Troy Smith: You can't stop him, you can only hope to contain him
Ohio State QB Troy Smith (Spring '06 grad/Senior) has enjoyed considerable success during the previous two M/OSU games during which he led the Buckeyes to victories. In 2004, Smith rushed for 145 yards and a TD while passing for 241 yards and 2 more touchdowns. He devastated Michigan's defense again in 2005 when he passed for 300 yards and a touchdown while he rushed for 37 yards and another score. This season the Wolverines' defense, now coached by defensive coordinator Ron English, must find a way to contain Smith in the pocket. It is interesting to note that Smith has not been scrambling out of the pocket as much this season. On the year, Smith has posted the following numbers through eleven games:
170/256 66.4% 2,291 yds. 26 tds. 4 ints. 168.69 effic.
58 rushing att./221 yds. 3.8 avg. 1 td.
Smith's numbers have put him at the front of the pack of Heisman Trophy contenders. He can clinch the trophy by having a big game Saturday while leading the Buckeyes to a victory. However, the outstanding Michigan defense will have something to say about that. Containment is the key word for Saturday. The fantastic front four (DE LaMarr Woodley, DT Alan Branch, NG Terrence Taylor and DE Rondell Biggs) has done a great job all season of maintaining containment but they have obviously not faced a QB of Smith's caliber. If the F3 (Fantastic Front Four) can maintain containment the defense will have a successful afternoon. If not, it could be a challenging day for the secondary. As Coach Carr said at his press conference on the Monday following the Ball State game, "...when a quarterback breaks containment; your coverage breaks down, and a lot of times a guy is going to make you pay for that." Michigan cannot afford to pay that price Saturday so it is imperative that the Wolverines' defense maintains containment at all times. Go Blue!