Michigan dropped a heartbreaker by a score of 30-27 in double overtime to the Ohio State Buckeyes to end the season at 10-2 on Saturday afternoon in Columbus.
Let’s get right to the point. Here are the takeaways.
Speight giveth, Speight taketh away
Wilton Speight was questionable coming into this game, but ended up starting and really played well, until he didn’t.
Many of his throws were right on the money all afternoon, but three costly turnovers kept Ohio State in this contest and that is not where you want to be on the road in a hostile environment.
He was able to give the team the last lead they would have in overtime in what looked like a near-win, but then things happened at the end of the game.
Offensive line disappeared
Michigan controlled the line of scrimmage for most of the game, but they failed to close out in the fourth quarter and that allowed the Buckeyes to make a comeback and ultimately win the game.
It goes to show that the Wolverines still are not where they would like to be up front in terms of building a giant line that controls the game and grinds it out when the game is on the line.
Michigan kept its defense on the field too long
The Michigan defense did an amazing job all day long but were clearly worn out by the game’s end. The offense had opportunities to extend the lead and put this game away and for various reasons, it did not happen. They didn’t exactly play to lose, but the execution down the stretch was lacking.
Lost their cool and it starts at the top
A huge turning point in this game came when Jim Harbaugh was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct. It was then when it started to feel like the wheels were coming off and that Michigan may be in trouble.
Nobody can — or should -- question Harbaugh’s competitive nature and love for the game, but that cannot happen there. Teams take on the persona of their head coach and you have to settle down there. You can still question officials and not toss your playsheets all over the field.
BONUS TAKEAWAY: The officiating
There is not getting around this. The officiating in this game was atrocious and incredibly one-sided. Ohio State was flagged twice the entire game.
The call at the end was wrong. Period. The fourth down stop should have given them the victory, but it didn’t. The next play, Ohio State scored and won. The simple solution there is to prevent that from happening.
There were many questionable calls, but that is not the takeaway here. That is two games now this season where the Wolverines had the chance to close out a game on the road and failed twice -- and almost a third time at Michigan State.
Truly elite teams find a way to play through that. When you play with fire, you can get burned. The Wolverines had chances to close it out and failed to do so.
Now, no Big Ten title, probably no playoff (without some help) and nobody knows what comes next.