ANN ARBOR, Mich. – For the first time ever, Ohio State has won eight straight games against Michigan.
While the Buckeyes' defense gave up the most points and yards they have allowed all season, Ohio State's offense dominated Michigan's defense for the second year in a row to lead the Buckeyes to a 56-27 victory and complete a 12-0 regular season.
Justin Fields threw for 302 yards and four touchdowns while J.K. Dobbins ran for 211 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Buckeyes to victory.
|#1 OHIO STATE
The game got off to a rough start right off the bat for Ohio State’s defense, as Michigan received the opening kickoff and proceeded to drive 75 yards in seven plays, capped by a 22-yard touchdown on an end-around by Wolverines receiver Giles Jackson. Quinn Nordin missed the extra point following that touchdown, so the drive netted Michigan only six points.
Ohio State’s offense responded appropriately, driving for a touchdown of its own on its opening possession. J.K. Dobbins caught a lucky bounce when he fumbled the ball on his first run of the game, but was able to scoop it right up and continue on for a 34-yard run. With the Buckeyes facing 3rd-and-14 later in the drive, Dobbins caught a short pass out of the backfield and turned it into a 28-yard gain, then ran for a 5-yard score one play later.
The Buckeyes extended their lead to 14-6 late in the first quarter, when Justin Fields connected with Chris Olave on a perfectly thrown deep ball for a 57-yard touchdown, Olave’s third touchdown against the Wolverines in two years.
Michigan landed the next punch. After Sean McKeon was left wide open up the right sideline for a 41-yard catch-and-run, Donovan Peoples-Jones got wide open over the middle on Michigan’s next play for a 25-yard touchdown, cutting Ohio State’s lead to one point before the end of the first quarter.
Ohio State went back up by two scores on its opening possession of the second quarter. After Michigan defensive tackle Carlo Kemp was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct for untying Dobbins’ shoe to give the Buckeyes a free 15 yards, Garrett Wilson turned a pass from Fields into a 41-yard gain to set up a 6-yard touchdown run by Dobbins.
The Buckeyes caught a big break on Michigan’s next possession, after the Wolverines drove back into the red zone, when Shea Patterson fumbled a snap at the 16-yard line and Robert Landers recovered the loose ball for the game’s first turnover.
Michigan made another crucial mistake on Ohio State’s ensuing possession when Khaleke Hudson got called for jumping offsides on fourth down after forcing the Buckeyes to punt. Ohio State took advantage of the free first down on the very next play, as Wilson made a spectacular 47-yard catch on a deep ball from Fields, which Dobbins followed up with a 5-yard run for his third touchdown of the day, tying his single-game career-high for rushing touchdowns.
|NET TOTAL YARDS
|AVERAGE PER RUSH
|AVERAGE PER COMPLETION
|RUSHING 1st DOWNS
|PASSING 1st DOWNS
|PENALTY 1st DOWNS
|YARDS PER PLAY
|TURNOVERS (DEF PTS OFF)
The Wolverines drove all the way to Ohio State’s 5-yard line on their final possession of the first half, but the Buckeyes managed to force the Wolverines to settle for a 23-yard field goal after Jordan Fuller got a hand in to knock a near-touchdown pass out of Peoples-Jones’ hands on 3rd-and-goal, allowing Ohio State to take a 12-point lead into halftime.
Michigan finished the first half with 285 yards of offense, tying the most Ohio State’s defense in any full game going into Saturday’s 12th game of the season.
Dobbins, who had 131 yards from scrimmage in the first half alone, picked up right where he left off on the first play of the second half, rushing for 41 yards. He followed that up with a 21-yard catch-and-run on the second play of the third quarter to get the Buckeyes into the red zone. Fields connected with K.J. Hill for a 5-yard touchdown to cap off the opening drive of the third quarter and extend Ohio State’s lead to 35-16.
Ohio State suffered a massive scare on its next possession when Fields was hit low on a 15-yard pass to Austin Mack, and stayed down on the field for a couple minutes before limping off the field slowly and going into the injury tent. After missing just seven plays, though, Fields returned to the game on the same drive and completed a 30-yard touchdown pass to Wilson on his very first play back in the game, extending the Buckeyes’ lead to 42-16.
After Ohio State’s defense forced a 3-and-out on Michigan’s subsequent possession, Wilson gave the Buckeyes life when he muffed a punt that the Wolverines recovered at the 26-yard line. Jim Harbaugh elected to settle for a field goal after another 3-and-out by Michigan’s offense, which cut Ohio State’s lead to 23 but drew boos from the home crowd for his conservative call.
Following a 3-and-out by Ohio State, Michigan strung together another touchdown drive – opened by a 33-yard run by Hassan Haskins and capped by Haskins running for a 2-yard touchdown and a two-point conversion – to cut the Buckeyes’ lead to 15 points with 14:23 to play.
Ohio State’s defense came up with a crucial stop on Michigan’s next possession, though, when the Wolverines attempted to go for it on 4th-and-1 from their own 29-yard line and Landers stopped Haskins on a direct-snap run for a 1-yard tackle for loss. The Buckeyes took advantage of the short field as Fields threw a 16-yard touchdown to Mack – his fourth touchdown pass of the day, which also put them over 300 yards for the game – to extend their lead back to 22 points with 10:11 remaining.
After a turnover on downs on Michigan’s next possession, Dobbins ran 33 yards for his fourth touchdown of the day to build the Buckeyes’ lead to its final margin of 29 points.
Amir Riep, who filled in for an injured Shaun Wade at slot cornerback in Saturday’s game, ended back-to-back fourth-quarter drives for the Wolverines with a pass breakup and an interception.
Saturday’s win completes Ohio State’s first undefeated regular season since Urban Meyer’s first two seasons in 2012 and 2013. The Buckeyes will look to improve to 13-0 for just the second time in school history and win a conference title next Saturday in Indianapolis, where they will play Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship Game. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. at Lucas Oil Stadium and the game will be televised on Fox.
- Fuller, Hill, Dobbins and Chase Young were Ohio State's game captains for the coin toss.
- Jonathon Cooper started the game at defensive end for the Buckeyes, marking the fourth and final game he will play in this season, as he plans to redshirt and return as a fifth-year senior in 2020. He recorded his first sack of the season in the third quarter.
- Wade did not play in Saturday's game after being listed as a game-time decision. The Buckeyes started the game with only two cornerbacks on the field but in three-cornerback packages, Damon Arnette slid inside to play slot cornerback while Sevyn Banks entered the game to play outside opposite Jeff Okudah. Riep played most of the second half at slot cornerback, though, and Arnette left the game with an injury of his own in the third quarter and did not return.
- Dobbins passed Ezekiel Elliott in Saturday's game to become Ohio State's second-leading all-time rusher, behind only Archie Griffin. In the process, he also became the second running back in Ohio State history with 4,000 career rushing yards.
- 112,071 was the official attendance for Saturday's game at Michigan Stadium.