Michigan Manhandles Ohio State, 45-23, And May Have Knocked Buckeyes From Playoffs

The No. 3 Michigan Wolverines have risen.

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh said last summer and again last week that sophomore quarterback J.J. McCarthy could “turn water to wine.”

And on Saturday, Harbaugh could have left Ohio Stadium saying, “Thank you, Jesus” as McCarthy threw three touchdowns and ran for another in a stunning, 45-23 victory at No. 2 Ohio State.

“He’s just got that ‘it’ factor in every way,” Harbaugh said of McCarthy, who threw touchdowns of 75, 69 and 45 yards in putting the Wolverines up 24-20 by early in the third quarter.

The Wolverines (12-0, 9-0 Big Ten) advance to the Big Ten championship game next week and will rise to No. 2 or No. 1 in the College Football Playoff rankings on Tuesday night. Michigan won at Ohio Stadium for the first time since 2000 after nine straight losses and won back-to-back games in this rivalry for the first time since 1999-2000.


With the convincing loss, Ohio State (11-1, 8-1 Big Ten) may be in danger of falling out of the CFP rankings’ top four. The last rankings before the four-team playoffs will be on Sunday, December 4th. It was Ohio State’s largest margin of defeat against Michigan since a 28-0 loss in 1993.

Did Michigan Eliminate Ohio State From Playoffs?

“As we get to those decisions, you’ve got to look at the body of work and what we’ve done,” Ohio State coach Ryan Day said. “We’ve got a lot of good pieces on this team. If we were able to get a shot in the top four, w’ed be a dangerous team.”

Still, it was a three-touchdown loss.

“I thought we were in it,” Day said. “Got out of control down the stretch, but it wasn’t like we were outmatched in terms of just overall play.”


But Ohio State was sloppy as it drew nine penalties for 91 yards to just five for 30 by Michigan.

“Too many penalties,” Day said. “This is not the outcome that we all envisioned.”

Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy talks to his coach Jim Harbaugh before the Ohio State game on Saturday at Ohio Stadium in Columbus. (Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Harbaugh took no verbal shots at Day immediately after game as he did so eloquently last year. He stayed humble.

“Just so proud,” he said. “It’s a happy locker room, as you can imagine. Played as well as you could have asked them to play.”

Some tried to get him to say more about the win, which was just his second over Ohio State after five straight losses. He didn’t take the bait.

“It feels great to sing The Victors (fight song) in Columbus,” he said. “Our team earned it in every way.”

Michigan QB J.J. McCarthy Dominated Ohio State

Starting his first game in the Ohio State series, McCarthy completed 12 of 24 passes for 283 yards. Ohio State quarterback and Heisman favorite C.J. Stroud hit 31 of 48 for 349 yards and two touchdowns, but he threw two interceptions.

“Everything about it was magical,” McCarthy told FOX after the game. “But the job’s not finished. Let’s go! Go Blue!”

McCarthy tied the game 10-10 midway through the second quarter on a 69-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Cornelius Johnson. McCarthy hit Johnson again two minutes later for a 75-yard touchdown and the Wolverines’ first lead of the game at 17-13. McCarthy found tight end Colston Loveland for a 45-yard TD and 24-20 lead early in the third quarter. The Wolverines never trailed again.

Michigan tailback Donovan Edwards eludes a tackler during the second quarter at Ohio State Buckeyes on Saturday in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Ben Jackson/Getty Images)

“They were stopping the run, but they let the passes get open deep,” McCarthy said.

“We knew we could make those kinds of plays,” Harbaugh said.

McCarthy scored on a 3-yard run for a 31-20 lead early in the fourth quarter.

Michigan Running Back Donovan Edwards Shined

The Wolverines managed just 14 yards rushing in the first half, but the passes soon opened up the runs, and Michigan finished with 252 on the ground.

And the Wolverines did not even need its Heisman Trophy contending tailback Blake Corum. He started after hurting his knee last week, but he ran just twice for six yards. Donovan Edwards filled in and then some. On a simple off right tackle play, Edwards rambled 75 yards for a touchdown to ice it at 38-23 with 7:11 to play.

Edwards added an 85-yard touchdown run for the 45-23 lead with 3:19 to go. He finished with 216 yards on 22 carries.

“When he gets free, don’t even think about it,” Harbaugh said.

Michigan had five touchdowns of 45 yards or more.

“Walking out of here with a win,” McCarthy said. “That’s all that matters.”

Written by Glenn Guilbeau


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