ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Despite some uncharacteristic mistakes from the Ohio State defense in the first half, the Buckeyes had no problem in routing archrival Michigan once again in front of more than 112,000 in attendance at Michigan Stadium.
Quarterback Justin Fields threw for 302 yards and four touchdowns while running back J.K. Dobbins ran for a career-best 211 yards and four touchdowns.
Michigan delivered the first blow on the opening drive of the game after winning the coin toss and electing to receive. Giles Jackson’s 22-yard touchdown run capped off a seven-play, 75-yard drive to give the Wolverines the early 6-0 lead; the extra point was missed.
Ohio State wasted no time responding as it marched 75 yards as well on the ensuing drive, their first of the game. Running back J.K. Dobbins’s touchdown run from five yards out tied the game up at 6-6 and Blake Haubeil’s extra point gave the Buckeyes their first lead of the day at 7-6.
After the two teams traded punts, the Ohio State offense went back to work, beginning at its own 19-yard line. After moving out to their 43-yard line, Justin Fields connected with Chris Olave on a 57-yard strike to increase the Buckeye lead to 14-6.
But Michigan would continue the back and forth trend by answering with another scoring drive just three plays later as Shea Patterson hit Donovan Peoples-Jones for 25 yards to get Michigan back within a point at 14-13.
As was the story of the game for Michigan, however, the defense simply couldn’t keep the Wolverines within striking distance. Fields and Dobbins engineered a nine-play, 75-yard over five minutes to push the Ohio State lead back to eight points at 21-13 on a Dobbins six-yard touchdown scamper, his second of the day.
Ohio State would add another touchdown on Dobbins’ third score of the day, and Michigan would kick a late field goal to move the score to 28-16 as the two teams went into the locker room for halftime.
After receiving the opening kick of the second half, Ohio State needed only six plays to account for 69 yards, setting up a pivotal third down and goal from the Michigan 6-yard line. Fields found K.J. Hill in the end zone for a touchdown, increasing the Buckeyes’ lead to 35-16.
Fields added another touchdown pass on Ohio State’s next drive as he found Garrett Wilson for a 30-yard score, signaling the official start of a second consecutive rout of Michigan.
The remainder of the game was a relative formality as Ohio State added to its lead as the Buckeyes salted away the final quarter en route to finishing up their undefeated regular season.
Ohio State finished with 577 yards of total offense, the second consecutive year the Buckeyes have accumulated at least 500 yards on Michigan’s defense.
“This was everybody,” Day said of the effort it took to win the game. “In games like this, it comes down to players. Our big-time players played well.”
He said of Dobbins’ monster performance, “He just had that look in his eye today that he was not going to be denied. It was the same for the offensive line, tight ends, receivers. They all kind of had that look in their eyes.”
Ohio State will get a rematch with the Wisconsin Badgers in the Big Ten Championship next week in Indianapolis.
Reach Dillon Davis at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @DillonDavis56.