Ohio State overcomes early deficit, beats Michigan, 31-20

(Getty Images)

In the 114th version of “The Game” Ohio State held on in a tight second half to beat Michigan 31-20. Inside a packed and loud Michigan Stadium, Ohio State was able to overcome losing starting Quarterback J.T. Barrett in the third quarter, and rallied to win their sixth straight against the Wolverines, and 13 of the last 14 in the rivalry.

Quick Recap

From the moment the game started, Ohio State seemed to be lethargic and a second slow. Michigan jumped out to a 7-0 lead midway through the first quarter, largely through a rushing attack featuring Chris Evans and Karan Higdon. The Wolverines again scored to kick off the second quarter on a John O’Korn play-action fake 3 yard touchdown pass to tight end Sean McKeon. In the first quarter, Ohio State failed to move the ball offensively, going backward for minus six yards of offense.

In the second quarter, the script flipped. Barrett got it going through both the air and the ground, as he capped off an 11 play, 75 yard drive with a 21 yard touchdown to pull the Buckeyes deficit to 14-7 with 9:50 remaining in the second quarter. After a Michigan punt, Barrett again led the Buckeyes on a scoring drive, this time much quicker – hitting tight end Marcus Baugh for a 25 yard touchdown strike to cap off a three play drive. Both teams would trade punts before going into the half all square at 14-14.

The Turning Point

Midway through the third quarter with Ohio State trailing 20-14, Barrett went down with a knee injury and was replaced with Redshirt Freshman Dwayne Haskins. Haskins–who finished 6-7 for 97 yards–came in to lead a long drive including a beautiful 27 yard completion down the right sideline to convert a key third down to Austin Mack. Following a 22 yard Haskins run to the Michigan one yard line, J.K. Dobbins plunged in from one yard out to give Ohio State a 21-20 lead that they would never relinquish. Mike Weber tacked on a 25 yard touchdown late in the fourth quarter to seal the win.

Dobbins finished with 101 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries while Weber finished with 12 carries for 57 yards a touchdown as well. Barrett, who finished his career in the “The Game” as the only starting quarterback to win all four starts against Michigan, went 3-8 for 30 yards a touchdown through the air, and 15 carries for 67 yards with a touchdown on the ground before leaving the game with the knee injury. K.J. Hill led all receivers with two catches for 53 yards. Defensively Ohio State held Michigan to 290 total yard and only allowed O’Korn to throw for 185 yards passing with one touchdown and one interception,


Haskins Key Drive

Barrett to Baugh Touchdown

On to the next one

Ohio State’s playoff pursuit marches on! The Buckeyes will travel to Indianapolis to take on Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship Game next Saturday at 8 p.m. ET.