Emotional John O'Korn on Michigan loss: 'It was all on me'

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News
Michigan offensive linemen Cesar Ruiz (51) and Ben Bredeson (74) pick quarterback John O'Korn up off the turf after he was sacked by Ohio State defensive end Sam Hubbard on the final play of the game.

Ann Arbor — Michigan redshirt freshman Brandon Peters endured concussion symptoms all week, and fifth-year senior John O’Korn learned Monday he would be starting for the Wolverines against Ohio State.

Peters started the last three games after taking over for O’Korn but was knocked unconscious on the field at Wisconsin last week.

“There was no time he got to practice,” Harbaugh said of Peters after Michigan’s 31-20 loss to Ohio State on Saturday at Michigan Stadium. “He wasn’t cleared for the ballgame.”

O’Korn helped lead Michigan to a 14-0 lead, but he had two critical errors — a missed throw to Chris Evans on fourth-and-4 at the Ohio State 39 with about seven minutes left in the game. And after OSU’s Sean Nuernberger missed a 43-yard field goal with 2:47 left, O’Korn threw an interception to Jordan Fuller. The Buckeyes scored three plays later.

“John misread the coverage,” Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh said.

Harbaugh liked the play call on fourth down.

“Wish we could have executed it better,” he said. “Wanted to be aggressive. Wanted to attack. When we don’t pick it up, easy to say wish we had punted it. I felt good with the call, felt good with the decision.”

Michigan has a good game plan and O’Korn threw to nine different players, including tailback Chris Evans, who led the team with five catches for 34 yards. He completed passes to four receivers, three running backs and two tight ends.

O’Korn, with eyeblack streaking down his face, shouldered the blame for the interception.

“It was all on me,” O’Korn said.

He was 17-of-32 for 195 yards, the interception and a touchdown to Sean McKeon against the Buckeyes. For the season he was 83-156 for 956 yards, two touchdowns and six interceptions.

“Obviously, every game you’re gonna have some looks you weren’t really expecting,” O’Korn said of the Buckeyes’ defense. “I’d say in the secondary they didn’t do exactly what we expected them to do, but you have to adjust on the fly. Give them credit. They’re a really talented team. Their front seven is outstanding. We just didn’t take advantage of matchups in the secondary as much as we should have.”

O’Korn, who came to Michigan as a transfer from Houston and sat out the 2015 season per NCAA transfer rules, is a fifth-year senior.

He became emotional when asked how frustrating it was to lose to Ohio State.

“I think,” O’Korn said as he began to break down, “the hardest part for me is you come here to win this game and our senior class wasn’t able to do it, and I hold myself responsible for a lot of that. It sucks. I can’t imagine a worse feeling right now.”


Twitter: @chengelis