Game 12 Recap: Ohio State 62 – Michigan 39
Ohio State came into the game as an underdog. A lot of the experts had pegged them to lose this game, and for a rational part of the Buckeye Faithful based on this seasons performances, there was not a lot Ohio State has shown this season to calm those doubters. And then the game started, and after the first series offensively and defensively, this team was focused and different than they have been the past few weeks. Ohio State held Michigan to a 3 and out after a sack stopped momentum on Michigan’s first drive, and Ohio State scored 6 plays with a Dwayne Haskins pass to Chris Olave for 24 yards.
Michigan defense was able to stop Ohio State on their next two drives for punts, and the Wolverine offense traded their next two series for field goals, with Ohio State holding a 7-6 lead early in the second quarter. After the teams exchanged punts, Ohio State scored on their next drive, Dwayne Haskins finds Chris Olave for another 24 yard touchdown. After forcing another punt for Michigan, Ohio State scores once more with a 31 yard pass to Johnnie Dixon.
Michigan responded with a 23 yard pass from Shea Patterson to Nico Collins. On the ensuing kickoff, Demario McCall fumbled the return, which was recovered by the Wolverines on the Ohio State 9 yard line. With one play, Michigan scored once more with a 9 yard pass from Patterson to Chris Evans. They attempted 2 point conversion failed, and with 41 seconds left, Ohio State drove down the field, and settled for a field goal, leading the 4th ranked Wolverines at halftime 24-19.
On the opening kickoff, Ohio State got a first down but was forced to punt their opening possession. The defense responded with another stop, and on the next offensive series, Ohio State drove down and connected on a 19 yard field goal. Tate Martell came in as the offense was in the redzone, but could not get the touchdown.
Ohio State’s defense stepped up once more, after pinning back the Wolverines deep in their territory, and what could have been the play of the game, Chris Olave comes up big again, and tips the point, which was then returned by Oho State for a touchdown, extending their lead 34-19. Things did not turn around for Michigan, as Patterson threw an interception, which was returned to the Michigan 22 yard line. The roaring crowd was brought back to life in the second half, and became a factor mentally for the Wolverines the rest of the game.
Dwayne Haskins tossed it to KJ Hill for 20 yards, and Mike Weber capped of the 2 play series with a touchdown run, 41-19. Each team would exchange touchdowns their next possessions, including the 78 yard run from Parris Campbell, and with 7 minutes left to go in the 4th quarter, Ohio State lead 55-32. Brendon White picked off the Wolverines on the next series, and Dwayne Haskins found Campbell for a 16 yard touchdown. Michigan drove down and scored on their next possession. Ohio State needed a few first downs, and after a few big runs from Mike Weber, Ohio State held on to their 62-39 win. The fans stormed the field to celebrate the last home game this season, and stood arm and arm with the football team to sing Carmen Ohio.
In what was a crazy year, this win was big for the Buckeyes, and should carry some weight to the committee. They will head to Indianapolis to face Northwestern for the Big Ten Championship.
Dwayne Haskins finished the game with 318 yard passing and 5 touchdowns. Mike Weber led all runners with 96 yards on 13 carries and a touchdown. Parris Campbell led all receivers with 114 yards on 5 catches and a touchdown. He also had 78 yards rushing and a touchdown on 1 play.
For one of the few times this season, Ohio State controlled this game from start to finish. The defining moment that made it favored for Ohio State and extending the spread was midway through the third quarter, Chris Olave tipped the punt on Michigan, and it was returned for a touchdown. That extended Ohio State’s lead 34-19. The next possessions, Ohio State and Michigan traded touchdowns, but the score never got as close as the half time score of 24-19, and Ohio State dominated in all phases of the game.
Star of the Game
Dwayne Haskins breaking records has been a narrative all season, and he does so again against the nations top passing defense in the country. He lit up the Wolverine defense with 318 yards in the air and 5 touchdowns, which helped him break the Big Ten record for passing yards and passing touchdowns, both held by Purdue quarterbacks, Curtis Painter and Drew Brees, respectively.
Ohio State needed a to simply win to keep their chances alive for the playoff. With this statement win, there should be an interesting discussion from the selection committee on the top four should Ohio State and Oklahoma both win their respective conference games. Ohio State put on the most complete performance of the season, and will need to shore up on the penalties against a Northwestern team who have been aggressive in every game, and came close to beating an undefeated Notre Dame.
Ohio State (11-1) will face Northwestern (8-4) in Indianapolis, IN for the Big Ten Championship.
Michigan will be off the next week, and awaiting their postseason destination on selection Sunday.
Photo credit to The Toledo Blade