Photo from Getty Images
By Terrance Turner
November 26, 2022
Today, two undefeated teams collided in one of the most anticipated matchups of the year. Two of the top three college football teams in the country clashed in Columbus. The No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes faced the No. 3 ranked Michigan Wolverines in Ohio this morning. Both teams went into the game 11-0.
This rivalry dates all the way back to 1897. And both teams take it very seriously. Last year’s game descended into chaos with an on-field brawl between the Wolverines and Buckeyes. (Ohio State cornerback Malcolm Brown got tangled up with Michigan receiver Roman Wilson. Brown ripped off Wilson’s helmet and threw it across the field. A shoving match broke out.) Both teams’ players ran on to the field to take part in the fight. A referee got hit while trying to break it up. At least one player was ejected.
This year’s game comes just weeks after a crucial injury to Michigan running back Blake Corum, who scored 18 touchdowns this season. Corum took a helmet to the knee in last week’s game and was seriously hurt. Fans and commentators wondered; Would he return?
Ohio State began their drive with an excellent run game. CJ Stroud threw to wide receiver Emeka Egbuka for the touchdown. Ohio State led 7-0.
Michigan struggled offensively on its opening drive. Corum briefly came on the field but had to leave due to his nagging knee injury. But the Wolverines still managed to score. Kicker Jake Moody drew the field goal from 49 yards out to put Michigan on the board. It was 7-3.
The Buckeyes answered with a field goal of their own. A face mask penalty on Michigan added to a 17-yard run, marking the highlight of the drive. Kicker Noah Ruggles made a field goal to extend Ohio State’s lead. They led 10-3 at the end of the first quarter.
Michigan started the quarter with two straight three and outs. But Ohio state was also forced to punt on its opening drive of the quarter. But then Michigan’s offense came alive. On 3rd and 9th, Cornelius Johnson broke a tackle and took off for a 69-yard touchdown. The Wolverines tied the game at 10.
Ohio State answered with a field goal. A 24-yard run by Harrison was followed by a 17 yard catch by Trayanum. Noah Ruggles helped the Buckeyes regain the lead with a midfield kick. They led 13-10. But Michigan snatched the lead right back when McCarthy found a wide-open Cornelius Johnson. And Johnson again burned the Buckeyes defense with a second touchdown. Michigan led 17-13 with five and a half minutes remaining.
The long-simmering tensions between the teams exploded on the kickoff. A scuffle broke out near the sideline. Refs broke it up, but not before both teams joined in on the scrum.
But it didn’t take long for Ohio State to respond. On 2nd down and three, at the 43 yard line, Stroud faked the handoff then threw to Fleming who made it to midfield. Then Stroud threw a deep ball to WR Marvin Harrison Jr for a 42-yard touchdown. Ohio State led 20 – 17 at the half.
Michigan struck quickly as the second half began. Within three minutes of the 3rd quarter, J.J. McCarthy found Colston Loveland for a forty five yard touchdown.
Ohio State punted. And its next drive collapsed after a strong of penalties. Midway through the third quarter, the Buckeyes wound up on first and 35 after two simultaneous penalties. One was for holding, another for unsportsmanlike conduct after the play. Tight end Gee Scott actually headbutted a Michigan player while on the sideline.
Ohio State gained 30 of those yards back, thanks to back to back completions by CJ Stroud. But they couldn’t make up the last few yards and had to punt on fourth and 5. (That became fourth and ten after a false start penalty.) Michigan took over. The third quarter ended with some confusion around the clock.
The fourth quarter began with Michigan in the midst of a 15 play drive. McCarthy’s pass fell incomplete to Ronnie Bell. But referees threw a PENALTY on Ohio State for pass interference (on Ronnie Hickman). That advanced the Wolverines 12 yards to the Ohio State’s 2-yard line, per ESPN. And after throwing three touchdown passes, Michigan quarterback JJ McCarthy ran for a rushing score.
Michigan went up 31-20.
Ohio State embarked on a fruitless drive. On 4th and 3, the Buckeyes elected to punt. But on the kickoff, Ohio State was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct (by Javontae Jean Baptiste). That 15 yard penalty gave Michigan better field position. And then a pass interference penalty on Ohio State moved them past midfield. But Michigan couldn’t capitalize. The drive stalled at midfield, and Moody missed a 57-yard field goal attempt.
Ohio State had somewhat better luck. Stroud stunned with a completed pass to Egbuka for 43 yards. But the Buckeyes couldn’t score in the end zone. So they settled for a field goal. Ruggles was good from 27 yards out, making it 31-23.
Edwards Shines In Finale
“You get the feeling that something’s coming, a specialty play of some sort,” said one announcer. He was right. On the very next play, Wolverines running back Donavan Edwards took off, skirting the sidelines for a 75 yard touchdown. Michigan went up 38-23.
And the hits kept coming for Ohio State. C.J. Stroud helped lead the Buckeyes offense to a strong drive. A series of first-down plays helped them approach the red zone. But as he ran to avoid a sack Stroud tossed the ball to the receiver and it was intercepted by Taylor Upshaw.
The Wolverines took possession. And they got the dagger when Edwards rushed for his second touchdown of the day.
And Ohio State’s final drive was disastrous. Stroud got sacked by edge rusher Eyaki Obie on one play. And then he threw another pick, this time caught by defensive back Makari Paige. That sealed the game. Michigan won 45-23.
The Wolverines won in Columbus for the first time since 2000. And it’s their second straight win versus the Buckeyes. Best of all, they remain undefeated for the twelfth straight game. They will compete in the Big Ten Championship game next week.
Follwing the game, Donovan Edwards called the team’s performance “a blessing,” and today he was blessed indeed. Edwards rushed for 216 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries. He iced the game with 75- and 85-yards touchdowns in the final minutes of the fourth quarter. When reporters asked about his game sealing touchdown, Edwards responded, “Which one?”
Quarterback JJ McCarthy finished the game with 263 passing yards, 27 rushing yards, and four total touchdowns. In a postgame interview, he told a reporter that today happened exactly as he had hoped. “Everything about it was magical,” McCarthy said.