Back to back…and back to the college football playoffs? Michigan’s No. 3 upset No. 2 Ohio State 45-23 Saturday afternoon at Ohio State, demolishing the rival Buckeyes for the second straight season. In doing so, the Wolverines won back-to-back games against their biggest rival since 1999-2000, won the Big Ten East and secured a spot in next week’s 2022 Big Ten Championship Game.
This year’s win came unexpectedly, and not just because Michigan was more than a touchdown underdog heading into the regular-season finale. There were questions about star running back Blake Corum, who suffered a knee injury against Illinois last week. Corum started the game with his left knee in a brace; after rushing twice in Wolverines’ first three games, he never came back. The onus was then placed on the shoulders of quarterback JJ McCarthy, who responded with an unprecedented performance from him in a Michigan uniform.
McCarthy threw for 263 yards and three touchdowns, rushing for 27 yards and another score as he kept Ohio State guessing all game. In the second quarter, McCarthy hit Cornelius Johnson on a short pitch to the sideline; Johnson broke a tackle and brought the ball home 69 yards. On Michigan’s next possession, McCarthy eyed Johnson again, throwing deep in the middle and hitting him on stride behind the secondary for 75 yards. Coming out of halftime, he found Colston Loveland on the sidelines for a 45-yard touchdown. A quarterback who had struggled to push the ball vertically all season suddenly dropped bombs as the Buckeyes secondary not only gave up big wins but committed numerous penalties for pass interference.
Meanwhile, Ohio State’s offense led by QB CJ Stroud was stopped dead in the second half. The Buckeyes scored 20 points and Stroud threw for two touchdowns before halftime, but they were held to a field goal in the second half with Stroud throwing a pair of interceptions.
Ohio State beat Michigan 315-214 in the first half with a 124-10 advantage, but the Wolverines turned the tables completely in the final 30 minutes, beating the Buckeyes 316-177 with a 242 advantage. -19 on the ground.
CBS Sports will be back with takeaways from The Game.