr.

52 John Kerr, 6-1, 246, Jr.

CB 26 Ashton Youboty, 6-1, 188, Jr.

2 Malcolm Jenkins, 6-1, 180, Fr.

FS 21 Nate Salley, 6-3, 220, Sr.

32 Brandon Mitchell, 6-3, 205, Jr.

SS 9 Donte Whitner, 5-11, 205, Jr.

3 Jamario O'Neal, 6-1, 180, Fr.

CB 6 Tyler Everett, 5-11, 202, Sr.

2 Malcolm Jenkins, 6-1, 180, Fr.

NB 32 Brandon Mitchell, 6-3, 205, Jr.

34 Rob Harley, 6-2, 202, Sr.

P 15 A.J. Trapasso, 6-1, 220, R-Fr.

LS 68 Drew Norman, 6-0, 230, Jr.

Michigan Offense

WR 15 Steve Breaston, 6-1, 178, Sr.

86 Mario Manningham, 6-0, 183, Fr.

LT 79 Adam Stenavich, 6-5, 321, Sr.

76 Mike Kolodziej, 6-7, 323, Sr.

LG 65 Leo Henige, 6-4, 328, Sr.

73 Alex Mitchell, 6-5, 314, So.

C 57 Adam Kraus, 6-6, 307, Jr.

54 Mark Bihl, 6-5, 303, Sr.

RG 67 Matt Lentz, 6-6, 311, Sr.

73 Alex Mitchell, 6-5, 314, So.

RT 77 Jake Long, 6-7, 330, Jr.

or 72 Rueben Riley, 6-4, 311, Sr.

TE 88 Tim Massaquoi, 6-4, 252, Sr.

or 89 Tyler Ecker, 6-6, 251, Sr.

QB 7 Chad Henne, 6-2, 226, So.

12 Matt Gutierrez, 6-4, 231, Sr.

TB 20 Mike Hart, 5-9, 193, So.

3 Kevin Grady, 5-9, 227, Fr.

FB 34 Will Paul, 6-3, 261, Jr.

35 Brian Thompson, 6-2, 237, Sr.

WR 8 Jason Avant, 6-1, 213, Sr.

17 Carl Tabb, 6-2, 196, Sr.

K 38 Garrett Rivas, 5-9, 216, Jr.

Michigan Defense

RLB 56 LaMarr Woodley, 6-2, 274, Jr.

99 Pierre Woods, 6-5, 249, Sr.

NT 78 Gabe Watson, 6-4, 331, Sr.

67 Terrance Taylor, 6-0, 301, Fr.

DT 94 Pat Massey, 6-8, 283, Sr.

97 Will Johnson, 6-5, 291, So.

DE 80 Alan Branch, 6-6, 311, So.

91 Rondell Biggs, 6-3, 270, Sr.

OLB 6 Prescott Burgess, 6-3, 243, Jr.

2 Shawn Crable, 6-5, 247, Jr.

ILB 45 Dave Harris, 6-2, 251, Sr.

49 John Thompson, 6-1, 229, So.

ILB 37 Chris Graham, 5-11, 224, So.

36 Scott McClintock, 6-2, 244, Sr.

CB 29 Leon Hall, 5-11, 194, Jr.

14 Morgan Trent, 6-0, 190, So.

SS 31 Brandent Englemon, 5-11, 202, Jr.

22 Jamar Adams, 6-2, 208, So.

FS 19 Willis Barringer, 6-0, 207, Sr.

27 Brandon Harrison, 5-9, 199, Fr.

CB 13 Grant Mason, 6-0, 192, Sr.

4 Darnell Hood, 5-11, 193, Sr.

P 3 Ross Ryan, 6-1, 206, Sr.

Breaking It Down

* When Ohio State Has The Ball: Ohio State comes into The Game off, perhaps, its best four-game run on offense in 10 years. It is at least the first time since 1995 that the Buckeyes have tallied 40 or more points in four straight games. Of course, the last time it happened in 1995, OSU was cooled off at Michigan with a 31-23 loss that spoiled an unbeaten season.

But OSU has an edge on Michigan – at least on this side of the ball – in experience and, perhaps, confidence. It was pretty much this same OSU offense that hung 37 points on the Wolverines a year ago at Ohio Stadium. I'm not sure Troy Smith will duplicate his incredible showing from a year ago, and I'm not sure he has to.

The emergence of tailback Antonio Pittman and a viable running game – ranked clear up at No. 25 nationally at 196.7 yards per game – has truly helped open things up for the OSU offense. The offensive line has matured before our very eyes and is now prepared for another huge challenge. Michigan's defense ranks third in the Big Ten at 340.6 yards per game as the Wolverines have traded the star power of players like Marlin Jackson and Ernest Shazor for some solid play makers.

Smith has improved with each passing game, although he did throw his first interception in several weeks against Northwestern. If he and receivers Santonio Holmes (who torched UM for two touchdowns two years ago there) and Ted Ginn Jr. can make some music, the Buckeyes could be in good shape here.

* When Michigan Has The Ball: It has been an uneven effort for Michigan. Its freshman stars of a year ago – quarterback Chad Henne and tailback Mike Hart – have each been victims of the dreaded sophomore jinx. Henne has been inconsistent at times, but you could do a whole lot worse than a 2,000-yard season and 19 passing TDs. Hart has been hurt and that has impacted his effectiveness, although bullish freshman Kevin Grady has filled in admirably.

The injury bug has also hit do-it-all star Steve Breaston as well as the offensive line, where right tackle Jake Long is considered questionable this week. Jason Avant has been a steady threat at wide receiver, though.

Michigan will likely try and establish the run, probably with a combination of Grady and Hart, who sat out last week's rout of Indiana. The Wolverines are a distant seventh in the Big Ten rushing yards per game (177.7) and better teams than them have died trying to run the ball against this staunch defense (second nationally vs. the rush at 78.7 yards per game and fifth nationally in total defense at 277.3 ypg).

The big key for me will be how OSU pressures Henne in the third-down and obvious passing situations. OSU has piled up the sacks against lesser teams. But if the Buckeyes can't get to Henne – as they did not against Minnesota's Bryan Cupito – he could make it a long day.

* How It Will Go: This is a great match-up of two outstanding defensive teams and two offenses that are just starting to find themselves. Michigan has the obvious homefield advantage and it has been pronounced in this series with OSU claiming just one win in Ann Arbor since 1987.

But this is a veteran Ohio State team that defeated Michigan handily a year ago in Columbus. Yes, they wilted a bit at Penn State. But the OSU defense – led by All-American linebacker A.J. Hawk – seems equal to any challenge.

This game could hinge on one or more special teams plays that will swing the momentum and field position edge one way or the other. And for some reason I see Ginn and/or Holmes making those plays. The Buckeyes will lock down at least a share of their 30th Big Ten championship with a rare win in Michigan Stadium. I've got it: Ohio State 34-24

* For The Record: I am 8-2 straight-up and 6-4 against-the-spread with Ohio State. (As of Monday, OSU was listed as a 2-1/2 point favorite.)

On this week's Bucknuts Radio Hour, Jerry Rudzinski predicted OSU 27-20, Kirk Larrabee said OSU 24-20 and Mr. Bucknuts went OSU 27-14. Tom Beaver of GoBlueWolverine.com picked Michigan 24-23.

-- Steve Helwagen


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