Ohio State scored 14 points in each quarter to trounce Michigan 56-27 on Saturday in the 116th edition of The Game.
The top-ranked Buckeyes ran their winning streak in the series to eight games and finished the regular season 12-0.
They will be back in action next week in the Big Ten championship game.
»PHOTOS: Ohio State mauls Michigan
Here are five things to know about the win over the Wolverines:
1. Both teams came out loaded for bear in the first half.
Ohio State piled up 318 yards in the first 30 minutes, including 118 on the ground, as J.K. Dobbins exploited numerous huge holes created by the offensive line. He ran 17 times for 103 yards and scored three touchdowns in the first half.
Justin Fields was off-target early but finished the first half 8-for-16 passing for 200 yards and a touchdown. He hit Garrett Wilson for gains of 41 and 47 yards and had a 57-yard touchdown throw to Chris Olave.
Michigan had 285 yards in the first half, including 250 passing by Shea Patterson.
2. The second half was a different story.
Fields threw three touchdowns passes in the second half and finished the day 14 for 25 through the air for 302 yards and four touchdowns. He revealed after the game he played with a sprained medial collateral knee ligament suffered a week ago against Penn State, an injury that briefly forced him out of this game in the third quarter.
Patterson couldn’t keep pace. Plagued by a handful of drops, the Michigan senior completed only 4 of 24 passes for 55 yards with an interception in the second half as Ohio State outscored the hosts 28-11.
“I cannot say enough about what this coaching staff has done,” Ohio State coach Ryan Day said. “The leaders, the way that some of these guys played. The way J.K. Dobbins ran. Jeff Okudah was gritty. Our defensive staff put together unbelievable adjustments at halftime. This was everybody, and in games like this it comes down to players and our big-time players came to play today.”
Defensive tackle Robert “BB” Landers felt the defense settled down as the game went on.
“They were an elite offensive line so we had a big challenge coming into this game,” Landers said. “We had to kind of settle down. There were a few things they did that we hadn’t seen on film, which has kind of been a trend all season. And it just came down to us making the proper in-game adjustments and halftime adjustments. Once we made the adjustments and were able to settle and get more comfortable with the reads and what we were seeing, I felt like it allowed us to play a lot faster.”
3. Dobbins dominated again.
Ohio State’s junior running back finished the day with a career-high 211 yards rushing and averaged 6.8 yards per carry.
He passed Ezekiel Elliott on the all-time rushing list at Ohio State, finishing the day with 4,113 yards. That trails only Archie Griffin’s 5,589 in school history.
His four touchdown runs tied an Ohio State single-game record against Michigan set by Troy High School grad Bob Ferguson in 1961 and matched seven years later by Celina’s Jim Otis.
“It was great,” Dobbins said. “Big rivalry game and without my O line I couldn’t do it. I just wanna keep going, keep getting better, because I could have played a better game.”
4. Another freshman receiver lit up the Wolverines.
Last season, Olave came out of nowhere to catch two touchdown passes in a 62-39 rout of Michigan.
This time it was Garrett Wilson, who caught three passes for 118 yards and a 30-yard touchdown from Fields.
Olave contributed this time around, too, as he caught a 57-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter and finished with 68 yards on the day.
5. Some seniors made their last shot at Michigan count.
Landers, a fifth-year senior from Wayne, had two tackles for loss and recovered a fumble with Michigan threatening in the second quarter.
Fellow defensive tackle DaVon Hamilton had two tackles for loss and a sack while end Jonathan Cooper had three tackles and a sack.
Cooper and the fourth-year seniors became the ninth Ohio State class to go 4-0 against Michigan, though Cooper plans to sit out the rest of the season and take a redshirt.
“This season has been very hard, but I wasn’t going into this game thinking I want to make this big-time play or big-time sack,” said Cooper, who has been slowed by an ankle injury much of the year. “I just want to make sure I give everything to this team on and off the field. I’m happy I made that play. It means the world to me that I my teammates were here and I stepped up for them.”
That means he will have a chance to go for five pairs of gold pants, the jewelry charm that Ohio State players get when the the Buckeyes beat the Wolverines.
Fifth-year seniors Landers and Hamilton are part of the seventh Ohio State class to go 5-0 against the Wolverines.
Ohio State has won 17 of the last 19 in the series that started in 1897. Michigan was 13-0-2 in the first 15 games, and Ohio State is 52-45-6 since getting its first win in 1919.
The last time the series was only separated by six games was after a 40-0 Michigan win in 1905, the year before the forward pass was legalized.
Thank you for reading the Journal-News and for supporting local journalism. Subscribers: log in for access to your daily ePaper and premium newsletters.
Thank you for supporting in-depth local journalism with your subscription to the Journal-News. Get more news when you want it with email newsletters just for subscribers. Sign up here.