Football: Five takeaways from No. 2 Ohio State’s 42-27 loss to No. 5 Michigan

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Redshirt freshman C.J. Stroud (7) lines up at the line of scrimmage during the Ohio State-Michigan game Saturday. Ohio State lost 42-27. Credit: Mackenzie Shanklin | Photo Editor

The unthinkable in the minds of Buckeye Nation happened at The Big House: No. 5 Michigan beat No. 2 Ohio State.

The Buckeyes were beaten in all phases — offense, defense, special teams and coaching — en route to a 42-27 loss, losing to their rival for the first time since 2011.

Here’s what we learned Saturday, as Ohio State’s national championship hopes are likely over.

Ohio State defense could not contain Hassan Haskins

The Buckeyes scored a touchdown to cut the game to 35-27 with 4:39 left, and Ohio State kicked it deep back to the Wolverines.

It was no surprise what Michigan’s game plan was going to be: hand it off to senior running back Hassan Haskins and run the clock.

The Wolverines scored on a five-play, 63-yard touchdown drive — all runs to Haskins.

He tied a program record by adding his fifth touchdown of the game on that game-sealing drive. Haskins rushed for 169 yards on 28 attempts.

Michigan’s offensive line dominated the line of scrimmage, pulling tight ends and guards to seal the inside lanes for Haskins to stroll through.

It was nothing too complex, as Ohio State never made any adjustments nor stacked the box to prevent the run, highlighted on Haskins’ 27-yard hurdling run to set the Wolverines up at the Buckeyes’ 4-yard line.

Haskins walked into the end zone untouched on the next play, capping his day off in style.

The St. Louis native rushed for the most yards against the Buckeyes’ defense this season, snapping a nine-game streak without allowing a 100-yard rusher.

Buckeyes’ offensive line had its worst day of the season
Senior offensive lineman Thayer Munford (75) after a play during the Ohio State-Michigan game Saturday. Ohio State lost 42-27. Credit: Mackenzie Shanklin | Photo Editor

Michigan Stadium had a “Big House Impact” tracker, logging every time the Buckeyes committed a false start penalty.

By the end of the day, the tally had flipped five times with junior offensive lineman Dawand Jones flinching three times.

The penalties for the unit didn’t stop there, though.

On the Buckeyes’ final touchdown drive, redshirt freshman quarterback C.J. Stroud had a 15-yard scamper into the end zone, but the yellow handkerchief was out of the referee’s pocket again.

This time, it was a holding call on junior offensive tackle Nicholas Petit-Frere, but it was indicative of how the unit shot the offense in the foot all day long.

In addition to the penalties, Michigan senior defensive end Aidan Hutchinson had himself a field day, jumping to the third-best Heisman Trophy odds, according to the DraftKings Sportsbook.

He had three sacks on the day, causing problems for whatever offensive lineman he lined up across, as the Buckeyes’ front five allowed four sacks Saturday after allowing 13 in the previous 11 games.

Ohio State’s offense could not find any rhythm

Midway through the first quarter, following an interception from sophomore safety Bryson Shaw, Ohio State looked to find its footing after a three-and-out on its first possession.

After a 28-yard run from freshman running back TreVeyon Henderson, redshirt freshman running back Miyan Williams rattled off runs of nine and seven yards to have the Buckeyes knocking on the door with first and goal.

A Williams run of two yards, an incompletion, a false start and a 6-yard sack later, and Ohio State had to settle for a field goal — a drive that reflected its day in which the offense looked off balance.

The Buckeyes’ offense has utilized a quick-strike approach all year, with few plays of big chunk yards in a short amount of time, usually finishing drives with six points.

Of Ohio State’s 10 drives, though, six were for less than 10 plays.

The results of those drives in order: punt, punt, touchdown, punt, punt and a turnover on downs.

Its other four drives were two field goals and two touchdowns on 12, 12, 17 and 13 plays, respectively, so it was an identity switch for the Buckeyes Saturday.

The Buckeyes’ four long scoring drives were choppy, containing at least one penalty in each, as they only put together one impressive drive — a four-play touchdown drive that finished with 23- and 25-yard strikes.

Ohio State was held in check, totaling a season-low 458 yards Saturday after entering the day with one of the best units in the country.

TreVeyon Henderson sets freshman touchdown record
Freshman running back TreVeyon Henderson (32) scores a touchdown during the Ohio State-Michigan game Saturday. Ohio State lost 42-27. Credit: Mackenzie Shanklin | Photo Editor

It may have not looked like much at the time as the Buckeyes still trailed by eight points, but a dump-off, 10-yard touchdown pass to Henderson had him break the Ohio State freshman touchdown record .

Henderson scored the final two touchdowns for Ohio State, as he tied the record with a 1-yard touchdown run to slim the deficit to eight.

His 10-yard catch one drive later was his 19th of the season, breaking Maurice Clarett’s 19-year program record.

The Hopewell, Virginia, native’s first of the year was a 70-yard catch-and-run on a similar play design as his record-breaker.

Ohio State’s fate yet to be seen

The Buckeyes find themselves in unfamiliar territory.

It is championship weekend and they have no opponent to prepare for, no bus routes scheduled for Lucas Oil Stadium and no tickets punched to the conference title game for the first time since 2016.

Following the loss to the Wolverines, Michigan is the fourth different team to represent the Big Ten East in Indianapolis since scrapping the Leaders and Legends conference format.

Meanwhile, the Buckeyes will be watching from home.

Ohio State should fall out of the top four in Tuesday’s College Football Playoff rankings, as it does not control its own destiny anymore.

The Buckeyes finished the regular season with an impressive 10-2 record, likely set up for a New Year’s Six bowl matchup, but who they will play has yet to be seen — and if this season of college football has shown anything, expect the unexpected.

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