Battle in trenches one to watch in Ohio State-Michigan

Originally Published: November 15, 2007
By Mel Kiper Jr. |

No. 7 Ohio State at No. 21 Michigan
The big matchup in this game is Michigan left tackle Jake Long going against Ohio State's defensive ends: junior Vernon Gholston and Cameron Heyward, a true freshman and a star of the not-too-distant future. Hayward has great ability with 8½ tackles for loss and 2½ sacks, but has the chance to be a 10- to 15-sack a season guy later in his career.

[+] EnlargeJake Long
Gregory Shamus/Getty ImagesJake Long is among the handful of top linemen in the nation.
The running game of Michigan is led by Mike Hart, who's been bothered by an ankle injury. He'll be facing a team in Ohio State which is tied for the fourth-best run defense in the nation. Spearheading that defense is junior middle linebacker James Laurinaitis, who posted 97 tackles, eight tackles for a loss, five sacks and two interceptions.

Mel Kiper Jr.

Football analyst