ANN ARBOR, Michigan (WCMH) — Ohio State’s first loss to Michigan in a decade dashes any hope the Buckeyes had at winning their fourth-straight Big Ten title and seemingly kills their playoff prospects.
The Wolverines ran all over OSU, the Buckeyes had trouble doing the same to their rival and the offensive line made critical mistakes.
Ran right through them
That’s what Michigan did to Ohio State. The Wolverines ran wild against the Buckeyes to the tune of 297 yards and six rushing touchdowns, including five from Hassan Haskins.
“I feel like they control the game when that happens, staying on schedule the whole time,” coach Ryan Day said. “We weren’t able to stop that; that’s really, really disappointing especially when you know that they’re going to do it, so got to take a hard look and figure out why that was.”
Michigan averaged more than seven yards per carry and didn’t even try to hide what they were doing because it was working so well. Michigan only threw the ball 19 times compared to 41 rushes. Several times in the fourth quarter, Ohio State’s offense came up with big fourth-down conversions that led to a touchdown, putting it within one possession. However, Michigan answered each time by running through the teeth of the defense, kicking those teeth in along the way.
The Wolverines were the more physical team upfront, plain and simple.
OSU couldn’t run
Michigan was also more physical on defense, refusing to budge when the Buckeyes ran the ball. TreVeyon Henderson had a pair of big runs, but outside of that, it was a disappointing day for OSU, which averaged a measly 2.1 yards per rush.
Ohio State ranks toward the top of the country in yards per rush, but Michigan’s top 10 defense prevailed, forcing the Buckeyes to throw way more than they wanted to.
“I guess we threw it 49 times and there were more attempts than that because of scrambles and sacks, so that’s too much, especially with the d-line that these guys have,” Day said. “When you throw that much, you’re going to put yourself at risk and I felt like we had to down the stretch cause we weren’t really getting much on the run game.”
Too much pressure
In more ways than one, that’s true. Ohio State had more than 20 players who start or get regular playing time who made their debut in The Game and it showed. The Buckeyes played on their heels and it looked like the moment was too big for them at times as the team committed 10 penalties, including five false starts.
“That was really frustrating because that got us off schedule on offense and really when you look at the games we struggled with, that’s what’s got us off schedule,” Day said of the penalties.
The other side of too much pressure was how often the Wolverines were in C.J. Stroud’s grill. Michigan sacked him four times, including three sacks from All-American senior Aiden Hutchinson, who has 13 this season, a new school record.