Ohio State-Michigan | Rob Oller's Second Thoughts

Staff Writer
Buckeye Xtra
Ohio State Buckeyes linebacker Pete Werner (20) tackles Michigan Wolverines running back Chris Evans (12) at the one-yard-line in the second half of the NCAA college football game between the Michigan Wolverines and the Ohio State Buckeyes at Ohio Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018. [Tyler Schank/Dispatch]

• Three things had to happen for Ohio State to win. 1. The offensive line had to protect Dwayne Haskins Jr. 2. Haskins had to show at least some ability to run, just to keep Michigan honest. 3. OSU’s defense had to pressure Wolverines quarterback Shea Patterson into hurried throws. All three went like clockwork. The offensive line, in particular, was outstanding, allowing no sacks and giving Haskins plenty of time to pick apart UM’s secondary (which was in more chaos than a Cairo intersection). Haskins rushed seven times for 34 yards, including a 11-yard scamper. And the D-line sacked Patterson three times and made him look pedestrian.

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• The infuriating and seemingly arbitrary pass interference calls that plague college (and the NFL) are not going away, so it’s up to defensive backs to adjust. And the Buckeyes are not adjusting. They are coached to keep eyes locked on receiver. It’s a strategy the coaches think works best, but today’s rules demand that defenders look back to locate the ball. Fail to do so and offenses will begin game-planning for pass interference penalties, as UM did. How? Run a receiver deep, then come back for an underthrown ball, which leads to the defender running into the receiver. The Buckeyes had 12 penalties overall, and five were PI calls.

• Let’s talk playoff possibilities. I’m not one to think a 180-degree reversal is in order based on one impressive win. Translated: If you were 100 percent certain the Buckeyes were not deserving of a playoff spot before beating Michigan, it’s disingenuous to now claim with 100 percent certainty that OSU now is in. I see the Buckeyes jumping from the 10th spot to sixth, passing No. 4 Michigan, No. 7 LSU, No. 8 Washington State and No. 9 Central Florida. But passing No. 6 Oklahoma is going to be difficult, if the Sooners get their revenge on Texas (their only loss) in the Big 12 championship game. I asked Ohio State H-back Parris Campbell if the Buckeyes deserve one of the four spots. “We just beat the No. 4 team, so definitely.” I think Ohio State still needs help.

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