“I thought that we started to crack the rock the last few weeks as far as playing good defense, elimination of big plays, and obviously it was not good,” Meyer said. “So we’re not blaming people, whether it be missed tackle, alignment, scheme, whatever it is. It’s a matter of getting ready for this one.”
Michigan is a defense-first squad, first in the nation in yards allowed per game (234.8) and fourth in scoring (13.5 points per game), but coach Jim Harbaugh’s Wolverines have more than enough offense to take advantage of the Buckeyes if they aren’t on top of their game.
Unless the top of their game just isn’t very impressive this season.
Here are four more subplots for The Game:
1. Ohio Stadium is the last stop on Michigan’s “Revenge Tour.”
The Wolverines have been using that rallying cry since they stomped Wisconsin 38-13 in mid-October.
Michigan went on to dominate Michigan State 21-7 a week later then blew out Penn State 42-7 for a third straight win over a team that beat the Wolverines last season.
That leaves only the Buckeyes, though the playing status of the man who coined the term is unknown heading into The Game.
Senior defensive end Chase Winovich leads the Wolverines with 13.5 tackles for loss, but he left last week’s win over Indiana with an upper body injury. Harbaugh has been coy about whether or not he will be able to play Saturday.
Here is what you need to know about the first 114th years of Ohio State-Michigan, including the last time the Buckeyes were within 8 games in the series count #TheGamehttps://t.co/CHAxY98Keb
Eleven more Wolverines hail from Ohio, including Lakota West offensive lineman Nolan Ulizio.
Ohio State has four players from Michigan, including two from Detroit Cass Tech: Running back Mike Weber and offensive lineman Josh Alabi. Starting center Michael Jordan is from Canton while backup long snapper Bradley Robinson is from Troy.
3. Running back Karan Higdon guaranteed victory for Michigan on Saturday.
He needed some prodding from a reporter but went on the record nonetheless.
When asked if he would following in the footsteps of Harbaugh, who guaranteed (and delivered) a victory over Ohio State in 1986 when he was the quarterback for the Wolverines, Higdon replied, “Yeah, I do. That’s how I feel.”
“I believe firmly in my brothers and this team and this coaching staff, and as a captain, I’ll take that stand. Why not?”
If the Buckeyes were upset, they didn’t let it show during interviews during the week.
“That’s cool, that’s good to hear that from him,” Ohio State defensive lineman Dre’Mont Jones said with a smile when told about what Higdon had said. “I like his confidence.”
4. Upsets have been a hallmark of the Ohio State-Michigan series, but the higher-ranked team has won every game since 2005.
Historically, Meyer has been one to pounce on any outside slight to motivate his team — never more famously than in preparing his No. 2 Florida team to thrash No. 1 Ohio State for the 2006 national championship — but he didn’t sound eager to play up the Buckeyes’ role as underdogs this time around.
“I don’t think I will,” he said. “I don’t usually go in those directions when — depends on what kind of team you’re dealing with. One side is about getting everybody healthy; one side is about getting confidence and playing your very best in the biggest game of the year.”