Sure, the Michigan football team has squandered its Big Ten title hopes. Sure, redshirt junior quarterback Devin Gardner has been beaten, bruised and battered the past four games. Sure, the Wolverines haven’t shown a propensity for moving the ball consistently.

But come Saturday, none of that matters to them.

Fifth-year senior left tackle Taylor Lewan has several hopes for when Ohio State comes to town, which include fans potentially putting aside Michigan’s less-than-ideal record and Michigan Stadium being filled with maize and blue instead of scarlet and gray.

In a game as big as The Game, preconceived notions don’t mean a thing to the Wolverines.

“Saturday, all bets are off,” Lewan said. “We’re playing football. Anything could happen Saturday.”

And why does he think the Wolverines would be capable of pulling what would be the biggest upset of the season?

“Because we have heart.”

In a season in which very little has gone according to plan, pride is the only thing the Wolverines have left to play for. Michigan coach Brady Hoke scheduled a team practice early Monday morning, a day that the players usually have off, to kick off the biggest week of the year with intensity.

The practice day seemed necessary, though, as there’s still a laundry list of things Michigan needs to address before Saturday.

There’s the offensive line that underwent its sixth personnel change on Saturday. There’s Gardner who is not physically able to make the electric plays that were so common early in the season. And above all, there are the frequent negative play on offense.

Hoke said all of that is manageable — it just comes down to consistency across the board.

The Wolverines have loved the term “consistency” this season. It has become the go-to buzzword, and the lack of it has become the explanation for offensive struggles.

But the question remains whether or not consistency can be coached. Week in and week out, Hoke has started his press conferences saying he’s been impressed with what he sees in practice that given week, yet game spasms still take over when it actually counts.

According to the coaches and players, part of that seems to be not having all 11 players on the field on the same page.

“No one’s going to play a perfect game,” said senior cornerback Courtney Avery. “No one’s going to have a perfect practice. In a game, hopefully you remember the mistakes that you made and correct them. The key is to get as many guys playing as hard and as perfect as they can as possible.”

It’s no secret that the Wolverines have had difficulty putting points on the board through the month of November, and with Ohio State averaging 49 points a game, it’s questionable if Michigan will have the offensive production necessary to even keep the game remotely close.

But Hoke isn’t worried about the point spread, or the fact that the Buckeyes are two games away from a second straight undefeated season. In fact, spoiling Ohio State’s perfect record is the last thing on any of the Wolverines’ minds right now.

“We talk about ourselves and what we have to do,” Hoke said. “We’ve never, ever mentioned it, and I won’t. That’s not what it’s about. It’s about us playing our best football for our seniors and the greatest rivalry in sport.”

Hoke admitted that Ohio State is the best team Michigan will face all season. But he stands by his statement from the beginning of the season: that he likes his team and that there are still a few surprises.

“I’m very confident it could happen, otherwise we wouldn’t play,” Hoke said. “I’d called down there to Columbus and say we won’t do it.”

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