COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — The second-greatest Ohio State-Michigan rivalry returns Wednesday — and the Buckeyes are out for blood.

The annual blood drive competition between Ohio State University and the University of Michigan begins Wednesday and runs through Nov. 23, including at the Schottenstein Center. The university, in partnership with blood donation organization Versiti, will host four dozen drives before the Buckeyes face off against the Wolverines on Nov. 26.

Versiti and Ohio State hope to collect 1,500 units of blood — enough to help up to 4,500 patients. All of Ohio State’s donations will benefit the Wexner Medical Center at Ohio State, according to a news release.

Ohio State last won the competition in 2017. In 2021, Michigan outdonated Ohio State by 501 pints of blood, according to the Blood Battle website.

“Since the pandemic, the blood industry has been in a nationwide struggle,” said Heidi Seitz, regional manager of donor recruitment at Versiti. She said donations have gone down since COVID-19 began spreading in 2020 — and they still haven’t recovered the numbers.

Blood transfusions help patients after serious injuries, major surgeries and childbirth and are also used in cancer and blood disorder treatments. A person’s pint of can help up to three patients, Seitz said.

But in cases of serious blood loss — not uncommon at level I trauma centers like the Wexner Medical Center — Seitz said blood from as many as 30 donors is sometimes needed for a single patient.

As the holiday season approaches — which normally sees lower-than-average blood donation — Seitz said it’s important to maintain the Wexner center’s blood supply.

“There is no substitute for blood,” Seitz said. “That’s why blood donations are so important.”

Someone needs a blood transfusions every two seconds in the U.S., according to America’s Blood Centers. More than 25% of the nation’s blood supply is used for cancer treatment.

People who donate Wednesday will have a chance to win tickets to the Ohio State-Indiana game Nov. 12. They’ll also receive a T-shirt and a $5 gift card to Roosters, according to a press release.

Prospective donors are encouraged to sign up for appointments, but walk-ins are welcome from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Schottenstein Center’s Northeast Rotunda at 5555 Borror Dr. Donors should bring identification and complete this health history questionnaire online before arriving.

A full list of Blood Battle donation drives is on Versiti’s website.