Ohio State Football’s mental flaws put an end to Michigan winning streak and Big Ten title hopes: post-game decisions – archyde

ANN ARBOR, Michigan – Ohio State football appeared ready for the moment a week ago when it knocked Michigan State off the field. That couldn’t be said of his most important game of the year.

Michigan had a team and strategy specifically designed to end a 10-year streak to the Buckeyes – by changing its coaching staff, football program, and general mindset. It worked.

The Wolverines took advantage of the Buckeyes’ weaknesses and never let their strengths shine. As a result, with a commanding 42:27 triumph, Jim Harbaugh finally did what he was hired to do.

Ohio State Football vs. Michigan: Game Time Decisions

How do you think CJ Stroud was?

Aidan Hutchinson defeated Dawand Jones in a one-on-one game after Jones committed the first of two false start penalties to advance to CJ Stroud in the first half. That one sack was all it needed to unbalance a young quarterback who had spent most of the season relaxed in his pocket.

He was pressured five more times, one of which was forced out of his pocket. He made the most of the bad situation by finding a wide-open Jaxon Smith-Njigba on the field, but the slot receiver only dropped the ball for the sixth time this season.

Hutchinson was in the Ohio State backcourt all afternoon, and later David Ojabo came up to him with a sack late in the fourth quarter. This marked the first time Stroud was sacked at least three times in a game, with two first-round NFL draft picks responsible – Hutchinson broke Michigan’s single-season sack record in the process.

The key to crippling the Buckeyes’ offensive has always been how uncomfortable a defense could be to Stroud. Nobody had been able to do that in weeks, and each game gave Stroud more and more confidence. Michigan – and Hutchinson – finally broke through.

Stroud finished the game 34-of-49 for 349 yards but only two touchdowns. He was just one pass away from throwing 50 passes for the third time this season. The previous two times he’d done it was against Nebraska and Oregon, where OSU didn’t score at least 30 points either.

He would have had his first quick touchdown of the season but he was called back on an undisciplined day for offensive with a holding penalty. Ohio State imposed 10 penalties, all but two of which were on the offensive and many were false starts.

Did Michigan stay away?

Michigan won the possession battle time in the first half, from 4:10 p.m. to 1:50 p.m., by taking time on every drive. It made sure the schedule was adhered to, allowing for third and short occasions on which it routinely converted – five out of eight – and only two trips took less than three minutes. One was because Cade McNamara got overzealous and Bryson threw an interception to Shawn, and the other was OSU’s only threesome in the first half.

While the offense played at a distance, the defensive took care to limit the great possibilities of play as much as possible. Ohio State only had four plays of over 20 yards and the only touchdown that resulted in a 25-yard pass from Stroud to Garrett Wilson. It was also the only time Ohio State made the end zone.

The Wolverines hung around long enough before they had a chance to throw a haymaker, and that came on their first drive of the second half. OSU took the conservative route of three runs for TreVeyon Henderson before the punt. Then Michigan marched 81 yards in three games and 1:15 to extend their lead to 21-13.

Michigan then got the defensive freeze it needed. Then it went back across the field and scored again, making it a 28-13 game with 5:49 in the third quarter.

It did its job. The Buckeyes’ offensive was no longer in Death Star mode, but in make-or-break mode. We hadn’t seen this version since a 35:28 loss to Oregon in Week 2, which happened to be the last time OSU was at halftime.

Michigan quit the job in the second half, taking their shots when needed and sticking to the crunchy running game that enabled them to win in the first place.

There often comes a time in any game when the Ohio State offense goes down like an avalanche and there is nothing an opponent can do about it. The Wolverines hoped to weather this storm – but it never came.

Was a new star born?

In short, no. This was a game dominated by the veteran Superstars – especially for Michigan’s standouts, who were clearly hungry not to end their careers without a win over the Buckeyes.

Hutchinson and David Ajabo lived up to their reputation. Cade McNamara and JJ McCarthy worked perfectly in the Wolverines two-quarterback system. The offensive line pushed the OSU defensive line around for 297 rushing yards, led by Hasan Haskins 169 yards and five touchdowns on 28 carries. The defense kept the nation’s most explosive offensive in check.

In order for the Wolverines to defeat Ohio State, no one had to emerge. Your best guys rose to the challenge.

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