Michigan Debriefing: Abysmal Second Half Dooms Ohio State's Hopes of Avenging Last Season's Loss In The Game

By Andy Vance on November 27, 2022 at 9:35 am
Jim Knowles

C.J. Stroud hadn't been born the last time Ohio State lost to Michigan in Columbus. The Buckeyes hadn't lost two in a row to their hated rivals this century.

A year after having their backsides handed to them in Ann Arbor, the previously undefeated Buckeyes came into The Game spoiling for revenge but instead served up more of the same: a sloppy, mistake-plagued second half that led to another lopsided loss in the most important game of the season.


Ohio State's vaunted offense looked great on the opening drive of the game, but as the minutes ticked by looked less and less effective. Third-down conversions were few and far between, and Stroud's wide receivers had some uncharacteristic drops that cost the team points they couldn't afford to leave on the turf.

Credit to the Wolverines, however. Jim Harbaugh has Ryan Day's number, and even with a running game that only managed 10 yards in the first half, the visitors completely shut Ohio State down after halftime while rushing for nearly 250 yards.

It was ugly, painful and the first time in a generation that Michigan won two in a row in the rivalry. Put another way, Ryan Day has now lost in two years as many games to Michigan as Jim Tressel, Luke Fickell and Urban Meyer lost in 18 seasons combined.



Ohio State has been touted as having the best offense in college football, and that looked like it might be a reasonable claim through the first half of the ballgame. The Buckeyes marched down the field on the opening drive of the game with a methodical attack that resulted in a touchdown.

The team managed 315 yards of total offense, and although they settled for a pair of field goals instead of finding the endzone, they took a 20-17 lead into the locker room. Stroud completed 17 of 26 passes with two touchdowns, and the Buckeyes were also moving the ball on the ground.

But in the final 30 minutes of the contest, the script completely flipped.

After halftime, Ohio State only recorded another 177 yards of offense, a little better than half of what Michigan put up over the same stretch, and only managed a field goal the entire second half. The team managed just 19 yards rushing. Yes, that's right... 19 yards.

Helmet Stickers

Ohio State lost to Michigan, so nobody gets a helmet sticker this week. If we were handing them out, it would be to Emeka Egbuka and Marvin Harrison Jr. Imagine how ugly this would have been without those two guys and their combined 245 yards receiving.


Perhaps the biggest question coming into this game was if Ohio State could stymie the Michigan rushing attack... and they did for the first half of the ballgame. Heading into the locker room, Michigan had attained just 10 yards rushing.

As we said a moment ago, after halftime, the script flipped entirely.

Michigan strung together a series of methodical drives on the ground, imposing their will and being aided and abetted frequently by Ohio State's undisciplined play and many penalties against the Buckeyes.

Jim Knowles orchestrated an incredible turnaround of Ohio State's defense throughout the first 11 games of the season. Still, when it came to the most important half of the most important game of the year, the unit coughed up 316 yards and 28 points.

Cornerback play allowed Michigan to score on some absolutely huge passing plays that kept Michigan in the game early and then allowed them to open the playbook as J.J. McCarthy's confidence grew throughout the game.


The last game of the season is like Christmas in the Tressel household. From polishing Miss Ellen's Gold Pants collection to rewatching the 2006 game in its entirety, it was a glorious morning for Jim & Ellen, reliving some of the best memories of their time in Columbus.

"I hope young Ryan fully appreciates the opportunity he has here," The Distinguished Gentleman said to his Lady. "All his goals are fully in front of him for the taking."

Tressel was feeling good about how the game started, with a nice mix of running the ball in with that incredible aerial attack. The opening drive had the five-time national champion feeling good about how his favorite team had prepared for the most important game of their lives.

As the first half wore on, he appreciated how the team responded to some adversity and was particularly impressed with how the defense held Michigan's running backs in check.

"I think they've really come a long way from this time last year," he mused at one point.

But as the game progressed, it kept nagging at him that things could have been going better. Ohio State kept making mental mistakes that turned into costly penalties, and by the time the third quarter ended, he didn't have a good feeling at all about how things were trending.

When the clock hit all zeroes, and the score was even more lopsided than it was in 2021, he just shook his head.

"We don't let That Team win in our house," he said with a sigh. "Back to the drawing board, men. This cannot stand."


...Ryan Day opted to send out the punt team on 4th-and-5 from the Michigan 43-yard line, trailing by 24-20 with a little over six minutes to play in the third quarter. It felt like capitulation when Michigan used the run game to effectively control the clock and limit Ohio State's chances to get back within striking distance of the victory.

UP NEXT: Ohio State waits to see if its 11-1 regular season record is good enough to earn a berth in the College Football Playoff or if it will again be playing in a non-CFP New Year's Six Bowl to close the year.

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