Ohio State entered Saturday’s showdown with No. 4 Michigan ranked 10th in the nation. The Buckeyes were the underdog, but they found a way to put up 62 points on the No. 1 defense in the country en route to a 62-39 win.
The offense, led by Dwayne Haskins, Parris Campbell and Chris Olave, had another huge day, while the defense came up with big stops when it was needed most. After the game, BSB staffers handed out Buckeye Leaves for the top performers. Here’s what they had to say:
Malik Harrison deserves a Buckeye Leaf for his performance in The Game.
Coming into the season with lofty potential, Harrison had high expectations. The 6-3, 245-pound linebacker showed why he has received so much hype in the Buckeyes’ 62-39 victory against Michigan. The junior outside linebacker was everywhere on field, recording seven tackles (five solo), including two tackles for loss and one sack.
The Columbus Walnut Ridge product wasted no time making an impact against the Wolverines, turning two different second-and-2 tries into third-and-long attempts. On the second play of The Game, Harrison shot through the Michigan offensive line to sack Shea Patterson for a 7-yard loss, setting up third-and-9. Later in the quarter, Harrison brought down Karan Higdon for a 5-yard loss, setting up third-and-7.
In the same way Ohio State fans remember the name Tim Biakabutuka, Michigan fans will now remember Chris Olave.
A freshman who entered the game with just five career receptions, Olave caught two touchdown passes in the first half against the Wolverines and also blocked a punt, contributing his fair share of 18 points in the win over Michigan.
Olave’s performance was as unexpected as anything that happened on Saturday, and there was a lot that was unexpected in the four hour game that unfolded at Ohio Stadium. Unlike the Biakabutuka performance, Olave figures to have a very bright future at Ohio State, whereas the U-M running back’s performance was a one-time event.
Ohio State freshman wide receiver Chris Olave had a grand total of five catches entering The Game. None of those were touchdowns.
Now he has two scores on the biggest stage, plus a blocked punt that was returned for a touchdown by freshman cornerback Sevyn Banks. That’s quite a day for a guy playing in his first Michigan game, and for that he gets a Buckeye Leaf. Olave finished with just those two touchdown catches, but they went for 48 yards total and helped Ohio State turn the game on its head in the first half. He’s a game changer, and Ohio State fans should get used to Olave’s name going forward.
Before The Game, Parris Campbell gripped the mic inside St. John Arena and sounded like a man on a mission when he made his pregame speech at Skull Session. Near the end, Campbell mentioned how Ohio State took notice of Karan Higdon’s guarantee of Michigan’s win.
“A player from their team said they guarantee a win against the Buckeyes,” the fifth-year senior said. “And today, he got to pay, ‘cause we don’t lay down for nobody.”
Campbell kept his word as he boosted the No. 10 Buckeyes’ onslaught against the No. 4 Wolverines, taking matters into his own hands with the dagger in the fourth quarter. The 6-1, 208-pounder blew the doors off U-M’s top-ranked defense on first-and-10 from OSU’s 22. Campbell’s 78-yard touchdown run put Michigan out of reach and capped Ohio State’s rout. His emphatic words prior to kickoff clearly resonated with the Buckeyes, who kept the same energy throughout the course of the contest. On top of his game-breaking run, Campbell led all OSU receivers with five catches for 114 yards and another score.