Ohio State crushes Michi­gan again

USA TODAY Weekend Extra - - NFL -

COLUM­BUS, Ohio – The Michi­gan vs. Ohio State foot­ball ri­valry game is played every year with a pre­sump­tion of un­pre­dictabil­ity.

Rank­ings, records and statis­tics are of se­condary im­por­tance to his­tory, emo­tion and mo­men­tum. That was true again Satur­day when No. 10 Ohio State downed No. 4 Michi­gan 62-39 in a game that didn’t play out like anyone had imag­ined. No one ex­pected Ohio State to dom­i­nate like this on the score­board.

This was the most points scored by ei­ther team in the mod­ern his­tory of the ri­valry.

The win gave the Buck­eyes the Big Ten East Di­vi­sion ti­tle and sends them to the con­fer­ence cham­pi­onship game next week­end against North­west­ern. There also is still hope of mak­ing the Col­lege Foot­ball Play­off.

The game had un­usual twists, in­clud­ing Michi­gan scor­ing two touch­downs in six sec­onds near the end of the first half, and Ohio State an­swer­ing with a seven-play, 41-sec­ond drive to kick a field goal.

The game had an un­sung hero in Ohio State fresh­man Chris Olave. Com­ing into the game with five re­cep­tions, Olave caught two touch­down passes and blocked a punt that led to a Buck­eyes third-quar­ter touch­down.

The game had un­likely oc­cur­rences: The Michi­gan de­fense, ex­cep­tional all sea­son, was leaky through­out the con­test. The Ohio State de­fense, in­con­sis­tent all sea­son, came up with a hand­ful of big plays.

Here are three ob­ser­va­tions about Ohio State’s sev­enth con­sec­u­tive win over Michi­gan:

❚ Is this the na­tion’s most dy­namic of­fen­sive? Dwayne Hask­ins tore up the na­tion’s No. 1 de­fen­sive team. Hask­ins con­tin­u­ously found seams in Michi­gan’s se­condary, throw­ing for five touch­downs to set a Big Ten record of 41 TD passes in a sea­son. Michi­gan’s ex­alted de­fen­sive play­mak­ers couldn’t put much pres­sure on Hask­ins. The Wolver­ines had no sacks against Hask­ins in the first three quar­ters.

Through­out the game, Hask­ins hit wide-open re­ceivers streak­ing across the field.

As if Hask­ins’ pro­duc­tion wasn’t enough, Par­ris Campbell broke off a 78yard touch­down run on an an en­daround play. The Buck­eyes made Michi­gan’s de­fen­sive look pedes­trian.

❚ Ohio State rises up de­fen­sively when it mat­ters: Af­ter los­ing 49-20 to Pur­due on Oct. 20, the Buck­eyes started re­con­fig­ur­ing their strug­gling de­fense.

What you saw against Michi­gan was a de­fen­sive unit that made enough big plays to win a very im­por­tant game. The Buck­eyes sacked Shea Pat­ter­son three times in the first three quar­ters. Ma­lik Har­ri­son had a sack and two tack­les for loss.

Pete Werner got his right hand around Michi­gan tight end Zach Gen­try to knock down what ap­peared to be a touch­down pass.

The blocked punt, picked up and run into the end zone by Sevyn Banks, was a de­mor­al­iz­ing event for the Wolver­ines.

❚ Jim Har­baugh will face more ques­tions: Har­baugh is now 0-4 against Ohio State since tak­ing over as Michi­gan’s coach. What makes the record uglier is Meyer’s 7-0 record in the ri­valry.

Michi­gan fans were think­ing they would make their first trip to In­di­anapo­lis and had the pos­si­bil­ity of mak­ing the Col­lege Foot­ball Play­off. Those hopes are dead.

The Wolver­ines (10-2) have had an ex­cep­tional sea­son by most def­i­ni­tions, but at Michi­gan, a loss to Ohio State mans you have had an un­sat­is­fac­tory sea­son.

Mean­while, the Meyer leg­end grows at Ohio State. The only ques­tion is whether he will step down to deal with med­i­cal is­sues.

JOSEPH MAIORANA/USA TO­DAY SPORTS

Ohio State’s John­nie Dixon (1) is con­grat­u­lated by Bin­ji­men Vic­tor af­ter scor­ing a TD in the sec­ond quar­ter against Michi­gan.

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