Sunday, May 20, 2018
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5 reasons Ohio State beats Michigan

■ 1. These Buckeyes just win, baby. Evoking shades of the 2002 national championship team that will be honored between the first and second quarter, their overtime escape at Wisconsin last week in a game they statistically lost was the latest in a line of heart-trembling wins. Ohio State finds a way. Why stop now?

■ 2. A perfect season achieved under the pall of a postseason ban would be remembered among the greatest years in program history, and the players know it. So does first-year coach Urban Meyer, who just happens to live for showdowns like this. Meyer’s teams are 21-3 in alleged rivalry games — and none come bigger than The Game. (Bowling Green was 1-1 against Toledo; Utah was 4-0 against Utah State and BYU; and Florida was 16-2 against Florida State, Tennessee, and Georgia.)

■ 3. Ohio State will have the best player on the field. Though stalled at Wisconsin, quarterback Braxton Miller could punch his ticket to the Big Apple as a Heisman Trophy finalist with a strong finale. The dynamic sophomore, who has accounted for 27 touchdowns this season, gave UM fits last year. Miller threw for 235 yards and a two scores and ran for 100 yards in his rivalry debut.

■ 4. Miller, tailback Carlos Hyde, and an offense averaging 245 rushing yards per game — fourth-most among BCS schools — will pile up yards against a pedestrian Michigan front. The Wolverines’ rush defense ranks 52nd nationally at 151.3 yards per game.

■ 5. Led by sophomore linebacker Ryan Shazier, a Big Ten defensive player of the year candidate, the OSU defense will not be pushed around like it was in the a 40-34 loss to UM last year. Once maligned, the veteran unit is healthy and coming off two of its top performances.

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