It was a spirited effort, but Michigan lost a sixth-straight game to Ohio State in a 31-20 heartbreaker in Ann Arbor on Saturday afternoon.
There was one spot on the field, in particular, that held the Wolverines back.
It's hard to say it any other way: John O'Korn was simply awful. The Wolverines were in the game despite the terrible quarterback play they got from a fifth-year senior. It was that bad. There were open receivers missed all day long, and there were plenty of times he took a sack when he could have easily thrown the ball away. He had zero awareness in the pocket.
Michigan fans will be glad to wave goodbye to O'Korn. He was 17-for-32 for 195 yards, a touchdown and an interception. He added some garbage time yardage in the game's final minute when OSU was happy to give away chunk plays.
Michigan's running backs rushed for 135 yards, and the play-calling was on point, especially in the first half. There was just no escaping the terrible quarterback play.
Dwayne Haskins was 6-for-7 for 94 yards in place of J.T. Barrett for the Buckeyes.. He did just enough in making big third down throws to stop Michigan's momentum.
J.K. Dobbins rushed for 101 yards on 15 carries for OSU.
Buckeyes put the nail in the coffin
Though it should have been obvious to everyone in The Big House watching, J.K. Dobbins went for 35 yards on first down to get the ball into Michigan territory.
Mike Weber did the rest with a 25-yard touchdown on a drive where the defense looked like it simply gave up despite still having a chance to get a stop with timeouts in its pocket.
That's this rivalry in a nutshell. OSU leads 31-20 with 1:44 remaining.
O'Korn dooms Michigan with INT
On the first play of what they wanted to be a game-winning drive, John O'Korn threw an interception to an OSU defender without a single Michigan player anywhere to be found.
It was dumbfounding. Purely ridiculous.
Wolverines have two timeouts. OSU has the ball with 2:36 remaining.
Missed field goal gives UM one last chance
Sean Nuernberger couldn't come through the second time around as he pushed a 44-yard field goal wide left.
With 2:47 remaining, it's still 24-20 in favor of the Buckeyes.
On third-and-7, Dwayne Haskins stepped up and made another big throw for the Buckeyes, hitting K.J. Hill on a crossing route for a 24-yard gain down to the Michigan 34. A second down strike to Paris Campbell set up a third-and-1, the Wolverines dropped Mike Weber for a loss.
Wolverines turn the ball over on downs
Michigan rolled the dice on fourth-and-4 from the OSU 39, and John O'Korn had Chris Evans wide open across the middle of the field, but the fifth-year senior quarterback sailed his throw well over Evans' head and Michigan turned the ball over on downs.
With 6:53 left, the Buckeyes are holding onto their 24-20 lead.
Eddie McDoom made an over the shoulder grab for a 24-yard gain out to the 43. Karan Higdon got the ball into OSU territory with a nine-yard gain, and on the next play, Chris Evans picked up the short first down. Higdon went for eight yards on the next play, but on the next play, O'Korn had his foot stepped on by a lineman as he lost three yards. On third-and-4, a deflected ball at the line forced an incompletion.
Buckeyes add a field goal
Sean Nuernberger hit from 44 yards to give OSU a 24-20 lead with 10:21 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Dwayne Haskins found K.J. Hill coming across the field for a 29-yard catch-and-run down to the Michigan 28. The Wolverines snuffed out the next two running plays to force a third-and-9. Haskins threw well over his receivers head on third down.
No-call, fumbled snap force Michigan to punt
Grant Perry reeled in a third down pass John O'Korn for a first down at the 45, but that was the high point of the drive for the Wolverines. On a first down throw to Eddie McDoom, the referees ignored pass interference on the Buckeyes for the second time today. On second down, O'Korn fumbled the snap and the Wolverines lost 16 yards on the play. On third-and-26, Kekoa Crawford took a quick pass for 13 yards as the third quarter came to an end.
Michigan will be punting to start the fourth quarter. The Wolverines trail 21-20.
Buckeyes get it done with backup QB
Ohio State lost its starting quarterback, but it didn't matter. The Buckeyes went right down the field and J.K. Dobbins punched it in from a yard out to give OSU a 21-20 lead with 1:34 remaining in the third quarter.
J.T. Barrett was injured on a nine-yard run on second down that forced him from the game. He was seen walking into the tunnel, presumably back to the locker room to get checked out by trainers. On third-and-1, Dwayne Haskins came into the game at quarterback. He handed the ball off to Dobbins, who was able to fall forward for a first down. The Wolverines forced a third-and-5 overthrow, but a defensive holding penalty extended the drive. On third-and-3, with the ball in Michigan territory, OSU was called for consecutive false start penalties that backed the ball up 10 extra yards. On third-and-13, Haskins delivered a bullet to Austin Mack, who brought in a 27-yard reception in double coverage.
On that play, Tyree Kinnel delivered a big blow to Mack, but the Wolverines safety took the worst of it. Kinnel collapsed in a heap on the field and stayed down for several minutes before jogging off under his own power.
When play resumed, Haskins reeled off a 21-yard run down to the Michigan 1, where Dobbins presumed to punch it in.
Higdon gets in the end zone, XP blocked
Karan Higdon pounded the rock up the middle and took it home for a two-yard touchdown.
Unfortunately for the Wolverines, Quinn Nordin had his extra point blocked and the score is 20-14 with 7:07 remaining in the third quarter.
Kekoa Crawford had a convoy of blockers on first down from midfield, taking a quick pass 43 yards down to the OSU 8. On first down, Chris Evans went for a yard. The Buckeyes were called for holding on second down, giving Michigan the ball inside the 5. Higdon got the ball down to the 2 before crossing the goal line on third down.
Wolverines defense back on track
Rashan Gary and Devin Bush got home on third down and sacked J.T. Barrett to force an OSU punt that gives the Wolverines good starting field position at midfield.
With 9:43 to play in the third, it's still 14-14.
No-call leads to Michigan punt
Khalid Hill was able to go for three yards up the gut on first down. John O'Korn put his head down for a six-yard gain on second down before handing it back off to Hill for a third down conversion out to the 43. Karan Higdon went for two yards on first down, but an incomplete pass on second down set up a third-and-long. It appeared Donovan Peoples-Jones was interfered with on third down, but the referees kept the flags in their pocket and Michigan was forced to punt.
With 10:54 remaining in the third quarter, it's still 14-14.
Wolverines for a punt to start 2nd half
J.T. Barrett was dropped for no gain on a designed quarterback run to start the second half. Mike Weber was able to power his way up the middle for a 9-yard gain on second down, but the Michigan defense was right there for the stop on third down to force an OSU punt.
Michigan, OSU tied at 14 at halftime
The first half ended with three straight punts, including another controversial spot to add to the recent history of this rivalry.
John O'Korn appeared to have a first down as he stretched out near the marker, but he was marked a full yard short of the line to gain, something that sent The Big House into a frenzy after the review didn't go in Michigan's favor. On fourth down, with less than 30 seconds remaining in the half, the Wolverines punted.
At halftime, it's 14-14.
Michigan got out to a 14-0 lead thanks to solid play from all three phases of the game. They were held back by O'Korn's inability to hit open receivers on early drive, as well as Josh Metellus' dropped interception that kept a drive alive that ended in an OSU touchdown.
O'Korn finished the first half 9-for-16 for 63 yards and a score.
Michigan has run for 83 yards, while the Buckeyes have run for 88.
J.T. Barrett leads all rushers with 64 yards.
Barrett strikes again
J.T. Barrett continues to gash the Michigan defense with his legs as he went for 26-yards down to the Wolverines 25. On the very next play, the defense totally sold out on the run, and Barrett burned them with a 25-yard touchdown pass to Marcus Baugh.
With 5:54 remaining in the first half, things are all tied up at 14-14.
Wolverines forced to punt
A holding penalty back Michigan up inside its own 10, but Karan Higdon took the next play 22 yards out to the 30. On the next play, John O'Korn couldn't pull the trigger on a play-action pass and was dropped for a loss of 10. They got those yards back with a 10-yard completion to Khalid Hill, but a bobbled snap on third down never allowed a conversion attempt to develop.
With 7:01 to play in the first half, OSU will take over near midfield trailing 14-7.
Barrett cuts UM's lead in half
J.T. Barrett put OSU's offense on his back on an 11-play, 75-yard drive that, capping it with a 21-yard touchdown that cuts the Wolverines lead to 14-7 with 9:50 remaining in the first half.
It shouldn't have happened.
Michigan's Josh Metellus dropped a surefire interception that kept the drive alive, and the Buckeyes cashed in a few plays later.
The Drive: Barrett and J.K. Dobbins were able to pick up a pair of first downs and get the Buckeyes into Michigan territory. Barrett put his head down for an eight-yard gain down to the 41, but LaVert Hill made a play on a quick pass to force a third down. Barrett was able to spin out of a tackle in the backfield for another first down. Khaleke Hudson was called for defensive holding (even though the OSU player really just fell down on his own) to set OSU up at the 22.
Wolverines cash in
On the first play of the second quarter, John O'Korn sold the fake and hit a wide open Sean McKeon for a three-yard touchdown pass that puts Michigan up 14-0 with 14:57 remaining in the second quarter.
The Wolverines have gotten contributions for all three phases today: The offense has a long drive to its credit, the defense has dominated and Donovan Peoples-Jones' big return set up that second score.
DPJ, Defense get it done
The Michigan defense played lights out in the first quarter.
Chase Winovich dropped J.T. Barrett for a sack on third down, and for some reason, instead of letting the clock run out on the first quarter, OSU called a timeout to punt before the end of the frame.
That was a mistake, as Donovan Peoples-Jones had a spectacular 42-yard punt return to get to the Buckeyes 11. Coupled with a holding penalty, Michigan will take over just six yards from pay dirt.
At the end of the first quarter, the Wolverines still lead 7-0.
Earlier in the drive, on second down, Barrett underthrew a wide open receiver down the field, forcing his man to come back to the ball and allowing David Long to catch up and get the pass breakup.
Wolverines come up shy of sticks
Michigan is winning the game and the field position battle early on, as the Buckeyes will start their next possession at their own 15.
With 1:14 remaining in the first quarter, Michigan still leads 7-0.
Chris Evans has had the hot-hand early on, and that continued when he put the offense in good position with a six-yard gain on first down from the 38. Evans was stopped for no gain on second down, but he took a swing pass in the backfield on third down that went for a first down near midfield. Michigan got the ball into OSU territory, but they came up three yards short of the first down and were forced to punt.
Michigan defense doing its job
The Wolverines snuffed out a jet sweep on first down for a five-yard loss, and on second down, Rashan Gary dropped J.T. Barrett for a sack. On third down, the Wolverines swarmed to an open receiver and forced a drop that forces OSU to punt the ball back to the Michigan offense.
With 4:30 remaining in the first quarter, the Wolverines are still leading 7-0.
Michigan gets out in front
Despite some bad throws from John O'Korn, Michigan was able to drive 77 yards in 13 plays, finishing it off with a 2-yard Khalid Hill touchdown that puts the Wolverines up 7-0 with 6:02 remaining in the first quarter.
The Drive: Chris Evans set up his blocks and was able to go for nine yards on first down. Karan Higdon was stuffed on second down for no gain, but on third down, Hill was able to dive over the line for a first down. O'Korn sailed a throw to a wide open Hill on the ensuing first down, but Evans made up for it with a 24-yard run into Buckeyes territory. After another incompletion, O'Korn finally hit a streaking Zach Gentry to get down to the OSU 14. But that's when O'Korn came back two plays later and missed a would-be touchdown to Sean McKeon. Luckily, Evans took a quick pass for 13 yards and a first down at the 2.
O'Korn is 3-for-7 for 45 yards, but three of those incompletions have been missed throws to wide open receivers. That play-calling for Michigan has been on point, but the signal caller is going to have to dial it in as this game goes on.
Wolverines defense forces early three-and-out
The Michigan defense held up on their first series of the day, dropping J.T. Barrett for a loss on first down before stuffing Mike Weber on second down. A short completion on third down wasn't enough to move the chains for the Buckeyes.
With 11:48 to play in the first quarter, things are scoreless at The Big House.
O'Korn misses third down throw
John O'Korn took the field as Michigan's quarterback to start the game.
It went about as well as you'd expect.
On third-and-7 after two short runs, O'Korn overthrew Tyrone Wheatley Jr. who was wide open down the middle of the field. It would have been a big gain.
The Buckeyes will start at their own 40 with 13:34 remaining in the first quarter.
Ohio State at Michigan
Kickoff: Noon, Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor
Records: Ohio State 9-2, 7-1 Big Ten; Michigan 8-3, 5-3
Line: Ohio State by 10