The Ohio State Buckeyes (11-0, 8-0) hosted the visiting Michigan Wolverines (11-0, 8-0) in a colossal match up with much at stake Saturday afternoon.
OSU came into the game looking to avenge their disappointing 42-27 loss a season ago.
Michigan came into the game looking to defeat Ohio State twice in a row and return to the Big Ten Championship for the second year in a row.
Michigan held a 59-51-6 all-time record against the Buckeyes in this game, prior to Saturday’s contest.
Notably, Ohio State standouts Jaxon Smith-Njigba and TreVeyon Henderson were inactive for the game due to injuries.
Ohio State running back Miyan Williams and Michigan running back Blake Corum were active for this contest.
Big plays were key for the Wolverines in this match up, as Michigan scored touchdowns of 69, 75, 45, 75, and 85 yards on their way to a 45-23 drubbing of the Buckeyes.
Michigan out-gained Ohio State by a margin of 530 yards to 492 yards offensively. The Wolverines did not turn the ball over, while the Buckeyes turned the ball over twice.
Statistically for Ohio State, C.J Stroud completed 31 of 48 passes for 349 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions. Emeka Egbuka caught nine passes for 125 yards and a touchdown and Marvin Harrison Jr. caught seven passes for 120 yards and a touchdown. Deamonte Traynum led the ground attack with 83 yards on 14 carries. Miyan Williams carried the ball eight times for 34 yards.
Defensively, Tommy Eichenberg led the Buckeyes with seven tackles.
Offensively for Michigan, J.J. McCarthy completed 12 of 24 passes for 263 yards and three touchdowns. Wide receiver Cornelius Johnson caught four passes for 160 yards and two touchdowns. On the ground, Donovan Edwards carried the ball 22 times for 216 yards and two touchdowns, averaging 9.8 yards per carry.
Defensively, Michael Barrett had 11 tackles to lead the Wolverines.
OSU head coach Ryan Day spoke about the loss with the media.
“I think when you looked at the first half, physically, we were playing really well up front, especially on defense. I’m not sure how many yards they had in the first half running the ball. Then they had those two long plays. In the second half, it was more of the same; too many big plays. When you look at the game, there was just way too many big plays. On offense, we had too many penalties and it got us off schedule. We just didn’t do a good job converting on third down and then it gets out of hand at the end because we are probably throwing the ball too much.”
Day spoke about the defense.
“I’m going to have to look and see where all the breakdowns were. But it wasn’t just one area, it was a missed tackle on the first play and then we got beat on the second play. There were obviously some misfits in the run game on other plays and then there was the pass to the tight ends. A few plays in the back end and then a couple on the run. The first thing we need to do in games like this is play great defense. Other than two plays in the first half, I thought we did, but not in the second half.”
Stroud also spoke with the media following the loss.
“Honestly, I don’t even know how to feel right now. It just happened so fast. I don’t know if this is my last time playing in The Shoe, but I’ve enjoyed every second I’ve gotten in there. I think I’ve earned everybody’s respect as time has gone on and I’ve fallen in love with Columbus, Ohio and Buckeye Nation. I don’t think one game defines us. I don’t think that this game defines this team. I would take this team over anybody in the country every week, so I’m blessed to be a part of this fraternity and this brotherhood.”
Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh spoke after the enormous victory for the Wolverines.
“I’m so proud of them. I knew our team was focused and determined, as they have been all season. This is the locker room of heroes. I talked about it last night, we can’t have one or two heroes; we need a whole team of them. It was a great team win. I just can’t say enough about the players and the coaches; they are incredible. It’s a happy locker room as you can imagine. They’re happy, they’re celebrating, but they’re giving thanks.”
Harbaugh also spoke about the play of starting quarterback, J.J. McCarthy.
“He’s just got that it-factor. First-year starter, in the history of Michigan, that went 12-0, and he beat Ohio State. In the second half, we said ‘let’s run J.J.’. He was just on fire in every way; running the ball or throwing it.”
Michigan (12-0, 9-0) will play against Purdue (8-4, 6-3) on Saturday, Dec. 3 at Lucas Oil Stadium in the Big Ten Championship. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m.
Ohio State (11-1, 8-1) will now wait and see how their fate turns out. Some analysts believe that the Buckeyes still have a realistic chance of making the College Football Playoff, but that may come down to the result of the Pac 12 and Big 12 Championship games as a loss by either USC or TCU would increase Ohio State’s chances exponentially.