Ohio State went into Ann Arbor on Saturday and beat Michigan for an eighth-consecutive year.
It was their 15th win in 16 games, and 17th win in the last 19 meetings.
Some would call it ‘old hat,’ but if the new hat fits so great and looks so good every year, it’s okay to admire it for its individual beauty. There is no reason to just toss it on your pile of other hats. You need to admire them and set them out so that they can be appreciated.
And that’s what Buckeye fans need to make sure they do with yesterday’s win over the Wolverines.
I know it won’t be taken for granted. But things happened in that game that generally don’t happen in that game. Players had performances that aren’t that easy to come by, and just because they are becoming more frequent against Michigan doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be acknowledged.
For instance, freshman wide receiver Garrett Wilson caught three passes for 118 yards and a touchdown, and in doing so he joined a fairly exclusive group. He became just the eighth Buckeye to ever have 100 receiving yards in a game against Michigan.
He joined Parris Campbell (192, 2018), Ted Ginn (104, 2006), John Frank (123, 1983), Santonio Holmes (121, 2003), Brian Stablein (111, 1992), David Boston (217, 1998), and Michael Jenkins (132, 2003) in the Buckeyes’ Century Club.
I’m not sure if you’ve seen the Ohio State record books in a while, but that’s a decent group to be listed among, and yet none of them were true freshmen like Wilson is.
Last year, Chris Olave made his mark in this game as a true freshman with two touchdowns catches and a blocked punt, but even those two receptions went for just 48 yards total.
Junior running back JK Dobbins also joined an exclusive group, as he does just about every week.
He now joins Archie Griffin as the only two Buckeyes with more than 4,000 yards rushing. Dobbins is now at 4,113 yards rushing in his career, and is only a little under 1,500 yards away from overtaking Griffin as the all-time rushing leader at Ohio State.
The other group Dobbins joined on Saturday is the 200-yard club. In rushing for 211 yards in 31 attempts against Michigan, he became just the fourth Buckeye to ever rush for 200 yards in a game against the Wolverines. He joined Carlos Hyde (226, 2013), Beanie Wells (222, 2007), and Ezekiel Elliott (214, 2015).
Dobbins also added 49 yards receiving, so his 260 all-purpose yards is also a school-record against Michigan.
When Ohio State needed their workhorse most, the only thing Dobbins had to say was “Let’s go.” He wanted this moment, just as Garrett Wilson did, just as everyone else did.
Senior defensive end Jonathon Cooper gave up the rest of the season and its possibilities for this one shot at Michigan. He made the most of it, collecting a season-high three tackles and his lone sack of an injury-shortened year.
This was a sacrifice for Cooper, but one he was happy to make and came to peace with.
Michigan, on the other hand, may never find peace with any of this.
Especially when they have to face quarterback Justin Fields for at least one more season.
Against Michigan, Fields became just the fourth Ohio State quarterback to throw for over 300 yards against the Wolverines.
Fields completed 14-of-25 passes for 302 yards and four touchdowns.
In throwing for 300 yards, Fields joined Buckeye quarterback luminaries Joe Germaine (330, 1998), Troy Smith (300, 2005; 316, 2006), and Dwayne Haskins (396, 2018) as the only four quarterbacks in OSU history to pass for 300 yards against the Wolverines.
Fields also joined Haskins and Smith as the only quarterbacks in school history to throw for at least four touchdowns in a game against Michigan.
One of those touchdowns came immediately after Fields left the medical tent, supported by a much bulkier knee brace than the one he began the game with. All Fields was thinking about was getting back on the field so that he could put the finishing touches on a masterpiece.
Which is exactly what he did.
But these kinds of things aren’t supposed to happen, because they haven’t happened all that often.
And just because they’re starting to happen more doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take a moment and appreciate the coveted result when a big-time player steps up in big-time moments against the rival of all rivals.
Don’t take any of this for granted, because most of it has been needed to get things as lopsided as they’ve been.
And as long as you’re looking at it from the right angle, lopsided doesn’t look all that bad.