Five Things: Justin Fields and J.K. Dobbins Torch Michigan, Handing Jim Harbaugh a Fifth Straight Loss to Ohio State

By Chris Lauderback on December 1, 2019 at 2:25 pm
Justin Fields wrecked Michigan with 327 total yards and four touchdowns in his first taste of The Game.
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

“They played better today.”

Michigan's head coach, Jim Harbaugh, summed it up quite succinctly during his six-minute postgame press conference as he lamented a 56-27 loss to Ohio State

Ryan Day moved to 1-0 against Michigan as a head coach while Harbaugh dropped to 0-5. Ohio State's offense cranked out 577 total yards and the defense used halftime adjustments to stifle the Wolverines the rest of the way. 

J.K. Dobbins was an absolute monster rushing for a career-high 211 yards on 6.8 a pop with four touchdowns. He added another 49 receiving yards in a legendary performance. 

The 8th-straight win over Michigan improves No.1 Ohio State to 12-0 overall ahead of next weekend's rematch with Wisconsin in Indianapolis for the B1G championship. 

Before looking ahead to the Badgers, here are Five Things from yesterday's demolition of the Wolverines. 


I get it to some degree. When you're on the wrong end of the best rivalry in sports for so long, it's easy to act a fool and lose sight of what really matters. 

It's natural for fans to get caught up in the rivalry, as we saw from the former NYT writer and Ann Arbor sympathizer tweeting that Jordan Fuller of all people was a "thug" after his hit on Donovan Peoples-Jones. About 18 hours later she finally apologized and deleted her tweet. 


I'm getting off track here. The real Thing is a few examples of how Michigan acted on the field. 

Linebacker Khaleke Hudson came out for pregame wearing a hoodie with an image Greg Mattison on it. Dumb. And why would any Michigan coach think that was a good idea and allow it? 

On the field, Aidan Hutchinson and Carlo Kamp teamed up to untie J.K. Dobbins' shoe after a running play, earning a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for their troubles. 

Later, Cameron McGrone drilled Justin Fields out of bounds for a late hit leading to a touchdown a few plays later. Channeling your inner-Shawn Crable is not a recipe for victory, as we've seen before. 

I get emotions running high in The Game. Ohio State has certainly been guilty of doing less-than-intelligent things in the past too but Hudson, Hutchinson and Kamp in particular gave off a bad look. I'm not all Get Off My Lawn about it - I thoroughly enjoyed all of it - but I do think those things are microcosms of the numerous issues contributing to why Michigan isn't anywhere near Ohio State's level as a program.  


Ohio State co-defensive coordinators Jeff Hafley and Greg Mattison haven't had to make many significant halftime adjustments this season. That's what happens when your average margin of victory is about 38 points. 

Yesterday however, Shea Patterson and the Michigan receivers had a hell of a first half. Patterson completed 14 of 19 tosses for 250 yards and a touchdown while Donovan Peoples-Jones caught three of those balls for 69 yards and the score. 

Give credit where it's due. Patterson was fantastic and the scheme took advantage of Shaun Wade's absence more than once in the opening 30 minutes. 

After Hafley and Mattison had a chance to regroup at the half, Patterson completed just 4 of 24 throws for 55 yards with an interception the rest of the way. 

Patterson connected on one of 10 throws in third quarter and wasn't helped by numerous drops. A few of those came as Wolverines receivers were made to feel the OSU secondary. Jordan Fuller blasted Peoples-Jones and Ronnie Bell took a few shots that caused him to alligator-arm a few attempts down the stretch. 

Props to the defensive brain trust and the players, especially Amir Riep, who battled back from an awful first half to record a pick in the second half. 


All eyes were on Chase Young yesterday and Michigan's staff, unlike Penn State's, was content to offer its offensive tackles continuous help in trying to slow down the all-world defensive end. 

In a vacuum, the strategy was somewhat successful as Young finished with two quarterback hurries but zero sacks for the first time all season. 

However, while tight ends and running backs helped the tackles contain Young, Ohio State's interior defensive linemen had a field day. 

Davon Hamilton and Robert Landers turned in stellar performances tallying a combined seven tackles, four tackles for loss, one sack and one fumble recovery as Landers scooped up a Patterson miscue with the Wolverines deep in OSU territory. 

With the interior of the defensive line leading the way, Michigan ran for just 91 yards on 3.5 per carry reinforcing the fact this defensive front is more than just Chase Young. 


Ohio State has been incredible on both sides of the ball in the red zone this season and yesterday was no exception. 

The Buckeyes offense, which entered the game ranked No. 2 in the country in red zone touchdown rate (83%) scored touchdowns on all five trips versus a Wolverines defense ranked No. 92 in red zone touchdown rate allowed (65%). 

Four of those five red zone touchdowns capped scoring drives of at least 75 yards with a long of 81 yards. Talk about back-breakers. 

Ohio State's defense entered the contest ranked No. 5 in the land allowing a touchdown 38% of the time. Michigan's offense was ranked No. 60, scoring red zone touchdowns 63% of the time. 

Against the Buckeyes, Patterson and company recorded one touchdown in three trips to the red zone. 

Overall, Ohio State outscored Michigan 35-11 in red zone points. 


Justin Fields started a little shaky missing on his first three throws and six of his first nine but the dude settled down and trashed the Wolverines to the tune of 302 passing yards and four touchdowns with another 25 yards on the ground. 

His completions went for an average of 20.9 yards and he completed 9-of-10 throws after that rough start. He had zero interceptions and he didn't lose a fumble after some ball security issues cropped up recently. 

Fields had some highlight throws including eight completions of 15 or more yards. He hit Chris Olave in stride for a 57-yard touchdown and found Garrett Wilson for 30, 41 and 47 yards. One of those, the 30-yarder, was the most impressive moment of the game.

After having left the field with an apparent knee injury, Fields returned on the same drive and found Wilson for the 30-yard touchdown in the back of the end zone. Fields took the snap, felt pressure, stepped up in the pocket and rolled left before setting and firing to give Ohio State a 42-16 lead late in the third quarter. 

Just a phenomenal performance from the first-year starter in his first game against the Wolverines. 

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