Ohio State-Michigan | Ray Stein’s Bottom Line

Ray Stein
An Ohio State Buckeyes fan signals a touchdown during the third quarter of a NCAA Division I college football game between the Michigan Wolverines and the Ohio State Buckeyes on Saturday, November 30, 2019 at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor Michigan [Joshua A. Bickel/Dispatch]

At some point, the Ohio State-Michigan rivalry turned into a Looney Tunes cartoon. Players' names may change but the roles do not: OSU is Foghorn Leghorn walking up to Michigan, the sleeping barnyard dog, spanking him with a paddle and then running 10 yards away just as the dog’s leash stretches taut at 9 yards. Listen to me when I’m talkin’ to ya, boy. Leaves are awarded on a zero-to-five basis.

Offense (5)

In terms of yards (577-567) and offensive TDs (eight to seven), this beatdown was more impressive than the lashing the Buckeyes administered a year ago. Justin Fields flashed a little Nuke LaLoosh wildness early, but settled down and delivered strikes. No one, however, carries mail like J.K. Dobbins. Such strength, such speed, such heart.

Defense (3)

OSU looked as formidable as the Apple Dumpling Gang in Michigan’s 285-yard first half, but the Buckeyes made their requisite adjustments to increase the rush and lock down coverage as the game went on. The shocking development was Chase Young’s Club Trillion stat line in the first half, but he managed a couple of second-half hurries.

Special teams (3)

The only real demerit belongs to Garrett Wilson, who tried to catch a punt with his right shoulder pad, leading to a muff and a turnover in the third quarter. Punter Drue Chrisman was just OK, but quick hiking by long-snapper Liam McCullough — or is it Liax XcCullough? — helped ensure a key offsides penalty on the Wolverines.

Coaching (4)

The folks who see the glass as half-empty even when ice-cold beer is kissing the rim will decry the lack of shutdown pass defense as proof that OSU will be obliterated by LSU or Clemson or whomever. It does show how important DB health is, but the larger point is that the Buckeyes were primed to drop 70 on their top rival if not for a few hiccups.

Fun (4)

What started as a track meet as the teams pinballed up and back turned into a game of “catch me if you can“ as Ohio State seized a second-quarter lead. But when Fields hit Wilson on a scoring pass late in the third quarter, many Michigan fans decided it was time to enter the transfer portal. By the end, Buckeyes partisans owned the Big House.

Opponent (3)

Shea Patterson is not soft, like shea butter, and actually deserved far better than the 4-of-24 showing he was saddled with after halftime. Largely, though, the Wolverines are a frustrated bunch against Ohio State, as evidenced by dumb penalties, bizarre coaching decisions and cheap-shot hits. And, really, who tries to steal shoes?

Officiating (2)

There was all manner of shaky moments for Jeff Servinski’s crew, including some personal fouls disguised as hard hits and a blatant miss of intentional grounding by Patterson. Nothing stank worse than the targeting call on OSU’s Jordan Fuller, however, and they meekly picked up that flag. Yeah, our bad.