No. 3 Michigan improved to 12-0 after beating now 11-1 Ohio State by a score of 45-23. Here are key takeaways from the game.
J.J. McCarthy has ice in his veins
Jim Harbaugh has called his young quarterback an Ice Man the past month, and he continues to deliver when his team needs him to. The running game was getting bottled up by the Buckeyes in the first half and McCarthy put the game on his shoulders for a while. McCarthy connected on deep passing touchdowns to Cornelius Johnson for 69 yards and then 75 yards. He later found Colston Loveland for a 45-yard score. McCarthy’s deep balls were on point and he also picked up big plays with his legs, none more crucial than his 3-yard scamper that put Michigan up 31-20. McCarthy is now 11-0 as Michigan’s starting quarterback, growing weekly and continuously. This year, McCarthy has been doubted at times, and it’s time for the Michigan faithful to all say “I believe in J.J.”.
Donovan Edwards and the Michigan o-line ultimately have epic days
Michigan had just 10 yards rushing in the first half, the second half was the Donovan Edwards show. Michigan’s offensive line showed they were the more conditioned front, and Edwards displayed how talented of a back he is, even with a cast on one hand. Edwards rushed for 216 yards with long touchdowns in the fourth quarter of 75 and 85 yards. Hats off to Michigan’s offensive line and Edwards, they were able to finish Ohio State off with authority.
I never want to hear about Michigan’s non-conference schedule again
Michigan was an underdog heading into The Game, and they showed that prognostications were unwarranted and that the narrative surrounding their non-conference schedule was overblown and downright pathetic. It feels like a lifetime ago that Michigan played the likes of Colorado State, Hawaii, and bowl-eligible UConn. They’ve had road tests against Iowa and Ohio State, a big win against rival Michigan State, and a trouncing of Penn State. Michigan’s an elite team and no SEC bias can get in the way of that any longer.
Michigan’s defense is impressive yet again
It’s nearly impossible to completely shut out Ohio State’s offense, they’re bound to get some licks in. However, Michigan was able to play with gusto on defense and limit the damage drive after drive. Michigan’s been arguably the best second-half defense in college football but not many would have predicted Ohio State scoring just three points in the second half. Michigan was trailing 20-17 at halftime but outscored the Buckeyes 28-3 in the second half. The tide has shifted in this rivalry, largely thanks to the physicality and schematics of Michigan’s defense. Defensive coordinator Jesse Minter deserves the Broyles Award that goes to the best assistant in all of college football. From Mike Sainristil breaking up a pass in the endzone to Michael Barrett and WIll Johnson flying around the field to make tackles to Makari Paige and Taylor Upshaw intercepting C.J. Stroud in the fourth quarter, it was a locker room of heroes.
As big of a win as this was for Michigan, the job isn’t over, it’s only beginning. They have the Big Ten Championship game next week, and they have the College Football Playoff on deck if they win that. The win feels great for Michigan, but this is a team that has been able to quickly put the past behind them this season and focus on the next task at hand. This week will be no different. It’ll be a great trip back to Ann Arbor and a celebratory evening for the team but come sunrise it’s onward.