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We love each other – Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy speaks on sentiments after 30-24 victory over Ohio State

The Streak Reaches three… Buckeyes Fall In Ann Arbor: Late Drive Falls Short

As reality sets in…After his second interception of the game, which sealed the deal for Michigan, Kyle McCord muses on that moment. (Sonny Fulks, Press Pros Feature Photos)

After their defeat, everyone agreed that nobody really understood why. However, Michigan outperformed the Buckeyes in crucial situations. It was a challenging day!

Michigan’s Ann ArborWith his last pass, Kyle McCord targeted Marvin Harrison Jr. Why wouldn’t he, too?

 

Harrison Jr. has received a lot of praise for being the top college football player, and on Saturday afternoon, McCord appeared to be leading the Buckeyes on yet another game-winning drive.

However, on a day when the Buckeyes mishandled too many plays on both sides of the ball and were just not good enough when it mattered most, the ball never reached Marv.

With twenty-five worthless seconds remaining, McCord was unable to step into the throw, and the football flew into the enemy’s diving arms.

 

After that interception, No. 2 Ohio State’s hopes of winning a title and defeating No. 3 Michigan for the first time since 2019 vanished into the foggy, dreary November skies above the Big House. The Buckeyes would suffer a defeat of 30–24 for the third year in a row.

Feeling the sting of reality, Harrison Jr. remained on the ground for a little moment following the interception.

 

a third consecutive defeat against Michigan. No Big Ten title. No undefeated regular season. Not much chance of making the four-team playoffs. And perhaps the final play he would perform as a Buckeye.

At that point, the game is over and you won’t achieve all of your goals and everything you worked for this year, he stated.

 

Emeka Egbuka takes a monster hit from Michigan’s Benjamin Hall during the third quarter of Saturday’s loss in Ann Arbor.

The 365-day quest to defeat Michigan on their home field and to inflict additional anguish on Jim Harbaugh—who was denied entry to the stadium by the Big Ten—must begin anew.

Ryan Day, the head coach, answers questions about this game every time. When he’s not asked, he brings it up.

 

The Buckeyes had no chance in the last two years after being pushed aside in the second half. This time, following a 37-yard field goal from Michigan, the Buckeyes had an opportunity to demonstrate their superior program—rather than try to forget the previous two years because those losses are now part of the record.

 

They got the ball with a minute left were 81 yards away from dissolving the pit that was forming in Day’s stomachs.

With no timeouts remaining, McCord’s 22-yard pass to Harrison Jr. at the 41-yard line started the much-anticipated march to victory and an exciting new chapter in The Game’s history. More tense moments ensued as Julian Fleming grabbed another ball over the middle.

After the grab, Fleming took two steps, but when the ball was pushed out from behind, he stumbled.

The Buckeyes found themselves at 37 after Emeka Egbuka capitalized on a turnover. With 34 seconds remaining, Michigan requested that the play be reviewed and declared an incomplete, but the call was upheld.

 

The season ended on the next play when Michigan’s Rod Moore scooped McCord’s fluttering pass just before it hit the turf. Michigan went to a knee for the final play, and the Buckeyes felt like they’d been kneed in the gut.

 

Day described his initial feelings ten minutes after the game as difficult to put into words. “Simply ill.”

When you don’t play as well as you think you can, you get the horrible feeling that you lost the game in which you invested everything.

 

Unseen and difficult-to-see elements, as well as a few overlooked plays, such as dropped passes, poor defensive angles, missed reads, and missed blocks, could have all had an impact. However, the Buckeyes were repeatedly bitten by turnovers and missed opportunities to make big plays.

 

McCord’s first-quarter interception put the Buckeyes down 7-0, and they played uphill the rest of the afternoon. They never led and were tied only once at 17-17 in the third quarter.

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The interception was so play to Harrison Jr. that Will Johnson jumped and returned 18 yards to the Ohio State 7. On fourth-and-goal from the 1, Blake Corum scored for a lead the Wolverines didn’t relinquish.

If I could have it back, obviously, I’d just want to burn that one into the ground,” McCord said.

 

In the second half, they ran the ball more skillfully.TreVeyon Henderson ended up with 60 yards on 19 attempts, including a three-yard touchdown in the third quarter.

 

It was impossible to overcome McCord’s fifth and sixth interceptions of the season, which came at the bookends. Day believed that the Buckeyes needed to rush for more yards than Michigan in order to defeat them. The Buckeyes were outgained by the Wolverines 156 to 107.

 

In this game, you got to win the rushing yards, and you got to win the turnover battle, Day said. We did neither of those things. If that’s not going to happen, we’re not going to win this game.

 

But the Buckeyes had their moments. On their third-quarter drive that tied the score at 17-17, the Buckeyes ran consistently in a way they hadn’t all season. McCord went under center at one point and handed off to TreVeyon Henderson and Chip Trayanum for eight straight plays starting at the Michigan 46.

 

Henderson eventually scored from the 3. The message: We’re running the football. Stop us. It was one of three trips to the red zone that ended in touchdowns. But Michigan started doing the same thing after the Buckeyes stuffed its running game for 34 yards in the first half. And they didn’t commit a turnover.

 

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Michigan rushed for 122 yards in the second half and scored every time it got the ball until the final kneel-down. Corum’s 22-yard touchdown run and three field goals were all the Wolverines needed to make their 14-10 halftime lead stand up.

Ohio State’s final touchdown, a 14-yard pass to Harrison Jr., came with 8:05 left and cut the deficit to 27-24. Surely the defense could help the offense, as it has all season, force a punt, and give McCord plenty of time to engineer a winning drive.

 

 

They chased Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy but only caught him once.

But Jim Knowles’ defense, which, to its credit, didn’t give up the kind of explosive plays to Michigan that were common the past two seasons, couldn’t stop Michigan soon enough. The Wolverines did what they do best and melted the clock to 1:05 on a 13-play, 56-yard drive for a 30-24 lead.

 

We just didn’t get stops when we had some guys in position, Knowles said. “You always wish you had made the plays in critical moments.

 

McCord and Harrison Jr., who were high school teammates in Philadelphia, will carry good memories of their time together at Ohio State. But the near misses Saturday that resulted in game-changing interceptions will hurt for a long time.

 

Hurts—it’s really the only word for it, McCord said. “To work that hard for that opportunity and just to come up a few plays short, it hurts. There really aren’t a lot of words to say in a moment like this.

 

Harrison Jr. the only other Buckeye to speak to the media after the game, had little to say about the devastating defeat. But he had plenty to say about his quarterback, who completed 18 of 30 for 271 yards and two touchdowns.

 

Through good and bad, he’s going to continue to fight, and that’s the motto of our program, Harrison Jr. said.

He’s done a tremendous job of just handling what comes with being the starting quarterback at Ohio State.

 

There’s so much pressure, and I’m super proud of him. I say this all the time: Before he’s my quarterback, he’s my friend. So I’m going to support him through the ups and downs, and I will always be by his side.

 

 

Lineman Mike Hall wrapped up McCarthy for the lone Buckeye sack of the afternoon.

That might be from a distance next season. Harrison Jr. is expected to enter the NFL Draft in April and be a high first-round pick. He wouldn’t commit one way or the other after the game to next season or a non-playoff bowl game.

 

“It’s been an incredible run, McCord said. “Obviously, I’d love to get another chance to play with him here. I hope this isn’t the end of it. But if it is, I think he has cemented himself as one of the best players ever to come through this program. He’s a special dude.

 

Now with three straight losses to Michigan—the only Big Ten losses under Day—the Buckeyes must await a weekend of conference championship games and the College Football Playoff committee’s decision.

 

Last year, the Buckeyes lost this game and still got invited as a one-loss team. They need help, for sure.

 

We had a second chance at life last year to make the playoffs, and we showed out to play with motivation, according to McCord. “The fact that we have no control over it is the worst part.”

The Buckeyes controlled numerous points of the game on Saturday at Michigan, but never the entire contest.

They now have another year to figure out how to defeat Michigan—again—regardless of what the postseason brings!

 

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