With a high-powered running offense led by junior quarterback Denard Robinson awaiting Ohio State in Ann Arbor, Mich., the Buckeyes will lose to Michigan for the first time since Nov. 22, 2003.
After a game that was predicted to be a defensive struggle against Penn State on Saturday, the scoring was high and the defense was almost non-existent in the first half. OSU allowed 20 points in the first half to a PSU squad that, going into the game, was averaging just 21 points a game on offense. In all, OSU did not let up any points in the second half.
In four Big Ten games this year against Wisconsin, Iowa, Indiana and Illinois, PSU was averaging only 13.25 points per game.
Next week, against a ranked Michigan squad that is averaging more than 32 points per game, the Buckeye defense will be tested on the ground more than they have been the entire year. PSU ran the ball for 239 averaging 6.1 yards per carry.
With numbers like that, against a quarterback that has picked up more than 850 yards on the ground this year, OSU’s defense will struggle to slow down the run game.
Historically, the Buckeyes defense is one of the best in the nation. This year, there are several holes in this defense. The loss of senior defensive lineman Nathan Williams, the poor play by the safeties and the loss of senior linebacker Andrew Sweat are all compounding upon one of the weakest defensive units the Buckeyes have fielded in several years.
Expect Robinson to run for more than 200 yards, to score more than three touchdowns, to be responsible for the Buckeyes first loss to the team up north since 2003.
The record of 6-6 is an extreme possibility at this point for the Buckeyes. The last time the Buckeyes went 6-6 on the season? The year was 1999 under former coach John Cooper.
This year has the makings to end in similar fashion. The No. 20-ranked Wolverine squad will look to improve to 10-2 next week against a battered Buckeye defense.