If there is a downside to Ohio State’s run of sustained bullying over Michigan, it’s that there will be an entire generation of young Buckeyes who won’t know the depths to which disappointment can seep. Back in the day, punks, you got kicked by Biakabutuka one year, slapped by Tai Streets the next. You kids and your winning. Leaves are awarded on a zero-to-five basis. — Ray Stein

Offense (3)

The Buckeyes started each half as if they’d just pulled themselves away from an overtime shift at the Thanksgiving buffet. Tryptophan is no myth, gentlemen. But in each half the rhythm finally arrived and the kinks worked themselves out. Game ball to Dwayne Haskins, who got it done in relief of J.T. Barrett. Nicely done.

Defense (3)

OSU’s defense was similarly off-kilter in the early moments, when it whiffed on some tackles and at times seemed confused by Michigan’s wrinkles. But when it came time to sign on the dotted line, the defense rose up and delivered bold strokes. The Buckeyes had four sacks and one pick on Michigan’s final four drives.

Special teams (3)

Hindsight is always 20/20, but even at the time Denzel Ward’s block of a third-quarter Wolverines PAT felt like a momentum-changer. Drue Chrisman punted well, though one big return — the first all year — set up a Michigan score. Another kickoff out of bounds proved to be more bark than bite.

Coaching (3)

Urban Meyer executed a postgame slow burn over the camera-carrying mystery man in gray who got too close to JTB. Is a Congressional inquiry ahead? Perhaps a better question is why Barrett, apparently nicked early, had 15 carries before departing. Still, the Buckeyes did not fold the tent without their heart and soul.

Fun (4)

Let’s be honest, there have been times in this 17-year downhill run of 15 OSU wins when The Game felt more like a game — even lower than lowercase in some years. But this one had plenty of attributes, including a raucous crowd that included far more people wearing a certain shade of red than those on the visitors’ sideline.

Opponent (3)

Down to essentially its third-best quarterback, Michigan put forth an effort worthy of the rivalry. Truth is, though, once the Wolverines fell behind they were wielding a slingshot when a bazooka was required. Afterward, coach Jim Harbaugh was strangely dispassionate about another loss to a rival. Where’s the fire, chief?

Officiating (3)

Sad to report that viewers at home missed an open-mic monologue between the first and second quarters by referee Rod Snodgrass, whose crew botched an untimed-down situation. Otherwise, most quibbles were minor, though Michigan fans howled about a lack of interference calls.

rstein@dispatch.com