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Ohio State's Defense Flattened By Michigan

The Buckeyes picked a bad day to have a bad day, costing themselves a chance to win a fifth straight Big Ten Championship.

What the heck happened to the Silver Bullets on Saturday?

After playing their best two games of the season each of the last two weeks, Ohio State's defense was awful in a bitter loss to Michigan.

The Wolverines converted on each of their four third down attempts in the first quarter as they marched down the field at 7.7 yards per carry. Right from the get-go, the entire defense was physically overmatched.

Even Minnesota and Oregon didn't pick apart the Buckeye defense the way Michigan did this afternoon.

Hassan Haskins pulled off what no Michigan running has ever done in the history of this great rivalry: 28 carries for 169 yards and five rushing touchdowns. The Maize and Blue amassed 297 rushing yards for the entire game.

I'm not sure it would even be fair to call out any one player in particular. It was a collective failure this afternoon. And the most disappointing part is that it had nothing to do with effort. I would never condemn the Buckeyes' effort. Michigan was significantly tougher at the line of scrimmage, which was the theme in each of Ohio State's two losses this season.

On the back end of the defense, Bryson Shaw probably deserves some credit. He's been a verbal punching bag throughout the year and has had some struggles at safety. But I thought he was the best player on Ohio State's defense today and his interception in the first quarter likely prevented Michigan from taking a 14-0 lead in the blink of an eye.

Perhaps more than anything else, I was most disappointed by the defense's ability to step up when they needed a stop the most. After a bad stretch of third downs in the first quarter, things looked like they might have been turning the corner in the second 15 minutes. It was a really tight game at halftime and Ohio State settling for two field goals instead of touchdowns in their first two red zone trips didn't look like it would hurt too badly.

But in the second half, Michigan's offense scored all four times it had the ball and didn't have a single third down in any one of those four drives.

This one is going to sting for awhile for the Buckeyes. There's really no other way around it. But hopefully they'll be able to use it as a spring board for whatever game they'll have around New Years. It's still possible they make the College Football Playoff, but they need a borderline miracle to pull that off at this point.

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