Three Years, Three Victories

Today, Michigan defeated Ryan Day’s Buckeyes for a third year in a row.   This is the first time this has happened since 1995 thru 1997.  It is an amazing feat for several reasons.  One, both squads recruit, coach and play exceptionally well.  Two, Coach Harbaugh was not on the field for the win.  Harbaugh’s absence in the wake of this massive victory speaks volumes.  The Michigan Football program is well run.  It is organized.  It is built to survive.  Michigan is built to win.

The Wolverines preparation for this game was crucial for the win. They understood that the two players they needed to limit were Treveyon Henderson and the phenom Marvin Harrison Jr.   The stats don’t tell the whole story of the Wolverines defense.  Though they only secured one sack, Michigan’s defensive line consistently harassed Kyle McCord throughout the game.  He was forced to throw ball’s early and quick in order to avoid sacks.  Two of those rushed throws turned into interceptions.  Finally, the defensive line held Henderson to 60 yards on 19 carries.

Today’s game was classic Big 10 trench warfare.  As the announces said, this was a rugged rivalry game, and it was won in the trenches.  Michigan out gained the Buckeyes on the ground by only 49 yards.  In fact, Ohio State had more total yards than Michigan.  Most of Ohio State’s yards came thru the air.  Yet, when it came down to it, the consistent punishment dealt by Michigan’s offensive and defensive line won the day.

A healthy J.J. McCarthy means a very dangerous Michigan Wolverine offense.  Coach Sherrone Moore called a masterful game.  He was able to do so because he had all of his tools at his disposal.  Colston Loveland led the receivers from his tight end position.  McCarthy connected with six different receivers but targeted Loveland the most.  Looking back at the last three weeks of Michigan play, McCarthy’s injury was a blessing in disguise as Michigan’s offense was limited coming into rivalry week.  The run game remained punishing and multiple.  Even Alex Orji collected 22 yards on the ground.  Michigan’s commitment to the run game sped the game up and ground the Buckeyes into the gridiron.

Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy throws during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Ohio State, Saturday, Nov. 25, 2023, in Ann Arbor, Mich. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Today, we saw a fully functional McCarthy.  His mobility allowed him to avoid the rush and find receivers when the play broke down.  He ran for first downs when he needed to.  However, his best plays might have been his strategic throwaways…seeing his receivers covered he throws over them to live for another day.  However, I suspect most folks will say his best throw was his connection to Roman Wilson for Michigan’s second touchdown of the game.  It was third and ten, and the ball was on Ohio State’s 22-yard line.  McCarthy takes the snap and rips the ball thru two defenders into Roman Wilson’s hands.  The key here was the defenders’ backs were turned to McCarthy.  Wilson caught the ball in stride and tumbled into the end zone.

There was a marked difference between the coaching staff’s on the sidelines.  Coach Ryan Day looked stressed.  It felt like he was pressing.  He harassed officials on calls and was constantly yelling at someone.  At the end of the game he looked wore out.  Coach Moore was the exact opposite.  Calm, cool and collected he trusted in the execution of his team as he masterfully called the game.  He was very aggressive as well.  He went for it on fourth down three times, keeping the pressure on Ohio State.  On each of those drives Michigan ended up scoring.

Marvin Harrison Jr. deserves his due.  There was a chance that he was going to end Coach Moore’s Cinderella story.  With a minute left, down six points, Ohio State need a touchdown to win.  The situation was tailor made for Marvin Harrison Jr. to be the hero, assuming McCord could deliver the ball.  That was the key and Michigan knew it.

Ohio State’s last drive started with a 22 yard reception by Marvin Harrison Jr..  The next play was another 22-yard connection with Julian Fleming but he fumbled and Emeka Egbuka salvaged the possession for the Buckeyes by securing the ball. On the next play, Jaylen Harrell executed a stunt from his edge position and came up the middle forcing McCord to release the ball a little earlier than he wanted.  Kyle McCord easily stepped in front of the intended receiver securing the interception and ending the game.  McCord didn’t force it to Harrison.  Perhaps he should have, as Marvin Harrison Jr. ended the day with 118 yards, and a touchdown on five receptions.  Marvin Harrison Jr. is going to put highlight reels on Sundays, just like his father.

There was a point in the game where Ohio State seized the initiative and the momentum.  After holding Michigan to a field goal during the Wolverines drive of the second half, the Buckeyes smashed their way down the field on the strength of their running attack to score a touchdown.  They ate clock, and tied the game.  Michigan was not deterred.  They started moving the ball down the field on the strength of the passing attack.  On the sixth play of the drive, McCarthy connected with AJ Barner.  The play call was masterful as Barner delayed his release from the tight end position, and then ran a deep crosser.  Unfortunately, Zak Zinter, guard suffered a season ending leg injury. From that point in the game on, Michigan played with renewed vigor and emotion.  Though Ohio State scored again midway thru the fourth, Michigan maintained their momentum and focus, eventually winning the game.

Disciplined play and masterful play calls on both sides of the ball gave Michigan the edge they need to defeat a tough and talented Ohio State team.  Michigan will need to continue this trend to secure the national championship.  Next week they look forward to the return of Coach Harbaugh to the sidelines.  For now, they will bask in this third victory in a row against their longtime rival.






Leave a Replay

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.


Hello fellow sports fans! My name is Joseph Jordan. Welcome to our page. Welcome to our website. I hope you are as deeply passionate about sports as I am. Julien and I have spent a lot of time writing our sports opinions on Facebook over the years. … Read More>>


Follow Us

Your The Sports. Your Inbox. Everyday