Ohio State came into The Big House and earned its eighth straight victory over Michigan by a score of 56-27, and with that, came plenty of players deserving of praise. Here are the players that the BSB Staff believe are deserving of Buckeye Leaves in Ohio State’s 12th win of the season.
Man, what a year it has been for J.K. Dobbins.
After a season full of questions on whether the running back could get back to the form he was in during his freshman campaign, the now-junior has proven to be that back and much, much more, and he put it all on display in the best game of his career against Michigan.
Dobbins ran for 211 yards, caught two passes for 49 yards and scored four touchdowns, ending with a career high in scores and total yards.
He was decisive, he was dominant, and he was a key difference maker on the offensive side of the ball all day long, and proved to everyone why his name should be right in the Heisman trophy race.
In the biggest game of the season yet, Justin Fields rose to the occasion against archrival Michigan in Ann Arbor.
The sophomore signal caller went down with an apparent knee injury after getting rolled into by Luke Farrell after throwing a 15-yard completion to Austin Mack. Fields missed seven snaps while the medical staff examined his leg.
Fields re-entered the game on second-and-10 from the Michigan 30-yard line. The Wolverines pressured the young quarterback, but he escaped the pocket and rolled out to his left. Then, Fields delivered a strike to Garrett Wilson in the back of the end zone for a 30-yard touchdown, giving Ohio State a 41-16 lead.
Finishing with 302 passing yards and four touchdowns while completing 14 of 25 passes, Fields led the Buckeyes to victory with confidence and composure. He also gained 25 rushing yards on six carries in Ohio State’s 56-27 victory.
One year ago, Ohio State wide receiver Chris Olave went from relatively unknown freshman to offensive hero of the rivalry game against Michigan. He then added to his legacy in this year’s win over the Wolverines, hauling in two catches for 68 yards — including a 57-yard touchdown that put the Buckeyes ahead 14-6 late in the first quarter.
Olave could have added to that total but dropped what would have been a 56-yard score early in the fourth quarter with Ohio State looking to extend a 42-27 lead. But that said, it was a rare moment that doesn’t diminish his impact in this great rivalry.
He may have only played half, and his final stats may not be gaudy, but linebacker Baron Browning was crucial in Ohio State’s 56-27 win over Michigan. After being gashed across the middle in the first half to the tune of 250 yards passing by Michigan quarterback Shea Patterson, the Buckeyes went away from the 4-4 and 4-3 fronts it had used in the first half, and towards a much faster and more pass coverage friendly 4-2-5.
To do that, the Buckeyes inserted Browning in the game at middle linebacker in place of Tuf Borland, next to Malik Harrison. In just 30 minutes, Browning made a massive difference, racking up seven tackles, though he was even more important in coverage. Patterson tossed for just 55 yards in the second half, as the Wolverine passing attack was slowed down massively by the shift to a much faster back seven.
The shift also showed up on the scoreboard. After a 16-point first half that very easily could have been 23, were it not for a fumble in the red zone, Michigan had 11 points in the second half, three of which came off of a Garrett Wilson fumble inside of Buckeye territory. The addition of Browning to the defense completely changed the game, and allowed the Buckeyes to pull away on the way to an undefeated regular season.
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