Ray Stein and Rob Oller of The Dispatch offer observations about Saturday's game:
The game at hand
Short-attention-span synopsis: Another gold (pants) rush. J.T. hurt by a camera: What the Hail? Introducing your Michigan quarterback, John O’Verthrown. New T-shirt idea: OSU, Keep Calm; Michigan, Carrion. Buckeyes find a relief pitcher.
Pregame buzz: With Ohio State’s playoff chances hanging by a thread, the Buckeyes donned some seriously nontraditional threads for their most history-packed rivalry game. Recent tradition calls for The Game to be held two days after Thanksgiving and for OSU to treat Michigan the way the Bumpus hounds tear into the old man’s turkey. For a while, the Wolverines had other ideas. And then they got gobbled up.
Worth the trip? Ohio State fans did not have the run of the Big House, unlike other times when the Buckeyes entered as a big favorite, like the 2013 game. (Or was it 2015? Oh, dear, these are all starting to run together, aren’t they?) Anyway, a possible disaster on multiple fronts (slow start, J.T. Barrett injury) gave way to the world remaining on its axis.
One-liner: Has Michigan become so desperate to win a rivalry game that it would hire Jeff Gillooly to roam its opponents’ sidelines and seek a new Nancy Kerrigan to bash? Alas, that’s no lead-pipe cinch.
What we’re thankful for: Blessed be that some people don’t live in an alternate universe. For a while, it looked like the Michigan Wolverines were hosting the Oakland Raiders. But first a band marched into place to form two script versions of the word Ohio and thousands of red-clad fans in the seats cheered when the “Raiders” made a good play. Mystery solved, Matlock: It’s Ohio State!
How the team sees it: We may have lost our leader, but we never lost our way. We said it 2014 and we’ll say it again.
How the playoff committee will see it: Reservation for Ohio State, you say? Well, um, your table is not quite ready. Maybe you could have a seat in the bar and we’ll call you if it becomes available. Oops, did I say if?
How Buckeye Nation sees it: It’s not really a rivalry if one team wins all the time. You know, maybe it would be better if the Wolverines were able to win one of these. C’mon, Charlie Brown, kick the football. We won’t pull it away.
What he said: "It’s an all-out investigation.”
What it means: “I’m gonna go Woody Hayes on that cameraman.”
If this were a Christmas playlist in Ann Arbor …
It would be “Do You Hear What I Hear?” and then followed by “Silent Night,” followed by “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” followed by “Blue Christmas,” followed by “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch.”
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They said it
Your turn/the channel: With the Ohio State-Michigan game airing on Fox for the first time, we feel compelled to address the ridiculous number of commercial interruptions. But first a word from our sponsor. Seriously, if you haven’t switched to Geico by now — after watching 238 advertisements for it in the first half alone — your patience deserves to be inducted into the willpower hall of fame. As one viewer put it, “It’s a shame football is getting in the way of commercials.” At the same time, Fox refused to show enough replays. Gus Johnson is loud, but the network should not be proud of this one.
Former Buckeyes Corner
Past OSU standouts’ responses on Twitter:
@EliApple13: This gotta be how football was played in 1950s
@JLaurinaitis55 (James Lautinaitis): I hate this for @JT_theQB4th but @dh_simba7 is ready for the moment. This is why you stay ready mentally!
@ReeseClarett13 (Maurice Clarett): I’ve done some crazy things off the field but one thing they can’t take away from me is that I know how to play football and understand the game. We need to run.
@Kirk_Barton: “WE ARE PLAYING FOR ALL OF THE PEOPLE ON TWITTER WHO SAID WE SUCKED AFTER THE FIRST QUARTER WHO IS WITH ME!”
@EzekielElliott: Unlimited gold pants
Numbers for dummies
-6: Yards of offense for Ohio State after the first quarter
350: Yards of offense for OSU after the game
48: Yards J.K. Dobbins needs to break Maurice Clarett’s freshman rushing record
171: Consecutive PAT conversions for OSU kicker Sean Nuernberger, a stat not to be scoffed at
0: Appearances in the Big Ten championship by Michigan
2: players in NCAA history with at least 40 TDs rushing and 100 passing, J.T. Barrett and Dan LeFevour of Central Michigan
Having collected yet another batch of gold pants, Ohio State returns to the site where, three years ago, the Buckeyes depantsed Wisconsin. It’ll be OSU against the Badgers, again, in the Big Ten championship game next Saturday in Indianapolis. The Badgers are unbeaten, but here’s guessing the Buckeyes will be favored. And one more prediction: This one won’t be 59-0.
Best responses to @rollerCD on Twitter:
@OhioGabe: Of course we got off to a slow start. They dressed up like paste.
@sylvaniaperl: First half summary in legal terms: Unintentional infliction of emotional distress.
@bubbamudd: They should send O’Korn to every dictatorship in the world so he can overthrow them all.
@741slverfox: Commercials are winning the time of possession battle!
@river_princess_: are you sure @Cardale7_ didn’t just suit up for @jt_theqbiv
@StraitChris: If I were this guy with a camera, I’d be in hiding about right now and hire a lawyer.
@SILVERFOXJF: Wolverines cough up another Harbaugh.
@mmclaughlin626: At least they got to go to Italy
@mrmuleman: Is it still a ‘rivalry’ if you’ve won 15 out of 17? Asking for a friend... #domination
What do you call an
Old rival who’s lost his teeth?
It’s Michigan, man.