Rarely has an Ohio State-Michigan game better lived up to its billing as a one-game season than the 2018 edition.
Not only were just about all of the 2018 Buckeyes’ strengths and weaknesses on display during their 62-39 rout Saturday, the 115th edition of The Game also drastically changed the perception of the season for both teams.
The Wolverines’ road to the playoff? Blocked.
Michigan’s resurgence under Jim Harbaugh? Maybe next year.
Revenge tour? The Wolverines seniors became the eighth Michigan class (all since 2004) to go 0-4 against the Buckeyes instead.
READ MORE: 5 things to know about Ohio State’s upset
Meanwhile, everything Ohio State wanted to achieve this season is back on the table.
Coach Urban Meyer’s Buckeyes, a pass-first team with an imperfect defense that still commits too many penalties, can win the program’s 38th Big Ten championship Saturday night in Indianapolis against Northwestern.
“Extremely proud of our players, the way they’ve fought through it,” Meyer said. “And like someone was saying, nothing’s ever good enough. And obviously (we played through) some adversity earlier in the year — not some — big-time adversity. And to come back against your rival and play like that, that’s a focused team that loves each other and cares about each other.”
Ohio State to go into Big Ten championship game down another starter https://t.co/xM2oz0iehQ— Marcus Hartman (@marcushartman) November 25, 2018
Thrashing the Wolverines put the Buckeyes back into the College Football Playoff hunt, too, after they entered last weekend 10th in the CFP standings and behind every other major-conference team with one loss.
“Yeah I still feel like all the goals are possible,” right tackle Isaiah Prince said, “with the help of the man above and just continuing to play hard.”
Scoring change equals more history
One day after engineering a stunning upset of Michigan, Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins picked up another touchdown pass against the Wolverines’ once-vaunted defense.
The OSU sports information department announced Sunday morning it had made a scoring change after reviewing film clips of the a 78-yard scoring play by Parris Campbell that put Ohio State on top 48-25 early in the fourth quarter.
Initially ruled a run, the play was changed to a pass in the official statistics.
That means Haskins completed 20 of 31 passes for 396 yards and six touchdowns against a Michigan defense that entered the game leading the nation with an average of 123.2 yards passing allowed per game.
Campbell’s numbers become six catches for 192 yards and two touchdowns.
Despite losing 78 yards, the Ohio State running game still eclipsed Michigan’s per game average allowed on the ground (111.6) by almost 60 yards.
Haskins had broken a pair of Big Ten single-season records anyway.
With the change, he finished the regular season with 42 touchdown passes, three more than Drew Brees’ single-season Big Ten record set in 1998 for Purdue.
Haskins also broke the conference record for passing yards in a season, finishing the game with 4,081 (18 more than Curtis Painter’s total in 2006 for Purdue).
Six touchdown passes tie a single-game school record Haskins already shared with J.T. Barrett and Kenny Guiton, and the extra yardage from the Campbell play give Haskins a record for an Ohio State quarterback against Michigan.
The previous high was Joe Germaine’s 330 passing yards against the Wolverines in 1996.
All eyes on the Buckeyes (and Wolverines)
According to Fox Sports, the 2018 Ohio State-Michigan game did a massive 8.0 Nielsen rating.
That’s the best metered market rating for a college football game this season and up 19 percent from last year’s game.
Dayton was the No. 2 market in the country with a 32.7 rating, trailing only the 43.6 rating of Columbus.
Ohio State vs. Northwestern, 8 p.m., FOX, 1410