Observations on the loss to Ohio State, 39-42!

1-We create 5 red zones for 31 points. The Buckeyes create three red zones for 21 points. We create three turnovers, and score 10 point off the turnovers to make the game close; however, the Buckeyes come up with three big plays for touchdowns, two on long runs from midfield, compared to our one big play, the 37 yard pass to Arrington. The Buckeyes watched our defense on game films, and knew they could move the ball on them; they implemented a successful game plan.

3-If Smith doesn't win the Heisman, then nobody deserves it. Troy Smith was 29 of 41 for 316 yards and 3 TDs and one pick. We only were able to come up with one sack by Biggs. Pittman had 18 carries for 139 yards and one TD while Chris Wells powered for a 52 yard TD. We couldn't stop their running game, and they netted 187 yards. The Buckeyes get 24 first downs and 503 yards of total offense on 70 plays while only being forced into three punts. They were 6 of 11 in 3rd down conversions. David Harris had 10 tackles, one for loss for a beleagured defense. Terry Taylor came up with a big second half and finished with 7 tackles, 2 for loss. Leon Hall and Chris Graham had 6 tackles each. Our defensive backs are outmanned by the faster Buckeye receivers who made them look like a demo team. Ted Ginn had 8 catches for 104 yards and one 39 yard TD. Robiskie had 7 catches for 89 yards, Gonzalez had 4 catches for 50 yards and a TD, and Roy Hall had 3 catches for 38 yards and a TD. We couldn't stop the big play, and we can't stop the Buckeyes. Michigan held no time of possession advantage, and the Bucks managed to run 5 more plays as a result.

4-Henne was 21 of 35 for 267 yards and 2 TDs; he has been sacked 3 times in the first half and once in the second. Vernon Gholston separated Riley's shoulder; yet, the coaches left him in and Henne was constantly hurried late in the game by the Detroiter we refused to offer a scholarship to. Manningham had 6 catches for 86 yards, and 2 rushes for 13 yards; however, no TDs. Arrington had 5 catches for 90 yards and one 37 yarder for a TD. Hart had 23 carries for 142 yards, 3 TDs plus 2 catches for 5 yards. Michigan was 4 of 14 in 3rd and 4th down conversions with 17 first downs and 397 yards in 65 plays. Laurinaitis had 9 tackles for the Buckeyes and walk-on Antonio Smith had 8 tackles including a sack. Wilson, Richardson and Penton had sacks, and the defensive line hurried Henne all day. The Buckeyes stopped us when they needed to, holding us to a field goal on the one red zone was huge.

5-Special teams were a non-factor in the game. We have punted 5 times versus 3 punts for Ohio State. Other than that, everyone has made their extra points, and Rivas hit his field goal attempt. Almost all fair catches on punts, and no great kickoff returns. Mesko punted 5 times with 2 inside the 20 and one touchback. Hood made a nice tackle on Ginn on one return. Penalties were a big factor down the stretch as the personal foul call on Crable led to the final Buckeye red zone that they converted into the game winning TD. We had 5 penalties for 45 yards, and the Bucks took 4 for 50 yards. The roughing the center and pass interference penalties resulted drives culminating in 2 TDs.

6-No defense, no Michigan win. Ohio State successfully executed an offensive game plan that negated Woodley, and a defensive game plan that negated Breaston. Great game plan and Tressel continues to outcoach Carr. It is amazing that Tressel has won 5 fo 6 games; he is a great coach, a class act and the Buckeyes are very lucky to have him. I never like to lose to the Buckeyes, but they deserved to win; they pretty much led from start to finish after our opening drive. They scored 3 times, and didn't look back even though we kept nipping at their heels when they graciously gave us the turnovers. I would say a big turning point in the second half was after we made it 21-28, and their defense held us in their red zone after the pick by Branch to a field goal. We could never catch them due to their offense. The turf was a big factor, but both teams had the same disadvantage; every time someone cut, they fell.

7-Going into the game, I thought it was a stupid question to ask about a re-match; however, now that they have played. A rematch would certainly be welcome on neutral turf, and it is a possibility if Notre Dame beats USC, LSU beats Arkansas and Arkansas beats Florida. I think Michigan would be voted #2 in the BCS over Rutgers.

8-Nothing much to report in the player participation other than Dutch, Moosman, Ortmann and Gallimore didn't make the travel team. I think Moosman must be injured.

9-I sure hope our recruits were watching about the opportunities open in the defensive backfield. It was unfortunate that Barringer hurt his knee and left the game early; however, our safety play was atrocious and has been bad for a long time. We can't always see it against lesser opponents, but it screams at us in big games. I hope Finch and Chambers along with Mouton will make a difference. We really need a bonafide cornerback like Ron Johnson, Donovan Warren, Michael Williams, etc. We have to have corners and safeties who can stay with outstanding receivers in big games like this.
Observations on the first half with the Buckeyes, 14-28!

1-I really wish that Lloyd had brought the defense with him to Columbus, it would have been a great help!

2-The Buckeyes are totally humiliating us with two red zones for 14 points while we created one red zone in our opening drive for 7 points. The Buckeyes also come up with two big plays for touchdowns compared to our one big play. Our defense can't keep up with the fast pace set by the Buckeye offense, we are "sucking air." They are outhustling us as well as outplaying us.

3-If Smith doesn't win the Heisman, then nobody deserves it. Troy Smith is 21 of 26 for 241 yards and 3 TDs. We have only been able to come up with one sack by Biggs. Pittman has 7 carries for 26 yards while Chris Wells powers for a 52 yard TD on his only carry. Buckeyes get 14 first downs and 320 yards of total offense on 36 plays while only being forced into one punt, and are 4 of 5 in 3rd down conversions. Of course, since they are moving the ball so easily, they aren't in many 3rd down situations. David Harris has 5 tackles, one for loss. Leon Hall and Prescott Burgess have 4 tackles each. Chris Graham has missed tackles all over the field including when Chris Wells took off on his 52 yarder. Our defensive backs are outmanned by the faster Buckeye receivers who are making them look like a demo team. Ted Ginn has 6 catches for 74 yards and one 39 yard TD. Robiskie and Gonzalez have 4 catches each, and Roy Hall has 3 catches. Hall and Gonzalez have the two other TDs. We can't stop the big play, and we can't stop the Buckeyes. Michigan holds a minute and a half time of possession advantage, but Ohio State doesn't need the ball that long to score so they don't need to win that category.

4-Henne is 10 of 14 for 144 yards and 1 TD; he has been sacked 3 times. Manningham has 3 catches for 58 yards. Michigan is one of five in 3rd down conversions with 8 first downs and 181 yards in 26 plays. Arrington caught the 37 yard TD. Henne overthrew a wide open Manningham for a sure TD that could have negated some of the Buckeye onslaught.

5-Special teams have been a non-factor in the game. We have punted 3 times versus 1 punt for Ohio State. Other than that, everyone has made their extra points. No field goals, and all fair catches on punts. No turnovers, no points off turnover. Each team has 2 penalties, Ohio State's roughing the center penalty resulted in a drive for a TD.

6-Unless Ron English and company can find a defense, Ohio State will probably put up another 28 points in the second half to win 56-28. No defense, no Michigan win. Ohio State has negated Breaston and Woodley. Great game plan and Tressel continues to outcoach Carr.

The game we've been anticipating all season is finally here. There has never been a more unique Michigan versus Ohio State football game because both teams are undefeated, ranked #1 and #2 for the first time in the series, and the winner not only wins the Big Ten title outright, but also will be in the national title game. This would be Michigan's first title game, and Ohio State's second opportunity after winning the 2003 game nearly four years ago.

Let's start on offense. It is clear that Ohio State has a more dangerous offense than Michigan with a more dangerous quarterback. Senior Troy Smith has defeated Michigan the last two years, and will probably win the Heisman Trophy as the nation's best collegiate football player this year regardless of the outcome of this game. The best thing about this game for Michigan fans is that it will be the last time we have to face him. Smith has thrown for 26 touchdowns and only 4 interceptions, a +22. He leads the nation in passing efficiency, and as a result, the Ohio State Buckeyes lead the nation in scoring offense. Smith has a fleet of outstanding receivers led by Juniors Anthony Gonzalez and Ted Ginn who have 97 receptions and 15 touchdowns combined; they average 8.5 receptions and over 100 yards per game. They also have Freshman Brian Hartline, Sophomore Brian Robiskie and Senior Roy Hall who have added another 7 touchdowns this season. They don't throw to the tight end that often, but Sophomore Rory Nichol has 3 TDs and Jake Ballard has one TD. While their passing attack is dangerous, their running attack is even more of a threat since Troy Smith is such an outstanding open field threat. They are the top team in the Big Ten in 3rd down conversions averaging over 50% while our defense has allowed the least conversions at 25%; something has to give. Junior Antonio Pittman is a powerful, fast runner who is averaging 94 yards per game, nearly 5 yards per carry and has scored 12 touchdowns. If Michigan is to begin to contain Smith, they must first stop the Buckeye running game led by Pittman and his capable backup Chris Wells who has scored 6 touchdowns as a true freshman. Let us not forget that Ginn and Gonzalez are plenty capable of running a reverse. This will be no easy task even though Michigan boasts the nation's top defense against the run. The mighty Buckeye offensive line is anchored by two 5th years seniors, Right Guard T.J. Downing, Left Tackle Tim Schafer and Center Doug Datish. Downing is the son of former Michigan All-American offensive lineman, Walt Downing. They also have giants, Right Guard Kirk Barton and Left Guard Steve Rehring. They have allowed the fewest sacks in the Big Ten this season. Covering Troy Smith's behind and lead blocker for Pittman is fullback, Stan White Jr. Many older Michigan fans may remember his father, a wicked Buckeye linebacker in the early 1970s.

On defense, the Buckeyes lead the nation in scoring defense surrendering less than 8 points a game, and turnover margin. They are led by Sophomore Middle linebacker Jim Laurinaitis who has 91 tackles, 8.5 for loss with 4 sacks, 5 interceptions, 3 forced fumbles and a pass break up. The other linebackers are Sophomore Marcus Freeman and 5th year Senior John Kerr; they have 75 tackles, 4 for loss. Freeman has 2 interceptions and 6 pass break ups so he is an excellent cover linebacker; an interesting side note, he wears the #1 jersey. Freshman Ross Homan and Junior Larry Grant have also seen action at linebacker. When they line up, their defensive line is led by Lombardi Finalist and 5th year Senior Quinn Pitcock, Sophomore Detroiter Vernon Gholston, Senior David Patterson and 5th year Senior Jay Richardson; they have 112 tackles, 26.5 tackles for loss and 18.5 sacks intimidating opponent offensive lines and quarterbacks into mistakes. Patterson has 6 tipped passes, and unheralded Gholston beat out heralded national prospect Lawrence Wilson. Senior Joel Penton, Alex Barrow and Freshman Robert Rose have contributed on the defensive line. Their defensive backfield is led by Antonio Smith who, like Leon Hall, is a Thorpe Semi-Finalist. They also have great covers with Corner Malcolm Jenkins, Safeties, Sophomore Jamario O'Neal and Senior Brandon Mitchell plus Redshirt Freshman Nickel Back Donald Washington. Their 5 starting defensive backs have 201 tackles, 16 for loss with 9 interceptions. Jenkins leads in picks with 4. Redshirt freshmen Andre Amos, Anderson Russell and True Freshmen, Kurt Coleman and Aaron Gant have seen action in the backfield and on special teams. The backfield is strong in run support and cover. They will be a typical, tough Buckeye defense swarming to the ball and trying to create takeaways in every play.

Special teams are led by Junior Ted Ginn who may be the fastest player in the nation; he has returned 22 punts for a 12.1 yard per return average with 1 TD. He ran one back for a TD against Michigan in 2004, and he will also be ready to return kickoffs. Sophomore punter, A.J. Trapasso, leads a Buckeye punting unit that is ranked #2 in the Big Ten Conference and #24 nationally compared to a Wolverine unit ranked #77 nationally. Trapasso has a 41.2 yard average with 14 of 40 punts inside the 20. If the game comes down to a kick, Aaron Pettrey has converted 8 fo 11 field goal attempts and 47 of 50 extra points. Pettrey is 2 of 3 in the 50+ yard range, 3 of 4 in the 40-49 yard range with his longest being 51 yards.

This game will be determined by turnovers, points off turnover, red zone efficiency and the ability to come from behind, play over mistakes and/or make the big defensive stop at the end of the game whether it is the 4th quarter or overtime. It is a classic matchup of the nation's top offense against the nation's top defense, and a matchup of two strong defenses challenged to stop two strong rushing attacks. While it is certain that Ohio State has the home field advantage, the favored team by oddsmakers and pollsters, and the nation's finest player, it won't be enough in this game. Michigan's defense will rise to the occasion as Coach English and Coach Stripling "lets the Beasts loose." Woodley, Branch, Taylor, Biggs and Jamison combine with Crable, Burgess and Harris to sack the nation's top offense and Heisman hopeful Smith. Hall and Trent cover Gonzalez and Ginn to prevent big plays. Michigan holds the Buckeye offense to under 300 total yards, and will record at least 5 sacks. The Michigan offense led by Henne won't be flashy or spectacular, but efficient capitalizing on Buckeye mistakes. Michigan will win the time of possession and turnover battle plus points off turnover. Each team creates 3 red zones with Michigan scoring more points in their red zone journies. Hart gets over 100 yards, but it will take him 30 carries to do so. Steve Breaston won't be the game's most valuable player, but he will prove his value in this one! Offensively, one player won't stand out, but it will be a team effort. One team will wear down in the 4th quarter.

Michigan 23 Ohio State 20

Bo dies prior to "Big One"

The Biggest "Big Game"

Ohio State vs. Michigan Game Notes

Official Michigan Football

Official Ohio State Football

ESPN Preview

CBS Sportsline Preview

College Football News Preview

CNN Preview

USA Today Preview

CSTV GameView

MLive Preview

The Wolverine

Go Blue Wolverine

The Victor's

Winged Helmet


Michigan Daily

Buckeye Sports.com

Bucknuts (Scout)



Columbus Dispatch

The Buckeye 50 yard line

The Lantern

Vanilla Gorilla

Buckeye Football Trivia Zone

Buckeye Planet

Ohio State vs. Michigan (Ohio State Library)