Game 12 Recap: Ohio State 56 – Michigan 27
Fox’s Big Noon Kickoff was on campus for this game, and for those who watched, the crowd was loud and the fans were ready. Michigan felt confidence going into this game after gaining some traction on offense the past few weeks. Ohio State was looking to keep its perfect season alive, and coming off an emotional win against Penn State the week before. As cliche as it sounds, this was one where you know each team was going to give its best shot.
Michigan showed they had a game plan by taking the ball first, and scoring on their opening drive, but missed the extra point. This was the first time all season the Buckeye defense allowed a scoring drive for an opponents first series. The Buckeyes responded though with JK Dobbins running and catching, and capped off with a 5 yard touchdown run from Dobbins, and took the lead 7-6.
Both teams then exchanged punts after the defensive adjustments, and when the Buckeyes got the ball back after another punt from the Wolverines, and drove 81 yards in 6 plays for another touchdown where Fields threw a deep pass to Chris Olave for 57 yards and extended the lead 14-6. Michigan then responded with a touchdown of their own on a quick 3 play drive to close the gap, but then Ohio State score once more to make it 21-13
Michigan started to drive again, but Ohio State recovered the fumble in the redzone to take the ball over and scored once more with another JK Dobbins touchdown run. Michigan scored a field goal on their next drive, and Ohio State led 28-16 going into halftime. This was the worst showing all season for the defense who did not have Shaun Wade, and the Silver Bullets gave up 285 yards in the first half.
Ohio State started with the ball the second half and added another touchdown, making it 35-16. They then slowed down Michigan and forced a punt. The next series for the Buckeyes was scary, as Fields went down with a knee sprain. He was able to walk off the field on his own, but Chris Chugunov and Master Teague game in for 7 plays and were able to move the ball. Then Fields came back into the game for a pass play, scrambled to the left, and threw a perfect pass to Garrett Wilson, and extended the lead 42-16.
The game was never really close after that, the Wolverines were able to make the game 42-27, but the Buckeyes scored 2 more times, but finish the game 56-27. The Buckeyes had already clinched a Big Ten Championship Game berth and will face Wisconsin, who defeated Minnesota later in the day. Harbaugh is now 0-5 against the Buckeyes, and there will be a lot of outcry from the Maize and Blue faithful.
Justin Fields finished the game 14/25 passing with 302 yards and 4 touchdowns. He also added 25 yards rushing on 6 carried, so a stark difference for what was needed of him running when they played Penn State.
JK Dobbins was a monster, carrying the ball 31 times for 211 yards and 4 touchdowns. He also was involved in the pass game with 49 yards on 2 catches, the 3rd leading receiver.
Garrett Wilson stepped up as a freshman. His 3 catches, 118 yards and a touchdown performance can almost forgive him for muffing the punt, but that will need to be something he can clean up. Chris Olave had 68 yards and a touchdown on 2 catches. Austin Mack had 3 catches for 39 yards and a touchdown. KJ Hill had 2 catches for 17 yards and a touchdown, and has a chance to break the record next week against Wisconsin for most catches in a career at Ohio State. Each of the tight ends also had a catch.
Michigan was able to isolate Chase Young, as he only had 2 qb hurries, but still was able to disrupt and alter plays
After Ohio State responded after Michigan’s first drive, the offense for the Buckeyes seemed to be able to move the ball with ease, with a heavy dose of Dobbins in the run game. Even going into halftime, Ohio State held a 28-16 lead, and the game didn’t feel that close, except for the fact our defense gave up 285 yards in the first half after holding every other opponent under 300 for the game. Then, the scary happened. Justin Fields went down, and Ohio State held a 35-16 lead. On the telecast, it went to commercial, and those who followed the Buckeye writers on Twitter saw that we was able to walk off on his own, but was being assessed in the medical tent. Master Teague and Chris Chugunov came in with the first team for 7 plays, which they were serviceable, but every Buckeye fan felt the season ending quickly. Then Fields cam in on 2nd and 10 at the Michigan 30, scrambled left, and delivered a dime to Garrett Wilson. It will be one of those moments that will stand in The Game legend. With Fields back, the confidence and control continued, and the outcome of the game was never in doubt.
Star of the Game
This one is more of a challenge name one, so it is a tie between Justin Fields and JK Dobbins. These are two players who did not grow up in Ohio or in the rivalry, but both players have made statements that they learn the rivalry every day at Ohio State, and to them it just means more. Justin Fields came back after a knee injury to throw a perfect 30 yard touchdown pass and finish with 302 yards passing and 4 passing touchdowns. JK Dobbins rushed for 211 yards on 31 carries and 4 touchdowns. the first time in the history of the series that a player has rushed and passed for 4 touchdowns. Dobbins also passed Ezekiel Elliott as the number 2 all time leader in rushing yards in school history, only trailing Archie Griffin.
A perfect regular season and another dominating win will keep the Buckeyes in the top 4. They were ranked #1 by the College Football Playoff Committee after their win against Penn State, and adding another win against a top 15 team should keep them up there for another week. With a rematch against Wisconsin, and a win, they will be a lock for one of the top 2 spots. With a loss, which we hope doesn’t happen, there is still a chance that the Buckeyes could still be on the top 4 teams.
Ohio State (12-0) will have a rematch against Wisconsin (10-2) in the Big Ten Championship Game in Indianapolis, IN.
Michigan (9-3) will await their fate on Selection Sunday (12/8) for their bowl game.
Photo credit: SI.com