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Michigan vs. Ohio State Score Predictions by MLive’s Beat Authors

Michigan’s football team had been favorites in each of their first 11 games this season.

That all changed this week ahead of Saturday’s clash of the top three in Columbus. Either the third-place Wolverines or the No. 2 Ohio State’s undefeated season ends while the winner pots their ticket to Indianapolis to play for the Big Ten championship.

Michigan suffered an eight-game losing streak in the rivalry behind a punishing run game last year, but it has lost eight straight games in Columbus. Can it end another long drought this year?

A Michigan MLive Beat reporter thinks so. The three Beat reporters picked the Wolverines to win in every game this year, but this week’s matchup marks the first time all season that there hasn’t been a consensus between them are. Here are their predictions:

Ryan Zuke

Michigan quarterback JJ McCarthy said this week that it feels like the stars are aligning ahead of Saturday’s matchup for the Wolverines. The stars align for them last year as they executed a near-perfect game plan in a 42-27 win in Ann Arbor. But that was with a healthy Hassan Haskins and Blake Corum leading the ball and a dominant passing rush led by Aidan Hutchinson and David Ojabo.

Head coach Jim Harbaugh has praised his “No Star” defense all season, and rightly so. It’s no coincidence that they lead the country in total defense in 11 games that year, even against a weak schedule. But Michigan will need some of its players to play like stars on Saturday. CJ Stroud is still behind center and again has a plethora of weapons to throw at, even without a healthy Jaxon Smith-Njigba. Wolverines leader Mike Morris missed last week’s game with an injury, and the team’s passing rush essentially vanished against Illinois. It takes a healthy Morris to have a chance on Saturday because Stroud could have a feast after Thanksgiving if Michigan can’t reach him.

OSU will score, and I don’t think Michigan can keep up down the road without a healthy Corum and Edwards. Prediction: Ohio State 38, Michigan 27

Andrew Kahn

For weeks, it seemed inevitable that two unbeaten teams would play in Columbus this Saturday. And this isn’t the first time I’ve thought about my prediction. For a while I was confident Michigan could repeat its game plan from a year ago.

Then happened last week. Forget Michigan almost lost to Illinois. Ohio State almost lost to Maryland. Both not. Of far more concern for Michigan were the injuries. Ohio State had some too.

My result prediction below assumes both teams are at or close to full strength. This is more of a wish than a prediction. These teams have been so good all year. It would be a shame if they weren’t at their best on Saturday.

Regardless, I still think Michigan is better than Ohio State. And that’s enough to offset a hostile environment, Stroud versus Harrison, and the Buckeyes’ years of anger at Michigan having the audacity to actually win a game in that rivalry. Prediction: Michigan 34, Ohio State 33

Aaron McMann

Given the uncertainty of running back for Michigan, I’m genuinely surprised that number hasn’t gone the other way. Even if Blake Corum and Donovan Edwards play on Saturday I don’t expect them to be anywhere near their full strength. And that should hurt the Wolverines’ run-heavy offense. Michigan struggled against Illinois in the second half last week and I envision a similar scenario against the Buckeyes. \

Throw in the lack of real testing for the Michigan defense this year, and I’m skeptical about their ability to slow down CJ Stroud and Ohio State’s explosive pass attack. Barring a big game of big game from Corum and Edwards (and I don’t think that’s likely given their health) and a Herculean effort from JJ McCarthy, I expect the Buckeyes to win this game by 10+ points. Prediction: Ohio State 34, Michigan 24

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