Ohio State entered Saturday’s rivalry game at Ohio Stadium as an underdog against Michigan for the first time since 2011, and an underdog against the Wolverines at home for the first time since 2004.
By the time Saturday’s game was over, the Buckeyes made a lot of people look silly for doubting them.
Ohio State routed its rival at Ohio Stadium on Saturday, scoring its most points ever against Michigan to earn its seventh straight win over the Wolverines, clinching the Big Ten East title and earning a berth in next week’s Big Ten Championship Game in the process.
|#10 OHIO STATE||7||17||17||21||62|
The game started off well right from the game’s opening possessions. The Buckeyes forced a 3-and-out on their opening defensive series, then after a 23-yard punt return by K.J. Hill, Ohio State drove 57 yards down the field in six plays – capped by a 24-yard touchdown connection from Dwayne Haskins to Chris Olave – to take a 7-0 lead after its first possession.
Michigan drove deep into Ohio State territory on each of its next two possessions, but was forced to settle for field goals on both. Jake Moody made both of them, from 39 and 30 yards out, to cut Ohio State’s lead to 7-6.
Ohio State’s offense, meanwhile, went 3-and-out on each of its next two possessions. On its fourth possession, however, Haskins connected with Olave on another 24-yard touchdown pass to extend the Buckeyes’ lead to 14-6.
Haskins threw another touchdown pass on Ohio State’s next possession, this time to a wide open Johnnie Dixon from 31 yards out, to extend the Buckeyes’ lead to 21-6 with 3:18 to play in the first half.
With less than one minute to play before halftime, though, the game took a huge swing in Michigan’s favor. After a spinning catch by Wolverines wideout Nico Collins for a 23-yard touchdown with 47 seconds left in the half, Demario McCall muffed Michigan’s subsequent kickoff in the end zone, allowing the Wolverines to recover the fumble inside the 10-yard line.
|567||NET TOTAL YARDS||401|
|4.8||AVERAGE PER RUSH||4.0|
|20.8||AVERAGE PER COMPLETION||10.4|
|10||RUSHING 1st DOWNS||10|
|14||PASSING 1st DOWNS||12|
|4||PENALTY 1st DOWNS||6|
|8.5||YARDS PER PLAY||5.1|
|1 (6)||TURNOVERS (DEF PTS OFF)||2 (14)|
One play and just six seconds of game time later, Shea Patterson found a wide-open Chris Evans for a 9-yard touchdown. The Wolverines went for a two-point conversion in an attempt to tie the game, but Jonathon Cooper sacked Patterson to keep the Buckeyes ahead 21-19.
The Buckeyes managed to drive the ball all the way to Michigan’s 1-yard line in the final 41 seconds of the first half – complete with a redemption play for McCall, as Haskins found him on a pass up the right sideline for a 33-yard gain – but finished the half with a 19-yard Blake Haubeil field goal after a near-touchdown catch by Binjimen Victor on 3rd-and-goal from the 1 was ruled to be incomplete.
Nonetheless, Ohio State finished the first half with 24 points – as many as Michigan had given up in any of its first 11 full games this year – on 278 yards of offense, more than the Wolverines allowed in all but four of their first 11 full games this season.
Ohio State extended its lead to eight points on its second possession of the third quarter, when it drove all the way to Michigan’s 2-yard line but was again forced to settle for a short Blake Haubeil field goal.
It was on Michigan’s next possession, however, that the Buckeyes started to break the game upon, when Olave grabbed the Wolverines’ “jugular vein” – as Jim Tressel would say – by blocking a punt, which Sevyn Banks returned 33 yards for a touchdown, to extend the Buckeyes’ lead to 34-19.
Jordan Fuller intercepted a Shea Patterson pass at the 22-yard line on Michigan’s next possession, and Ohio State took advantage of the short field in just two plays, following up a 20-yard catch-and-run by K.J. Hill with a 2-yard Mike Weber touchdown run.
The Wolverines drove 75 yards in eight plays on their next possession, capping it with another touchdown pass from Patterson to Collins from 12 yards out, to keep the game alive. The Buckeyes maintained a 16-point lead, though, as Tuf Borland stopped a pass to Collins short of the end zone on the ensuing two-point conversion attempt.
Ohio State extended the lead back to 23 points on its very next offensive play, as Parris Campbell took a fly sweep 78 yards to the house on the longest offensive play of his career.
The Wolverines drove 86 yards in 11 plays on their next possession, capping that drive with a 1-yard rushing touchdown by Ben Mason, but it was too little, too late.
Ohio State drove right back down the field for another touchdown on its next possession, with Haskins – who also broke the Big Ten single-season record for passing yards on Saturday – throwing his 40th touchdown pass of the season, breaking Drew Brees’ conference record in that category, from one yard out.
Brendon White intercepted a pass by Joe Milton on Michigan’s next possession, after Patterson left the game with an injury, and Haskins capitalized on another short field with a 16-yard pass to Campbell for his fifth touchdown pass of the game.
With the game already well decided, Milton scored the game’s final touchdown with a 4-yard run with 3:16 to play.
Ohio State is now 7-0 against Michigan in Urban Meyer’s tenure as head coach.
The Buckeyes will return to Indianapolis next week to face Northwestern in the Big Ten Championship Game. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. next Saturday at Lucas Oil Stadium.
- Weber wore No. 5 (his number from youth football) instead of his usual No. 25 in Saturday's game.
- Campbell, Johnnie Dixon, Borland and Fuller were the captains for the opening coin toss.
- Former Ohio State players Eli Apple, Michael Thomas, J.T. Barrett, Jamarco Jones and Vonn Bell were recognized during a first-quarter media timeout.
- Ohio State tennis player JJ Wolf and former Ohio State wrestler Kyle Snyder recognized between quarters here at Ohio Stadium.
- Olave's two touchdowns were the first two touchdown catches of his career.
- Banks' touchdown was the first of his career.
- 106,588 was the official attendance for Saturday's game.
- Ohio State right guard Demetrius Knox went down with an injury late in the fourth quarter.