Ohio State grade card: The sequel was even worse for OSU

A grade card on Ohio State’s 45-23 loss to Michigan:

OFFENSE: D

Ohio State started the game with a 12-play, 81-yard touchdown drive to take a 7-0 lead on its first possession on a 4-yard pass from C.J. Stroud to Emeka Egbuka. It went into halftime with a 20-17 lead on a 42-yard touchdown pass from C.J. Stroud to Marvin Harrison Jr. late in the first half. After that, you’d have to search a long time for offensive highlights for OSU.

Those two first-half possessions produced the only touchdowns OSU had in the game. In the first half, Ohio State had drives that advanced to Michigan’s 14-yard line and its 24-yard line but had to settle for field goals when it was stopped on third down. OSU’s offense delivered a nightmarish performance in the second half when it managed to score only three points in the final 30 minutes.

Maybe the low point of the day offensively, on a day with many low points, came in the third quarter when a 24-yard gain to Michigan’s 24-yard line was wiped out by a holding call and an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty against tight end Gee Scott Jr. for head butting a Michigan player, which made it first-and-25 all the way back at the Buckeyes’ own 27-yard line.

After converting on its first three third-down situations, OSU was 2 of its last 13. Ohio State played without starting running back TreVeyon Henderson because of a foot injury and Miyan Williams had 34 yards on eight carries. Stroud threw 48 passes, one less than he threw in a 42-27 loss to Michigan last season. He was sacked only once Saturday but often struggled to find open receivers.

DEFENSE: F

With Michigan’s No. 1 running back Blake Corum limited to two carries for four yards, it looked like Ohio State’s defense had a chance to frustrate the Wolverines’ offense, which had only one yard on its five running plays in the first quarter. Unfortunately for OSU that didn’t last long after Michigan discovered some weak links in OSU’s game plan or its personnel or both.

Michigan scored touchdown on five plays of 45 yards or more and three of them were 75 yards or longer. Quarterback J.J. McCarthy threw touchdown passes of 69 yards and 75 yards to wide receiver Cornelius Johnson in the first half and also threw a 45-yard touchdown pass to tight end Colston Loveland in the third quarter. Running back Donovan Edwards ran for touchdowns of 75 yards and 85 yards in the game’s final 7:11.

Michigan rolled up 530 yards of total offense, including 482 yards in the final three quarters. McCarthy was 12 of 24 for 263 yards and three touchdowns. Edwards rushed for 216 yards on 22 carries.

SPECIAL TEAMS: B

Noah Ruggles was three for three on field goals and there were no problems in the punt game or kick coverage.

OVERALL: D

Ohio State talked for a year about how it owed Michigan something but OSU’s check was returned because of insufficient funds for a second year in a row.

Jim Naveau has covered local and high school sports for The Lima News since 1978 and Ohio State football since 1992. His OSU coverage appears in more than 30 newspapers. Naveau, a Miami University graduate, also worked at the Greenville Advocate and the Piqua Daily Call. He has seen every boys state basketball tournament since 1977. Reach him at [email protected] or 567-242-0414.