OSU: FG Nuernberger 44, 10:21. Drive: Ten plays, 47 yards, 4:29. Key plays: Weber 5 run on third-and-4 from the OSU 32; Hill 29 pass from Haskins on third-and-5 from the OSU 42; the drive stalled at the 27, but Nuernberger had plenty of leg on his field-goal try. Ohio State 24, Michigan 20
OSU: Weber 25 run (Nuernberger kick), 1:44. Drive: Three plays, 66 yards, :52. Key plays: Fuller interception gave OSU possession at the OSU 34; Dobbins 35 run for first down at the Michigan 31; on second down from the 25, Weber took a handoff, bounced right at the line of scrimmage and streaked to the flag. Ohio State 31, Michigan 20
Analysis: The defense rises
Without J.T. Barrett running the show with his legs and right arm, the odds of Ohio State winning a shootout with Michigan were slim. So it rested on the defense if the Buckeyes wanted to keep alive their winning streak over their rival. They did just that.
Ohio State kept the Wolverines off the scoreboard in the fourth quarter, punctuating its comeback with three sacks and one interception of John O’Korn in the final 15 minutes to win comfortably, OSU’s sixth straight win in the series and 13th in 14 games.
Ohio State had taken a 24-20 lead on its first possession of the quarter as backup QB Dwayne Haskins drove the Buckeyes into field-goal range for Sean Nuernberger, who banged home a 44-yarder. Michigan then moved from its 25 to the OSU 36, but O’Korn tripped and fell on a second-and-1 play, and his next two passes fell incomplete as the Buckeyes took over.
Nuernberger’s 43-yard field-goal try drifted right, but on the next play, O’Korn threw a wounded duck that OSU’s Jordan Fuller easily intercepted at the 2:36 mark. Three plays later, Mike Weber raced into the end zone for a 25-yard scoring run to make it 31-20, and the Buckeyes eased home from there
MICH: Higdon 2 run (kick blocked), 7:07. Drive: Four plays, 51 yards, 2:36. Key plays: Crawford 43 pass from O’Korn for first-and-goal at the OSU 8; on second down from the 2, Higdon blasted in through Borland’s tackle attempt over left guard. Michigan 20, Ohio State 14
OSU: Dobbins 1 run (Nuernberger kick), 1:34. Drive: Eleven plays, 78 yards, 5:33. Key plays: Dobbins 5 run on third-and-1 from the OSU 31; holding penalty on UM’s Watson on third-and-5 from the 40; Mack 27 pass from Haskins on third-and-13 from the Michigan 47; Haskins 22 run for first-and-goal at the 1; on the next play, Dobbins bounced right at the line of scrimmage and squeezed into the end zone. Ohio State 21, Michigan 20
Analysis: Shades of 2014
Three years in Ohio Stadium, Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett was knocked out of the Michigan game in the third quarter with a broken ankle. The Buckeyes went on to win behind their backup quarterback, Cardale Jones.
On Saturday, Barrett again had to leave the Michigan game in the third quarter, this time because of what was described as a lingering injury to his right knee. He left the game with 6:07 remaining in the third quarter after being tackled by Rashan Gary.
At the time, Ohio State trailed 20-14, but backup QB Dwayne Haskins Jr. led the Buckeyes to a go-ahead score by completing an 11-play, 78-yard drive. Haskins had a key 27-yard pass to Austin Mack on third-and-13 and set up J.K. Dobbins’ 1-yard scoring run with a 22-yard scramble to the Michigan 1.
Sean Nuernberger’s extra point gave OSU the lead for the first time all day, at 21-20. Michigan had taken a 20-14 lead with 7:07 left in the quarter on Karan Higdon’s 2-yard run. But on the Wolverines’ extra-point try, OSU’s Denzel Ward crashed in from the right side and got a hand on Quinn Nordin’s kick to keep the Buckeyes six points down.
MICH: McKeon 3 pass from O’Korn (Nordin kick), 14:57. Drive: Two plays, 5 yards, :03. Key plays: People-Jones 42 punt return gave Michigan a first down at the OSU 5; on second-and-goal, O’Korn flipped a pass to a wide-open McKeon, who had released from the left side of the line. Michigan 14, Ohio State 0
OSU: Barrett 21 run (Nuernberger kick), 9:50. Drive: Eleven plays, 75 yards, 5:07. Key plays: Barrett 6 run on third-and-2 from the OSU 33; Dobbins 17 run for first down at the Michigan 44; Barrett 5 run on third-and-3 from the UM 37; on third-and-9 from 21, Barrett drifted back to pass, then took into open spaces when he couldn’t find a receiver. Michigan 14, Ohio State 7
OSU: Baugh 25 pass from Barrett (Nuernberger kick), 5:54. Drive: Three plays, 53 yards, 1:07. Key plays: Barrett 26 run for first down at Michigan 25; on the next play, Barrett faked a handoff left to Hill and threw downfield to Baugh, who had slipped behind Hudson. Michigan 14, Ohio State 14
Analysis: Signs of life
Ohio State didn’t change into scarlet-and-gray uniforms between the first and second quarters, but the Buckeyes did change their fortunes with some long-overdue offensive execution. OSU first saw its deficit grow to 14-0 when Michigan scored on the first official play of the second quarter, a 3-yard toss from John O’Korn to uncovered tight end Sean McKeon.
Three plays later, Ohio State picked up its initial first down when J.T. Barrett ran for 6 yards on third-and-3, and the Buckeyes caught the scent soon thereafter. They drove to a third down at the Michigan 21, where Barrett went back to pass, scrambled to his right and took it upfield for a 21-yard TD run.
OSU then forced a Wolverines punt – two punts, actually, because they committed a penalty on the first, resulting in a field-position gain of 19 yards. Taking over at the UM 47, Ohio State went 53 yards in three plays, scoring on Barrett’s 25-yard pass down the middle to a wide-open Marcus Baugh.
OSU still wasn’t showing it’s A game, but at the least the Buckeyes were back in it by halftime.
MICH: Hill 2 run (Nordin kick), 6:02. Drive: Thirteen plays, 77 yards, 5:46. Key plays: Hill 1 run on third-and-1 from the Michigan 32; Evans 24 run for first down at OSU 43; Gentry 27 pass from O’Korn on third-and-8 from the 41; Evans 13 pass from O’Korn on third-and-11 from the 15; Hill squeezed in on a second-and-goal run over right guard. Michigan 7, Ohio State 0
First impressions from Ohio State’s game at Michigan: They look terrible. The alternate uniforms with barely a hint of scarlet? Yes, those too. The Buckeyes turned in an absolute dud of a first quarter, a complete failure on offense and only a little better on defense and special teams. OSU finished the quarter with minus-6 yards of offense and more negative plays from scrimmage (five) than positive gains (two).
The Buckeyes had no first downs and a long play of 6 yards. On defense, Ohio State forced a three-and-out on Michigan’s first possession, then gave up three big plays on the Wolverines’ second drive, a 13-play march capped by Khalid Hill’s 2-yard scoring run.
OSU forced a punt on Michigan’s third drive, but yet another Buckeyes three-and-out was followed by a 42-yard punt return by Donovan Peoples-Jones, giving Michigan possession at the OSU 5-yard line. After one untimed down because on Ohio State penalty, the quarter ended with Michigan facing a second-and-goal at the 3.