COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Ohio State has one of the best offenses in the country. That’s not an opinion, that’s a fact. The Buckeyes rank No. 1 in scoring offense with 49.4 points a game and sixth in total offense with 530.4 yards a game.
Justin Fields ranks fourth in the country in total touchdowns with 43 with 33 of those coming through the air. Here’s a look at all of Fields’ touchdowns this season:
Meanwhile, junior running back J.K. Dobbins is fourth in the country in rushing yards despite missing several second halves due to starters getting rest after the Buckeyes developed significant first-half leads. He also ranks third in school history for most career rushing yards.
So what’s Michigan’s plan to stop Ohio State’s prolific, well-balanced offense?
“Yeah looking at their running backs I mean they’ve been doing this their whole time at Ohio State and every single year they’ve gotten better and better,” Michigan senior defensive lineman Carlo Kemp said. “They’re a team that loves to run the ball and rightfully so, they’ve got really good running backs and we’re going to have to defend that to the best of our ability this week.”
One of those running backs includes Fields who has run for 445 yards and 10 touchdowns this season.
“They have more of a mobile quarterback this year compared to what they had last year with Dwayne Haskins but he’s also a great quarterback,” Michigan senior linebacker Khaleke Hudson said. “You can tell that he’s got a great grasp on their scheme, the type of plays they want to do, who they want to get the ball to. They have a very good offense so we’ve just got to do everything we can to slow them down.”
It’s difficult to compare Fields total passing yards and passing touchdowns to other top quarterbacks because he’s also missed time due to large Ohio State leads. But one category that’s indicative of his talent is his touchdown-to-interception ratio. He has 31 passing touchdowns and just one interception, far and away the best of any quarterback in college football.
“Justin Fields has had a tremendous year playing winning football at all times,” Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh said. “He’ll make the throw and also when there’s a lane he’ll escape and do damage running the football.”
That Team Up North has a capable defense ranking 10th in the country in scoring defense (16.2 points allowed a game) and fourth in total defense (267 yards allowed a game). But this season, the Wolverines lost to two of the best offenses in the Big Ten in Penn State and Wisconsin. Against the Badgers, Michigan gave up a whopping 359 yards rushing including 203 yards to Jonathan Taylor en route to a 35-14 loss. The Wolverines’ defense improved against Penn State but still gave up three passing touchdowns and allowed more than 100 yards receiving to K.J. Hamler.
This is Ryan Day’s first game as head coach against the Wolverines but he has experience in the rivalry. As the offensive coordinator last season, Ohio State scored a record seven touchdowns against TTUN and this offense has shown it’s capable of doing so again against its rival.