Three key stats: Ohio State sells to bottle Michigan run game, but big plays, penalties and fatal fate for Buckeyes

Welcome to the morning after one of the worst days of your year.

It’s always painful. It should be. Here is your autopsy.

10 yards on the ground

Ohio State sold out against Michigan’s powerful rushing offense, and it largely worked early as they limited the Wolverines to 10 yards on 11 first-half carries (0.9 par). Michigan gained a single rushing yard in the first quarter, then added nine more in the second, while the Buckeyes racked up 124 rushing yards in the first half.

The problem is, Ohio State let runs down the field throughout the first half, taking a 20-17 locker room lead despite 315 total yards, nearly doubling the snap count. Michigan offenses and racking up 16 first downs to just four. for the Wolverines.

The other issue from Ohio State’s perspective in the first half and throughout the game was big plays, which…

69, 75, 45, 75, 85

In 11 games before Saturday’s clash, Michigan had exactly no play for 70 yards or more this season. At Ohio Stadium, the Wolverines had three 70+ touchdowns and another 69 yards.

Indeed, big plays were the story of the game for an Ohio State defense that regularly left high safety or played zero to stop Michigan’s run game, and the results were spectacularly disastrous.

The first long score, midway through the second quarter, with Ohio State holding a 10-3 lead, saw the Buckeyes pressure Michigan quarterback JJ McCarthy with a blitz, but on his back foot he was able to find Cornelius Johnson on a hitch near the Michigan sideline. Cam Martinez missed the tackle and Johnson ran 69 yards to level the game.

This game was a killer because it came in 3rd and 9th, and the Buckeyes were about to force their third straight three-plus game.

McCarthy would find Johnson two minutes later on blown coverage for a 75-yard touchdown to make it 17-13, Wolverines.

In the second half, three of Michigan’s four scores came on long strikes: a 45-yard throw and catch from McCarthy to Colston Loveland and two late runs from Donovan Edwards to freeze the game, the first a 75-yard play after the Buckeyes had cut Michigan’s lead to one score, and second to 85 yards with 3:19 left for the game’s final points.

Ohio State has gone 11 games alive on big offensive play. Saturday, they died by the big play in defense.

9 for 91 yards

Penalties stood out among the many frustrating aspects of Michigan’s antics in the shoe yesterday. For the game, Ohio State was whistled nine times for 91 yards, many of which ended Ohio State drives or breathed life into Michigan drives that seemed to be dying out.

Indeed, in the second half, when Michigan beat Ohio State 28-3 to put the game aside, the Buckeyes were whistled six times for 71 yards. Michigan, meanwhile, went without a penalty in the second half.

Whether it was a pass interference call that led to a Michigan touchdown or an unnecessary personal foul that stifled a Buckeye drive, the penalties weighed heavily as this game was decided.

You could argue that if you had a team with the talent of Ohio State and the discipline of Michigan, you would have a monster team. Instead, Ohio State will have to reflect on its failings and meltdowns during another painful year.

Stats and bonus information

After being limited to 10 rushing yards in the first half, Michigan rushed for 242 yards to average 10.1 per carry in the second half… Ohio State ran 42% of his plays on the Michigan side of the field, while the Wolverines ran for just 28% of their plays on the Ohio State side of the 50… Michigan averaged an astonishing 10.9 yards per attempt passing against Ohio State’s 7.2 yards per attempt… Wolverines went for an average of 11.4 yards on the first down of the game… Ohio State’s second-half possessions went: punt, punt, punt, interception, interception… CJ Stroud suffered his first game with multiple interceptions of the season and for only the second time in his career… After going three for three on third down on the opening drive, Ohio State went 2 for 13 on third down from the rest of the game… For the first time in the long and storied history of the Eleven Warriors, Michigan has a win over Ohio State in Columbus… In just four seasons, Ryan Day has already lost more games at Michigan than Jim Tressel, and Urban Meyer combined to lose in 18 years… Tom Brady was an NFL rookie the last time Michigan beat Ohio State in consecutive seasons… Advertised attendance was 106,787.

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