The annual rivalry game between the Ohio State Buckeyes and the University of Michigan Wolverines has produced many great and tightly contested games throughout the years. This year’s matchup was not one of those.
OSU, after being humbled by Michigan State last week, rushed passed one the nation’s elite defenses en route to a convincing 42-13 victory in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
OSU struck first with a seven-yard touchdown run by redshirt sophomore quarterback J.T. Barrett as the Buckeyes claimed a 7-0 lead by the end of the first quarter. Michigan got on the board with a field goal in the second and both teams exchanged touchdowns as the Buckeyes took a hard-fought 14-10 halftime lead into the locker room.
The second half was an entirely different ball game, however.
OSU scored a touchdown on its opening drive and never looked back. After being bullied all night against Michigan State last week, OSU dominated the Wolverines in the trenches, as the Buckeyes forced their power run game all day. On the day, OSU went through the Wolverines for 369 rushing yards, more than four times the amount it managed against the Spartans (86).
Junior running back Ezekiel Elliott, after publicly criticizing the play-calling and his lack of touches in last week’s loss, put forth a herculean effort against a stout Michigan defense. For the game, he rushed for 214 yards and two touchdowns on 30 carries. Barrett also added 139 yards rushing and three touchdowns on the ground to go along with 113 yards and a touchdown through the air.
Redshirt senior transfer from Iowa Jake Rudock picked apart the Buckeyes through three quarters as he racked up 263 yards passing and a touchdown, his fourth straight game with 250-plus yards. However, a heavy hit by junior Joey Bosa, a former high school teammate, early in the fourth quarter left him injured and unable to finish the game.
Michigan failed to impose their rushing game as it was limited to 57 yards. Sophomore Jabrill Peppers led the Wolverines with 29 yards on seven carries.
With the win, the Buckeyes finished their regular season at 11-1, while Michigan ends its at 9-3. With Michigan State’s victory over Penn State, the Spartans will represent the East Division in the Big Ten Championship Game.
The Buckeyes and Wolverines, meanwhile, will be sitting at home and watching to see how the College Football Playoff committee evaluates their seasons and selects what bowl games they will represent the Big Ten in during the postseason.
By the numbers:
2: With his fantastic performance, Elliott has now moved into second in the all-time rushing leader category at OSU, only trailing behind two-time Heisman Trophy winner Archie Griffin.
19: Michigan and Ohio State, two of the top five winningest college football teams in the country, have combined for 19 national titles throughout history (eight for the Buckeyes, 11 for Michigan).
77: The two programs have combined for 77 Big Ten championships, 35 of which came from OSU.
3: Elliott rushed for 214 yards at Michigan Stadium, which is the third-highest total given up to an individual in Michigan football history.
42: The Buckeyes lucky’ number against the Wolverines. OSU has now scored 42 points against Michigan in three consecutive games, all victories.
482: A week after putting forth one of the worst offensive performances in recent memories, the Buckeyes racked up 482 yards of offense on the road against one of the best defenses in the nation.
5: Michigan had only allowed teams in the red zone to score a rushing touchdown on it five times through its first 11 games. Against the Buckeyes, they double that mark with another five.
11/12: OSU has now won 11 of the last 12 meetings against the Wolverines, including six of the last eight games played in Ann Arbor.
19: OSU has now won 19 straight road games, the longest active streak in college football.
2: OSU only officially punted twice against Michigan, the least amount of punts in any game this year.