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The state of Ohio wants revenge on Michigan; both teams are struggling with injured starters

That continued to be the word from the Wolverines during July’s Big Ten Football Media Days in Indianapolis, and coach Jim Harbaugh’s team meanwhile has taken care of business by winning their first 11 games.

Ohio State head coach Ryan Day flatly called the Buckeyes’ loss last season “a failure,” and he stuck to that message as well.

“I think we’re drawn,” Day said Saturday. “We had a 12-game run after that game and we’ve been highly motivated this season to get back to where we are now, so there was a lot of hard work – a lot of blood, sweat and tears – to get back to where we are now are to get the team to this point right here.

“So now all the chips are going in and now it’s time to go to work this week and have a great prep week.”

Discover5 takeaways from Ohio State’s win over Maryland

Last year’s loss not only resulted in an eight-game winning streak in the series, but also denied Ohio State a shot at its fifth straight Big Ten championship and third straight college football playoff appearance.

These went to Michigan instead, although their first trip to the CFP ended in a 34–11 loss to Georgia in the semifinals.

The Buckeyes and Wolverines are both still chasing the Bulldogs, who led Alabama in the CFP National Championship Game and are No. 1 this season.

The winner of Game 118 Ohio State-Michigan will win the Big Ten East and play a week later in Indianapolis in the conference championship game against a team yet to be determined.

They will also remain solid in the playoff race, but the loser may not be out.

The SEC champ, Big Ten champ, undefeated TCU and one-loss USC appear to be in prime position for the four playoff spots with two weeks to go, but the Trojans need to beat Notre Dame and the Pac this week Win 12 championship game to stay there.

TCU might not be able to stomach a loss either, but those are all things to worry about in December.

Both Ohio State and Michigan have some injury questions ahead of the season finale.

Star receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba had been out for most of the season after suffering a hamstring injury in the season opener and Day said his return this week was more of a hope than an expectation at this point.

Running back TreVeyon Henderson was returning from a foot injury but looked nothing like himself on Saturday before being replaced by newcomer Dallan Hayden, who drew relief for the second straight week. Whether or not Henderson is allowed to leave, Day said the Buckeyes’ other top defenseman, Miyan Williams, could return for the Michigan game.

Matt Jones left the Maryland game after Hayden got his leg bumped in a tackle, so his status is also uncertain. Jones had already played injured for most of the season.

Michigan went into its game against Illinois without several starters, but the long-term status of most of them wasn’t clear, according to Ann Arbor reports, so they could all be back by Saturday.

Star running back Blake Corum, one of the top contenders for the Heisman Trophy, retired in the second quarter after suffering a blow to his left knee. He returned briefly in the third quarter but then sat out the rest of the way.

Harbaugh told reporters Corum’s knee is “structurally sound” but his future game status is yet to be determined.

Michigan was already without its second defenseman Donovan Edwards and starting guard Trevor Keegan, tight end Luke Schoonmaker, defensive end Mike Morris and cornerback Gemon Green to start the game in Illinois.

SATURDAY GAME

Michigan, Ohio, Noon, Fox, 1410

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