Austin Mack believed in Dwayne Haskins. He knew he could get the job done in the second half Saturday at Michigan after J.T. Barrett left the game with an injury. If Haskins plays next week against Wisconsin in the Big Ten championships, Mack knows he can lead the Ohio State Buckeyes to victory.
Mack is Haskins’ roommate, so he knows the redshirt freshman quarterback better than anyone. The two connected on one of the key plays in Ohio State’s 31-20 victory. A leaping grab by Mack on 3rd-and-13 set up the go-ahead touchdown. He came down with the ball despite being hit by two defenders.
Seconds earlier, Urban Meyer was throwing a fit on the sideline after back-to-back false starts against the Buckeyes, who trailed 20-14 at the time.
“We had to make a big play,” Mack said. “Somebody had to make a big play. We called an isolation pass to me, a fade route. It ended up being the play.”
Michigan’s decision: The Buckeyes stopped Michigan on 4th-and-4 from the Ohio State 39-yard line with 6:53 left in the game. Ohio State led 24-20 at the time. Michigan was driving until quarterback John O’Korn tripped over a teammate after taking the snap and fell down for a loss of three yards.
As for the decision to go for the first down, coach Jim Harbaugh said, “We had a good play call. Wish we could have executed it better. Gotta know when to be aggressive, when to hold back. If you don’t get it, it’s easy to say, ‘Shouldn’t have gone for it.’”
Sideline fan: Former Ohio State quarterback Cardale Jones watched from Ohio State’s sideline. He wore a jersey with Barrett’s No. 16.
After the game, they posed for a photo and Jones wrote, “4 for me, 5 for him,” referring to the fifth-year senior Barrett’s five wins against Michigan.
Series notes: Ohio State has won six straight games against Michigan. That’s the second-longest streak in the history of the series.
• Barrett became the first Ohio State quarterback to start in four victories against Michigan.
• Barrett tied Art Schlichter for most victories by an Ohio State quarterback. He’s 36-6.
• Barrett became the second quarterback in FBS history to rush for 40 touchdowns in his career and pass for 100.
• Meyer improved to 27-2 in road games at Ohio State. He’s 25-3 in rivalry games in his career.