Ohio State’s dominance over Michigan continues for another year.
The top-ranked Buckeyes marched into Michigan Stadium on Saturday and emerged with a 56-27 victory. With the win, Ohio State capped off a perfect 12-0 regular season heading into the Big Ten championship game next weekend in Indianapolis.
Early on, it looked like Michigan might have a chance to snap its losing streak to the rival Buckeyes, which is now eight games long dating back to 2011. But the Wolverines were doomed by a series of mistakes late in the first half.
With Ohio State leading 21-13 midway through the second quarter, Shea Patterson and the Michigan offense efficiently moved deep into OSU territory. But that’s when the turnover issues that plagued the Wolverines in the early part of the season resurfaced. On third-and-9 from the OSU 12, Patterson couldn’t handle a shotgun snap, allowing OSU’s Robert Landers to hop on the loose ball for a fumble recovery.
On the ensuing drive, Ohio State’s offense moved to midfield but was forced to punt from its own 43. That’s when another Michigan blunder — jumping offsides before the punt — gave Ohio State a new set of downs. Justin Fields hit Garrett Wilson for a 47-yard gain on the next play, setting up a five-yard touchdown run by J.K. Dobbins that extended OSU’s lead to 28-13 with 3:15 left in the half.
Once again Michigan moved the ball deep into OSU territory on its next drive, but had to settle for a 23-yard field goal to cut the deficit to 28-16 at halftime, after Donovan Peoples-Jones dropped a touchdown on third-and-goal.
Those miscues were ultimately too much for the Wolverines to overcome. Ohio State began the second half with back-to-back touchdown drives, opening up a 42-16 advantage.
Michigan Stadium briefly came to life when UM cut the Ohio State lead to 42-27 early in the fourth, but that feeling of hope vanished when Hassan Haskins was stuffed on fourth-and-1 from UM’s 29-yard line.
The play was there for Haskins if he followed pulling left guard Ben Bredeson (No. 74). Instead, he cut back toward the middle and was swallowed up by the Ohio State front, putting an end to Michigan’s comeback effort.
In the end, Ohio State accumulated a whopping 577 yards of offense, led by 211 yards and four touchdowns rushing from Dobbins and 302 yards and four touchdowns through the air from Fields.
To call the Ohio State-Michigan one-sided would be an understatement. The Buckeyes have now won 15 of the last 16 games in the series. The last two years have been especially notable with Ryan Day’s offense putting up a combined 118 points on Don Brown’s vaunted defense.
Ohio State solidifying case for No. 1 seed
After beating Penn State last week, Ohio State leapfrogged LSU in the College Football Playoff rankings, moving up from No. 2 to No. 1. With Saturday’s performance in Ann Arbor, the Buckeyes proved the CFP selection committee wise.
This was a Michigan team that was riding high, having won four straight games in dominating fashion. But Ohio State showed it was on a completely different level than the Wolverines. And if Ohio State goes out and beats either Wisconsin or Minnesota in the Big Ten title game in a similar fashion, it’s going to be hard to keep the Buckeyes out of that No. 1 seed.
And that No. 1 seed is coveted when the No. 2 seed will almost certainly have to play Clemson in the CFP semifinals.
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