UND, Union, Friars, Ferris survive and advance

CINCINNATI – Mark MacMillan was standing his ground in front of the goal when the puck caromed off his side and into the net. His deflection set up an NCAA tournament upset.

MacMillan's goal broke a tie with 1:44 to go, and North Dakota added a pair of open-net goals in the final minute Friday night, pulling away to a 5-2 victory over top-seeded Wisconsin in the NCAA tournament's Midwest Regional semifinals.

No. 3 North Dakota (24-13-3) will face second-seeded Ferris State for the regional title Saturday and a trip to the Frozen Four. Ferris State beat Colgate 1-0 in the other semifinal.

The seven-time national champions got an at-large berth when Wisconsin (24-11-2) beat Ohio State for the Big Ten title, eliminating the Buckeyes. North Dakota then knocked out its longtime rival with three late goals, the most important one coming quite by chance.

Brendan O'Donnell shot from the right wing, and the rising puck hit MacMillan and went past goaltender Joel Rumpel for a 3-2 lead.

"I was just trying to go to the net," MacMillan said. "It just went off my side and bounced into the net. Bit of a lucky one, but we'll take it."

The goal was reviewed to see whether the puck deflected off MacMillan's raised stick or whether he had interfered with Rumpel.

"The ref did come over and say the North Dakota player did not bump your goaltender," Wisconsin coach Mike Eaves said. "It hit him and it went in."

Rocco Grimaldi scored a pair of empty-net goals in the final minute, giving him three goals in the game and ending the latest installment of a long-standing hockey rivalry.

It was the 164th game between the schools. They've met three times in the NCAA tournament, and North Dakota has won all three – 5-2 in the 1982 title game and 3-2 in overtime in a 2008 regional final.

Union 5, Vermont 2

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. – Max Novak and Matt Hatch each scored two goals to help top-seeded Union beat Vermont 5-2 on Friday in the opening game of the NCAA East Regional.

Mat Bodie also scored for Union, which came into the tournament as the nation's top-ranked team for the first time in program history after winning the ECAC tournament for the third straight season. Kevin Sullivan added three assists and Daniel Carr had two for the Dutchman (29-6-4).

Chris McCarthy had two goals for Vermont (20-15-3), which was making its first NCAA appearance since 2010.

Union is 13-0-1 in its past 14 games.

The Catamounts took eight penalties, and Union converted three times on special teams.

The Dutchmen got on the board 4:15 into the game with a short-handed goal. Hatch went almost end-to-end unimpeded, skating down the right half-wall before cutting into the slot and beating goalie Brody Hoffman to the glove side.

"That really got the bench going," Bodie said. "Special teams often dictate who wins, and I thought our special teams did it tonight."

Vermont tied in the period when McCarthy went behind the Union net, threw the puck in front and saw it ricochet back to him for an easy shot past Colin Stevens, who made 23 saves. Hoffman had 34 for Vermont.

Union took the lead back just more than a minute later with a power-play goal. Carr's slap shot rebounded to Sullivan, who found Novak to the left of the goalie. Novak backhanded it into the net from his knees.

Carr played give-and-go with Novak on the power play to give the Dutchman a 3-1 lead in the second. Novak's pass back to Carr hit the stick of Vermont's Yvan Pattyn and into the net.

"We were moving the puck well, but more importantly we were winning the battles down low, and that's a huge component to the power play," Novak said.

Bodie made it 4-1 on a 4-on-1 rush after taking a pass from Sullivan in front of the net.

Vermont cut the deficit to two goals on a backhander by McCarthy at 13:19 of the third. But Hatch got his second goal on an empty net to put the game away.

"Our kids played their hearts out, but just took too many penalties," said Vermont coach Kevin Sneddon, who coached Union from 1999 to 2003.

The Dutchmen, who lost to Quinnipiac in last year's regional championship game in Providence, will face the Friars, winners of Friday's second East Regional game, on Saturday for a berth in the Frozen Four.

"We're very honored to be going to that game," coach Rick Bennett said.

Providence 4, Quinnipiac 0

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. – Jon Gillies made 37 saves, and third-seeded Providence beat second-seeded Quinnipiac 4-0 on Friday night in an NCAA East Region semifinal.

Mark Jankowski, Anthony Florentino, Shane Luke and Trevor Mingoia scored for Providence (22-10-6). The Friars led 1-0 after the first and scored three second-period goals.

That was more than enough with Gillies in net.

"It's unbelievable when you have a goalie like Jon behind you," Jankowski said. "If we bend a little too much, we have Jon back there to help us out."

The Friars will play top-seeded Union on Saturday in the regional championship game. The Dutchmen beat Vermont 5-2 in the first semifinal.

The game will pit Providence coach Nate Leaman against the program he led from 2003 to 2011 and former assistant Rick Bennett, a former Friars star.

"I think once the puck is dropped, I don't think anyone on the ice is going to think about it," Leaman said. "It's one game to see who advances. That's our goal, and there's really nothing that's going to distract me or the team, I think, from that."

Providence is making its first tournament appearance since 2001. It last won an NCAA game during a three-game first-round series with Minnesota in 1991.

Michael Garteig made 22 saves for Quinnipiac, which finished the season 24-10-6, a year after making it to the national championship game.

"It was a different game out there than what we've been used to all year," Quinnipiac coach Rand Pecknold said. "There was a lot of obstruction and hooking and holding, and we've got to find a way to fight through it a little bit better."

Ferris State 1, Colgate 0

CINCINNATI – C.J. Motte got past his rough weekend with an NCAA tournament shutout.

The Ferris State junior goalie turned away 35 shots Friday, making Gerald Mayhew's power-play goal midway through the first period hold up for a 1-0 victory over Colgate in the NCAA tournament regional semifinals.

The second-seeded Bulldogs (29-10-3) advanced to the Midwest Regional final, where they will meet North Dakota, by pulling off their sixth shutout of the season, their fifth with Motte in goal.

The Bulldogs finished the season by giving up eight goals in two games at the WCHA Final Five championship last weekend. Coach Bob Daniels thought it had more to do with leaky defense in front of Motte than with the goalie himself.

Both were solid Friday, repeatedly turning away a Colgate (20-14-5) team that had more shots on goal but couldn't get one to go in.

"He's always good," defenseman Scott Czarnowczan said of his goalie. "He might have been better today."

Motte made two impressive stops during a power play in the third period. He also made a glove save on Spiro Goulakos' slap shot with 1:37 to go. Colgate's Tyson Spink was called for cross checking with 57.9 seconds left, allowing Ferris State to finish it off on a power play.

"We just didn't get a bounce tonight," Goulakos said.

Colgate freshman goaltender Charlie Finn was solid Friday, stopping 26 shots. Mayhew flipped the puck over his leg from in front of the goal for the only score.

Mayhew, a freshman forward, had a pair of goals at the Final Five championship last weekend, including the game winner during a 5-4 victory over Anchorage Alaska.

"He's played well as of late," Daniels said. "Gerald's got a very quick stick. You could see the chances coming more and more."

Once he scored, it was a matter of holding on.

"They played their game," Colgate coach Don Vaughan said. "They did a great job defending the lead when they got it."

 

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UCLA beats Lumberjacks 77-60 to reach Sweet 16

SAN DIEGO – UCLA is back in the Sweet 16 for the primary time in six seasons, a big step in the correct path for a program whose tradition was tarnished in latest seasons.

The Bruins don’t need to stop there.

“We’ve had a good total season but our work is not executed,” sophomore forward Kyle Anderson said Sunday after the Bruins beat Stephen F. Austin seventy seven-60 attain the NCAA match regionals for the first time since 2008. “They don’t hang Sweet 16s up in Pauley.”

No, they don’t. Expectations are always excessive in Westwood because of the eleven nationwide championship banners hanging in Pauley Pavilion, the primary 10 coming below John Wooden and the last one coming in 1995.

The fourth-seeded Bruins (28-8) will play Florida, the tournament’s overall high seed, in the South Regional semifinals on Thursday in Memphis.

“It is a tough turn-round for us and we’re going to play arguably one of the best basketball staff in the nation right now, nevertheless it’s good to see us back in that mix and back in that discussion,” mentioned first-12 months coach Steve Alford, who has won as many NCAA match video games in three days as the Bruins had in the earlier five seasons mixed. “That’s what’s been a whole lot of fun.”

Alford replaced Ben Howland, who was fired a year in the past after the Bruins lost to Minnesota in their NCAA match opener. This is UCLA’s first trip to the regionals since Howland obtained the Bruins to their third straight Ultimate 4 in 2008.

Florida beat UCLA in the national championship game in 2006 and once more in the national semifinals the next season. The Gators also eradicated the Bruins in the second round in 2011.

Jordan Adams scored 19 points, Norman Powell had 16 and Anderson had 15 points and eight rebounds.

“It is an excellent feeling,” Anderson stated. “That is what guys come to UCLA for. A storied program, that is what you need here. We have crushed some good groups recently and now we have got the Florida Gators. That is what I do know Jordan and myself got here to UCLA for. We’re going to have some enjoyable with it.”

The Bruins have gained five straight and seven of eight overall, together with an upset of Arizona, the No. 1 seed in the West, in the Pac-12 match championship game.

“It is a particular factor and we’re wanting forward to subsequent week,” said Alford, who helped Indiana win the 1987 nationwide title. “These two guys to my left have had an terrible lot to do with it,” he said, referring to Adams and Anderson. “Kyle and Jordan have been tremendous all year with their leadership they usually brought and raised the bar for their teammates, and that is a special trait to have.”

Stephen F. Austin (32-three), the No. 12 seed, was held to 35.1 % taking pictures (20 of fifty seven) and had its 29-recreation profitable streak snapped. The Lumberjacks hadn’t lost in exactly 4 months.

SFA coach Brad Underwood stated the Bruins are “going to have an opportunity to advance an actual great distance.”

Thomas Walkup had 22 factors and 11 rebounds for the Lumberjacks while Desmond Haymon had 17 factors and Nikola Gajic added 10. Haymon’s four-point play despatched the Lumberjacks into overtime towards fifth-seeded VCU on Friday evening and SFA received 77-75.

The Lumberjacks hadn’t misplaced since Nov. 23, a 66-58 defeat at East Tennessee State. After Wichita State misplaced to Kentucky to have its 35-recreation successful streak snapped, SFA’s 29-sport streak turned the nation’s longest, for about three hours.

“I am going to say what I advised the workforce – I couldn’t be prouder,” Underwood mentioned. “We didn’t have an amazing year. We had a 12 months for the historical past books… A 29-recreation profitable streak, they do not know how good that really is. That is very, very special.”

The Lumberjacks head back to Nacogdoches, Texas, at the least having earned the first NCAA event victory at school historical past. They’re 1-2 total in two event appearances.

The Lumberjacks stayed with the Bruins via much of the primary half before the mismatch in talent and pedigree grew to become apparent.

The Bruins, in the NCAA match for the 46th time, went on a 12-2 run in simply less than three minutes, starting with a runner in the lane by Alford’s son, Bryce. Alford also had a 3-pointer that helped UCLA take a 32-21 lead with 5:44 left.

Three-pointers by Deshaunt Walker and Haymon closed the gap to 5 points earlier than the Bruins completed the half on a ten-5 run to lead forty two-32. Tony Parker had two layups and Adams a 3-pointer to help preserve the lead in double digits.

Powell, who played at San Diego’s Lincoln Excessive, opened the second half with two large plays, a slam dunk and then a coast-to-coast drive with a behind-the-again transfer followed by a layup for a 46-32 lead.

UCLA had 22 assists and solely three turnovers.

“They annihilated us in transition,” Underwood said. “It is not that they’re just athletic, they’re extraordinarily skilled and really, very unselfish. And so they’re a really effectively-coached basketball crew.”

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Buckeyes’ Meyer admits being ‘awful loser’

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Dropping has never come easy for Ohio Condition coach Urban Meyer, and he could be the first to admit this.

“I’ve never ever, no, I’ve never handled this well. Awful loser, ” Meyer said recently. “I guess I had created rather be known as that compared to as a good loser. ”

Meyer, 49, sees that much of the country views him like a less than gracious loser. He has not had to show it much, nevertheless , as his teams have lost just 24 times in his 12 periods and 152 games as trainer at Bowling Green, Utah, Fl and Ohio State.

Urban MeyerUrban Meyer, who admits in order to being an “awful loser, ” includes a career record of 128-24, will be 7-1 in bowl games, 11-5 against top-10 teams and 4-0 in BCS games.

He says this individual doesn’t care what others consider him or his program. He or she either ignores or is unacquainted with the opinions of those outside of the bubble he’s built around his group.

“Once once again, perception isn’t something that drives myself, ” he said.

The Buckeyes are arriving off a 34-24 loss in order to Michigan State in the Big 10 championship game. The setback price Ohio State the conference overhead and a likely trip to Pasadena plus a spot opposite No . 1 Sarasota State in the BCS title online game. It also ended the Buckeyes’ report 24-game winning streak under Meyer.

“I can tell it was kind of tough regarding him because we all were looking to go to the national championship game, inch linebacker Ryan Shazier said.

The Buckeyes rather will play Clemson in the Orange Dish on Jan. 1 in Arkansas.

After their particular first bowl workout, Meyer collected the players and bared his feelings in what the coach called “a cathartic moment. ”

“He’s obviously the man we look at as a template with regard to how to handle things like this, ” unpleasant lineman Jack Mewhort said. “He came back from a recruiting trip plus came to the middle of the huddle in late practice. He was telling all of us how much he loves us plus everything. That meant a lot in order to us.

“When you hear a guy like that come in plus say things like that, it inspires you to move forward and win an additional game. ”

As difficult as losses are already for Meyer to swallow, he is made an effort to at least value victories more.

“We went on a nice run, and am kept reminding myself through the trip to enjoy this thing, man. Maintain drinking that Kool-Aid, [because] someday you might have an empty cup, ” Meyer said. “You avoid want to live your life always knowing that several pin is going to pop the go up. But I did enjoy every one of all those wins. ”

Information from The Associated Push is included in this report.

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Referee levels Auburn’s Tre Mason during SEC Championship game

Daniel Shirey, USA TODAY Sports

Daniel Shirey, USA AT THE MOMENT Sports

Auburn working back Tre Mason dominated the SEC championship game.

The junior rushed for 303 yards and four touchdowns, averaging 6.7 yards per carry. After this performance, he may very effectively run right into the Heisman dialogue.

Missouri’s defense, which allowed 544 speeding yards, obviously had a tough time containing Mason. So arduous, an official had to take matters into his personal arms and cease Mason himself…accidentally after all!

Via SB Nation

By way of SB Nation

Auburn racked up 676 total yards and beat Mizzou 59-forty two.

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Auburn tops Mizzou in shootout, wins SEC title

Tre Mason Shines In Auburn Earn

ATLANTA – Tre Mason hit a pose – a Heisman Trophy pose.

There's something the Auburn Tigers running back wants even more compared to an individual award.

Mason rushed for 304 back yards and four touchdowns, leading Number 3 Auburn to a wild 59-42 victory over No . 5 Missouri in a Southeastern Conference title major Saturday that looked more like a game.

Auburn (12-1) is likely headed to the VIZIO BCS National Championship after Number 2 Ohio State lost in order to Michigan State 34-24 in the Large Ten championship game. The Tigers are likely headed to Pasadena to face top-ranked Florida State, which routed Fight it out 45-7 in the Atlantic Coast Tournament game.

"We won the SEC championship, inch receiver Sammie Coates said. "What else do you want us to do? inch

Added Builder: "We feel like we beat the very best teams… We feel like we are worthy of to be in the game. "

The Auburn players going off to watch the games that will decide their fate, the Ocean Coast Conference championship in Charlotte now, N. C., and the Big 10 title contest in Indianapolis. When Auburn misses out on the big sport, it will head to the Sugar Dish as the SEC champion.

Missouri (11-2) should be within the mix for a New Year's Day time bowl, with the Capital One, Natural cotton and Outback games among the probable destinations.

"We're playing our best football right now, inch said Auburn coach Gus Malzahn, making his pitch for a visit to Pasadena. "I don't know if every other team can say that. "

Auburn is certainly actively playing its best offensively. The Tigers set an SEC championship report with 677 yards, including 545 on the ground.

Builder had scoring runs of seven, 3 and 1 yards prior to bursting up the middle on a 13-yard TD that clinched the success with 4: 22 remaining. He or she carried the ball a staggering fouthy-six times, an easy choice as the game's MVP. He celebrated by smashing out the familiar Heisman pose, their longshot candidacy getting a huge improve.

"You're taking a look at one of the top running backs within college football, " Malzahn mentioned. "He was a warrior today. Incredible. "

Inside a game where neither team performed a lick of defense, Auburn finally stopped Missouri on fourth-and-1 deep in its own territory, creating Mason's final score. Chris Davis broke up the pass, not quite since thrilling as his 109-yard come back of a missed field goal in order to beat Alabama, but another massive play for the nation's biggest transformation team.

Auburn, which was 3-9 a year ago and did not win a game in the SEC, stated the title in its first season under Malzahn. The Tigers did not even need a dramatic finish to obtain, holding Missouri scoreless in the last quarter while Mason notched 2 more TDs to break open a game title that was close most of the way.

Missouri had its very own impressive bounce-back after struggling the first year in the SEC. Yet coach Gary Pinkel's team had been denied a quick championship in its brand new league after leaving the Big twelve, unable to slow – must much less stop – Auburn's dynamic criminal offense.

"There's a genuine frustration that comes over a person on defense when they're arriving after you over and over and over again, inch Pinkel said. "We had problems stopping it, obviously, and could not get it fixed. "

James Franklin passed with regard to 303 yards and three touchdowns, while Dorial Green-Beckham hauled within six passes for 144 back yards and a couple of scores. Missouri collected 534 yards – the groups combined for 1, 211 back yards in a conference supposedly known for protection – but it wasn't nearly sufficient against Auburn's hurry-up spread.

Coming into the game, Missouri was one of the top teams within the nation against the run and rated second in the SEC behind The state of alabama. The most yards they had given up on the earth was 184 the previous week within a victory over 2012 Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel and Tx A&M.

Builder had more yards than that will in the first half, putting up 195 by the time he trotted to the locker room and just 6 yards from the SEC championship game record. He or she broke the mark set simply by LSU's Justin Vincent in the year 2003 on the second play of the 2nd half – and kept directly on going from there.

"I've never had holes that will big to run through, " Builder said, crediting the guys in the ditches. "No one expected 300 back yards. I didn't expect it. inch

Quarterback Computer chip Marshall shook off two earlier fumbles, one of which Missouri came back for a touchdown.went for 101 yards and a landing and passed for 132 back yards and another score.

The lead changed fingers seven times. Missouri's last gasp was Franklin's 5-yard touchdown operate, followed by a two-point conversion, that will closed the gap to 45-42 heading to the final period. But Auburn dominated the final 15 minutes behind the particular play of Mason.

Late in the game, when Auburn had finally wrapped it up, Builder got a hug on the sideline through Auburn's greatest back, Bo Knutson.

"He's among the better players ever to wear a good Auburn helmet, " Malzahn stated, referring to Mason, not Bo.

"Thanks, coach, inch Mason said.

Information from The Associated Push was used in this report.

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Pinkel Remains with Missouri

Gary Pinkel Staying At Missouri

 

Missouri coach Gary Pinkel put to rest any kind of speculation about his future Thursday night, saying that he plans on staying with the particular No . 5 Tigers.

Pinkel, who has been rumored to be a candidate for Washington's coaching openings after Steve Sarkisian left with regard to USC, told "Mike and Mike" on ESPN Radio that he defintely won't be returning to his coaching roots.

"I coached right now there [Washington] for twelve years, and Don James is definitely my mentor, " said Pinkel, who was an assistant with the Huskies from 1979 to 1990. "I'll be quite frank: I'm residing at the University of Missouri. I actually, with the administration's help, will carry on and build a national program in a pursuit of a national championship.

"I'm a Missouri Gambling, and I'm going to stay a Missouri Tiger. "

Pinkel, who has been the trainer at Missouri since 2001, provides guided the Tigers to the SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION'S championship game in just their 2nd season in the conference. Missouri (11-1, 7-1) captured the SEC Eastern title and will play No . three or more Auburn on Saturday for a BCS bowl berth – possibly within the championship game.

He is 101-62 with the Tigers and it is tied with Don Faurot for many wins in Mizzou history.

Pinkel was a limited end for James at Kent State, then joined James' staff members after his playing days had been over. He left Washington to be coach at Toledo, where he a new 73-37-3 record from 1991 in order to 2000.

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Fisher: Winston status shouldn’t sway voters

Tough Decision For Heisman Voters

 

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher said Jameis Winston’s nebulous legal status should not factor into voters’ evaluation of the Seminoles, who are ranked atop the BCS standings for the first time in 14 years.

While the debate about which teams should travel to Pasadena for the BCS national championship reached a fever pitch in the wake of Auburn’s stunning upset of Alabama this past weekend, the Seminoles’ perch at No. 1 may be precarious because of Winston’s ongoing legal situation.

“We’ve went undefeated,” Fisher said. “It’s up (to) them what they do, but I don’t think that should be in consideration.”

The investigation into Winston’s role in an alleged sexual assault is in its third week, and a resolution on whether the star quarterback will be charged with a crime may not be made until the final round of BCS standings are released, state attorney Willie Meggs said last week.

Florida State rules require any student-athlete charged with a felony are ineligible for competition, except in “extraordinary” circumstances, meaning voters may need to cast ballots without knowing whether Winston will be available for the national championship game.

Florida State is 12-0 and a four-touchdown favorite in this week’s ACC Championship Game against Duke. Fisher said that if the Seminoles finish undefeated, they deserve a chance to play for a national title – regardless of Winston’s status.

“It’s a team sport,” Fisher said. “We’re not a one-man team.”

Fisher stopped short of saying voters should reward any undefeated team with a trip to the BCS championship game, however.

Jameis Winston

Jameis Winston has passed for 3,490 yards and 35 touchdowns this season, making him a front-running contender for the Heisman Trophy.

Both Florida State and Ohio State are 12-0, but No. 3 Auburn and No. 5 Missouri – both with one loss – could end the season with a more impressive slate of wins. Measuring an undefeated team with a weaker schedule against a one-loss team with a cache of impressive wins is up to each voter, Fisher said.

“If I was undefeated, it would upset me very much if someone jumped me,” he said. “But at the same time, if I felt our one-loss team was better – I understand both sides of that. But that’s not for me to decide.”

But Fisher will have a chance to decide on his own ballot in the USA Today Coaches’ poll, which makes up one-third of the BCS formula. He stopped short of saying he wouldn’t put a one-loss team ahead of an undefeated team on his final ballot.

“It has nothing to do with one loss,” Fisher said. “I rate who I think is the best team, who I think is No. 2, No. 3 and No. 4. Who they played on the field and how they did it – that’s how I rank them. That’s my criteria.”

Whether Winston’s legal status factors into the criteria of other voters remains to be seen, and the same is true of the redshirt freshman’s place in the Heisman Trophy race. Voters must submit their final ballots for that award by 5 p.m. on Dec. 9.

“I think Jameis is one of the most outstanding players in the country,” Fisher said. “Other people have outstanding players, and that’s not for me to judge. But I’ll say this: I’m glad he’s on my team.”

 

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NCAA Prediction Week 14 College Football Game Preview/Pick- #3 Ohio State vs. Michigan

ohio-state-michigan-football

NCAA Free Pick and Prediction

 

#3 Ohio State Buckeyes (11-0) @ Michigan Wolverines (7-4) 11/30- 12:00PM EST

 

Line: OSU -16.0

Over/Under: 57.0

 

This Saturday afternoon for the 110th time, No. 3 Ohio State and Michigan will get it on in Michigan’s “Big House,” in Ann Arbor and for players who are new to the rivalry…. This is what it’s all about… the best is saved for last.

 

Buckeyes’ defensive lineman Noah Spence was unaware just how big until he set foot on the Ohio State campus and got a taste of it.

 

It’s a huge rivalry even if you are a guy from out of state like me,” Spence said. “It’s everything.”

 

Stakes will be high for the Buckeyes (11-0, 7-0 Big Ten) ranked third in all the major polls and looking for No. 2 Florida State or No 1 Alabama to slip up and get into the BCS national championship game.

 

Ohio State, winners of a school record 23 straight has already earned a shot in the Big Ten championship, which is nice, but there’s another championship they are after… and the Wolverines would love nothing more then to stop them from earning a trip to Pasadena.

 

But this is a Michigan team that has been both sides of the spectrum this season, starting out 5-0 to begin the season and enjoying a No. 11 ranking suddenly hit a wall and have now lost three of their last four.

 

Scoring points of late as been an Achilles Heal of the Michigan offense. Last Saturday at Iowa, they were shutout in the second half of a 24-21 loss and in losses to Nebraska and Michigan State were held to 13 and 6 points.

 

Head coach Brady Hoke of the Wolverines (7-4, 3-4) says he’s confident his football team will turn it around at home against their biggest rival.

 

This game has always been different in some ways,” Hoke said. “Are they a good football team? Do we have to play better than we’ve played? I don’t think there’s any doubt.”

 

The Buckeyes have been on a roll lighting up the scoreboard in their last four games averaging 55.3 points and 597.0 yards, which has made them big favorites at a (minus) -16.0 on the road and with lines always changing, check back here at Wonder Punter for the up to minute spread until game time.

 

Ohio State has a powerful running game led by quarterback Braxton Miller and Carlos Hyde to the tune of 314.7 yards per game… good for fifth in the nation.

 

All the focus will be on Hyde, who over the last six games has been on fire averaging 8.1 yards per attempt… good for 938 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns to boot.

 

Miller is another threat having run for 144 yards last Saturday and the week before rushing for 184 at Illinois.

 

It’s just striving for the best,” Miller said. “We ended the season 12-0 last year and we weren’t able to play in a bowl game or the Big Ten championship game (because of NCAA sanctions). That’s what we are striving for. (We want to) accomplish that and keep going forward, keep winning games and just make Ohio State proud.”

 

For Michigan to give the Buckeyes a fight and have a chance to upset them, Wolverine quarterback Devin Gardner needs to regain his form and put up some good numbers. Against Indiana, he accounted for 584 yards of offense with 503 of it through the air back on Oct. 19. However, in the four games since, he has averaged only 182.5 yards passing.

 

For the season, Gardner has a passing percentage of 58.7 with 2,509 yards passing with 17 touchdowns, but with eleven interceptions. Michigan will need his arm because the running game is nowhere to be found in the month of November.

 

He’s had some really good moments and some moments that he would rather redo if he could,” Hoke said. “I think we all of have that; I do as a head coach. There are always moments that you think about and say, ‘Maybe we should’ve done this.’ He’s been pretty resilient. He’s a guy who comes to work every day to get ready to play.”

 

Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer won his first rivalry game last year 26-21 avenging a Buckeyes loss the year before.

 

I have great respect for this rivalry—it almost makes me in awe,” Meyer said. “The respect we have come with incredible responsibility that sometimes can be overwhelming (when it comes) to what we have to do next week. So we take it very seriously.”

 

Ohio State has won eight out of the last nine meetings with the Wolverines, but despite their success, if they don’t win on Saturday against their most hated rivals… it means nothing.

 

This is the whole season, really,” safety C.J. Barnett said. “Everything is out the window, records, everything we’ve done, haven’t done—it’s all about this week.’

 

The Buckeyes defense goes in allowing only 18.4 points per game to compliment an offense averaging 48.7 points per game. Michigan is yielding 25.1 points per contest, while averaging 33.1 on the scoreboard.

 

And with that said, I see no let down from the Buckeyes on Saturday as they know they have a shot for something more then just a Big Ten title.

 

PICK: Ohio State

 

 

By Mario Martinez- Wonder Punter