Beating Ohio State in Columbus was a feat for the Michigan Wolverines. It was the first time they’ve defeated the Buckeyes at Ohio Stadium since 2000. The victory also propelled Michigan to No. 2 in the College Football Playoff Top 25 and into the Big Ten Championship Game.
It was a huge win, and a major reason why Michigan won The Game is because they executed at a high clip on offense and hit a multitude of big plays.
Head coach Jim Harbaugh called his team a “locker room of heroes” — a few of them are J.J. McCarthy, Donovan Edwards, and Cornelius Johnson. This trio became legendary with these historic statistics.
J.J. McCarthy is the first Michigan quarterback to throw three touchdowns of 45-plus yards in the same game against Ohio State.
With Michigan’s rushing attack bottled up in the early going against Ohio State, it was McCarthy and Michigan’s passing game that kept the score tight heading into halftime. Michigan’s rushing attack was held to just 10 yards in the first half and McCarthy was able to connect with Cornelius Johnson twice for touchdowns of 69 and 75 yards. Johnson became the first Michigan player with two touchdown receptions of 65-plus yards in the same game.
In the third quarter, McCarthy stepped up in the pocket and threaded the needle into double coverage, and found Colston Loveland for a 45-yard score. This put Michigan up 24-20 and the Wolverines would never relinquish the lead.
With the Wolverines up and wearing the Ohio State defense down, the running attack soon flourished. Enter Donovan Edwards.
Edwards became the first player in program history with two touchdown runs of 70-plus yards in the same game. Edwards and Michigan’s offensive line executed on these runs perfectly. With Michigan up 31-23, Edwards' long scores of 75 yards and 85 yards put the Buckeyes away and made the final score 45-23.
Harbaugh noted how selfless players like McCarthy, Johnson, and Edwards are. He said that’s why they’re legends now.
- Harbaugh on McCarthy: “J.J. McCarthy could have been a guy like, ‘Hey, I’m JJ McCarthy. I’m a five-star quarterback, I’m not here to hand the ball off.’ Never. He’ll do anything for the team — he’ll block, he’ll run down the field, and block for a running back 50 yards down the field. Do anything for the team, put his shoulder down, and score a touchdown at the goal line. Now he’s a legend.”
- Harbaugh on Johnson: “Cornelius Johnson could have been somebody who complained about how many targets he’s getting or the passing game should be front and center. But doesn’t and continues to block and make the tough catch across the middle, diving catches. Then in this past game, he really got us started in that game Saturday against Ohio State — and he kept us going.”
- Harbaugh on Edwards: Donovan Edwards, he could have taken a knee in his game. Instead, he wore a cast. And now he’s a legend.
Michigan’s offensive performance was the most explosive by a team in nearly 20 years. Michigan’s five touchdowns of 45-plus yards were the most any team has scored against an AP Top-Five- ranked team in a game since 2005. That isn’t a fluke, that isn’t luck. That’s Jim Harbaugh and co-offensive coordinators Sherrone Moore and Matt Weiss devising a great gameplan that was months in the making. Michigan was often a step ahead on offense, they outschemed the Buckeyes, and outmuscled them as the game wore on.
Calling the likes of McCarthy, Edwards, and Johnson legends isn’t hyperbole. The stats in The Game back it up. Historic stats.
All odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook.
Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.