The Michigan Wolverines played one of their best games of the season, and it was not enough to take down an Ohio State team that lost starting quarterback J.T. Barrett to a knee injury in the second half. The No. 9 Buckeyes dug out of a 14-0 hole in the first half and once again defeated their rivals from that state up north, 31-20, as they now prepare for a shot at a Big Ten championship.
With Ohio State leading 24-20 late in the fourth quarter after missing a field goal, John O’Korn passed the ball downfield where nobody but Ohio State players were in proximity for an easy interception. J.K. Dobbins started the late drive with a six-yard run and then Mike Weber broke free for a 35-yard touchdown by getting a good burst of speed and having the perfect angle to use to his advantage.
Barrett was forced to leave the game in the second half with a reported meniscus issue that he has been playing with recently. In his place stepped Dwayne Haskins, who performed admirably the way Cardale Jones once did against the Wolverines in relief just a few seasons ago. Haskins completed six of his seven passes for 94 yards and he took off for 24 rushing yards as well. Freshman running back Dobbins led the Buckeyes ground game with 101 rushing yards as Ohio State established the advantage on the line of scrimmage. Barrett’s status moving forward will be something to watch as Ohio State gets ready for next week’s game.
It was also just another frustrating example for Michigan fans just how much work there is still to be done in order to compete with Ohio State and for a Big Ten title. Granted, this season was always expected to be a step back from a year ago and the focus should have been shifted on 2018, but Jim Harbaugh needs to get the quarterback situation settled. He clearly does not have his Andrew Luck in Ann Arbor yet.
Ohio State will now play in the Big Ten championship game in Indianapolis next week. The Buckeyes continue to have a slight pulse in the playoff race as they prepare to take on Wisconsin next week. With two losses, even a Big Ten championship is not going to be enough to automatically slot the Buckeyes into the playoff, so Ohio State may still need a bit of help.
Michigan will wait to learn what bowl game they will be playing in after finishing the season in fourth place in the Big Ten East with losses to Ohio State, Michigan State, and Penn State (and Wisconsin).