2022 Ohio State University
"The Game" was played in Columbus for the first time 2018 after a covid cancellation in the 2020 season. Ohio State opened the week as the betting favorites and would continue as the favorites leading into kickoff. The two top-four teams in the nation met under sunny skies Saturday afternoon following the breaking of a near decade long winning streak for Ohio State in the rivalry last season. TTUN had not beaten Ohio State in Columbus since 2000. which was also the last time they won back-to-back games against the Buckeyes.
From the open to the close this game was war. War in the trenches, war in the air, and war in the press boxes. These coordinators were throwing every play and every look onto the field to try and gain an advantage. J.J. McCarthy played the game of his career and Ohio State stood tall at the break, but he cemented himself as a Wolverine legend after his second half performance.
TTUN stole all the momentum coming out of the half as the Buckeyes shot down their chances of a big third quarter thanks to a boatload of penalties and passive play-calling for the offense. With one to go, it seemed the lights had gone out once again for Ohio State.
The spread opened last weekend at -7.5 in favor of Ohio State, but as we neared closer to gametime and the sun shined on the Shoe in Columbus that spread moved to -9 in favor of the Buckeyes. A 37-point first half pointed to the over/under of 55-points being met sometime in the third quarter if the shootout from the first half continued. The total only moved forward to 44 after three quarters, but TTUN was on the edge of the redzone as the game flipped into the fourth quarter. McCarthy would make it 51 total points with 12-minutes to spare and all looked good for the bettors who took the over. Donovan Edwards went on a 75-yard run to hit the over with seven minutes to go. The spread was never even close.
Ohio State began this game with the most dominant march of the season against the No. 2 defense in the nation to crack the board first with a touchdown to Emeka Egbuka after the Buckeye run game punched the Wolverines in the mouth. The two would trade field goals before the first quarter came to a close with the Buckeyes holding a one touchdown advantage in Columbus. Blake Corum had just one run before leaving the field and not returning. This led TTUN to finish the quarter with just one rushing yard.
We went from a physical defensive slugfest in the first quarter to deep ball mania. As J.J. McCarthy found Cornelius Johnson twice for the homerun ball and C.J. Stroud found Marvin Harrison Jr. for the deep ball touchdown. Chip Trayanum became the featured back for Ohio State after having just one carry all season long. After trading blows the Buckeyes led 20-17 at the halftime break. TTUN was held to 10 rushing yards on 11 attempts in the first half. Ohio State had 124 rushing yards on 20 carries.
The third quarter opened the way the first half closed, with air raid offense from TTUN. McCarthy continued to have a career day as he would find Colston Loveland deep on a broken coverage to reclaim the lead after just the first possession of the quarter. TTUN took over the war on the line of scrimmage as Ohio State lost the battle of physicality. The ground game took off and TTUN drove deep into the Buckeye side of the field with ease. However, despite the struggling Buckeyes TTUN only managed the one score in the quarter despite ten minutes of possession time. The score read 24-20 with one quarter to go in Columbus.
TTUN opened the quarter on the Buckeye goal line and after a handful of plays TTUN finally made it into the endzone to give them a two-possession lead. Ryan Day put the trust in his defense and refused to let the offense try any deep shots or go for it on fourth and short. Jake Moody came out for the Wolverines with just over nine minutes to go to attempt a 57-yard field goal and missed it wide to the left. This would give Ohio State's offense great field position and they would push the ball down inside of the ten before Ryan Day sent Noah Ruggles onto the field for a field goal that made it an eight-point game. However, TTUN made all the right moves to close out the afternoon. They picked off Stroud twice as he was trying to force the comeback and Donovan Edwards had two runs that combined for 160-yards which shut down any chance of a Buckeye win.
Player of the Game: C.J. Stroud
No, this wasn't his best game. Plain and simple he could and should have been better. He likely lost the Heisman race due to the loss. But if you look around the yard, no one showed up for Ohio State. Stroud gave everything late in the game and was not given opportunities earlier in the game to give this team a chance. He wound up with multiple touchdowns and was just shy of 400 yards. His two interceptions came late and they both came as a result of tipped ball from his wideouts.
C.J. Stroud: 31/48, 349 yards, 2 TDs, 2 INTs
Chip Trayanum: 14 car, 83 yards
Marvin Harrison Jr,: 7 rec, 120 yards, 1 TD
Emeka Egbuka: 9 rec, 125 yards, 1 TD
Bowl Game or CFP Playoff Semifinal* (Will depend on what the committee does)