Expert Ohio State football predictions ahead of the Michigan game

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The Game is a really big game this year as No. 2 Ohio State and No. 3 Michigan face off with a lot on the line.

The winner advances to the Big Ten championship game and is one win away from a bid for the College Football Playoff. The loser needs help to get into the playoffs.

Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback CJ Stroud (7) throws the ball against the Michigan Wolverines defense during the first quarter of their NCAA College football at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Mi on November 27, 2021.

Ohio State is a 7½ point favorite.

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So the smart folks in Vegas have their pick, but what about the pundits at The Columbus Dispatch and Detroit News? This is how they see the game:

Bill Rabinowitz

Columbus Dispatch Ohio State football reporter Bill Rabinowitz photographed April 29, 2021 in the Columbus Dispatch newsroom.

Columbus Dispatch Ohio State football reporter Bill Rabinowitz photographed April 29, 2021 in the Columbus Dispatch newsroom.

Ohio State beat writer

The Columbus Shipment

Wouldn’t this score be funny? So much depends on whether Blake Corum’s (and Donovan Edwards) running back is healthy. If so, this is closer to a 50-50 game. But I suspect Corum won’t be at full strength when he plays, and quarterback JJ McCarthy hasn’t been consistent enough as a passer. CJ Stroud should be able to run Michigan’s secondary as long as his protection lasts. The Buckeyes are at home, highly motivated and more talented across the board. This is not certain, but I suspect that OSU will rise at this point.

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Joey Kaufman

Columbus Dispatch Ohio State football reporter Joey Kaufman photographed April 29, 2021 in the Columbus Dispatch newsroom.

Columbus Dispatch Ohio State football reporter Joey Kaufman photographed April 29, 2021 in the Columbus Dispatch newsroom.

Ohio State beat writer

The Columbus Shipment

There’s no shortage of motivation for the Buckeyes as they seek to avenge a particularly crushing loss in last season’s rivalry, a stabbing defeat that kept them from reaching the College Football Playoff for the first time in Ryan Day’s tenure. See if that makes them come out laser-focused on Saturday. But emotion is just one reason the state of Ohio is bouncing back in November. His running defense, porous in the previous matchup with Michigan, has improved much under Jim Knowles and bounces off the backs enough to make the Wolverines go too airborne for their liking.

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Rob Oler

Columbus Dispatch sports columnist Rob Oller photographed Thursday, February 11, 2021.

Columbus Dispatch sports columnist Rob Oller photographed Thursday, February 11, 2021.

Sports columnist

The Columbus Shipment

If the shoe fits … . Ohio State hasn’t lost at home to Michigan since 2000, which is why I’m giving the Buckeyes a lead in a showdown that will come down to the closing minutes of the fourth quarter; unless Blake Corum, a Michigan tailback, is less than 95% healthy, in which case OSU will win by at least two touchdowns. A lot depends on the outcome: CJ Stroud’s Heisman Trophy hopes, Ryan Day’s reputation in big games, and a trip to the Big Ten championship game. Fasten the chin strap. The Game is perhaps a game for all ages.

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Colin Gay

Real-time reporter

The Columbus Shipment

This matchup against undefeated rivals will live up to its billing. While Michigan pulls in one of the best running games in the nation, Ohio State has a record of stopping the run when it counts, allowing seven rushing touchdowns all season with opponents averaging 3.1 yards per carry. And while Michigan has one of the best defenses in the country, it hasn’t seen an attack quite like Ohio State’s this year. Expect the latest edition of “The Game” to feel close all the way through, but end with the Buckeyes returning to the win column and heading into the Big Ten championship game.

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Angelique S. Chengelis

Angelique S. Chengelis

Angelique S. Chengelis

Michigan beat writer

Detroit News

Ohio State 31, Michigan 20

The first of many storylines is the status of Blake Corum, who has carried the Michigan offense this season. QB JJ McCarthy is unflappable, but he and his receivers need a big game against an Ohio State defense determined to stop Michigan’s run game. Both UM’s offensive line and OSU’s defense under Jim Knowles are better than last year. Michigan must be able to put pressure on CJ Stroud. UM’s secondary has given up big plays, but his defense has usually been able to stop opponents when it matters, especially in fourth.

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This article originally appeared on The Columbus Dispatch: Ohio State vs Michigan Prediction in Big Ten Football Action

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