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What They’re Saying Following Ohio State’s Loss At Michigan

Local and national pundits react to the Buckeyes’ 42-27 loss to the Wolverines on Saturday afternoon.

Ohio State’s Big Ten title and College Football Playoff hopes came to a screeching halt in a 42-27 loss at Michigan on Saturday afternoon.

The Buckeyes headed into Ann Arbor on an eight-game winning streak in the series, but were hampered by 10 penalties, including five false starts, that put the offense behind schedule in critical situations.

Defensively, Ohio State couldn’t stop running back Hassan Haskins, who rushed for 169 yards on 28 carries and tied a school record with five rushing touchdowns. The win marked Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh's first in six tries against the Buckeyes.

With that said, local and national college football analysts shared some of their thoughts on the game, and BuckeyesNow has compiled some of the best reactions below:

Bill Bender, Sporting News

“The latest installment of The Game between No. 2 Ohio State and No. 5 Michigan was supposed to be another coronation for the four-time defending Big Ten champion Buckeyes. Instead, the Wolverines' decade-long hell froze over in the snow. 

“A strong running game helps. Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh finally made The Game a 365-day obsession, and the Wolverines used that time-tested, run-heavy formula to plow through the Buckeyes in a 42-27 victory at Michigan Stadium. The Wolverines rushed for 297 yards. Hassan Haskins took his place in the rivalry montage alongside names such as Jamie MorrisTim Biakabutuka and Chris Perry with 169 yards and a school-record five TDs.”

Bill Landis, The Athletic

“(Ryan Day’s) program will have to learn how to process its first loss to Michigan since 2011, but this, of course, is more than that. It will be Michigan, not four-time defending champion Ohio State, representing the East Division in Indianapolis in next Saturday’s Big Ten championship. The Buckeyes will be sitting at home, their College Football Playoff dreams all but destroyed at this point.

“Ohio State’s goals every year are as follows: beat Michigan, win the Big Ten, get to the Playoff and win the national title. You can argue the significance of the first pales in comparison with hoisting the trophy at the end. But this was one of those years in which OSU wouldn’t get to chase any of the rest without first dispatching its rival. And those championship hopes now lay alongside some rubber pellets on a turf field in Ann Arbor, paved into a finally flattened road laid by Michigan’s offensive and defensive lines as they dictated terms. Ohio State seemed to get lost in the emotion of it all and could never match Michigan’s physicality.

“That’s the thing. It’s not just that Ohio State lost this game for the first time in what feels like forever. It’s how it lost.”

Adam Rittenberg, ESPN

“After looking like the team they always hoped to be the past two weeks, the Buckeyes reverted to the poor form they showed to begin the season, especially on defense. They had zero answers for Hassan Haskins and Michigan's run game, allowing 297 yards and six touchdowns, including 188 yards in the second half. Ohio State didn't generate a single sack or tackle for loss, and it applied virtually no pressure on quarterback Cade McNamara.

“Combined with a feeble run game and 10 penalties, the Buckeyes were soundly beaten in The Game for the first time since 2011. Ohio State likely fell out of the CFP mix, and it must evaluate its defense, which has steadily declined since two top-3 NFL draft picks departed after the 2019 season.”

Dan Wetzel, Yahoo! Sports

“When it came to the heart and soul of Michigan-Ohio State, the Buckeyes just couldn’t, or wouldn’t, compete. They looked like a team that expected to win. They looked like a team that thought finesse would do it.”

Stewart Mandel, The Athletic

“(The Game) was essentially a four-hour catharsis — for the coach who kept believing this day would come long after the rest of us had given up on him, for the Wolverines upperclassmen who’d experienced multiple Ohio State losses and a fan base conditioned over the past decade to expect the worst. Jim Harbaugh is entitled to the world’s longest victory lap. Naysayers like this columnist had long since written him off — because how often does an underachieving coach suddenly rise up in his seventh season and reinvent his team into the exact vision he’d had in mind the whole time?

“That’s exactly what he did, though. Michigan (11-1, 8-1 Big Ten) ran 41 times for 297 yards and six touchdowns while holding the Buckeyes (10-2, 8-1) to 64 rushing yards on 30 attempts. It will play for the program’s first Big Ten title in 17 years next week against surprise opponent Iowa (10-2, 7-2).”

Paul Myerberg, USA TODAY Sports

“Michigan was the aggressor from the start, with a march into the end zone on the game's opening possession quickly followed by a key defensive stand to set a tempo that would last through the final whistle. For the first time under Harbaugh, the Wolverines made OSU play their game — forcing the battle to occur at the point of attack on both sides. Michigan won those battles handily.

“The offensive line bulldozed the Buckeyes' front seven and paved the way for 297 rushing yards and six scores on 41 carries. Ohio State's defensive front ended with zero sacks and zero tackles for loss.

“To put this into perspective, the yardage on the ground is 45 more than the Wolverines' total in the past two meetings in this series. Only once in the previous five meetings had Michigan gone for more than 100 yards. The last time Michigan went for more than 200 yards against the Buckeyes was in 2011, the program's last win before Saturday.”

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Nicole Auerbach, The Athletic

“The Buckeyes were beat soundly by the Wolverines for the first time in a long time. They could barely get any pressure on Michigan quarterback Cade McNamara, finishing with zero sacks and zero tackles for loss, while their offensive line was frequently overwhelmed by the Wolverine pass rushers. Ohio State looked a step slow for much of the game and was penalized for uncharacteristic mistakes. So many of the problems that showed up on Saturday in Ann Arbor had been exposed by Oregon all the way back in Week 2. Ohio State masked some of those issues and convinced a lot of people that its defense in particular had drastically improved, but all of that supposed progress happened against lesser competition.

“This particular Ohio State team is not Playoff-caliber, though its offense can be quite good when C.J. Stroud has time to go through his progressions to find his incredible receivers, and when the run game gets going. But the defense is a problem that needs to be fixed in the offseason. It wasn’t an objectively bad season for the Buckeyes, but the final result falls far short of the standard they have set for themselves in the Urban Meyer-Ryan Day era.”

Barrett Sallee, CBS Sports

“Grade: F - The Buckeyes fell to Michigan 42-27 for the first time since 2011 and lost the Big Ten East race in the process. A two-loss, non-division champion has no chance to even make the CFP, much less win it.”

Sam Hellman, 247Sports

“The Buckeyes just could not get a stop when they needed one. Ohio State’s winning streak snaps over rival Michigan, and the Buckeyes see their Big Ten and CFB Playoff hopes go up in smoke at The Big House.

“Ohio State now waits for a New Year’s Six bowl game destination and opponent. C.J. Stroud and his receivers made noise with 394 passing yards and two touchdowns, but not enough to keep pace with Michigan in the red zone.”

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