Michigan-Ohio State grades: Buckeyes grind out 2OT victory

The highest-graded players and top storylines from Ohio State’s double-overtime win over Michigan.

| 7 months ago
(Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

(Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Michigan-Ohio State grades: Buckeyes grind out 2OT victory

Ohio State Buckeyes 30, Michigan Wolverines 27

Here are the top-graded players and biggest storylines from Ohio State’s 30-27 double-overtime win over Michigan.

Ohio State Buckeyes

Quarterback grade: J.T. Barrett, 73.0

Barrett opens the path to the playoffs on the ground

This was not a passing display to remember for J.T. Barrett; less than 50 percent of his passes were completed, and he was under pressure on more than 50 percent of his dropbacks, but his running ability evened the field for an offense that struggled to create room against a stifling Michigan defensive front. Barrett came close to 150 yards on the ground with only 19 of those coming on scrambles. His 41-yard gain on a draw play outrunning Jabrill Peppers may go down as one of the seminal moments of this game and the history of “The Game,” but that would’ve been for naught if he hadn’t eked out just enough on fourth-and-1 in overtime when Urban Meyer went for it all and came up with a royal flush a play later through Curtis Samuel.


Top offensive grades:

LT Jamarco Jones, 78.3
WR Noah Brown, 73.0
TE Marcus Baugh, 73.0
QB J.T. Barrett, 73.0
HB Mike Weber, 61.0

Buckeyes come up with the key plays to overcome offensive line struggles

Once again faced with a powerful defensive front as they were against Penn State, the Ohio State offensive line came up short against the Michigan front-seven, but their playmakers came up with key plays in key moments to push Ohio State to victory. Curtis Samuel and Mike Weber each dropped a pass and were held largely in check on the ground but Weber came up with several short yardage conversions and Samuel sliced his way through the Michigan defense for the game-winning score in the second overtime period. Ohio State must figure out how to cope with quality defensive fronts if they are to succeed in the playoffs, but their playmakers give them a chance to overcome even the most severe of struggles.

Top defensive grades:

LB Jerome Baker, 91.0
DE Sam Hubbard, 85.6
DE Nick Bosa, 84.4
LB Raekwon McMillan, 83.7
S Malik Hooker, 80.5

Buckeye defense play their part in disrupting Michigan’s momentum

Much as Ohio State’s offensive line struggled with the Michigan front, so certain members of Ohio State’s defensive front took it to Michigan’s offensive line to clamp down on the ground game and get after Wilton Speight for some pivotal plays. Sam Hubbard collected four pressures — his most since the victory over Northwestern in Week 9 — and Nick Bosa added three in his rotational role including his first sack since the defeat to Penn State in Week 8. That pressure led to pivotal turnovers for Jerome Baker and Malik Hooker at the second level with Baker earning his highest grade of the season in the most important game, so far.

Michigan Wolverines

Quarterback grade: Wilton Speight, 53.0

Mistakes see Speight come up short in gutsy display

Few even expected Wilton Speight to feature in this game with the nature of his injury against Iowa still unclear but believed to be severe enough to keep the Michigan starter out of the game. But suit up he did, and unfortunately for Speight, his gutsy performance will likely be remembered for the mistakes that cost Michigan the opportunity to win this game in regulation. Misreads coming out his own end zone and a fumbled snap a yard away from Ohio State’s endzone swung the scoreboard away from Michigan in regulation and Ohio State’s offense just made one more play than Michigan in the overtime periods.

Top offensive grades:

C Mason Cole, 82.4
WR Amara Darboh, 69.3
HB De’Veon Smith, 64.8
TE Tyrone Wheatley, 54.2
RG Kyle Kalis, 54.0

Jekyll and Hyde from Wolverines offense

One of the big questions entering the game was where the Wolverines would generate offensive production from; would they need to play 30 snaps with Jabrill Peppers at quarterback? Ultimately, they didn’t and they exceeded many expectations for their production but came up short in key moments to clinch their victory their performance deserved. Amara Darboh came up with some big catches, including the overtime TD shaking Marshon Lattimore at the line to get open, but he dropped a pair of passes. Similarly, the ground game was nothing more than steady, keeping the Ohio State defense honest but failing to rip off more than one play of ten yards or more. Will this valiant defeat be enough to keep the Wolverines in the playoff picture?

Top defensive grades:

DE Taco Charlton, 84.0
LB Mike McCray, 82.4
DT Ryan Glasgow, 82.2
DT Bryan Mone, 81.1
LB Ben Gedeon, 78.9

Michigan brings the heat but come up just short

The Wolverines entered this game as the top pressure-generating defense in all of college football and they did not disappoint. Pressuring J.T. Barrett on 56 percent of his dropbacks, seven different Wolverines racked up three or more pressures, with DE Taco Charlton leading the way with 8, including two sacks. The only facet of the offense the Wolverines defense couldn’t slow was the running threat of Barrett with FS Dymonte Thomas out of position a few times and Jabrill Peppers beaten in the open field for one of the games pivotal plays. The Wolverines were exceptional from down to down but the key turnovers that the Buckeyes generated were missing for Michigan today.

| Director of Analysis

Ben joined Pro Football Focus in 2007, and has since been in charge of the company’s analysis process. He also contributes to PFF’s weekly NFL podcast.

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