Five Things: Michigan Runs Over Ohio State, Stops Eight-Game Losing Streak in "The Game"

By Chris Lauderback on November 28, 2021 at 10:30 am
Hassan Haskins
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

All of a sudden, Ohio State fans feel the feeling they forgot.

Entering as touchdown favorites against No. 5 Michigan, Ryan Day's 2nd-ranked Buckeyes got bullied and out-coached in a 42-27 Wolverines win in Ann Arbor. 

The loss snapped Ohio State's eight-game winning streak in The Game and gave Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh his first win in six tries against the Buckeyes. 

Ohio State's national title hopes also came to a screeching halt while Michigan advances to the Big Ten title game against Iowa with a College Football Playoff bid on the line. 

Make no mistake, Michigan was the better team yesterday. It punched Ohio State in the mouth, particularly in the second half, and the Buckeyes failed to counter. That reality was compounded by a litany of Ohio State miscues including bad snaps, inconsistent execution and 10 penalties.  

Basically, Ohio State looked a lot like Michigan had during 17 of the previous 19 games. Very little went their way and they didn't know how to respond. Shit happens, I guess. 

Let's get to Five Things. 


Feeling slighted by Day's "hang a hundred" comment last summer, all the talk Michigan ducked the Buckeyes last year and the fact Day cost him a portion of his legacy and contributed to a recent pay cut, Harbaugh was cheeky in his postgame presser. 

Knowing he inherited a Michigan program taking on water while Ohio State was riding high under Urban Meyer before Day was handed the keys to a juggernaut, Harbaugh offered up a dig at his coaching rival. 

"Sometimes people standing on third base think they hit a triple." 

Yeah that stings a little but hate Harbaugh or not, it's not entirely false. Day certainly took over a program already among the top three in the country and while he had something to do with that status and helped maintain it once in charge, Harbaugh obviously had a steeper mountain to climb. He also took forever to get up that mountain but it seems like he's there now and Day needs to answer. 

Day has to address his defense this offseason, both coaching and personnel, and figure out what needs to be done differently to avoid a repeat of the undisciplined and ineffective play, particularly along both lines of scrimmage. 

Ohio State fans can make jokes about "the law of averages" or whatever else but Michigan came to play yesterday which will only further galvanize their approach going forward. 

Maybe I'm overreacting but it certainly feels like the rivalry is officially back on.


Color me shocked Ohio State's offensive line had so much trouble standing up to Michigan's front four. I'd watched Michigan play a lot of football this year and had plenty of respect for the pass rush - Aidan Hutchinson and David Ojabo in particular. 

That said, I still felt like Ohio State's offensive line, particularly Nicholas Petit-Frere, Thayer Munford and Dawand Jones had what it took to keep Michigan's duo in check. 

Instead, the Buckeye offensive line was overwhelmed in pass pro, giving up four sacks and four hurries. Coming into the game, Ohio State hadn't given up more than two sacks in any game and ranked No. 12 in the country allowing just 1.18 sacks per contest. 

Ohio State failed to score points on any drive featuring a Michigan sack. 

When the offensive line wasn't leaking it was committing penalties. Jones racked up three false starts, Petit-Frere had two holding calls and Munford added a false start. Luke Wypler had a few shaky snaps as well. 

Run blocking was also a concern as TreVeyon Henderson and Miyan Williams combined to average a modest 3.91 yards per carry. 

Overall, it was a stunning performance from what has been a position group of strength this season. There are some really solid players and leaders on that line but they weren't great yesterday, plain and simple. 


In his first Michigan game as the starting quarterback, C.J. Stroud wasn't perfect but despite consistent pressure and an inconsistent rushing threat he completed 69% of his passes (34-of-49) for 394 yards and two touchdowns without a turnover. 

Coming into the game, Michigan was allowing 178 passing yards per game on a 55% completion rate. 

He had a chance at a third touchdown pass but Chris Olave was unable to corral an imperfect but catchable ball on Ohio State's second possession and he had a 15-yard touchdown scramble called back on one of Petit-Frere's holding flags. 

Turns out, Stroud was under the weather during the week and lost his voice which may have contributed to some of the false starts but while a faction of fans continue to question his toughness and whether or not he's a gamer, I felt Stroud did more than his fair share against a legit Michigan defense in a hostile environment and tough weather conditions. 


Ohio State's defense had its struggles at numerous points during the season but few expected the Wolverines to dominate like they did yesterday. 

In fact, the Buckeyes had performed fairly well against the run, giving up 102 yards per game on 3.1 yards per carry. 

They faced a different kind of test yesterday however as Michigan had 109 rushing yards by halftime and racked up another 188 in the second half (9.4 ypc), totaling a ridiculous 297 for the game on 7.2 yards per carry.  

Hassan Haskins was sensational going for 169 yards on 28 carries with five touchdowns. A.J. Henning added a rushing touchdown of his own, giving the Wolverines six scores on the ground against an Ohio State defense that had given up just nine rushing touchdowns through its first 11 games. 

Maybe most disappointing of all was the lack of any useful adjustments at the half. Michigan averaged 11 yards per play over the final two quarters, scoring 28 points on 24 plays. 

Here's another absurd stat - the Wolverines only faced two third downs the entire second half. A Denzel Burke pass interference call moved the chains on one and an offsides call extended the drive on the other. 

With the defensive line pretty much bullied and the linebackers consistently caught in the wash, Ohio State failed to get a stop over the last two and half quarters, not counting Michigan kneel downs to end the first half and the game. 

I had to do a double take but not only did the Buckeyes fail to record a sack, they didn't register a single tackle for loss in 61 total plays. 


I refuse to end on a low note so let's shoutout the great Garrett Wilson. 

Wilson finished second on the team with 10 catches for 119 yards and logged the lone touchdown by an OSU wideout with this beauty giving the Buckeyes their only lead of the day, 10-7, midway through the second quarter. 

It's a shame Wilson was robbed of a chance to compete against the Wolverines last year but in two games against them, he posted 13 catches for 237 yards and two touchdowns. 

Wilson's performance yesterday also pushed him over the 1,000-receiving yard mark. Through 11 games, Wilson has 70 catches for 1,058 yards with 12 touchdowns. He has another 76 yards and a touchdown on the ground. 

I can say without hesitation Wilson is one of my top five favorite Ohio State receivers of all time. He's shown selflessness and versatility playing both in the slot and out wide, he always speaks graciously about being a Buckeye, loves his teammates, is a solid blocker and represents his team and school with class. 

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