Michigan linebacker Jordan Glasgow on the Wolverines' porous run defense in Saturday's loss. Angelique S. Chengelis, The Detroit News
Ann Arbor — Michigan sophomore defensive end Aidan Hutchinson studied the postgame statistics and shook his head.
Where to begin? Michigan’s lopsided 56-27 loss to Ohio State? The 577 yards the Buckeyes gained? The 264 rushing yards allowed? Bottom line — Michigan lost to Ohio State for the eighth-straight time and has now dropped 15 of the last 16.
For the second straight season, the Wolverines’ defense has been dominated by the Buckeyes. Last year, Ohio State won, 62-39 and gained 567 yards.
“It’s hard to look at,” Hutchinson, who led the team with 10 tackles, said of the final stats on Saturday. “We’re just a better defense than this. We’re a better team than this. We’re a lot better than the numbers on this sheet.”
The numbers were huge for Ohio State. Running back J.K. Dobbins had 211 yards on 31 carries and four touchdowns. He also had two catches for 49 yards. Entering the game, the Wolverines had given up 200 yards or more this season only twice — to Army (200) and at Wisconsin (359) when Jonathan Taylor rushed for 203 yards and two touchdowns.
Dobbins averaged 6.8 yards a carry and was averaging 131.5 yards a game heading into Michigan.
“He’s a really good running back, probably the best we’ve played all year,” Hutchinson said. “Gotta give the props to him. He’s a hard runner and congrats to him.”
Michigan allowed nine big chunk plays of 20 yards or more and Dobbins had five of them. In the first half, Dobbins had a 34-yard run and a 28-yard pass reception. He opened the second half with a 41-yard run and also had a 21-yard reception and a 33-yard touchdown run, the last score of the game.
“He’s a really good back,” Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh said. “He’s got tremendous ability, he’s very fast. We made some mistakes in the defense. That particular play (the 41-yard run to open the second half), we didn’t have an edge, we got sucked down inside and had a soft edge and ran around us.”
Linebacker Jordan Glasgow was stunned by the Buckeyes’ ability to run on Michigan.
“We’ve been a great run defense over the last six, seven games,” Glasgow said. “The fact they were able to gain so much on the ground was surprising. I don’t know the reason for that.”
Ohio State coach Ryan Day said Dobbins wanted to make amends for fumbling last week against Penn State.
“He had a little different look in his eye today. He did,” Day said. “I know he was sick to his stomach about the fumble last week. He wore that on his sleeve all week and practiced well. But he had a look in his eye that he was not going to be denied.
“It was the same look as our offensive line, too, and tight ends and receivers. They all kind of had that look today. But J.K. ran hard.”
Michigan’s run defense wasn’t the only flaw, though. It was completely gouged.
Ohio State was 9-of-15 on third down, and the chunk plays Michigan allowed were huge. The Wolverines gave up plays of: 34, 28, 57, 41, 47, 41, 21, 30, and 33 yards.
“I would say the first half, there’s some mistakes,” Harbaugh said. “I’m not going into the criticizing and blaming and things like that. We dropped some coverages, left some guys open uncovered.”
A week earlier after defeating Indiana, Hutchinson was asked about Ohio State and said any team is beatable. But for the eighth-straight time in the series, that wasn’t the case.
“I just don’t think we executed well,” Hutchinson said. “We’ve just got to be so much better. There’s nothing we haven’t seen before. It was all as expected, we’ve just got to execute better and all do our jobs, and we didn’t. That hurt us.”