Michigan-Ohio State Preview Capsule

The Associated Press Published:

No. 20 Michigan (8-3, 6-1) at No. 4 Ohio State (11-0, 7-0), noon Saturday (ABC)

Line: Ohio State by 3.5.

Series Record: Michigan leads 58-43-6.

WHAT'S AT STAKE

Ohio State can clinch only the sixth unbeaten, untied season in its 123 years of football with a win, while preserving an outside shot at an Associated Press poll championship. The Buckeyes have already won the Big Ten's leaders division, but their season ends on Saturday because of NCAA sanctions. Michigan can still play in the Big Ten title game against Nebraska with a win and a loss by Nebraska at Iowa, and can also get into a better bowl game with a win.

KEY MATCHUP

Ohio State QB Braxton Miller vs. the Michigan defense. The Wolverines are No. 1 in the nation in pass defense, giving up just 152 yards a game -- and are 51st against the run at 151 yards a game. Miller looked bewildered at times last week in an overtime win at Wisconsin by the Badgers' defense, which kept him pinched behind the line of scrimmage and always seemed to have someone in his face. A repeat performance and it'll be difficult for the Buckeyes to escape once again with a season-saving win.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Michigan: QB Devin Gardner accounted for six TDs in a rout of Iowa last week. He has come into his own in recent weeks for the injured Denard Robinson (nerve damage to his elbow) who probably can't throw the ball but will see action at several positions. The loss of last year's leading rusher, Fitzgerald Toussaint (broken leg), makes it even more of a Gardner and Robinson production.

Ohio State: LBs Etienne Sabino, Ryan Shazier and Zach Boren have had solid seasons, Boren after switching over from starting FB. It'll be up to them to contain Michigan's dual threats on offense and key a Buckeyes defense which has been at its best when most needed.

FACTS & FIGURES

Ohio State had won the last seven meetings (the 2010 victory was vacated) before Michigan's 40-34 win in Ann Arbor last season -- a game the Buckeyes, who finished a woeful 6-7, could easily have won with a late TD. ... Michigan is 18-0 under second-year head coach Brady Hoke when scoring 20 or more points, 1-5 when under 20. The Buckeyes give up 23 points a game. ... Ohio State will honor its 2002 national championship team (14-0) during the game. Jim Tressel, who committed the major NCAA violations which led to this year's bowl ban, will be on hand along with TB Maurice Clarett, who starred for one college season before being ruled ineligible for accepting improper benefits. ... The Wolverines gave the Buckeyes their first loss in 1969, '95 and '96.