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