ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — J.K. Dobbins ran for four touchdowns and Justin Fields threw four TD passes, providing plenty of firepower for No. 2 Ohio State to rout No. 10 Michigan 56-27 Saturday for a school-record eighth straight win in the series.
“It feels great just to continue the legacy of this great Ohio State tradition,” defensive end Chase Young said. “We’re just going to try to keep it moving next week.”
The Buckeyes (12-0, 9-0 Big Ten, No. 1 CFP) will head to the Big Ten championship game with a spot in the College Football Playoff in sight against either No. 9 Minnesota or No. 13 Wisconsin next Saturday.
Fields went down in the third quarter, grabbing his left knee, and walked off the field to be evaluated in a tent behind Ohio State’s sideline. The sophomore quarterback came back in the game and on the next snap, he scrambled and threw a 30-yard touchdown pass to Garrett Wilson.
“It was a magical moment,” Ohio State’s first-year coach Ryan Day said. “I thought it was a Heisman moment.”
The Wolverines (9-3, 6-3, No. 13 CFP) will have to settle for a second- or third-tier bowl game after coach Jim Harbaugh fell to 0-5 in the rivalry, and they lost to Ohio State for the 15th time in 16 years.
“We didn’t really put them in position to have pressure on them,” Harbaugh said. “They played really well.”
Michigan got off to a strong start, driving 75 yards on the opening drive and scoring on Giles Jackson’s 22-yard run.
The Wolverines, though, followed that up with the first of too many mistakes that doomed their chances of pulling off an upset as a heavy underdog. Quinn Nordin missed the extra point and less than a few minutes later, the Buckeyes took the lead for good.
Dobbins, who ran 211 yards on 31 carries, scored to put Ohio State ahead 7-6 midway through the first quarter.
Fields, who was 14 of 25 for 302 yards and overcame an apparent left knee injury, connected on a 57-yard touchdown pass to Chris Olave late in the first quarter.
Michigan answered with Shea Patterson’s 25-yard TD pass to Donovan Peoples-Jones to pull within a point later in the opening quarter and couldn’t get closer.
The Buckeyes turned the game into a rout by outscoring Michigan 28-3 to earn a 42-16 cushion late in the third quarter when only the final score was in doubt.
During the pivotal surge, Patterson lost a fumble on an accurate, shotgun snap from the Ohio State 12 trailing by eight points midway through the second quarter.
Patterson was 18 of 41 for 305 yards with an interception late in the game. He completed 14 of 19 in the first half.
Hassan Haskins had 78 yards rushing and ran for a TD and a 2-point conversion early in the fourth to cut Michigan’s deficit to 15 points.
Fields and Dobbins added late TDs, giving Ohio State 56 points a year after it scored 62 in a win over the Wolverines.
Patterson said Michigan’s locker room was very quiet after the game.
“There wasn’t too much talking going on,” he said. “Coach Harbaugh just told us to keep our composure.”
Ohio State: The Buckeyes’ defense had issues for the first time this season, allowing a season-high 396 yards. Young also had a quiet day, but the Buckeyes played better in the second half than first and the offense did the rest.
“They did a lot of doubles, triples, bringing the guard over to help,” Young said. “Everybody on the defense stepped up.”
Michigan: The Wolverines must figure out how to get better defensively to have any chance of making the rivalry competitive.
“We made some mistakes and they executed very well,” Harbaugh said.
Ohio State could become the top-ranked team in The Associated Press poll after becoming No. 1 in CFP rankings earlier in the week. Michigan will fall back in the poll.
Ohio State: The Buckeyes beat Wisconsin in the regular season but did not play Minnesota.
Michigan: Waits for its bowl bid.