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Michigan Smokes Ohio State, Advances to Big Ten Championship

Updated: Apr 29, 2023

Phillip Lutz, Guest Writer

RB Donovan Edwards runs into the endzone for a touchdown. Photo//Junfu Han/Detroit Free Press

The #3 University of Michigan Wolverines (11-0) did what most thought was impossible and beat the #2 Ohio State University Buckeyes (11-0) in the Horseshoe, a feat not done in 22 years.

The Wolverines beat down the Buckeyes 45-23 in Columbus, destroying their spirits and taking the Big Ten East Conference Crown.

“The Game” started with the Wolverines winning the coin toss and deferring to the second half.

C.J. Stroud and the Buckeyes received the opening kickoff. A few plays into their drive, WR Xavier Johnson took a handoff for 18 yards, the first of many chunk plays during the game. Stroud later found Marvin Harrison Jr. for 19 yards, and then found Emeka Egbuka for the four-yard touchdown to break the seal. Ohio State 7-0.

Sophomore QB J.J. McCarthy and Heisman hopeful RB Blake Corum kicked off the Michigan drive. Corum, whose status was questionable leading up to the game, had two carries in the drive for a total of six yards before leaving the game due to injury reaggravation. He did not return.

McCarthy connected on a 33-yard pass to Ronnie Bell, getting Michigan into OSU territory. The drive stalled, but Jake Moody nailed a 49-yard field goal to put points on the board. Ohio State 7-3.

On OSU’s ensuing drive, Stroud found Egbuka again, this time for a 17-yard reception. An added face mask penalty pushed the Buckeyes further down the field. Ohio State later settled for a 32-yard field goal by Noah Ruggles. Ohio State 10-3.

Michigan’s first touchdown of the game could not have come at a better time. McCarthy silenced all of the critics when he hit Johnson for a 69-yard catch-and-run touchdown halfway through the second quarter. Moody added the extra point to tie the game 10-10.

RB DeaMonte Trayanum started the next Buckeye drive with a 24-yard run to the Michigan 46-yard line. Stroud then hit Harrison Jr. for 18 yards. Ruggles finished the drive with a 47-yard field goal to give them the 13-10 lead.

Michigan responded quickly as McCarthy wasted no time, hitting Johnson in stride on the first play of their drive for a 75-yard touchdown. Moody hit the extra point, and Michigan was now in the driver’s seat winning 17-13.

Stroud and the Buckeyes did not sit on their hands. Stroud completed the first pass to Egbuka for 15 yards. Stroud then hit Julian Fleming for a 15-yard completion before throwing a 42-yard touchdown to Harrison Jr. Ohio State led 20-17 going into halftime.

Michigan started the second half with the football. McCarthy began the quarter with a five-yard pass to Bell. McCarthy also started to make plays with his legs. The QB scampered for 19 yards, giving new life to the Wolverines. McCarthy then hit freshman TE Colston Loveland for a 45-yard touchdown, the first of Loveland’s Michigan career. Moody knocked through the extra point, once again putting the Wolverines in front 24-20.

Michigan never trailed the rest of the way.

The teams once again exchanged punts giving the ball back to the Wolverines late in the third quarter. Edwards started to heat up on the Wolverine drive. He caught a nine-yard pass and ran for 31 yards on five carries. McCarthy found a wide open Luke Schoonmaker for a 15-yard pick up to get near the redzone. McCarthy finished the drive with a three-yard scamper into the endzone. Michigan 31-20.

Stroud hit Egbuka for a 44-yard pass completion, taking them to the Michigan 15-yard line. Ruggles finished the drive with the Buckeyes’ only points in the second half, hitting a 27-yard field goal. Michigan 31-23.

Edwards really started to make his mark on the game when it mattered the most. He broke free on the first play of the Wolverines drive, outrunning Ohio State defenders for the 75-yard touchdown. Moody hit the extra point, extending the Wolverine lead 38-23.

The Buckeyes methodically moved the ball down the field and into scoring position. While at the Michigan 16-yard line, a Stroud pass to Egbuka in the endzone was knocked out by senior and converted DB Mike Sainristil. It was a beautiful play that saved a touchdown and a potential momentum shift. A couple plays later, Stroud tried to flip the ball as he was being tackled, but it was instead intercepted by defensive lineman Taylor Upshaw.

Michigan took over at their own eight-yard line. Three plays later, Edwards was on his way to the endzone once again. This time he was virtually untouched, running through a wide open rushing lane for the 85-yard touchdown, silencing the Ohio State crowd. Michigan 45-23.

Stroud came out firing on the next drive in hopes of finding some sort of rhythm. He completed passes to Egbuka and Harrison Jr. to move down the field. He was then sacked for an eight-yard loss. The highly-touted QB made another crucial mistake, throwing his second interception of the game, this time by junior DB Makari Paige. This iced the game for the Wolverines.

McCarthy, with Corum behind him, ended the game in victory formation. It was the first time in 22 years that the Wolverines won in Columbus.

McCarthy finished the game with 263 yards and three touchdowns through the air. He also added 27 yards and a touchdown with his legs. Edwards destroyed the Buckeyes with 216 rushing yards on 22 carries and two touchdowns. He also caught two passes for nine yards with his broken hand.

Johnson had four catches for 160 yards and two touchdowns. Bell caught three passes for 46 yards.

For Ohio State, Stroud threw for an impressive 349 yards, two touchdowns, and two costly interceptions. Egbuka finished with nine receptions for 125 yards and a touchdown. Harrison Jr. finished with seven catches for 120 yards and a touchdown; he will be a menace in college football and eventually in the NFL.

The Wolverines outscored the Buckeyes 28-3 in the second half. The domination gave Michigan their first back-to-back victories over OSU since 1999-2000.

Michigan (12-0) will face the Purdue Boilermakers (8-4) in the Big Ten Championship game in Indianapolis on Saturday at 8 pm. This is not an easy win by any means. Purdue is known for getting that huge upset win every season, and there has not been that signature upset so far this year.

Michigan must win this game to solidify their place in the College Football Playoff. Michigan is expected to move up to #2 in the CFP rankings this week with their 12-0 record. There can even be an argument to put them at #1, but, as long as they win Saturday, they will earn a playoff bid for the second straight season. See you all in Indy this week. Go Blue!

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