Observations on the loss to Ohio State, 13-42
Ohio State manhandled Michigan in the second half, and converted 6 red zones for 35 points. Michigan could only convert 13 points in 3 red zone opportunities. It was nice of Coach Meyer not to go for the TD on the final red zone, and then go for 2 to reach 50 as Woody Hayes would have done. Michigan turned the ball over late in the game after the outcome had been decided.
Offense gained 364 yards, 20 first downs, but only 57 on the ground; the Wolverines were 10 of 21 in 3rd and 4th down conversions. Jake Rudock was 19 of 32 for 263 yards and a TD until he left the game with a shoulder injury on a hit from old high school teammate, Joey Bosa, on a sack at the start of the 4th quarter with the score, 35-13. Wilton Speight came in and was 6 of 14 for 44 yards. Jabrill Peppers gained 29 yards on 7 carries, and caught 2 passes for 25 yards. DeVeon Smith gained 23 yards on 10 carries, and caught 3 passes for 31 yards. Jehu Chesson caught 8 passes for 111 yards and a TD. Jake Butt had 5 catches for 54 yards. Amara Darboh had 4 catches for 68 yards. Joshua Perry had 10 tackles for the Buckeyes including a sack. The offense did not lose this game, but couldn't convert those important red zone opportunities into touchdowns; that was a big factor in the loss.
The Defense was an embarrassment! D.J. Durkin & Company did not have this team prepared for the Buckeye ground game, and didn't adjust well during the game. The Buckeyes gained 482 yards, 369 on the ground as Ezekiel Elliott ran 30 times for 214 yards and 2 TDs. J.T. Barrett gained 139 yards on 19 carries for 3 more rushing TDs; Barrett was also 9 of 15 for 113 yards and another TD. Michael Thomas caught 2 passes for 50 yards, and Jalin Marshall caught 2 passes for 31 yards and a TD. Ohio State was 8 of 15 in 3rd and 4th down conversions with 25 first downs; we could only force the Buckeyes into 2 punts and no turnovers. Nobody led the defense today, but Joe Bolden ended up as the tackle leader with 9; our linebackers were just terrible, and Ohio State intentionally attacked the edge along with misdirections forcing our linebackers to try and fill the gaps. Rarely could they accomplish that.
Special Teams was not a factor in the outcome of this one. Kenny Allen did a nice job on kickoffs with 3 touchbacks in 4 attempts plus he hit both field goal trys and an extra point. Blake O'Neill punted 4 times with two downed inside the 20. The penalty on the punt block attempt by Tyree Kinnel really changed the complexion of the game early after a 3 & out as the Buckeyes with the game 0-0; the Buckeyes drove in for a TD after a 66 yard romp by Elliott, the longest play of the day.
It was a bitter ending to a good season. We certainly overachieved to get to nine wins, but it is obvious we need a BIG recruiting class to fill the gaps especially on defense. It looks like the Citrus Bowl against Georgia or Florida on January 1. Go Blue!
Observations on the First Half with the Buckeyes
Highlights Post Game Press Conference Box Score
Ohio State Preview
Harbaugh Press Conference for Ohio State (Game Notes and Depth Chart)
Ohio State Game Notes for Michigan