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No. 10 Ohio State makes B1G statement as they dump No. 4 Michigan from playoff chase in 62-39 rout

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If you wanted a bit of a shakeup in the College Football Playoff picture, then No. 10 Ohio State (11-1, 8-1 Big Ten) delivered. The Buckeyes were a rare home underdog against No. 4 Michigan (10-2, 8-1 Big Ten) on Saturday afternoon but they sure did not play like it. Ohio State scored the most points they have ever scored in a game against Michigan in a 62-39 blowout of the rival Wolverines. The win not only sends Ohio State back to the Big Ten championship game next week as two-time defending East Division champions, but the Buckeyes just scored a loud playoff statement worth considering against one of the nation’s top-ranked defenses.

Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins passed for 318 yards and five touchdowns in the win. His fourth touchdown pass, a short pass to K.J. Hill in the fourth quarter, set a new Big Ten single-season passing touchdown record with his 40th of the year (he later added a 41st for the season). The previous record was set by Drew Brees of Purdue in 1998.

Ohio State freshman wide receiver Chris Olave had himself a career day out of nowhere for the Buckeyes. Playing in just his fifth career game, Olave scored his first two career touchdowns in the first half and he blocked a Michigan punt in the second half that was returned for a touchdown to push the Ohio State lead to 34-19. It was pretty much over from there, as Ohio State turned a Michigan interception by Shea Patterson into a touchdown with a short run by Mike Weber to extend the lead to 41-19 just about 90 seconds later. Michigan didn’t roll over and quite, but enough damage had been done.

Ohio State scored the most points they have ever scored in the history of the storied rivalry since hitting 50 points in 1961 and again in 1968. Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh has now been the head coach of the Wolverines for two of the worst defensive performances against the Buckeyes after giving up 42 points in 2015 and now 48 points this season.

Michigan also got banged up on the field with injuries to key players. Devin Bush was treated for a thigh injury early in the third quarter. Later in the same quarter, Zach Gentry had to be helped off the field with a possible head injury. And in the fourth quarter, Shea Patterson was taken off the field for evaluation on his knee, the same one he previously injured at Ole Miss.

With the win clinching the East Division of the Big Ten, Ohio State will now head to Indianapolis to play in the Big Ten championship game for a second straight season. It will be Ohio State’s fourth trip to the conference championship game with a 2-1 record in the game entering next week against Northwestern. The Wildcats will make their first appearance in the Big Ten championship game after winning the West Division a few weeks ago. Ohio State leads the all-time series with Northwestern, 61-14-1, with a six-game winning streak in the series, although the two have not played each other since 2016.

Ohio State fans will also be eager to see where the Buckeyes move in the next batch of rankings from the College Football Playoff selection committee. The Buckeyes will absolutely be moving up in the rankings on Tuesday, jumping Michigan and a handful of other programs on the way, most likely. Where Ohio State ranks compared to Oklahoma will be what to pay close attention to as the Buckeyes and Sooners could be battling to impress the selection committee the most next week with a potential spot in the playoff up for grabs now that Michigan will tumble out of the fourth spot and Alabama or Georgia is guaranteed to lose next week in the SEC Championship Game (Georgia entered the week No. 5 in the rankings and will likely take over the fourth spot before championship week).

It remains to be seen if Ohio State will be in the College Football Playoff, the Rose Bowl as Big Ten champion, or some other bowl. For now, the range of bowl possibilities is pretty wide for Ohio State. For Michigan, the chance to still play in the Rose Bowl is a possibility, but it would only be an option if Ohio State is selected for the College Football Playoff. If the Rose Bowl is out of the mix though, a spot in a New Years Six bowl should still be on the table for the Wolverines, as they will more than likely remain within the top 12 of the playoff committee’s rankings, which would make them eligible for consideration for an at-large invite to an open bowl spot in the New Years Six lineup.

But for now, we sit and wait to see what comes next for Michigan and Ohio State. The one things we do know is Ohio State will begin preparing for Northwestern.

No. 10 Ohio State survives OT shootout at Maryland, still in Big Ten title hunt

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No. 10 Ohio State (10-1, 7-1 Big Ten) did not hold a lead until overtime, but that’s all that matters for the Buckeyes on this day. A failed two-point conversion attempt by Maryland (5-6, 3-5 Big Ten) gave Ohio State a 52-51 victory to keep a shot at playing for the Big Ten East Division championship next week at home.

Ohio State and Maryland exchanged five straight touchdown drives as the offenses hit another gear in the final 15 minutes of regulation. Maryland had a chance to score last with the ball getting to the Ohio State 38-yard line, but Ohio State’s Chase Young chased down Maryland quarterback Tyrell Pigrome on 2nd & 10 for a loss of 14 yards and Dre’Mont Jones followed that with a sack for a loss of six yards on the final play of regulation as Maryland was out of field goal range in the closing seconds. That sent the game to overtime.

Starting on offense in overtime, Ohio State gambled with the way the offenses were going on a 4th and 1 play. After a timeout, Dwayne Haskins completed an easy pass to his left to Rashod Berry to get the ball to the five-yard line. Shortly after Ohio State was moved back 15 yards for a hands to the face penalty and a pass interference penalty on Maryland moved the ball forward 15 yards one play later, Haskins took care of business himself by running and stretching for the end zone and a touchdown. The call on the field had to be upheld following a video review to certify Ohio State’s first lead of the game.

Maryland wasted no time answering with a big 24-yard run by Anthony McFarland on the first play of Maryland’s overtime possession, and Tayon Fleet-Davis scored on the next play to bring Maryland within one. Rather than kick an extra point to force the second overtime, Maryland head coach Matt Canada opted to end the game one way or the other with a two-point conversion. Pilgrome rolled to his right and fired off a pass but it was unable to be hauled in, and Ohio State breathed a massive sigh of relief.

McFarland rushed for a career-high 298 yards with two long touchdown runs of at least 75 yards and Maryland rushed for a team total of 339 yards and five touchdowns against an Ohio State defense that once again showed plenty of problems. Making this less encouraging for Ohio State was the defense played one of their better games a week ago against Michigan State after some woeful performances leading up to that. Ohio State compensated with their offense, led by Haskins throwing for 405 yards and three touchdowns and rushing for 59 yards and three touchdowns. J.K. Dobbins rushing for 203 yards and a touchdown.

Ohio State running back Mike Weber did not play in the game, although he was on the sidelines in uniform. No explanation for his absence was provided.

Ohio State has plenty of room for improvement next week when the Buckeyes host rival Michigan in the regular season finale. The winner of next week’s game between the Buckeyes and Wolverines will clinch the Big Ten East Division and head to Indianapolis to play Northwestern in the Big Ten championship game in two weeks. The win also helps keep Ohio State on the College Football Playoff radar, although the Buckeyes have a crowded pack in front of them.

Maryland will conclude its regular season next week on the road at Penn State. The Nittany Lions have won the last three meetings in the series since Maryland won the first Big Ten matchup between the two in 2014. Maryland lost at home 66-3 in last season’s regular-season finale. Maryland will have to win next week in order to qualify for a bowl game.

Maryland running game gashing Ohio State, Buckeyes on upset alert

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Is No. 10 Ohio State being caught looking ahead, or is Maryland simply taking advantage of defensive holes the Buckeyes have had all season? The Terrapins have put Ohio State in a difficult spot at halftime in College Park with freshman running back Anthony McFarland already rushing for 231 yards and two scores to help put Maryland on top of Ohio State, 24-17. Ohio State had a chance to draw even just before halftime but fumbled the ball at the Maryland one-yard line.

It was an incredibly sloppy start to the game for the Ohio State defense. McFarland ripped off an 81-yard touchdown run in the first minute of the game. On the ensuing kickoff, Maryland recovered a loose ball that fell in a perfect spot with Ohio State not prepared to recover. Ohio State’s defense forced a fumble one play later though to limit the damage. McFarland took off running for a 75-yard run after Ohio State settled for a field goal. Maryland took a 17-3 lead with their own field goal before the end of the first quarter.

Ohio State cut into the lead in the second quarter with Dwayne Haskins tossing a 68-yard touchdown strike to Terry McLaurin on the first play after a missed field goal try by the Terps. But the Ohio State defense failed on the ensuing drive by giving up a touchdown drive capped by a 16-yard touchdown run by Javon Leake.

But the Buckeyes did have one more answer with an eight-play 75-yard drive that was wrapped up by a J.K. Dobbins leap and stretch over a pile at the goal line for the score. Ohio State has not used Mike Weber in the running game, although he has been spotted on the sideline in uniform. A reason for his absence from this game has not been made public.

No. 10 Ohio State keeps Big Ten and playoff hopes alive with slugfest win at Michigan State

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It wasn’t pretty, but it didn’t have to be. No. 10 Ohio State (9-1, 6-1) leaving No. 18 Michigan State (6-4, 4-3 Big Ten) with a 26-6 win means the Buckeyes are still in position to make their own case not just for the Big Ten championship, but also for a spot in the College Football Playoff field. For either of those goals to be obtained, however, Ohio State still ha some work to do moving into the final few weeks.

Ohio State’s defense certainly looked improved in the road win in East Lansing. After being dominated by Purdue two games ago and then after a shaky performance after a bye week against Nebraska last week, Ohio State’s defense played much better on Saturday. Of course, the Spartans offense has been a bit damaged and may have served as the perfect recipe for an ailing Ohio State defense. The Spartans had just two third-down conversion in 15 tries and the running game never found a way to get going.

Things were so difficult for Michigan State, Mark Dantonio called for a signature trick play that seemingly worked for a go-ahead touchdown only to see a penalty bring the score off the board. The Spartans also took an intentional safety in a 7-6 game and the punter backed up at the back of the endzone. In a defensive battle like the one unfolding, that appeared to be a decent gamble in an attempt to flip the field. Ohio State punted after four plays, but the Spartans were still pinned deep in their end, and the Buckeyes recovered a fumble in the end zone on the first play run by the Michigan State offense. Suddenly, a one-point game had turned into a 16-6 lead for Ohio State.

Ohio State added a field goal to extend the lead to 19-6 after Michigan State fumbled on the first play of their next possession (for two fumbles in as many snaps by the Spartans, who had switched from quarterback Brian Lewerke to Rocky Lombardi). The teams then exchanged turnovers with Ohio State fumbling on the Michigan State four-yard line and Lewerke (who had returned to the game) being picked off by Shaun Wade.

Dwayne Haskins passed for 227 yards with a touchdown, and Urban Meyer found spots to get Tate Martell in the game as well. Although Michigan State’s Big Ten-leading rushing defense had contained Ohio State for much of the game, Mike Weber accounted for 104 yards and a touchdown in the game.

With the win, Ohio State continues to keep relative pace with Big Ten East-leading Michigan. The Buckeyes trail Michigan by one game in the loss column but will have a chance to win a head-to-head tiebreaker in the final game of the regular season as long as Ohio State does not lose next week. Ohio State will play at Maryland next week before returning home to host the Wolverines in two weeks, when a spot in the Big Ten championship game is expected to be on the line. And, of course, the game could carry some College Football Playoff implications.

Michigan State remains in third place in the Big Ten East, tied with Penn State but with a head-to-head tiebreaker with the Nittany Lions. A shot at the Big Ten East is now out of reach for Michigan State with head-to-head losses to Ohio State and Michigan. The Spartans now head to Lincoln, Nebraska next week to play a recently charged up Nebraska team. It could be a dangerous spot to be in for Michigan State.

Ohio State gets replay to go their way but Minnesota hanging around in Columbus

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Minnesota was a heavy underdog this afternoon against Ohio State, but the Gophers are keeping the Buckeyes within reach after one half of play in Columbus. Ohio State leads Minnesota 17-14 at halftime, thanks in part to two touchdowns coming after pivotal instant replay situations to go their way.

One play after it appeared Minnesota may have stopped Ohio State on a fourth and short, there was no replay called by the Big Ten replay official to review the spot where Mike Weber landed on the field. Dwayne Haskins wasted no time capitalizing on the lack of replay and went deep for a touchdown for the Buckeyes.

Minnesota was not rattled, however. The Gophers responded with a nine-play 75-yard touchdown drive, ending with Mohamed Ibrahim punching one in from three yards out to regain the Minnesota lead. It was then Minnesota’s defense with a chance to make a big play, stonewalling Ohio State on 4th and 1 from the Minnesota 17-yard line out of an Ohio State timeout. The Buckeyes’ 11-play drive not cutting into the lead or taking the lead was a nice spark for the Gophers, but a fumble on the next offensive series for Minnesota led to an Ohio State touchdown.

This time, the instant replay booth did get involved to decide if a fumble by receiver Tyler Johnson would be upheld. After review, the ruling was made Johnson did secure the catch and lose control of the football after doing so. Ohio State’s Jeffrey Okudah recovered the football and Haskins later completed a 36-yard touchdown pass to KJ Hill as the Buckeyes took a 17-14 lead, which held for the remainder of the first half.

Minnesota’s own mistakes have hurt them in this first half, as well as they are playing overall. Two turnovers and three personal foul penalties have not helped the upset bid. However, with one half to play, Minnesota is in position to keep the pressure on Ohio State in the second half if the Buckeyes cannot make enough adjustments. Big plays have favored Ohio State, but will they continue to wear down Minnesota in the second half?

Minnesota Coney Dur was ejected from the game for targeting on Haskins.