The good, the bad and the ugly: Ohio State
For as heartbreaking as the Michigan football team’s 30-27 double-overtime defeat in Columbus was, there were plenty of joyful moments for Wolverine fans at Ohio Stadium. For the first three quarters of the game, it seemed as if Michigan would be able to cruise to victory on the potency of its defense.
It would have been difficult to predict what happened in the fourth quarter and in overtime, but quarterback J.T. Barett and running back Curtis Samuel breathed new life into the Buckeyes while the Wolverines floundered.
The Daily breaks down the good, bad and ugly moments from No. 3 Michigan’s loss to No. 2 Ohio State.
It seemed that Michigan’s defense did all it could to secure Michigan’s first victory over Ohio State in five years. Safety Malik Hooker provided the Buckeyes’ lone touchdown of the first half, bailing out his offense by snagging redshirt sophomore Wilton Speight’s pass and taking it 16 yards to the house.
The Buckeyes’ offense sputtered to just 81 first-half yards, and Barrett struggled with his passing game in that frame as well, throwing 5-for-11 for just 40 yards under Michigan’s constant pressure. Barrett was sacked eight times total, but he was able to step up his game in the fourth quarter when his team needed it most.
We’re placing Wilton Speight in the “good” category for now (more on that later) due to his performance following an injury that kept him out of the Indiana game last week. If any pain still lingered, he did a good job of playing through it, as he went 23-for-36 passing for 219 yards and two touchdowns. In one of his more impressive plays on Saturday, he threw a bullet to fifth-year senior Amara Darboh on 4th-and-goal in the game’s first overtime to secure passage to a second overtime.
Fifth-year senior kicker Kenny Allen was solid yet again, making both of his field-goal attempts and averaging 47.4 yards per punt. He had three punts over 50 yards, and had a few that pinned Ohio State within the 10-yard line.
Linebacker Jabrill Peppers also captured his first pick of the season, something the redshirt sophomore has been ridiculed for throughout the year. Peppers intercepted Barrett’s slant pass on Michigan’s 47-yard line and ran it 11 yards.
Despite Speight’s performance, he had to be mentioned again in this section for a few crucial plays. After Peppers’ interception gave the Wolverines great field position, Speight fumbled the ball on the one-yard line. Speight said that there was a communication problem between him and the center due to the Horseshoe’s crowd noise, but that third-quarter score could have given the Wolverines the cushion it needed to win.
Speight also threw two interceptions, but on his first (Hooker’s pick-six), his arm was knocked as he launched the ball out of the end zone. His second pick was less forgivable. Late in the third quarter, Jerome Baker intercepted his pass and carried it all the way to Michigan’s 13-yard line, setting up Mike Weber’s touchdown rush that put Ohio State within three points of the Wolverines.
Michigan lost all of its momentum in the fourth quarter, going three-and-out on all three of its possessions and collecting just five offensive yards compared to the Buckeyes’ 127.
The Wolverines’ defense started to crack after being forced to play for the majority of the final frame, and it allowed Ohio State to get within field-goal position twice. Buckeye kicker Tyler Durbin missed his first 21-yard field-goal attempt, but he nailed his second one from 23 yards out to send the game to overtime.
Durbin’s missed field goals sent fans into a tizzy. His 37-yard field goal attempt in the first quarter sailed wide left after the Buckeyes marched 72 yards down the field on their first possession of the game. When he missed the chip shot in the fourth quarter, it looked like it might cost his team the game. He would be able to put it all together minutes later when it counted most, though.
After the game, Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh said he was “bitterly disappointed” with the officiating. He was most upset with the spot that gave Ohio State a first down in the second overtime, opening up the gates for Samuel to run in a touchdown after Michigan was able to just hit a field goal.
Harbaugh also insisted that sophomore wide receiver Grant Perry was being tackled before the ball ever got to him, and the pass interference call on senior safety Delano Hill looked to be uncatchable by the receiver.
Harbaugh was also visibly angered during the game, throwing his play card toward the sidelines and smashing his headphones into the ground. Michigan received an unsportsmanlike conduct for that display, which put Ohio State on the Wolverines’ four-yard line. Two plays later, Weber would punch in a touchdown.