Urban Meyer has never lost to Michigan during his tenure at Ohio State, sitting at a cool 6-0 against the Wolverines. Meanwhile, Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh has struggled against the Buckeyes and has never won against them. Some Ohio State fans may assume that the late November game against Michigan should be a lock to win given the recent history.

However, the great LeBron James once said “In Northeast Ohio, nothing is given. Everything is earned. You work for what you have.”

This applies to this year’s game in Columbus, where the Buckeyes need to take the threat from TTUN more seriously than ever. Let’s take a look at why the Buckeyes should be extra cautious about this year’s game.

Harbaugh is desperate

Rivalry games have not been kind to Coach Harbaugh. He has only beaten in-state rival Michigan State once and has yet to beat Ohio State. To make matters worse, Michigan opens the season against Notre Dame, another rival.

If Harbaugh manages to lost to both Notre Dame and Michigan State then he could very well be coaching for his job against Ohio State. Expect Ohio State to get Harbaugh at peak desperation if that is the case, meaning he will resort to anything in order to finally win.

Michigan is loaded on defense

The Wolverines have one of the best defensive units in all of college football. Rashan Gary, Chase Winovich, Devin Bush, Khaleke Hudson and Lavert Hill will all be playing in the NFL one day.

Specifically, Hudson is the most special out of all these players. Hudson plays the viper position, the same position once held by Jabrill Peppers. Last season, Hudson put up eye-popping numbers from this spot – 16 tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks and two interceptions to be exact.

The junior can wreak havoc on offenses because he can cover and play the run. Hudson, along with this entire defense, is expected to be even better in 2018.

Shea Patterson improves the passing attack

By no means is this a letter of recommendation for the transfer from Ole Miss. Shea Patterson is a solid college quarterback, but he was not a winner in the SEC.

Patterson is the best passer Michigan has had in a long time. Last season, Patterson put up very good numbers – 17 touchdown passes and 2,259 passing yards – despite not playing the last five games. It’s safe to say Shea Patterson is miles better than John O’Korn and Wilton Speight.

Michigan quarterbacks have essentially handed the game to Ohio State the past two seasons. From Speight’s pick-six that brought the Buckeyes back into the game in 2016 to O’Korn’s ill-advised throw last year, Michigan’s quarterback situation can only improve at this point.

Higdon and Evans are one of the best tandems in the Big Ten

Without a doubt, the combination of J.K. Dobbins and Mike Weber is the best running back tandem in the conference, and maybe in all of the nation. However, Karan Higdon and Chris Evans are one of the most undervalued tandems in college ball.

Last year, Higdon finished with 994 rushing yards only 164 attempts. Higdon would have surely been a 1,000 yard running back if he was given more carries.

Still, Higdon impressed enough to be named Third Team All-Big Ten. He and Evans ran wild on the Buckeyes last year as Higdon averaged 5 yards per carry and Evans averaged 6.1 yards per carry. Despite the tandem’s high averages, they only combined for 22 carries in last year’s contest against the Buckeyes. Feeding this duo could be the answer Harbaugh has been searching for in order to finally take down the Buckeyes.

The Final Verdict

Ohio State should still win this game – they are the favorite in the Big Ten, and have proven time and time again that they can make the big plays when it matters.

Michigan has come close to beating the Buckeyes the past two seasons, but they have shown that they still cannot close the gap. Although the Buckeyes should win this game at home given Michigan’s talented roster in 2018, it would not be surprising if they pulled an upset during the last week of the season.

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Author Details
I am recent graduate of The Ohio State University who is currently following his dream of sports writing. I was born in Wayne, New Jersey and played football in high school all four years. In college I stuck to intramural basketball. Although not much of a scorer, I liked to consider myself a real gritty “bring your lunch pale to work” power forward with playing style being described as a mix between Reggie Evans and Rick Mahorn. I am a lifelong Denver Broncos and New York Yankees fan, a skeptical yet optimistic New Orleans Pelicans fan, and above all else a die hard Ohio State fan. @DSmythTheMyth18
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I am recent graduate of The Ohio State University who is currently following his dream of sports writing. I was born in Wayne, New Jersey and played football in high school all four years. In college I stuck to intramural basketball. Although not much of a scorer, I liked to consider myself a real gritty “bring your lunch pale to work” power forward with playing style being described as a mix between Reggie Evans and Rick Mahorn. I am a lifelong Denver Broncos and New York Yankees fan, a skeptical yet optimistic New Orleans Pelicans fan, and above all else a die hard Ohio State fan. @DSmythTheMyth18

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