ANN ARBOR—Week in and week out the Michigan defense has kept a sputtering offense in football games in 2013.
Last week at Iowa Michigan picked off quarterback Jake Rudock three times, the first time the Wolverines have had three interceptions in a game since a 28-24 win at Notre Dame in 2010.
The Hawkeyes first play from scrimmage resulted in six points going the other way on a beautifully timed blitz by Jake Ryan that set up a Brennen Beyer touchdown.
Not good enough.
In the second half, Iowa found success on the ground and through the air as the Wolverines gave up 17 unanswered points on their way to a loss in Iowa City.
“I was disappointed that we gave up that lead,” defensive coordinator Greg Mattison said. “That’s not what our defense tries to do. No matter what happens we have to hold onto it.
“But moving forward, we’ve got to go get this one.”
This one, the only one, that Mattison refers to is the 11-0 Ohio State Buckeyes ready to make the trip to Ann Arbor in hopes of enhancing their national title hopes while keeping their 23-game winning streak intact.
Lead by quarterback Braxton Miller, the Ohio State offense is averaging over 300 yards per game on the ground and just over 200 yards through the air on their way to putting up just under 50-points per game.
“Braxton Miller is a great football player,” Mattison said. “I’m very, very impressed with his development. He’s becoming a complete quarterback. He not only is a tremendous athlete but he’s got a very good arm and he’s making a lot of great decisions.
“He’s going to be a great challenge. That’s why they are who they are. He’s really done a great job.”
In just eight starts senior running back Carlos Hyde has already accumulated 1,064 yards of his own to go with 13 touchdowns, averaging a staggering 7.7 yards per carry.
“I believe the running back is the best running back in the league,” Mattison said of Hyde. “He’s downhill, hardnosed running back that can catch the ball that can do it all.
“They’ve got the quarterback and they’ve got the running back, that’s a pretty good start.”
Ohio State’s lowest offensive output this season was in a 31-24 win over Wisconsin back in September.