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Published: Saturday, 11/24/2012

5 reasons Michigan beats Ohio State

BY RACHEL LENZI
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

■ 1. Michigan has a quarterback in Devin Gardner, and it has a slasher in Denard Robinson. Gardner has all but proven to be Robinson’s successor in the huddle in his last three games while Robinson showed, after a two-game absence, against Iowa that he could run or catch the ball, thereby adding another dimension to Michigan’s offense.

■ 2. The Rose Bowl is out of the picture for the Wolverines after Nebraska defeated Iowa on Friday to win the Legends Division title. Yet the Wolverines still have two incentives: Run the table in November and spoil Ohio State’s otherwise perfect season — though there hasn’t been much chatter about that point in the Michigan camp.

■ 3. If the Wolverines are strategic, Michigan will capitalize on its passing game against the Buckeyes, whose pass defense is 11th in the Big Ten — and matching up against the Wolverines, who, while sixth in the Big Ten in passing, have accrued 834 yards in the air in their last three games. By comparison, they’ve only averaged 162.3 yards on the ground in that same time.

■ 4. Despite losing 21-14 in overtime last weekend at Wisconsin manhandled Ohio State, holding its offense to 236 yards (including 139 rushing) and providing a defensive blueprint of sorts for the Wolverines. The key will be to contain the run.

■ 5. Ohio State has played in too many games that have gone down to the wire — in fact, three of the Buckeyes’ last five games have been decided either in overtime or have been secured in the final two minutes of regulation (notably a 52-49 win Oct. 13 at Indiana). Michigan has the last chance of the regular season to close the door on the Buckeyes.



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