The Michigan Wolverines got embarrassed against the Ohio State Buckeyes once again after a 56-27 drubbing on Saturday. For the second straight year, the Buckeyes have put 50+ points on Michigan. Ryan Day has had absolute field days matching up against Don Brown’s man-to-man defense.
OSU running back J.K. Dobbins rolled Michigan on the ground with 31 carries for 211 yards and 4 touchdowns. Ohio State did this by taking advantage of the poor outside contain by the Michigan defense. The same thing was done by Wisconsin earlier this season with Jonathan Taylor. Here is one of those big runs by Taylor:
Now watch Dobbins do nearly the exact same thing on this big run to open up the second half:
In both circumstances, Michigan fails outside contain in a stacked look. This is something Michigan has struggled with all season, but the better teams in the country have the talent to take full advantage with huge plays and touchdowns.
Ohio State found a way to take advantage of the man-to-man defense in the running game.
Even in this stacked set, the linebackers and secondary have to stay true to their designations in coverage. The tight end goes straight to the second level and it almost appears as though he will be going out on a crossing route, but he stops to block the linebacker. Lavert Hill was in coverage and had to come in to cover him. By the time Hill realizes it’s a run, it was too late, and Dobbins was gone past him into the deep open field.
But it wasn’t all done in the running game. Justin Fields threw for 4 touchdowns, and a lot of his passing yards seemed to come on big gains.
Here is one of those plays as the Buckeyes ran the dreaded crossing routes to burn the Wolverines several times in both of the last two seasons.
Day’s goal in these crossing routes is to eliminate the defender of the guy running across the field. On this play this season, Dobbins runs out to his left, and Garrett Wilson cuts short across the middle of the field. This causes Ambry Thomas and Khaleke Hudson to run into each other since they are playing press coverage in a man-to-man defense. Now, Wilson is wide open in the middle of the field and nearly reaches the end zone.
This is a similar crossing route with a similar concept from last season, but in a different formation. Once again, OSU removed the defender out of the way on a crossing route.
This time Josh Metellus is literally pushed out of the way on the Chris Olave crossing route. OSU knows Michigan is in the man-to-man defense, and all they have to do is impede the bath of the defender to one of the Buckeye receivers. In that clip from 2018, Tyree Kinnel was left in the dust as Olave was wide open across the middle of the field.
These little dink and dunks down the field have massacred the Michigan defense over the last two meetings. Most of these passes aren’t deep bombs down the field; they are short passes where the receivers are allowed to run for long distances in the open field.
The issues are consistent, so something absolutely has to be done to stop it next season.