Easily their best game since USC last year, but this game reminds me more of the 2014 Wisconsin game. Playing a good team, playing as an underdog, and just imposing their will. Dominating the game in every facet.
But Urban Meyer takes this game to another level. Ohio State’s defense had been widely (and justifiably) criticized and maligned. People kept saying that this was Harabugh’s year. OSU has dominated the series over the last 17 years. But this was one of the rare times, where the Wolverines came into this game playing better, more highly ranked.
But at the end of the day, it was dominating win over the fourth ranked team in America.
Throughout the season, Ohio State has struggled on defense. They have given up their longest rushing and passing plays of all time this year. They’ve given up big plays. They’ve had a historically bad scoring defense. Gave up 51 points last week to Maryland.
But in the first half of this game, Ohio State made the Wolverines earn their yards. It was the best tackling they’ve had all season. Buckeyes were bending but not breaking, holding the Wolverines to just six points until late in the first half.
With 3:18 left in the first half, Dwayne Haskins hit Johnny Dixon for a 31 yard pass to give OSU a 21-6 lead.
With the Wolverines against the ropes, Shea Patterson led a really solid scoring drive capped off by a great catch by Nico Collins which made the score 21-12.
On the ensuing kickoff, something happened that I don’t think I’ve ever seen in my 25 years of watching football. The return man (DeMario McCall) fumbled the kick. The Wolverines suddenly had the ball on the nine yard line. They scored on the next play (failed on the two-point conversion). It was a swing in momentum, but Ohio State had really dominated the play in the first half. In the last :41 of the first half, OSU was able to drive down and kick a field goal.
The third quarter was what put Ohio State ahead, as the Buckeyes outscored the Wolverines 17-0. After the initial Ohio State drive of the second half stalled, the Wolverines traded them an unfruitful possession. When OSU took the ball back, the Buckeyes hit a 31 yard run by J.K. Dobbins and a 36 yard pass to Parris Campbell and the Buckeyes were suddenly inside the 5, threatening going up by 12. In short yardage, they decided to put Tate Martell in at quarterback. This has been a struggle this season. Martell has gotten in on short yardage situations each of the last three games. All the plays were runs, as were all three plays in the red zone and what looked like a touchdown drive resulted in a field goal. Still a one-score game, as the Buckeyes led 27-19.
Wolverines picked up a couple of first downs on the following drive. On fourth down, punting from their own 36, Buckeye receiver Chris Olave blocked the kick. Olave had also scored two touchdowns in the first half as he began a legacy in this gam today. The blocked punt was returned for a Buckeye touchdown.
Now trailing 34-19, on third and long, Shea Patterson threw an interception to Buckeye Joran Fuller. Two plays later, Mike Weber scored to make it 41-19.
Fourth quarter was back and forth. Wolverines finally caught fire on offense but had no answers on defense.
The Wolverines had 40 carries for 160 yards, but a lot of those yards came late. Ohio State dominated between the tackles today. The heavily touted Oho State defensive line had been banged up (Nick Bosa out most of the season), but they had also been underwhelming at times. Today they were able to get pressure.
It was a great game. Great performances from Dwayne Haskins, Chris Olave. Parris Campbell had 192 total yards in his final home game as a Buckeye. As much as the defense and linebackers have struggled, Malik Harrison had a huge game. Easily Ohio State’s best game of the year.
Wolverines have the number one defense in the country: Ohio State scored 62 points. Over 300 passing yards and five passing touchdowns. Just under 250 rushing yards.
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Josh Benner is the associate pastor at Cornerstone Evangelical Free Church in Fergus Falls, Minnesota and has a Master of Divinity from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He enjoys writing about faith and culture. He lives with his wife Kari in Minnesota.