Ohio State vs Michigan did not disappoint in Columbus
Every year the game is important between Ohio State and Michigan, and it is always memorable. On Saturday, November 24th, Columbus was filled with an energy that could only mean one thing: there was about to be a football game, the most important game of the season.
The Buckeyes started off the season with high expectations and plans of returning as Big Ten champions. They had a rough start, including having their championship coach Urban Meyer being suspended for the first three games, which consisted of a Saturday night stunner against the then ranked TCU frogs. Despite winning, the game caused heartbreak for many Ohio State fans when star junior defensive end Nick Bosa left the game with an injury. A few weeks later he withdrew from the university to prepare for the NFL draft where he is expected to be picked in the top five.
Ohio State won their first seven games, including beating a ranked Penn State team in Happy Valley, before a shocking lost to Purdue. That lost caused the Buckeyes to move from the second ranked team in the country, to the tenth, and even dropped to eleventh despite not losing anymore games.
After the loss, many fans expected to see the Buckeyes come out of their bye week with a new mentality, but the Buckeyes only beat a declining Nebraska team by five points. The Bucks were also only able to beat Michigan State 26-6, and despite winning the game, their defense struggled and the score would have been much closer if their kicker had not downed six punts within the six yard line.
The Buckeyes’ final regular season away game was in Maryland, and many fans had an uneasy feeling heading into the game. A game that shouldn’t have been close, very easily could have ended in defeat for the Bucks if Maryland had not failed to complete a two point conversion in overtime.
Their next task would be to face a Michigan team who was on a roll, winning ten straight games.
After a disappointing season last year that ended with a defeat at home by Ohio State, and a come from behind loss to South Carolina in the Outback Bowl, Michigan was looking for redemption. The Wolverines lost their first game of the season to a ranked Notre Dame team who has not lost a game all season and is projected to make their first appearance in the College Football Playoffs.
Since that game, Michigan dominated the Big Ten, beating ranked Wisconsin, Michigan State, and crushing Penn State, a much more dominating game then their rivals Ohio State had. They peaked at number four on the CFP rankings, and were prospected to make a playoff appearance if they could beat Ohio State in Columbus.
The Wolverines came into the game ranked fourth, while the Buckeyes were ranked tenth. For the first time since 2004, Michigan was favored, even if was only by one point. It was also the first time since 2000 that the maize and blue were favored to win a game in Columbus.
Michigan had the almost impossible task of playing in a sold out Ohio Stadium with 106,588 fans in attendance.
Despite the projections Buckeye fans were still confident in their team’s ability to pull off the upset, especially since coach Urban Meyer had never lost a regular season game with the Buckeyes when they were the underdog. Meyer also had an impressive record of being 6-0 against the Wolverines. On the other hand, Michigan’s head coach, Jim Harbaugh, was 0-3 against the Buckeyes, and many fans knew that if this happened to an Ohio State coach, they probably would have been fired because in Columbus, losing to Michigan is worse than losing a bowl game.
College Gameday was also in Columbus with guest picker baseball player Bryce Harper decked out in Ohio State gear. Fans gathered around the broadcasters table to hear what the pick would be. Would Lee Corso be putting on the Maize and Blue helmet, or would he put on the Brutus Buckeye head? A series of boos erupted from the fans when Corso picked Michigan to win the season defining game.
Not only was this the annual game between what is arguably the best college rivalry, but whoever won this game would go to the Big Ten Championship game in Indianapolis, and would have a very strong chance of making the playoffs.
Michigan received the ball first, but the Ohio State defense sent a message the first possession of the game; they were not going to roll over and let Michigan take over early on.
Ohio State got the ball and pushed downfield quickly getting into the red zone, where OSU quarterback Dwayne Haskins threw a touchdown pass to Chris Olave.
Michigan answered with a field goal, and it became evident that this game was going to be a low scoring game, these two teams came to play.
In the second quarter, both teams scored two touchdowns and two field goals, leaving the score at 24-19, with Ohio State holding on to their first quarter lead.
Fans of the Buckeyes were not worried about giving up their lead after halftime since many people consider Ohio State a second half team who always comes out swinging after halftime. The Buckeyes did exactly that scoring a field goal and two touchdowns in the third quarter, one of which was a 33 yard return from a blocked punt. The Buckeye defense shut out the Wolverines in the third quarter and helped the Bucks secure a twenty point lead by the end of the quarter.
Michigan scored early in the fourth quarter, but their first two touchdowns were both answered by immediate Buckeye touchdowns, not letting the Wolverines get any closer in score. Both teams scored one more touchdown before Ohio State entered into victory formation with one minute left on the game clock.
After upsetting the fourth ranked Wolverines 62-39, The Buckeyes moved up four spots to be ranked sixth, Michigan fell to seventh, but will still make it into a good bowl game.
Ohio State looks to continue their path to the national title on Saturday, December 1st, when they take on Northwestern at the Big Ten Championship.