Wolverines dominate the second half for the decisive win

McCarthy, a freshman who felt spurned by Ohio State on recruiting, finished the 12-for-24 passing for 263 yards and rushed for another 27 yards.

Second-ranked Ohio State (11-1, 8-1 Big Ten) didn’t score in the second half until Noah Ruggles punched through a 27-yard field goal in the fourth quarter with 7:23 left.

A play later, Michigan (12-0, 9-0) scored again when Donovan Edwards went 75 yards on the first play.

The next time the Wolverines got the ball, he outdid himself, splashing free for an 85-yard touchdown to set the final lead and beat Michigan’s ticket to a second straight Big Ten Conference Championship Game in Indianapolis.

Ohio State overcame several major defensive collapses and went into the dressing room with a 20-17 lead at halftime.

The Buckeyes batted first, taking the opening kickoff and driving 81 yards in 12 games for a 4-yard touchdown from CJ Stroud to Emeka Egbuka.

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Michigan countered with a 44-yard, 10-play drive that ended with the Wolverines settling for a 49-yard field goal from Jake Moody. McCarthy kept the drive alive with two third finishes, including a 33-yarder on Ronnie Bell that opened up when McCarthy climbed and Denzel Burke briefly lost sight of him.

Next up was the Buckeyes, opting for a field goal when Ruggles punched through a 32-yarder to finish a 10-play, 58-yard drive.

Michigan equalized the score with a 69-yard touchdown pass from McCarthy to Cornelius Johnson. Ohio State defensive coordinator Jim Knowles brought on total blitz and was burned when McCarthy had to throw a desperation pass to Johnson, but he was able to catch him, break a tackle and go the distance at 7:26 in the quarter.

Prior to this drive, Ohio State had surpassed Michigan 186-48.

In the end, Michigan had a 530-492 yard lead with 252-143 on the ground.

“We matched throughout the game, but too many explosives,” Knowles said after the Buckeyes gave up five plays of 45 yards or more. “And that’s not just discouraging for the defense, it’s disheartening for the team and the fans. And I have to take responsibility for that.”

The Buckeyes returned to the lead with another field goal from the Ruggles, this time from 47 yards and 5:36 left in the second quarter, but that only lasted one play.

A coverage bust allowed McCarthy to find a wide-open Johnson over center for a 75-yard touchdown that put the Wolverines 17-13 ahead.

The Buckeyes’ response was quick, however, as it took them just four moves to cover 79 yards. The final 42 came with a fade from Stroud to Marvin Harrison Jr., who stretched as far as he could to catch them as he stumbled into the end zone.

Michigan running back Blake Corum started the game but carried twice and didn’t return after the first drive.

Edwards, playing with an injured hand, finished the game with 216 yards on 22 carries while Johnson had 160 yards on four catches.

Stroud threw for 349 yards while Egbuka received 125 yards and Harrison added 120.

Michigan defeated Ohio State at Ohio Stadium for the first time since 2000, also the last time the Wolverines won back-to-back games, they now lead 60-52-6.

The win’s margin was the widest for Michigan since a 28-0 win at Ann Arbor in 1993, and it equaled Michigan’s most lopsided win at Ohio Stadium since a 22-0 knockout in 1976.

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