Perhaps the biggest mismatch in The Game, at least on paper, is the Michigan football defensive front against the Ohio State offensive line.
Though the OL for the Buckeyes isn’t exactly a slouch, the Wolverine front has been dominant. Susceptible on pass protection to stunts and twists,
left tackle Josh Simmons, center Carson Hinzman, and right tackle Josh Fryar have a lot of plays they have back.
Of course, pass rush is crucial regardless of opponent, but given that first-year OSU starting quarterback Kyle McCord has the worst in conference PFF grade when under pressure,
it will be that much more paramount for the Michigan defenders to get home. Senior tackle Kris Jenkins shared his thoughts on the matchup on Tuesday evening.
“To be fair, we always feel pressure to get pressure,” Jenkins said. “Because we always try to make plays and get pressure and affect the QBs game.
But obviously, we also trust our guys in the back, but they’re going to do their thing because we got some dogs there, too.
So it’s gonna be a great matchup. And we’re looking forward to how it should go.”
Michigan put a premium on particularly finding ways to get pressure from the interior line — something that’s eluded the Wolverines since 2017 when Mo Hurst was an All-American.
Though Ohio State is more stout at the guard positions than at center and tackle, Jenkins is pleased with how he, Mason Graham, Kenneth Grant, Cam Goode, and Rayshaun Benny have come along.
That fivesome, along with edges Josaiah Stewart, Jaylen Harrell, Derrick Moore, and Braiden McGregor,
have a real opportunity to change the game on Saturday. And that’s due to having put in the effort in the offseason.
“I definitely think we’re accomplishing our goal,” Jenkins said. “You’ve seen a lot of guys on our side of the ball step up, make a lot of strides not just rushing as one but rushing as a unit.
If we definitely get pass rush back there, that can affect the game, affect any QB. So we’re looking forward to playing our best game on Saturday.”