Michigan finally defeats Ohio State after eight straight losses, winning 42-27.
Jim Harbaugh lost his first five game against Ohio State, becoming the first head coach in the series to lose his first five games. He finally got the monkey off his back and advanced to his first ever conference championship game as a college head coach.
Meanwhile, Ryan Day has lost his first game against a Big Ten opponent and lost his first true road game. While Harbaugh punched his first ticket to Indianapolis, Day will be watching the conference championship from his couch for the first time as a member of the Ohio State coaching staff.
Michigan started with an opening drive touchdown on a trick play, which ended in a 13-yard score for A.J. Henning.
Ohio State started slowly, but in the second quarter, they got their first touchdown with a contested catch in the corner of the end zone to Garrett Wilson.
Michigan wouldn’t be behind long, and established total dominance on the ground. Hassan Haskins scored the game’s next three touchdowns. With his overwhelming performance, Michigan maintained a 15-point lead for most of the second half.
TreVeyon Henderson scored two late touchdowns, one rushing and one receiving, and that got the Buckeyes within a score. But Ohio State couldn’t stop the Wolverine’s rushing attack, so Haskins they could never catch up. Haskins scored his fifth touchdown of the game in the last three minutes, and that put the nail in the coffin.
Michigan finally broke their losing streak against Ohio State after the 42-27 win.
Michigan Finally Defeats Ohio State
Michigan’s Rushing Dominance
The winner of the last 20 games in this series has been the team with the most rushing yards. This was as true this week as it ever has been.
As a team, Michigan rushed for almost 300 yards, while attempting more than twice as many runs as passes. Haskins carried the ball 28 times for 169 and a school-record five touchdowns.
For comparison, Cade McNamara only attempted 20 passes, gained 159 yards, scored no touchdowns, and tossed an interception.
Michigan had clearly watched the Oregon game, and followed the blueprint the Ducks laid down. The Wolverines attacked the edges and got their offensive linemen on the move, gaining yards as effectively as Oregon did in September.
In fact, Haskins scored a 13-yard touchdown on a play that suspiciously resembled the play Oregon ran for scores several times in Columbus.
While Ohio State got out-rushed by Michigan, it wasn’t a slow day on the ground. Henderson still averaged more than four yards per carry, and scored his 19th touchdown from scrimmage in the fourth quarter. That broke Maurice Clarett‘s school record of most touchdowns by a true freshman.
Ohio State’s Self-Inflicted Wounds
Playing on the road is hard, especially in the Big House.
Ohio State had five false start penalties, which accounted for half of the Buckeyes’ ten penalties on the day.
The Buckeyes had several drives that stalled because false starts made their distance to go much less manageable.
For contrast, Michigan only had two penalties for 20 yards, which was much fewer than Ohio State’s 66 yards.
It’s not that Ohio State had a bad day. They had roughly the same number of total yards as Michigan, including nearly 400 through the air for C.J. Stroud. Jaxon Smith-Njigba recorded his fourth straight game of nine-plus receptions for 100+ yards. But self-inflicted wounds kept Ohio State from matching Michigan’s offensive production.
Other than penalties, red zone difficulties came back to haunt the Buckeyes. Ohio State didn’t score a red zone touchdown until the fourth quarter, instead settling for Noah Ruggles field goals.
If Ohio State could have scored touchdowns, (and made the following extra point on each), instead of field goals, they could have had eight more points. The Buckeyes only trailed by eight points at various times throughout the fourth quarter, and if the score had been tied instead then the flavor of the game would have been much different.
For the first time since 2016, Ohio State will not be going to Indianapolis for the Big Ten Championship, and will miss out on the CFP for the first time in Ryan Day’s head coaching career.
Ohio State needs to make some philosophical and personnel changes on defense this offseason if they want to be back to the standard Day has set for the Buckeyes.
The good news is that Stroud, Henderson, Smith-Njigba, and others will be back and ready to go in 2022.