COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio State waited for its revenge game for 365 days. But for the second year in a row, Ohio State lost The Game to Michigan. Saturday’s 45-23 loss was the first loss to Michigan at home in 22 years for Ohio State and the first back-to-back wins for Michigan since 1999-2000.
Penalties, play calls and missed scoring opportunities, short yardage situations, and an undisciplined secondary plagued the Buckeyes, who uncharacteristically broke down in the second half of the game in all facets.
Ohio State’s message all year was competitive stamina, toughness, and physicality. But it just wasn’t enough.
Ohio State was down four points with less than seven minutes left in the third quarter, it was 4th-and-5 from the Michigan 43 yard line. Quarterback C.J. Stroud wanted to go for it, but Day called on the punt team. After that, Ohio State looked defeated and the game got out of hand.
All of the talk coming into the game was on Michigan’s run game but Michigan found its offense early on with the deep ball. Michigan had touchdowns good for 45 yards, 69 yards, and 75 yards.
The Wolverines had one pass play over 60 yards all season leading up to this game, was the 99th ranked passing offense in the country, but quarterback J.J. McCarthy had the most touchdowns over 45 yards by a Michigan player in the series history on Saturday. McCarthy had the game of his life with three touchdown passes and 263 yards, the second highest of his career.
Ohio State’s offense on the other hand got progressively worse through the first half, fizzling through its first four possessions going from a touchdown, to a field foal, to turning it over on downs, then punting. Wide receivers Marvin Harrison Jr. and Emeka Egbuka continued to show up big for the Buckeyes with 120 yards and a touchdown, and 125 yards and a touchdown respectively.
Ohio State started out strong converting 4-of-4 third down attempts. But then failing to convert on third downs kept Michigan in the game and kept giving them chances.
At halftime, Ohio State had 315 yards of offense, 124 on the ground as compared to Michigan’s 214 with 10 rushing yards. But despite the lopsided statistics, Michigan had a chance to take the lead coming out of halftime. And it did.
When the Buckeye defense didn’t force three-and-outs, Michigan’s offense scored. The recipe was that simple.
But not only did Michigan take advantage of Ohio State’s lackluster secondary, but it also began to set the tone on the ground.
With running back Blake Corum limited and out after two carries early on, Michigan was able to establish the run with backup Donovan Edwards in the the third quarter of the game. He finished with 216 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries.
Stroud ended up 31-of-48 passing for 349 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Running back Chip Trayanum led on the ground with 81 yards on 14 carries.
Tommy Eichenberg led the Ohio State defense with seven tackles and five solos.
The Buckeyes will miss out on the Big Ten Championship game for the second year in a row. With that, Ohio State shifts focus to what’s next. But what exactly is next?