Football The Rivalry

Ten Things We Learned From Ohio State’s 56-27 Win Over Michigan

Ohio State cornerback KJ Hill Rashod Berry Michigan

On Saturday, Ohio State went into Ann Arbor and did to Michigan what they have done to every other team this season, which is pretty much whatever they wanted.

The Buckeyes put up over 500 yards of total offense and scored 14 points in each quarter. The winning percentage of those two stats together is probably somewhere around .9997.

Justin Fields threw for 300 yards. JK Dobbins rushed for 200 yards. And Michigan’s offense went into halftime with 285 yards of total offense, but when they came back out, they found an Ohio State defense that had finally caught on.

From there, the punishment truly began.

So what can be learned from a Michigan fan’s Groundhog Day?

The scary thing for the Wolverines is that new things are learned each time the Buckeyes dominate Michigan because it’s never the same beating twice. They’re doing it in different ways. Some of it, they allow Michigan to choose — such as which receiver to throw to. Other times, however, there is no choice given — like when the Buckeyes are running the ball at will.

The fact that Ohio State can do whatever they want, whenever they want, whether Michigan likes it or not, is something that has been brewing and building for nearly two decades.

And the latest rendition took place on Saturday.

So what did we learn? Plenty.

1. Shaun Wade needs to get healthy.

I’m not saying each of Shea Patterson’s 250 first-half passing yards on Saturday were the result of Shaun Wade’s absence, but I am saying at least half of them were. Michigan has tremendous receivers, which put the Buckeyes in a difficult spot as they moved everyone around from snap to snap trying to replace the one guy who was missing. Wade may not be as needed next weekend against Wisconsin, but the Buckeyes aren’t winning it all without him in the lineup come December and January.

2. No moments are too big for JK Dobbins.

Ohio State has played four teams this season that are currently ranked. JK Dobbins has rushed for 141 (Cincinnati), 163 (Wisconsin), 157 (Penn State), and 211 (Michigan) yards against them. Dobbins carried the ball four times on third down against Michigan and picked up the first down each time — including a 6-yard touchdown run on third-and-4. After the game he was asked how he feels after carrying the ball so many times the past two weeks. His answer? “Great.” Dobbins is exactly where he wants to be, doing exactly what he wants to do, and there are no more small moments to come.

3. It takes a village.

Congratulations are in order for the Michigan offense. They held Chase Young to zero sacks. It took constant double teams and an extra hand or two in the on-deck circle as well. Perhaps it even took some holding. The point is, they got the job done. And it didn’t seem to cost them much in the first half because Shea Patterson was still getting time. That time dwindled in the second half, which turned Patterson from a patient quarterback into a nervous quarterback. The game was over from that point. Patterson completed just 4-of-24 passes in the second half.

4. This secondary got better.

The moment may have been a bit too big for inexperienced defensive backs like Sevyn Banks, Cameron Brown, and Amir Riep. There were struggles in the first half, but the second half was a much calmer experience for each of them. They were settled down at the half and they played with more confidence over the game’s final 25 minutes or so. Playing without both Shaun Wade and Damon Arnette at times stretched this secondary past where most teams can go. The Buckeyes, however, came out stronger for it. Even if it did bring about a few bruises along the way.

5. This isn’t difficult.

As Tom and I tried to tell the Michigan faithful, in order to win this game, you have to run the ball. Not too many of their fans wanted to hear it. The Michigan coaches know it, but also knew there was nothing they could do about running the ball, which is a pretty damning thing. Sure, it’s smart that they realized it, but it’s a terrible job of coaching, recruiting, and development to be incapable of running the ball. Even as the passing game improved this season, the running game never became the beneficiary. Remember when Michigan had the best offensive line in the Big Ten? That lasted as long as fall camp.

6. Justin Fields is a tough dude.

Justin Fields played on a sprained MCL and chose to wear a smaller, less-protective knee brace because he didn’t want it to impact his mobility. When he went down in the second half, his only goal was to get into the medical tent to get a larger, sturdier brace. He had finally given in, but it was clear he had not given up. When Fields emerged, he did a bit of jogging, then ran out onto the field to get back into the fray, knowing that there were more hits to come.

7. Field goals don’t beat great offenses.

Here’s a little-known fact, at least in the state of Michigan, if you are playing against a team that is averaging seven touchdowns per game, you would need to make 17 field goals just to have a chance to beat that average. However, given that UM’s two kickers have combined to hit about 68% of their field goals this season, that means Michigan would probably have to attempt at least 25 field goals in order to win. Unfortunately, that’s nearly twice the average number of possessions per game. Also unfortunately for Michigan, Ohio State actually scored eight touchdowns, which means Jim Harbaugh would have needed his team to hit 19 field goals.

8. The Buckeyes have answers.

Don Brown said a few weeks back that the Ohio State offense better be careful because the Michigan defense had been planning all season for them. Well, that’s cool and all, but if the Buckeyes have all of the answers, it doesn’t really matter what the questions are. Do you think Google stays up at night worrying that some weirdo is going to type something into the search bar that’s never been typed before? Of course not. Last year, the Buckeyes beat Michigan’s defense with some east/west stuff. This year it was north/south. Next year, maybe Ryan Day will invent some new directions. “In 2018, it was east and west. Then last year it was north and south. I’ll admit it, I was never expecting Ohio State’s offense to move the ball flern and jorp on us. I didn’t even realize those directions existed.” — Don Brown

9. Same as it ever was.

Ryan Day says players win games, not plays, and not coaches. The fact that Ohio State has waves of defensive linemen has been one of the biggest reasons they continue to dominate Michigan. Michigan wears out on both sides of the line in this game every year because they don’t have what Ohio State has. Michigan plays 2-3 defensive tackles and 2-3 defensive ends because that’s all they have. The Buckeyes played six defensive ends — each of whom has starting experience this season — and four defensive tackles. And they didn’t even play as many as they normally do. But those waves wear down an offensive line. And when you don’t have those waves — like Michigan doesn’t — not only does the offensive line not get worn down, but they get stronger and they wear down the opponent. Michigan needs more talent up front. Their roster has too many occupiers and not enough difference makers.

10. Same as it ever was, Part 2.

And it’s not just on the line of scrimmage where the Buckeyes have the advantages. Ohio State has had difference makers at the skill positions forever, but their advantage over Michigan at those positions continues to grow. Until Jim Harbaugh gets more difference makers, it actually won’t make a difference. I said all season that for Michigan to win this game, they will need help from rivalry ghosts. But this thing has been so lopsided for so long, that most of those ghosts now wear Scarlet and Gray. The Michigan ghosts finally got tired of this crap a few years back and decided to head toward the light.

11 Responses

  1. Concerning Shaun Wade I think I heard the sideline reporter say that he could have played if needed. Am I correct? To be honest I think Wade wore number 10 and played in the second half, lol, Actually I have to give A. Riep #10 a huge shout out as his first half was rough but his second half was stellar. Incredible turnaround.

  2. It is a new Day O – H – 1 – 0

  3. Great articles;
    Ten things;

    1. “Pride goes before the fall!” Harbaugh, still fails to address that yes, there is a gap in talent, depth, in coaching and in preparation. His failure to answer is an embarrassing indictment of his own folly. Our record 56 points, the most scored ever there was more than ‘playing well.’
    2. The national media’s love affair ended with MI ended once OSU took a demanding lead. Listening to them, one would have thought that MI was 11-0 and not OSU!
    3. This is not your father’s or your grandfather’s MI. There was a day when MI pounded the ball, had great lines and not only win the B1G, but went regularly to the Rose Bowl and beat an elite PAC 10 school. Those days are far gone. MI and MI fans live in the past worst than 90 year old celebrities.
    4. Kudos for MI for keeping Young’s name silence. Even though we led by 12 at half, it felt like it was tied. Their first half they’re passing game was on.
    5. OSU adjusted at half and Patterson went only completed four with an additional completion to a Buckeye.
    6. OSU’s O is a beast, just not because of it’s quick strike ability, or the depth of talent, but because OSU ripped apart MI in the ground.
    7. 2 years ago, we heard about Dobbins moves and speed, last year we heard about about his struggle as OSU’s OL line struggled. This year we not only see his toughness and his speed, but his intelligence, his scores are more than just holes opened up by our OL, but his patience, wisdom and ability to find creases.
    8. OSU’s D began to clamp down in the 2nd quarter, drop passes, missed throws and even Patterson’s fumble were all signs that OSU was catching on. Instead of game tying TD’s, MI settled for one FG, while OSU got two TD’s.
    9. Fields is a product of his coach, let’s admit it, we heard great things about his athleticism, but not his arm. We have watched him mature and at MI we saw early struggles blossom into deep passes, nifty short balls and sharp intermediate throws. IMHO, he is just about a good as a passer as Haskins, a better thrower and runner than JTB, with moves like Braxton and power like Pryor. As Urban said, when he plays well OSU is nearly impossible to beat.
    10. Heard and want confirmation that with OSU’s victory over TTUN, that OSU has now the best all time winning %, overtaking………ttun!

  4. I learned (again) that Coach Day gets it (as evidenced by his emotions during the interview) and he is a great young coach. The running against PSU was a precursor to this game and it set up the big plays over the top. I also learned that a healthy Jonathan Cooper would have made this defense totally lights out.

  5. Using my engineering degree from tOSU
    and the ISE 200 class on manufacturing principles of degrees of freedom available on the field, we have exhausted east/west in 2018, north/ south in 2019, so that leaves only one left for 2020: up/down = jump 50/50 balls. Paging the next Devin Smith!

  6. I learned that beating TSUN never gets old …

  7. I agree Georgia made a Big Mistake letting Fields become a Buckeye. A tough young man.

  8. 1. I apologize to Justin Fields. He’s tougher than I give him credit for being.
    2. It was fun watching the defensive actively work finding a solution in the secondary during the first half. Perhaps they didn’t get it settled until halftime, but, the way they moved guys around, spacing and key reads were obvious. Those guys earned their paychecks, and the guys on the field trusted them 100%. Doesn’t get any better than that. It’s still sickening that Patterson was able to throw for more than 200 yards, but, all’s well that ends well.
    3. It takes opponents 2.25 players to keep Chase Young at bay with a little holding here and there. His presence alone altered what the varmints could and could not do.
    4. If Coach Day can keep this staff together….DYNASTY straight ahead.
    5. Reading several forums from the varmints, their fans want them and PSU to leave the Big 10. I hear the MAC is looking for programs that might be able to be competitive once in awhile.
    6. I learned that the “_ichigan Man Steve Deace” has gone into exile since guaranteeing a Varmint win.
    7. Drue Chrisman is struggling.
    8. JK Dobbins really is the best running in the land. Could you imagine what JK would do at OKie State in a Conference where defense isn’t compulsory, and more often than not, non-existent. 3K would have been doable there.
    9. Crowd noise at the Outhouse is about as loud as the Glass Bowl up in Toledo.
    10. I learned that Wisconsin is going to get completely wrecked in the Big 10 Title game.

  9. Very nice Tony. Been saying all year when your rival signs more top 50 than you sign top 100, you got a pretty big talent disparity. One of harbaughs recent classes had ZERO top 100. Only 3/22 commits had other P5 ttun was the only P5 offer for the other 19,lol. Could you imagine our coaches turning in a class like thst? Have to look but I think OSU signs more top 100 players than the Big 10 combined the last 4 years. So coming back Banks,Brown,Riep im fogetting 2 more 1 S and another CB, all have played.

  10. Not only did Fields come back in soon after reinjuring his MCL, he made a touchdown throw that would have been really good for a QB with an uninjured MCL. For him to make this play was spectacular. To those Georgia coaches who let Fields get away. – THANK YOU !!!!. This guy is the real deal. So happy that he is a Buckeye.

  11. Don Brown is now furiously searching google for “flern and jorp plays.”

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