The stat line from Chase Young in Ohio State’s win over Michigan was modest.
Young finished with only two quarterback hurries.
It was the first time this season that he did not at least contribute to a sack, a contrast from his previous two performances, against Penn State and Wisconsin, that ignited chatter about his Heisman Trophy case.
He had three sacks last week against the Nittany Lions and four sacks against the Badgers on Oct. 26, games that straddled a two-game suspension for an NCAA rules violation.
Much of Young’s limitation Saturday afternoon came as he faced frequent double-teams from Michigan’s offensive line.
"I played as hard as I could," Young said. "I put my best on the field, and at the game, you put your best on the field, you can't really be mad."
Few teams concentrated as intently on stopping Young as the Wolverines did.
Young thought no team had been more consistent double-teaming him. He noted he faced an extra blocker on nearly every third down. Usually one of the guards slid over for a double-team, followed by a chop from a running back who served as a third blocker on some plays.
"It was definitely a challenge," Young said. "I like challenges, and I'm a competitor, so I don't back down."
While Young garnered attention, other defensive linemen, including DaVon Hamilton and Jonathon Cooper, benefited. Both had a sack.
Young acknowledged that "other people stepped up" even though his sack total didn’t rise. He already had set an Ohio State record with 16.5 sacks in nine games this season.
The last time Young had played in a game without a sack was last season’s win over Michigan, before he began a streak of 11 games with at least a half-sack.
Freshman Wilson piles up big plays for Buckeyes
It’s not a surprise anymore when Garrett Wilson makes big plays. The freshman receiver has already proved his knack for those, and he added to it against Michigan.
He had 118 yards on only three catches. Wilson caught a ball on a short crossing pattern and gained 41 yards to set up Ohio State’s third touchdown.
He set up Ohio State’s fourth score on a 47-yard catch while being covered by Michigan defensive back Vincent Gray. Wilson then was the target on Justin Fields’ first pass after he returned from aggravating a leg injury. As Fields rolled right, Wilson broke free and caught the ball while keeping his feet inbounds in the back of the end zone for a 30-yard touchdown.
Wilson’s day wasn’t perfect, however. He muffed a punt for the second time in three games. Michigan recovered at the Ohio State 26, but the defense held and the Wolverines settled for a field goal to make it 42-19.
Banged-up secondary gets tested by Patterson
Ohio State knew its secondary would be tested by Michigan’s passing game, which features several talented receivers.
The Buckeyes didn’t have a full complement of players. Cornerback Shaun Wade, an invaluable part of the defense because of his versatility, was listed on Friday’s injury report as a game-time decision with an unspecified injury. Though Wade warmed up before the game, he didn’t play.
Then Damon Arnette, who has played all season with a cast on his right hand to protect a fractured wrist, left the game in the third quarter. That left the Buckeyes with Jeff Okudah, who had two pass breakups, as the only cornerback with plenty of experience.
It looked like it might get worse when a flag was thrown against safety Jordan Fuller for targeting in the third quarter. But that penalty was overturned via replay review.
The Buckeyes’ pass defense struggled in the first half, allowing 250 yards as Michigan protected well against Ohio State’s pass rush. It would have been worse had Fuller and Okudah not jarred the ball loose on a potential touchdown catch by Donovan Peoples-Jones in the end zone.
But after halftime adjustments, the Buckeyes limited Patterson to 4-of-24 passing in the second half for 55 yards.
Amir Riep, one of several backups pressed into action, had the game’s only interception with a fourth-quarter pick of Patterson.