ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Michigan was on the move and leading 14-0 Saturday. Tight ends were getting open, just like they had when Ohio State played at Iowa three weeks earlier.
A sequel appeared to be in the works.
Then just like that, the Buckeyes tightened up the leaks in their defense.
“We were hurting ourselves,” defensive end Nick Bosa said. “Everything we did that hurt us was just simple mistakes that we went over all week. Once we shut down a couple of plays they were banking on, it was good from there.”
One mistake was on Michigan’s second touchdown, a play-action fake by quarterback John O’Korn followed by a simple 3-yard lob to wide-open tight end Sean McKeon on the first play of the second quarter.
“I actually missed him on that goal-line play, that was actually my man,” Bosa said.
Bosa wasn’t supposed to cover the tight end upon release, but he was expected to jam him long enough to give the linebackers time to react when what looked to be a running play turned into a pass.
“That was my bad, but after that we just corrected it. Coach (Greg) Schiano does a great job defining the issues and correcting them,” Bosa said.
Michigan totaled 105 yards in the first quarter. It gained 190 after that. Its running game, which had 51 yards in the first quarter, netted 49 the rest of the way.
“It was sideline adjustments and people just calming down, settling down and just playing ball,” safety Damon Webb said of what made the difference. “That’s all it is.”
Early on there were tight ends running open, but O’Korn missed some passes that could have opened it even more. That was fixed as the game ensued.
“It was more like people putting their eyes where they needed to be and staying glued on their man,” Webb said. “Everything worked out.”
Webb, a senior and Detroit native, said there was a major sense of satisfaction as he left Michigan Stadium having never lost to his home-state school. The next challenge is Wisconsin on Saturday in the Big Ten championship game in Indianapolis.
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“It means everything to me, my senior year, last time playing Michigan, reaching all of the four gold pants,” Webb said. “I just feel great right now. And now we’re just looking forward to Wisconsin and getting the job done there. That’s all we’re worried about right now. It’s on to the next mission.”