Santonio Holmes: 42 receptions for 781 yards and nine touchdowns.

Ted Ginn Jr.: 34 for 547 and three.

Anthony Gonzalez: 23 for 283 and three.

Together, Ohio State’s trio of top receivers accounts for over 58 percent of the team’s total offense and more than 81 percent of the team’s passing attack. The three of them have helped transform Ohio State quarterback Troy Smith – who was once thought of more as a running back who can throw – into one of the most feared dual-threat signal callers in the Big Ten.

For Michigan, this threat presents one of the defense’s biggest challenges in Saturday’s big game.

“They’ve got some great receivers,” said Michigan free safety Willis Barringer, who is originally from Ohio. “They’ve been making plays all season. (Smith) works well in conjunction with them. He is a great running quarterback and a great throwing quarterback, so we’ve got to go out there and try to stop them.”

Identifying the receivers as an area of focus is the easy part. But stopping them is easier said than done. Ginn is one of the fastest players in all of college football and was one of the front-runners for the Heisman trophy at the beginning of the season.

Free safety is often considered the leader of the defense, and Barringer will be expected to help lead the charge against Ginn and the rest of the Buckeyes’ receivers.

But Barringer missed a large chunk of Michigan’s season this year with an injury he suffered during the team’s loss to Minnesota on Oct. 8. He had to sit on the sideline and watch as Minnesota running back Gary Russell broke off a 60-yard run to win the game in the final minute.

When Barringer was first injured, it was unclear how long it would take for the safety to get back on the field. Even though backups Jamar Adams and Brandon Harrison filled in admirably – Harrison even had an interception against both Iowa and Northwestern – Barringer wanted to get back on the field as quickly as possible.

“You always want to come back because you’re a competitor,” Barringer said. “Mike (Gittleson, Michigan’s strength and conditioning coach) helped me out a lot, and I came back as quick as I could.”

The funny thing is that Barringer’s injury might actually have helped Michigan in the long run. The experience that the young safeties have gotten gave the team more depth in the secondary, something that the Wolverines might desperately need against Ohio State’s receiving corps.

“It’s always good for younger guys to get experience,” defensive tackle Gabe Watson said after the Iowa game. “We’ll be healthy at some point. Only time will tell if it’s better for us or not better for us. Guys have really stepped up and done good jobs at their positions for us. That is all that you can ask for.”

And now might be that time when the team is fully healthy. Barringer saw some snaps against Northwestern three weeks ago, and he started against Indiana last Saturday. Junior Brandent Englemon, who also missed significant time due to injury, is back in the starting lineup, and the secondary appears to be at full strength.

“I think every guy that is humanly capable of playing will play, and you can’t worry about anybody who can’t play,” Carr said about this week’s showdown.

Just in time to take on one of the best set of wide receivers in the conference in the biggest game of the year.

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