After a subpar performance against Penn State, Ohio State relied on its stars to slug Michigan 56-27. The Buckeyes have now won 11 of its 12 regular-season games by 24 points or more and are now marching to Indianapolis for the Big Ten Championship Game.
For Three Key Stats, we'll look at Shea Patterson's half-by-half splits, Chase Young's puzzling performance, and how Ohio State dominated key facets of the game to control the game.
Shea Patterson had 250 passing yards while completing nearly 74% of his passes in the first half. He was just 4/24 passing for 55 yards after the break.
The Ole Miss transfer started hot against the Buckeyes in his second appearance in The Game, taking the Wolverines the distance on the first drive. Shea Patterson continued his spectacular play for the rest of the first 30 minutes, ending the half with 250 passing yards and a touchdown while completing 14 of his 19 pass attempts.
Michigan was able to take advantage of a defensive backfield without its star nickelback, allowing its tremendous receiver trio to go off for 148 yards and a touchdown in the first two quarters. Additionally, Ohio State recorded zero hurries or sacks in the first half, giving Patterson all the time he needed to dice up the Buckeyes.
When the second half started, however, it was a different story. Ohio State dialed up the pressure (two hurries, one sack) and shut down Michigan's passing offense. The Silver Bullets picked Patterson off and allowed just 55 passing yards and four completions in 24 pass attempts, an incredible 2.29 yards per pass attempt. That has to be a record, right?
The Wolverine signal-caller can not be blamed for all of Michigan's offensive woes in the second half, but his 35-yard performance was obviously not enough to get it done against the No. 1 team in the nation.
Chase Young recorded two hurries, zero sacks, and zero tackles against Michigan.
If I told you before the game that Chase Young, a potential Heisman finalist, would record no tackles against Michigan, you would probably assume he was injured or the Buckeyes were getting blown out.
Luckily, neither of these two events happened.
Young's zero sack, zero tackle, two-hurry performance was a result of Michigan's aggressive effort to subdue the star pass-rusher. He was consistently getting chipped by the tailback with some help from the guard as he came off the edge.
As a result of Michigan's concerted effort to contain Young, other players benefitted. As he came off the edge with multiple offensive players blocking him, other linemen and blitzing backers got more one-on-one opportunities. Nose tackle Robert Landers had arguably his best game of the year, recording two tackles for loss and a fumble recovery. Fellow defensive tackle Davon Hamilton also had the best game of his season, recording five tackles, including 1.5 for loss.
Ohio State kept it clean and efficient, converting on 60% of its third-downs and scoring five touchdowns in five red-zone trips.
The Buckeyes, as they have all season long, won the game by controlling the most impactful battles of the matchup, including third-downs, turnovers, and red-zone scoring. Ohio State converted 60% of its third-downs while Michigan was a measly 2/13 on third down. The Buckeyes' work on early-downs did not go unnoticed, as they needed, on average, just 5.3 yards to gain on third down compared to the Wolverines' 8.8 yards to gain.
Ohio State bounced back from its poor performance in the turnover battle against Penn State to get back in the black. The Bucks held a +1 turnover differential against the Wolverines and benefitted from Patterson's red-zone fumble to stall a potential scoring drive.
The local team has been one of the most efficient teams in the red zone all season long, and yesterday's performance was no different; Ohio State scored 35 points in five red zone trips and allowed just 11 points on Michigan's three red zone trips. The Buckeyes have been among the nation's best in this metric all season long, scoring a touchdown on 83% of its red zone drives while allowing points on just two-thirds of its opponents' red zone drives, the fourth-best mark in the nation.