Jim Harbaugh of the University of Michigan updates his QB status before Ohio State. Nick Baumgardner, Detroit Free Press
Michigan's Jim Harbaugh and Ohio State's Urban Meyer will fight for the third time on Saturday. (Photo: Eric Seals, DFP)
Michigan Wolverines 8-3 (5-3 Big Ten) vs. No. 8 Ohio State Buckeyes 9-2 (7-1)
When : noon, Saturday.  Where : Michigan Stadium; Ann Arbor
TV / radio: Fox (Channel 2 in Detroit); WWJ-AM 950, WTKA-AM (1050), MGoBlue.com.
Line : Buckeyes by 12.
►Listen to the last episode of The Michigan Rant, with Nick Baumgardner  Injury Report
Michigan : Out : WR Tarik Black (foot); DL Donovan Jeter (lower body). Questionable : Field marshal Brandon Peters (concussion), CB Lavert Hill (concussion), Field marshal Wilton Speight (neck), TE Nick Eubanks (head); DL Luiji Vilain (lower body), RB Ty Isaac (undisclosed), WR Nico Collins (leg).
State of Ohio : Outside : G Branden (leg). Questionable : LB Dante Booker (concussion). Probable : DB Jordan Fuller (leg).
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Michigan defensive coordinator Don Brown talks about the challenge of facing JT The Barrett and the Buckeyes offense, and explains the process of preparing a young defense. Recorded on Wednesday, November 22, 2017. Nick Baumgardner, Detroit Free Press
When Michigan has the ball: A lot depends on who Michigan has the center on Saturday. Brandon Peters was still on the concussion protocol as of Wednesday and Wilton Speight had not received full contact authorization. If none can leave, that means it will be up to John O'Korn, who lost his job to Peters a month ago, to get a big surprise. Regardless of the quarterback, however, Michigan's offensive line has to show that it can play well against a good team if the Wolverines want any hope. Ohio State ranks second in the Big Ten in tackles per loss (88) and has eight sacks in the last two weeks. Defensive linemen Nick Bosa, Tyquan Lewis and Sam Hubbard have combined to make 11 1/2 sacks this season and Ohio State has retained six of its eight Big Ten enemies less than three yards per carry on the ground. Michigan will have to protect its quarterback and find a way to be better than the 1.57 yards per carry he generated last week in Wisconsin.
Ohio Field Marshal J.T. Barrett is a dual threat. (Photo: Aaron Doster, USA TODAY Sports)
When Ohio State has the ball: This is, once again, one of the best offensive units in college football. Senior J.T. Barrett has thrown for 2,698 yards and 32 touchdowns. He has run for 605 yards and 8 touchdowns. Corrientes J.K. Dobbins and Mike Weber combined to run for 1,694 yards and 14 touchdowns. Add it all up and the OSU offensive ranks number 4 nationwide with 546.2 yards per game. Buckeyes can beat teams at all levels: in the power game, with the quarterback running and on top. The only problem has been Barrett's seven interceptions, but he's usually compensated for his mistakes. The Buckeyes' version of a failure was 350 and 371 yards a day against Oklahoma and Iowa, both defeats. The turnovers have been his only real problem, since the Buckeyes gave five laps in those losses to the Sooners and Hawkeyes.
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Meet the enemy
One more for Barrett: Believe it or not, Barrett will not be able to participate after this season. Saturday will be Barrett's fourth start against Michigan, something rarely seen in this series (although Meyer's other quarterback, Braxton Miller, made three). Barrett's aerial numbers against Michigan have gone up and down, but he has run for 353 yards and six touchdowns in this series. His feet have been the X factor. Michigan has done a good job to take the pbad, but Barrett's ability to make first attempts and make big plays with his feet played an important role in his 3-0 record against the Wolverines.
Michigan linebacker Devin Bush deflects a pbad against Maryland on November 11. (Photo: Brad Mills USA TODAY Sports)
1-2-3 punch: This will be a three-headed ground attack for the Buckeyes on Saturday. Barrett is flanked by Dobbins and Weber, a former Cbad Tech standout. Dobbins rushed for 1,089 yards on 149 carries (7.3 per try) as a freshman. Weber has appeared lately after a slow start, picking up 270 of his 545 yards in the last two games. Dobbins is lightning, one of the fastest backups of the conference. Weber is not far behind either. It should not be surprising that OSU leads the Big Ten with 26 rushes of 20 yards or more.
Covering the tight end: Iowa gave the Ohio State fit earlier this month with its tight end pbad attack. The best Michigan options to catch pbades? The tight end The abundance depends on the quarterback and how well he is protected, but there could be an opportunity for the Wolverines if they can establish a running game. The closed wings of Iowa Noah Fant and T.J. Hockenson combined for nine receptions, 125 yards and four touchdowns against OSU. Iowa also ran for 243 yards in that game, becoming a balanced offense. The statistics hidden? Iowa allowed one sack and only three tackles for the loss. For Michigan, everything will start from the beginning.
Repair it: If there's paint on the walls inside the Michigan offensive line room, there should not be. Front five of the Wolverines has now seen two different quarterbacks leave the games and head to the hospital. That is unacceptable. At some point, enough has to be enough. Say what you want about the quarterback in Ann Arbor, but until the offensive line can show the ability to keep a man standing for more than two seconds at a time, nothing else will matter. It's a good time for many people in this soccer team, but the offensive line comes first.
A recipe : Michigan has to play its best game of the season defensively and hope that its offense can do something. Which, in the end, seems to be the team's only recipe for success on Saturday. The Wolverines are going to have to take more time than they did against Penn State and Wisconsin. This group has been very good throughout the season, but it has to be lights against the Buckeyes. There are no big plays, it creates turnovers whenever possible, there are no long drives. It's a lot to ask, but the Wolverines do not have many options.
If Peters were healthy and his offensive line showed the ability to keep him clean, he would give Michigan a shot. But none seems to be true. The Wolverines will undoubtedly empty their tank on Saturday. They will give Ohio State everything they have. They can even scare the Buckeyes. But there is not enough evidence proven in 2017 to suggest that it is enough.