Five Things: Big Housed

By Chris Lauderback on November 26, 2017 at 10:30 am
Backup quarterback Dwayne Haskins completed six of seven passes for 94 yards in relief of an injured J.T. Barrett.
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Ohio State handed Michigan a 14-0 lead but even that wasn't enough for Jim Harbaugh to break through against Urban Meyer as the Buckeyes overcame an early deficit and an injury to J.T. Barrett with 17 straight points down the stretch in a 31-20 victory in the Big House

Down 20-14 midway through the third quarter, it looked like things might go south especially after Barrett left the game after aggravating a knee injury suffered in pregame but backup Dwayne Haskins led Ohio State to points on three of four possessions while the defense stood tall

Make no mistake, Michigan has some major flaws, most notably a quarterback who makes 50 Cent look accurate, and the Buckeyes have warts of their own but a win in The Game is huge no matter the circumstances.

The win improved the Buckeyes to 10-2 overall, gave them a B1G record 504th conference win, and kept them alive in the College Football Playoff race though Alabama's loss to Auburn made the path that much more difficult. 

For now, Ohio State must focus on what it can control as it prepares for Wisconsin in next weekend's B1G championship game. 

Before we turn our attention to Saturday's showdown in Indianapolis, here are Five Things from Ohio State's sixth win in its last seven trips to the Big House. 


Trailing 20-14 midway through the third quarter following a 4-play, 51-yard touchdown march from Michigan, it looked like Ohio State could be in a bit of trouble. At minimum, the Buckeyes needed to answer. 

On the second play of the key possession, J.T. Barrett ran left for 10 yards but didn't immediately get up and it quickly became clear he wouldn't return to action.

The initial reaction though Barrett hadn't exactly been lights out to that point was one of major concern however backup Dwayne Haskins earned his stripes in a big way as he went on to lead the Buckeyes to points on three of four possessions as he connected on six of seven throws for 94 yards with another 24 on the ground. 

Haskins' first big play of the day came on the ninth play of the drive following back-to-back false start flags (one on Haskins) turning a 3rd-and-3 into a 3rd-and-13. Locking in on Austin Mack, Haskins unleashed a laser down the right sideline perfectly placed between the corner covering Mack and the safety rotating over to help. The 27-yard hookup extended the drive and moved the chains to the Michigan 26. 

Two plays later on 2nd-and-7 from the Michigan 23, Haskins dropped back, felt pressure, stepped up and slid right before taking off for a 22-yard gain setting up a J.K. Dobbins plunge giving Ohio State its first lead of the play at 21-20 with 1:34 left in the third quarter. 

On the next OSU drive, facing 3rd-and-4, Haskins found K.J. Hill on a crossing route for a 29-yard gain to the Michigan 28. Three plays later, Sean Nuernberger drilled a 44-yard field goal pushing the Buckeye lead to 24-20. 

Haskins would give Nuernberger a shot at another long field goal on the following possession after converting another 3rd down with a 24-yard hookup with Hill but the kick would miss just left. 

Finally, though he had nothing to do with the drive itself, Haskins handed off to Mike Weber who sealed the deal with a 25-yard touchdown jaunt making it 31-20 good guys with less than two minutes to play. 

Overall, Haskins looked fairly poised excepting a few plays on his first drive and while it appeared he made a few incorrect reads in the run game, he didn't turn it over and converted some clutch third downs to extend eventual scoring drives. 

Barrett will obviously start next weekend assuming he's healthy but here's hat tip to Haskins for stepping up in a tough situation. 


Cornerback Denzel Ward is a bad man. I'm not sure Michigan got that memo as Wolverine quarterback John O'Korn foolishly threw in Ward's direction early and often with little to nothing to show for it. 

Ward was all over the field not just in coverage but also in run support as part of an eight-tackle, two PBU performance featuring a blocked extra point in the third quarter. 

A sampling of Ward's day includes: 

  • Tied at 14 and facing a 3rd-and-13, O'Korn attempted a hookup with Donovan Peoples-Jones but Ward's blanket coverage wasn't having such shenanigans, forcing a punt. 
  • On Michigan's first possession of the second half, Ward forced back-to-back incompletions on 2nd-and-8 and 3rd-and-8 with great coverage again on DPJ on the 3rd down try forcing another punt.
  • Michigan's next possession saw Ward miss a tackle helping spring a big gainer setting up a Wolverine touchdown but Ward, as noted, blocked the PAT as he railed off the right edge. 
Denzel Ward posted eight tackles including seven solos against Michigan.

Many of Ward's seven solo stops came in run support as he showed he's more than a lockdown corner in coverage. 

In fact, Ward's day sparked a pretty intense discussion among our staff as we ranked the best corners of the Urban Meyer era. Ward was in everyone's top three with your's truly slotting him just behind Marshon Lattimore (Lattimore, Ward, Roby, Apple Conley made up my top five.)

Enjoy him while you can. The true junior won't be here come April. 


Outland Trophy semifinalist and team leader Billy Price had a pretty rough three quarters – certainly by his standards – before helping put the final nail in Michigan's coffin late in the fourth quarter. 

On Ohio State's third possession of the day, facing 3rd-and-11, Price committed a false start putting the Buckeyes in a 3rd-and-16 near their own goal line. A sack would follow forcing OSU to punt from its own end zone and Michigan capitalized on the field position scoring three plays later to take a 7-0 lead. 

Billy Price battled all day against a legit Michigan defensive front.

Later in the opening half after Ohio State's offense forged a 14-14 tie and the defense responded with a 3-and-out to seize momentum, Price launched a shotgun snap right and hot passed Barrett's ear turning a 3rd-and-5 from Michigan's 49 yard line into a 4th-and-22. 

In the third quarter, facing another 3rd-and-5 at the OSU 19, Price got toasted as Rashan Gary came from right end on a twist for a 6-yard sack forcing the Buckeyes to again punt from near the goal line. The favorable field position set the stage for the Michigan score giving it a 20-14 lead. 

With the Buckeyes having rallied to take a 24-20 lead and looking to run some clock after regaining possession at their own 34 with 2:36 left in regulation, you know Price was looking to make a play. 

Needing to, at worst, run clock and at best, put the game away, the Ohio State offense dialed up a J.K. Dobbins run and Price sprung it with a huge seal block allowing Dobbins to race 35 yards to the Michigan 31. 

Two plays later Mike Weber iced the game with a 25-yard touchdown burst making it 31-20 good guys with 1:44 left. 

Though it wasn't Price's most steady performance, his leadership and clutch down the stretch helped ensure the Buckeyes will play for an outside shot at a playoff spot next Saturday night. 


Only able to muster 124 passing yards despite a typically stacked box, Meyer and staff relied on the running game and it paid off as Ohio State churned out 226 rushing yards. 

The bulk of that output came from the combo meal of J.K. Dobbins and Mike Weber as the pair went for 158 yards and two scores on 27 carries including a 20 for 112 with two touchdowns statline in the second half. 

J.K. Dobbins went for 101 rushing yards in his first trip to Ann Arbor. (Photo: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports)

Dobbins eclipsed the 100-yard mark for the fifth time this season on 6.7 yards per carry while Weber added 57 yards on 4.8 per tote.

The effectiveness of Dobbins/Weber took some heat off Haskins as he felt his way through and you could sense a few big gainers were coming as the offensive line wore down the Wolverine defense and that's exactly what happened on Ohio State's last possession of the afternoon as Dobbins opened with a 35-yard spurt before Weber's 25-yarder ended all hopes of the Michigan faithful. 

Over the last three games, the duo has 77 carries for 609 yards, that's 7.91 yards per carry, with seven touchdowns. 


What a time to be alive. 

Urban Meyer is now 6-0 against Michigan while Jim Harbaugh tied Rich Rodriguez as he moved to 0-3 against the Buckeyes. 

The win also improved Ohio State to 15-2 against Michigan since Jim Tressel rolled into town back in 2001. 

Clearly, the Michigan fan base and program is shook to the core. 

Their savior can't buy a win against a legit team and now the supposed quarterback guru not only hasn't developed squat at the position in Ann Arbor but Ohio State's backup just came in despite less than 60 career pass attempts and outperformed Harbaugh's backup who has attempted nearly 800 passes in his collegiate career. 

Its gotten so bad MGoBlog disabled readers' ability to leave comments shortly after the game on the heels of previous beatings prompting the man in charge to go with pictures of kittens in lieu of postgame coverage. 

What are we up to? I think it's maybe 2,192 days since Michigan last beat Ohio State and well over 5,000 days since the Wolverines beat a ranked Buckeye squad. 

View 88 Comments