Maybe last year’s win wasn’t a fluke.
No. 3 Michigan traveled to Columbus a big underdog, but you wouldn’t know that by looking at Saturday’s dominance.
The Wolverines entered the Horseshoe and posted a 45-23 win over No. 2 Ohio State, their first win in Columbus since 2000.
Saturday’s matchup was the first in which both teams entered 11-0 since the “Game of the Century” in 2006. The Wolverines are now 12-0 for the first time since winning a national championship in 1997, while Ohio State fell to 11-1.
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After falling to the archrival Buckeyes in 17 of 19 games between 2001 and 2019, the Wolverines have now won each of the last two.
Like last season, Michigan’s win has given the Wolverines legitimate championship hopes, while Ohio State needs a prayer for its college football playoff future (more on that soon).
The Buckeyes scored on the game’s opening drive, but the Wolverines tied the game at 10 in the second quarter on a 69-yard touchdown run by Cornelius Johnson. After a Buckeyes field goal, the Wolverines needed just one play to take their first lead of the afternoon on a 75-yard score by Johnson. However, Ohio State immediately responded with a Marvin Harrison Jr. touchdown run, making the game go into the half 20–17.
The Wolverines received the ball to open the second half, and took advantage of it. JJ McCarthy found Colston Loveland for a 45-yard touchdown run, putting Michigan up four early in the third quarter. Several races later, Michigan had his best race of the day in prime time. A 15-play, 80-yard drive ended with a McCarthy tie from three yards in the end zone, and the ensuing PAT gave the Wolverines a 31–20 lead.
After forcing another Ohio State punt, the Wolverines went for the kill with a 57-yard field goal attempt, but it went wide left, giving the Buckeyes good field position with just over nine minutes left. for the end.
A quick 43-yard pass from CJ Stroud to Emeka Egbuka put Ohio State inside the red zone, but they had to settle for three with 7:23 to go. And Michigan responded immediately. Donovan Edwards took the first play of the drive home for 75 yards and Michigan led 38-23.
Stroud threw an interception with 4:30 left to essentially freeze the game. For good measure, Edwards made an 85-yard pass to the end zone, putting Michigan up 45-23. It was Michigan’s fifth touchdown of at least 45 yards in the game.
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In the second half, OSU’s offense faltered. He scored just three points, kicked three times and turned the ball over twice.
McCarthy passed for 263 yards despite completing just 11 passes, but it was those long touchdowns that helped his numbers. Edwards rushed for 216 yards on 22 carries. Johnson finished with 160 receiving yards on four receptions.
Egbuka and Harrison combined for 16 receptions for 245 yards in the losing effort, while Stroud completed 31 of his 48 passes for 349 yards.
Georgia and Michigan will undoubtedly be the top two in the playoff standings, and it’s hard to imagine No. 4 TCU losing at home to a 4-7 Iowa State team. No. 5 USC hosts No. 13 Notre Dame later on Saturday, while No. 6 LSU is on the road against Texas A&M (4-7). It’s safe to say the Buckeyes are going to need some help.
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The Wolverines will now prepare for the Big Ten Championship Game next Saturday with their opponent to be determined. After their biggest victory since perhaps that national title 25 years ago, they have much bigger goals in mind.