Appreciating the Five Best Ohio State Touchdowns Against Michigan Over the Last Five Years

By Chris Lauderback on June 4, 2020 at 11:05 am
Justin Fields threw for 302 yards and four touchdowns against Michigan in 2019.
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The current state of our union leaves a lot to be desired, to that point that simply logging on to twitter or the various news outlets typically leads to an immediate surge of frustration. 

Looking for a bright spot as I perused the interwebz, I ended up down a YouTube wormhole of Ohio State versus Michigan videos. 

With that, I'm keeping it simple today. 

Ohio State scored 30 touchdowns over the last five editions of The Game – doubling Michigan's output. Here's my favorite 16.6 percent of them. 

2015: Jalin Marshall Beats Jeremy Clark For 25-yard Touchdown Grab

Ohio State led just 14-10 at halftime in the 2015 edition of The Game. Looking for a spark to start the third quarter to create some separation and quiet the Big House crowd, the Buckeyes did just that. 

After Ezekiel Elliott gashed the Wolverines with gains of 7, 21, 15 and 9 yards helping the Buckeyes drive to the Michigan 25 yard line, Urban Meyer and company figured Michigan would be ripe for a pass over the top. 

On 1st-and-10, J.T. Barrett play faked to Elliott, dropped back and lobbed a throw toward Jalin Marshall on a post route. 

Playing through defensive holding and pass interference, Marshall showed excellent concentration and hands, fighting off Michigan cornerback Jeremy Clark for a 25-yard touchdown giving Ohio State a decisive 21-10 lead. 

Marshall's catch capped an 8-play, 82-yard drive – one of five OSU scoring drives of 75 or more yards on the afternoon. 

The grab jump-started what became a 28-3 run in the second half as Ohio State exited Michigan Stadium with a 42-13 victory

2016: Curtis Samuel Delivers the Brooklyn Dagger in Overtime

Ohio State found itself in double overtime against Michigan in 2016 thanks in large part to a stagnant offense that gave Curtis Samuel just 10 touches before the final play of the game. 

Facing 3rd-and-9 from the Michigan 24 yard line, trailing 27-24 in the second overtime, Samuel peeled off a drunken sideline-to-sideline zig-zag after a swing pass from Barrett for eight yards. 

Now staring down a 4th-and-1 with the game on the line, Urban Meyer went to J.T. Barrett for the 30th time on the ground that afternoon and the signal-caller gained exactly one yard to move the chains following the most accurate official spot in the history of the sport. 

As Jim Harbaugh and the Michigan sideline cried about the placement of the football, giving Ohio State new life with 1st-and-10 at the Michigan 15, the Buckeye braintrust opted against giving Barrett another carry, instead calling Samuel's number for just the seventh time in the run game via a shotgun give off left tackle. 

Fifteen yards untouched later, Ohio State escaped with a 30-27 double overtime win over Harbaugh's squad. 

2018: Chris Olave's Blocked Punt Leads to Sevyn Banks Scoop for Six

Ohio State racked up eight touchdowns in a 62-39 victory over Michigan in the 2018 clash but even at that volume, one in particular stands out both for its timing and degree of difficulty. 

Only one of Ohio State's 30 total touchdowns against Michigan over the last five matchups came via special teams. The fact this one came with Ohio State seemingly dominating the game but leading by just one possession sweetens its worth. 

Leading 24-19 at the half on the strength of two 24-yard touchdown catches from Chris Olave, the Buckeyes wanted to create some distance but could only muster a Blake Haubeil field goal over their first two possessions of the second half. 

After Haubeil's kick gave the Buckeyes a 27-19 edge, the defense forced Michigan into 4th-and-8 from its own 36 yard line. 

Sensing an opportunity to go for the kill, Meyer dialed up a punt block in which Olave lined up as the second-to-last lineman on the defense's right side before twisting inside around two teammates and rushing straight at punter Will Hart. 

Olave tipped the punt to the 32-yard line where Sevyn Banks plucked it out of the air and raced untouched for a touchdown giving Ohio State 34-19 lead with less than five minutes left in the third quarter. 

2018: Parris Campbell Showcases Talent Mismatch with 78-Yard Jet Sweep Touchdown

In the same 2018 spanking in which Olave worked his magic, Parris Campbell joined the fray with a 78-yard touchdown run off a jet sweep. 

The play wasn't big in that the game was effectively out of reach at 41-25 before the score but it is worthy of inclusion as it magnifies Ohio State's edge at the skill positions, and how well the staff deploys its skill players, over a decade-plus of dominance. 

Campbell doesn't really even have to use any moves. He simply leverages great edge blocking and world class speed to embarrass the Wolverines. 

Poetry, really. 

2019: Justin Fields Returns from Knee Injury, Hits Garrett Wilson in the End Zone

Justin Fields got his first taste of The Game last season and the first-year starter and Heisman finalist did not disappoint with 302 passing yards on just 14 completions with four touchdowns.

Already leading 35-16, Fields and company went looking for more on their second possession of the second half as the quarterback ran for nine yards on first down before finding Austin Mack for 15 yards on the next play to move the sticks. 

During the throw, Ohio State tight end Luke Farrell fell back into Fields' knee and the quarterback crumpled to the ground. 

Those watching on television didn't get to see that Fields was able to walk off the field during a commercial break, instead assuming the worst for Fields and Ohio State's playoff hopes. 

Chris Chugonov led Ohio State's offense for the next seven plays, including a clutch 11-yard toss to K.J. Hill on 3rd-and-5 to extend the drive, before Fields emerged from the medical tent and trotted back onto the field sporting a bulky brace on his left knee. 

With just about everyone expecting a Master Teague run in order to give Fields a chance to collect himself, the young gun instead took a shotgun snap, stepped up and rolled laterally toward the left sideline before planting his feet and throwing a 30-yard strike to Garrett Wilson in the back of the end zone for a 42-16 lead. 

The End. 

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