I’ll just be honest with you guys, I don’t feel like reliving this game at all. I got excited for The Game as I do every year, but this time I bought into the false hope that Michigan could pull off the upset. In reality, they had no chance from the very beginning, and if Ohio State wouldn’t have run the ball on every single play in the second half, it could’ve been much uglier score-wise.
In the end, Ohio State won 14-3, but the score doesn’t do the game itself justice at all as OSU was clearly the better team. To make it brief, this is what you need to know from Saturday’s game:
- Chad Henne clearly was still hurt. He just didn’t throw it well and actually had to leave for a series to go to the locker room. That shoulder obviously is still bothering him, and I really wonder if he should’ve come back after leaving in the first place. I’m not trying to say that in a way that is hating on Henne because with Mallett we would’ve lost just as bad if not worse, but his shoulder played a big role in slowing down the offense.
- On a related note, when Henne did throw passes that should’ve been caught, the receivers did just the opposite. Adrian Arrington dropped one pass from what I remember, but Mario Manningham dropped three or four at least. I don’t even know where to begin with him. It just didn’t look like he had his head in the game on Saturday, and that showed with his poor play.
- I feel sorry for Mike Hart. He tried to do his best, but with bad offensive line play and a great OSU front 7, he stood no chance. Just look at this picture from MGoBlog:
No, you’re not seeing things incorrectly, Michigan’s entire offensive line actually did get manage to let every OSU rusher through. What a joke.
- Thanks to all of these negatives mentioned above on the offensive side of the ball, Michigan only put up 91 total yards of offense. I don’t care if there are injuries, that is just truly pathetic.
- Moving on to the defense, where things were better, the “D” was able to hold OSU to 14 points. It could’ve been 21 had OSU not taken a knee when they were threatening to score at the end of the game, and when you think about it, had OSU passed the ball more than 2 times in the second half, more points certainly could’ve been scored.
- Many are wondering why Jim Tressel went so conservative in the second half, and I think the answer is pretty simple. Since Michigan had no offense at all, he figured why take any chances. Just look at how quickly their game against Michigan State changed thanks to an interception return for a touchdown. Probably thinking about that somewhat, Tressel knew he could just run the clock out as Michigan never came close to scoring in the third or fourth quarter.
- There were two series of events that led to OSU putting this game out of reach. The first came at the end of the first half when Brandent Englemon picked off a Todd Boeckman pass and returned it to the Ohio State 34-yard line. With 21 seconds remaining in the half, Michigan need just one first down to get into field goal range. Even thinking about a touchdown was a possibility as Michigan had a chance to throw the ball to the endzone at least once but never did. Instead, poor playcalling and horrible execution led to the ball moving up only 3 yards, making for a very tough field goal attempt by K.C. Lopata. From 48 yards away, he came up short, meaning it was OSU leading 7-3 at the half.
- After that blown opportunity that really could have changed the momentum in this game, Chris Wells took care of that last glimmer of hope for good. Following a three and out to start the second half, OSU returned the ensuing punt for a TD but had it called back due to a block in the back. Wanting to get back into the endzone quickly, Chris Wells scored from 62 yards out on the next play by just breaking tackles and outrunning the defense.
- From that point on, it was a snooze fest. Every time Michigan tried to do something on offense they were shut down. I think the fact that Zoltan Mesko was Michigan’s best player on the day sums up how bad the offense really was.
- Getting away from the game itself, a brawl nearly broke out before the game when both teams met at midfield, exactly on the 50-yard line. At the time it got me even more pumped up for the game, but that soon would change obviously. (Great picture of the two teams at the 50 can be found at MVictors)
- One last note from the game… I’d like to thank the jackasses at the Weather Channel for predicting a 30% chance of rain. From start to finish, it rained the entire time. Seriously, 30%?