Any clocks counting the days since Michigan last beat Ohio State were reset on Saturday.
The Buckeyes' eight-game rivalry win streak came crashing down in a 42-27 loss at the Big House, and given that Ohio State hadn't suffered a defeat at the hands of its archrival since 2011, the aftermath of the loss was rather novel.
When asked what he said to his players immediately following the game on Saturday, Buckeye head coach Ryan Day said "there's not much to say."
“There’s not much to say, because you don’t plan for these type of things,” Day said. “We’ll have to get on the bus, head back to Columbus and figure out what’s next. You don’t really have time to process all of that. Especially for the younger guys who have had to play a lot this year, there’s a lot to be learned from this. We’re not there right now, this thing is still fresh and it hurts. So we’ll get back on the bus, head to Columbus and figure out what’s next.”
The loss was Day's first against any Big Ten opponent, but of course it stung even worse due to the nature of the rivalry and the stakes that were on the line for the Buckeyes as a 10-1 team ranked No. 2 in the country.
“When you work this game 365 days out of the year and you come up short, it’s a failure, and it hurts,” Day said. “It hurts a lot.”
Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud completed 34 of 49 pass attempts for 394 yards and two touchdowns, but it was not enough, as the Heisman Trophy contender led the Buckeyes to just three touchdown-scoring drives on 10 total possessions. After the game, Stroud acknowledged the criticism he is sure to receive – even if much of it may be unfair – but assured anyone listening that he put his all into the preparation for The Game.
“It’s the worst feeling you can possibly have,” Stroud said. “I know people probably hate me for it, but at the end of the day, I know deep down in my heart I put everything; I put my heart and soul, I put my body on the line, I put everything that I possibly could to win this game. At the end of the day, whatever happens, happens. Just know that I love this team, I love Ohio State, I love Buckeye Nation, and know every single day I’m gonna keep grinding just to get this win back.”
The Buckeye offensive line did not have its finest performance against the Wolverines, and the Ohio State offense was flagged with seven penalties on the day. The Buckeyes also had a number of fumbled snaps, and Stroud said many of the communication issues stemmed from a sickness he's been dealing with that caused him to lose his voice.
“I’m not using an excuse, but I lost my voice earlier in the week, and I can’t really yell, so I’m trying my hardest to yell.” Stroud said. “So I don’t really blame my line, I blame it on me for getting sick. I tried my hardest to be as loud as I possibly could. When you get yourself out of whack like that, it’s hard to bounce back.”
The Buckeye defense may have performed even worse than the offense though, and particularly when it came to stopping the run. Despite Ohio State entering with a top-15 rush defense in the country, Michigan ran all over the Buckeyes to finish with 297 yards and six scores on the ground.
Ohio State safety Bryson Shaw called the Buckeyes' inability to stop the run "embarrassing," but added that the loss will only fuel the team's fire moving forward.
“It’s gonna motivate me and I know it’s gonna motivate this team that much more – I mean 1000 times more in the offseason. The team’s really down right now, and no one’s harder on ourselves than us. We just got to learn from this. We have to stop the run, that’s the goal, especially in away games in the Big Ten. Gotta stop the run. For them to run the ball on us like that, it’s embarrassing.”
Michigan defensive end Aidan Hutchinson had a monster day for the Wolverines, and was instrumental to Ohio State's demise with three sacks and a number of other play-altering pass rushes on the afternoon. Hutchinson claimed his first career win over the Buckeyes in what figures to be his final year of college football, and he said after the game that some of Ohio State's off-the-field antics and attitudes regarding the rivalry only added to Michigan's motivation on Saturday.
“These guys have been disrespecting us, stepping on our jerseys, talking about hanging 100 on us, doing all the rah-rah, doing all the talk,” Hutchinson said. “But we were about it today.”
Nobody was more relieved after the win than Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh, who had been 0-5 against the Buckeyes since taking over the Wolverine program back in 2015. Harbaugh seemed to take a shot at Day in his post-game press conference in a comment that likely alluded some of the same things Hutchinson referred to.
When asked if some of the talk about the rivalry coming from the Buckeyes over the past few years added anything extra to the 2021 game, Harbaugh said it did.
“It did. I know probably the things you’re thinking of are the same as I’m thinking of," Harbaugh said. "Let’s move on with humble hearts, take the high road. But yeah, there’s definitely stuff that people said that spurred us on even more. Sometimes people that are standing on third base think they hit a triple. But they didn’t.”
The Buckeyes won't have a chance to win a fifth straight Big Ten title in Indianapolis next week, and barring a minor miracle, they won't have a chance to play in the College Football Playoff for a third straight season. Unfortunately for Day and company, it was Michigan that snapped both of those streaks this weekend.
- #2 Ohio State 27, #5 Michigan 42
- • Ohio State Loses to Michigan for the First Time in 10 Years
- • Buckeye Fans' Worst Fears are Realized
- • The Loss to Michigan Kills Championship Hopes
- • Jim Harbaugh Wasted No Time Tossing Shade at Ryan Day
- • Ohio State Postgame • Notebook • Quotebook
- • Photos • Five Things • Debriefing • 3 Key Stats • Social Reactions