Offense shines, defense arrives late


By Jim Naveau jnaveau@aimmediamidwest.com



A grade card on Ohio State’s 56-27 win over Michigan, which was the eighth straight win for the Buckeyes over their biggest rival.

OFFENSE: A

Justin Fields threw for 302 yards and four touchdowns and J.K. Dobbins rushed for 211 yards and four touchdowns. Both were good and lucky.

Dobbins dropped the football on his first carry of the day but it bounced back to him and he turned it into a 34-yard gain.

Fields left the game after a teammate was pushed into his left knee by a pass rusher but returned after missing only seven plays and threw a 30-yard touchdown pass to Garrett Wilson on his first play back. Wilson had a huge game with catches of 47 yards and 41 yards along with the touchdown catch.

Chris Olave also burned the Michigan secondary for a 54-yard touchdown catch when it was still a close game in the first quarter.

The overlooked element in Ohio State’s success offensively was the Buckeyes’ offensive line dominating Michigan’s defensive line all game long.

OSU averaged 5.3 yards per rushing play and allowed only one sack. In the last two seasons, Ohio State has scored 118 points and gained 1,144 yards against highly regarded Michigan defenses.

DEFENSE: B

Ohio State’s defense struggled in the first half, especially in pass defense with starting cornerback Shaun Wade missing the game because of an injury. Michigan had 285 yards of total offense in the first half, 250 yards of it on pass plays.

Shea Patterson was 14 of 19 for 250 yards and a touchdown in the first half when he was throwing to receivers who were often wide open.

But that changed in the second half when Ohio State made some adjustments and limited Patterson to 4 of 24 passing for 55 yards.

Overall, Michigan had 396 yards total offense, but only 111 yards of that came in the second half.

OSU defensive end Chase Young was held without a sack for the first time this season in a game in which he faced double and triple teams most of the day. Young had two quarterback hurries.

Jonathon Cooper and Davon Hamilton had sacks for the Buckeyes. Baron Browning was the leading tackler with seven.

SPECIAL TEAMS:

Bryan Day has a tough decision to make.

Is the explosiveness of Wilson on punt returns worth the danger the freshman wide receiver also brings to punt returns? His fumble on a punt return against Michigan was his second in the last three games.

Rutgers eventually scored a touchdown after his fumble two weeks ago.

His fumble at the 26-yard line Saturday set up a Michigan field goal. Wilson had a good punt return in the first quarter that was wiped out by a 15-yard personal foul penalty on Sevyn Banks.

OVERALL: A-

Once the defense settled down in the second half, Ohio State was on its way to an even bigger margin of victory than last year when it beat Michigan 62-39.

By Jim Naveau jnaveau@aimmediamidwest.com